Tag Archives: korean dramas

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. 

Image result for her private life

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. 


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…

Image may contain: 2 people (for those of you not obsessed with Korean dramas, those are pictures from the Korean Drama Goblin)

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

Image may contain: indoor

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?

Image may contain: 1 person Books and Park Bo Gum ❤ I’m amazed I left.


Fangirling in Korea

My friend picked me up at the bus terminal, we ate delicious Korean food, and Friday rolled around. Now, Jasmine intended to take off work but ended up with a bad head cold that turned it into an actual sick day. She also had quite a few errands to run so my first full day in Korea mainly involved running errands. And you know what? It was AWESOME. 

Why?

Because I was in Korean drama fangirl heaven. Literally, everything got me excited. A trip to the bank? IT WAS A KOREAN BANK. JUST LIKE IN A KOREAN DRAMA. A walk in the park? LOOK. ACTUAL EXERCISE EQUIPMENT FOR ADULTS. JUST LIKE IN A KOREAN DRAMA. 

Image may contain: tree, shoes and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, tree, basketball court, sky and outdoor

A trip to the hospital? (Which is really the doctor’s but apparently all under one roof here?) JUST LIKE A KOREAN DRAMA. (Except no one had amnesia or a fever from being in the rain – common drama tropes.) 

With Jasmine’s head cold and mediocre air quality, we both opted for face masks. And I discovered another wonderful thing about face masks. They keep your nose warm in the cold!

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and closeup

I decided to pack all of my unused face masks for below zero weather this coming winter. 


Meet Jasmine.

Meet my friend Jasmine.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, sky and outdoor

I previously alluded to her in my post about visiting Korea. We hung out with the same group of friends in college and our sophomore year she helped get me hooked on Korean dramas. 

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and shoes

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer

Image may contain: 2 people, including Sabrina Bray

Image may contain: 1 person

She was also one of the first people to support my dream (both financially and emotionally) of studying abroad at Oxford University. 

She has lived in India and visited I don’t know how many other cool places around the world since then. And almost exactly two years ago, she moved to Korea to teach English. 

And I got to visit her! Visiting Korea would be amazing under any context, but it made it extra fun that I got to explore it with a dear friend! 


A Dream Come True

For as much as I hate on group projects, 7 years ago a group project basically changed my life

As a sophomore in college, I took Personality Theory (unfortunately, a class covering actual psychological theories and not personality tests like I thought.) The professor required group presentations and after we finished studying, my two group members asked if I wanted to stay and join them for, “a Korean soap opera.” 

And, oh, my life has never been the same since. 

We started with Dream High 2 but did not make it very far. 

Image result for dream high 2

Korean dramas usually range from 16-20 one hour episodes. They are one season. After studying together, we would sit on someone’s bed and watch an episode. After giving up on Dream High 2, we switched to Personal Taste (the first drama I ever finished.) 

I remember vividly one scene where we squealed so loudly an RA came into check on us. (And by we, I probably mean me.) 

Meanwhile I started watching Boys Over Flowers on my own. I basically spent the entire Thanksgiving break that year binge watching.

And after that there was no going back. I became obsessed with Korean dramas!

Image result for i hear your voice poster

And I remain obsessed. 

Meanwhile, I began to get everyone around me into Korean drams. My sisters in turn discovered K Pop and quickly got me addicted! 

Image result for ss501Image result for crayon popImage result for super junior 2018Image result for akdong musicians

Of course, you cannot watch a show about another culture without becoming obsessed with the food. I now consider kimchi more important than dairy. (And I love dairy.)

As for bulgogi, bibimbap, and tteokbokki…my mouth waters just thinking about them. Korean food went from a nonentity in my life to a dietary staple. 

All this to say, for the past 7 years Korea has influenced the food I eat, the shows I watch, the music I listen to, and even the clothes I wear. 

Image may contain: 3 people, including Amy Buchmeyer

And tomorrow, I get to visit one of the friends who got me addicted to Korean dramas…IN KOREA!

Can you imagine anything more amazing? 

 

 

 

(As I previously wrote, however, you will have to wait to hear about the experience till I am on a flight back to the U.S. Until then, enjoy the story of my vacation in Krabi with another college buddy!) 


Chicken Feet

If you somehow missed it, I love Asian entertainment. Dramas, manga, anime, I appreciate it all. Consistently in Korean dramas in particular, the heroine eats chicken feet. 

This always baffled me. I’ve SEEN chickens. Their feet do not look edible. 

Image result for chickens

Walking back from class today, I saw a food stall with chicken feet! I did this cartoon-ish double take because I could not believe my eyes! I did not think such things existed outside of Korean dramas!

With great enthusiasm, I bought a stick from the baffled chicken woman and practically floated all the way home. I, Amy, was going to try chicken feet!

Eagerly I bit down and found…bone. Cartilage. Skin.

Image may contain: food

I Googled – and then YouTubed – “How to eat chicken feet” and watched in amazement as people wolfed these things down. Turns out, these things are supposed to only consistent of bone, cartilage, and skin. 

Image may contain: food

It took me 75 minutes to get through the first one. I gnawed on the second one for about 20 minute but my more aggressive approach meant I got more mouthfuls of cartilage and it crunched like a bean sprout. 

Image may contain: food

And, um, as much as I wanted to like chicken feet…I really didn’t. I put the rest in my fridge but I do not think I will get to them. I’m just not that big a fan of cartilage and crunch. 


School Uniform

I am officially the proud possessor of two school uniforms, complete with a myriad of buttons, clips, belts, pins, and buckles that go…somewhere. I have never worn a school uniform before and the uniforms in Korean dramas don’t look nearly this complicated! My Thai friend just laughed when I looked at her in bafflement. 

But I am grateful she went shopping with me. Otherwise I would definitely not have known I needed the Law pin, or the separate belt buckle, or closed toed heels. All the study abroad office told me was, “Go buy a uniform at the bookstore.” 

Pictures to come once I figure out how to get the dang thing together! (I’m snipping off buttons and clipping other ones on and other such baffling stuff. I sure wish my Grandma lived closer!)