Category Archives: Korean

Her Private Life (Korean Drama Review)

It has been a while since I reviewed a Korean drama! But if you’re looking for something to stream with all your free time…it is free on Viki. I’m giving it 4/5 stars. Solid, but not solid enough to get me to finish. 

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Her Private Life follows art curator Sung Deok Mi (played by Park Min Young, you might know her from What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, Healer, or even City Hunter) and her new boss, painter Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook, who I know as the guy who should have gotten the girl in Mary Stayed Out All Night). Sung Deok Mi acts mature at work, but she carries a secret: she is a huge fangirl of K pop celebrity Cha Shi An (Jung Je Won). And she will go to any lengths to keep her two worlds from colliding. Her new boss, Ryan Gold, also has an interest in Cha Shi An and keeps showing up to the same events. It won’t be long till he realizes her secret…

I love Park Min Young and I think this drama especially demonstrates the much healthier direction K dramas have taken in recent years. Instead of the typical dense schoolgirl with a heart of gold, the heroine of Her Private Life shows brains, ambition, and self-confidence. The main love interest acts with the traditional cold-heartlessness of a male lead, but quickly redeems the stereotype with some truly heartwarming acting and delightfully memorable scenes. And the secondary love interest is…ah…forgettable enough. So no secondary lead syndrome here. 

The plot clicks along at a strong pace until episode 9, which unfortunately displays the K Drama tendency to keep the couple apart with stupid misunderstandings. I stuck around for episode 10 and with the resolution of most of the plot…don’t feel inclined to watch another 6 episodes. I don’t care enough. 

But what I did see impressed me. Besides excellent acting, Her Private Life shines in two ways that don’t traditionally stick out to me: music and costumes. 

The choice of music is interesting mostly because of how often it is lacking. Particularly intense, romantic scenes that you would expect a sweeping score to accompany get acted out int total silence. At first it threw me. But I came to appreciate how much it makes the viewer hold their breath and just appreciate the tension and drama of the moment. 

The costumes are also delightful and very well coordinated between the main leads: lots of linen suits and loose fitting, professional clothing. It ties the main couple together almost from the start because their clothing matches so well. Only when the heroine goes crazy fangirl and wears her fangirl clothing do we see a change. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, which also features Park Min Young wearing a lot of professional, business clothing, does something similar except in that drama the heroine favors pencil skirts and silk blouses. (Also beautifully contrasted with how she initially dressed at the beginning of the drama.)

In conclusion, Her Private Life is artistically quite beautiful, very well acted, and far too long.  But if you don’t mind lots of scenes with the main couple being lovey-dovey while the side stories get wrapped up, I’d recommend giving it a shot. 


Korea ~ Final Thoughts

If you get the chance to go to Busan, South Korea, do so. 

Those are my final thoughts.

But seriously, I am very glad I went. South Korea met my high expectations and proved a delightful, beautiful place to visit. 

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I did a couple other typical Korean things, like late night karaoke. 

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Jasmine and I also went to a sauna. (So many naked ladies O.O)

It was fun. It was silly. It was all my little K drama fantasies rolled into one. I definitively want to go back someday! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip.

 

In unrelated news, Happy Birthday to my Dad!


Taejongdae

Taejongdae is ‘a natural park of Busan, South Korea with magnificent cliffs facing the open sea on the southernmost tip of island of Yeongdo-gu.’

It was stunning.

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A Really Nice Korean Hostel

As you might notice by how late this post is winging its way to your inbox, I’m all caught up on my pre-written posts! But I’m not quite finished with Korea so I plan to spend a few more days wrapping Korea up, then wrapping up my final days in Thailand, and then catching you up on life back stateside! So much catching up to do! I’ve missed you all!

I’ve had some weird hostel experiences in my day. No, really. There was that one time in Bath England where I thought I was going to get mugged and that other time in Slovakia where the guy above me was French and refused to wear pant. Crazy times.

Thankfully, K 79 Guesthouse in Busan, South Korea was nothing but delightful! I highly recommend the place. For one, amazing decorations…

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For two, awesome, private, big, comfortable beds.

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For three, they spoke decent English and provided helpful directions, tips for places to visit, and maps of the area.

For four, no naked Frenchmen. 

For five…did I mention they knew how to decorate?

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Basically a Princes

Smiles, comments, giggles. Cars slowing down and middle age women beaming in our direction. That is how Korea responded to Jasmine and I donning hanboks, the traditional Korean clothing. 

I felt like a princess.

For $9, this wonderful little store let you rent a traditional Korean outfit (or non-traditional sailor suit, depending on your fancy) and wander around Gamcheon Culture Village for an hour. They help pin you in and then do your hair for no extra cost!

The store carried a multitude of fabrics, colors, and sizes aimed at both men and women. (But mostly women.)

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And if that wasn’t perfect enough for me, there was an entire stairwell BOOK THEMED. 

The entire village is designed for photo shoots. I think Jasmine and I could handily illustrate an entire book of fairy tales just with the pictures we took. I give you:

Cinderella

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Beauty and the Beast

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The Fisherman and His Wife (you can’t really tell but that is a fish)

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The Frog Princess

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The Princess Who Never Smiled

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Rapunzel (if you squint I look like I’m in a tower. Sort of. Not really.)

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Gamchoen Culture Village.

Gamcheon Culture Village – “a picturesque attraction featuring a village of colorful houses, painted murals, shops & cafes.”

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Most importantly….I got to wear traditional Korean clothing! (More pics tomorrow!)

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Korean Subway System

“Does Korea have a higher life expectancy than Thailand?” I asked Jasmine. 

She obviously did not know because that isn’t one of those random facts you remember. But everywhere we went in Korea, I was amazed by the number of elderly people traveling with us. It took a bit for Jasmine to figure out what was throwing me off, but then she explained…at certain times, the elderly ride the subway system for free! And since we took the subway everywhere, we inevitably went with them. 

I felt quite pleased taking the subway system because I could navigate it with little problem. There was one thing, however, that I did throw me off: Korean subways have the weirdest signs. 

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I don’t really know what they’re warning against except that sniffing strangers and having flames shoot out of your head top the list as generally frowned upon. 


The Raccoon Cafe

Somewhere more photographic evidence exists, but I only took the two pictures on my phone and Jasmine isn’t handing any over! 

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The conversation went something like this:

Jasmine: “We could do a theme cafe. Like, a cat cafe or a dog cafe. There is also a raccoon cafe.”

Me: “Raccoons? It is a cafe with raccoons?” 

Jasmine: “Yep, you can pet them and play with them and stuff.”

Me: “That sounds like a horrible idea. We obviously have to do it!”

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And so we did. You drink the coffee before playing with the raccoons, but otherwise it is pretty much free rein. 

Turns out, raccoons are spoiled brats. 

I was petting one and it climbed on me and stole my hair clip. It then hid in a corner and gnawed on it. I won’t lie, I was all for letting it choke and die on the thing, but Jasmine took sympathy and tried to steal the hair clip back. 

In thanks, it bit her. 

It also managed to finish consuming my hair clip without choking. 

It was one of those experiences I’m glad I did because now I can say I played with raccoons but also it took my ambivalent dislike for raccoons and turned it into loathing. Not sure that is what the cafe was going for. 


The Most Beautiful Temple in Korea

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 해동 용궁사

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On Saturday Jasmine and I visited the self-proclaimed “Most Beautiful Temple in Korea.”

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It was gorgeous. 

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We timed the visit right after Buddha’s birthday and the temple was decorated with lanterns to celebrate. 

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The best part was absolutely the view, though. 

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Even the statutes looked happy here.

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Visit Korea for the Food

While none of the subsequent restaurants I visited came with quite the excitement as the one in the sketchy apartment complex, I did eat some amazing food. It was truly the best part of my visit and that is not an easy thing to say because I saw and did some awesome stuff. But throughout, the food remained consistently delicious.

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