The awesome Shanna over at hangukdrama.com recently posted a tag post for Korean learners. I figured it’s a great way to look back and figure out where exactly I am right now in studying Korean. (Also, just because I wanted to do it. XD)
1. Why Korean?
Pretty sure I answered it somewhere in the blogosphere…but the gist of it (without being too dramatic and emotional about it) was that learning Korean came to me at a time when I was feeling the most down after moving from one country to another and having to start all over again with my life. So Korean became like my thing—I studied it because it was interesting, I liked watching dramas and variety shows, I liked listening to Korean songs and, well, it was just plain fun. And the cadence of Korean is just beautiful, if you haven’t noticed.
2. Daum or Naver (dictionary)?
For dictionaries (and searching Korean stuff), I use Naver—I even have the app on my phone. I only go to Daum for reading webtoons like Cherry Boy and (sometimes) Gaussian Blur.
3. First website that you visit everyday?
Hmm. Depends. But I think I go through my email first? Then it’s either LiveJournal (for Omona, hehe) or Dramabeans.
4. Best thing that happened to you? (related to learning Korean)
Meeting new people online and widening my views. I think learning a new language gets people to think more about themselves and their viewpoints, and not just on things that are related to the language they’re learning. For example, there are quite a few (if not many) times I’ve thought about how I wish there was more emphasis in my native language back home like how there’s a good support for Korean language learning not just in Korea but around the world. Also, my interest in learning other cultures intensified even more as I started learning Korean.
5. Ever regretted learning Korean?
Nope. My one regret is that I don’t spend as much time on it as I want to.
6. Most common feedback/question you get when you say you are learning Korean?
It’s always the why, I think, that people ask. But then the more recent feedback I’ve been getting are things like, “Cool!” or “That is really going to become a plus when you get into the workforce.”
7. First Korean food that comes to your mind?
The first thing that came to mind is 오징어채볶음 just because I love, love eating that stuff. But then I went, duh, 김치! That should have been the first thing, right?
8. Most overrated Korean drama?
Tons, but the most recent one I can think of is Moon-Sun (The Moon that Embraces the Sun, 해를 품은 달). It’s pretty (the costumes, my gosh!), but just plain stupid. Others: Winter Sonata, Stairway to Heaven, Boys over Flowers, Full House, Secret Garden.
9. Most underrated Korean drama?
Erm, I can’t really think of one standout drama, to be honest, but here are some that came to mind: Shut Up: Flower Boy Band, 9 End 2 Outs, What’s Up Fox, Conspiracy in the Court.
10. Latest milestone in learning Korean?
I haven’t been doing much studying aside from watching Korean dramas and reading webtoons (heh, if you consider those things “studying”), so I guess I’ll just say watching some dramas without subtitles? I still can’t grasp much of sageuk-speak, especially when the characters start talking using political jargons and old words, but dramas like You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin, I can handle without subtitles, for the most part.
11. Favorite Korean word/phrase?
주상 전하 납시오! Haha, I picked this for no particular reason other than always hearing this in sageuk. And the way they always announce the king’s entrance is spoken in just one way—like I think that there’s only one person who’s doing that announcement in almost every single sageuk I’ve ever watched. XD I find it really funny.
역시 comes a really close second, but I think it depends on how it’s being said—I like when it’s said in a kind of sing-song voice: 역시~이~이~!
12. Name 3 people (fictional/real) who motivate/influence your Korean learning journey.
Epik High. I know they’re not a person but a group, but I’ve always wanted to understand their songs without needing a translation done by another person.
Hyunwoo Sun. Seriously. If you’re learning Korean, you should know of Hyunwoo. He’s amazing.
Other Korean learners who are so much more motivated, determined, and enthusiastic about it. Sometimes I get into slumps (who doesn’t, really?), so reading blog posts of others who are taking things one step at a time and just going at it constantly, every single day gets me pumped up and wanting to learn more Korean as well.
13. Secret ambition/goal (relating to Korean)
It won’t be a secret anymore if I tell. ^^ But yeah, I want to write a Korean novel, which will then in turn become a drama/movie. HAHAHAHA.
14. I want to sound like _____ when I speak Korean
I’ve…never actually thought about it. Maybe Lee So-yeon?
15. Best compliment received (for Korean)
Can’t remember exactly what was said, but it was that my pronunciation was spot-on. I’m pretty sure it was said out of politeness, though, haha
16. When is the last time you sat down and studied Korean?
Oh, it’s been a long while. I don’t think I’ve actually opened a textbook and “studied” for quite some time now. Refer back to my answer in #10.
17. Favorite textbook?
Integrated Korean. So far, I think it’s the best for those self-studying the language.
18. Special people you met (online or otherwise) through Korean?
A couple of online friends. I’ve yet to meet any in real life that I’ve had a “special connection” with, but I realized just very recently that there are a lot more people in my circle who are interested in Korean culture (language, dramas, etc.) than I thought!
19.How has learning Korean changed you/your life?
I think I answered this in question #4, haha. Most of my pastimes now involve Korean in some way or another—I read Korean comics, watch Korean dramas, listen to Korean songs, etc. I think this may have alienated me from some friends who are not interested in Korean in any way—I feel like some of them now find me weird because I’m into something they find uncool, heh. I also don’t know a lot of new English songs now, unfortunately, haha.
20. Ever dreamt in Korean?
Yes! I’m better able to speak Korean in my dreams, it seems. Nothing comes quite as close to my friend Ashlie having a dream with subtitles, though. XD
21. Single best thing about learning Korean?
The awesomeness of having new senses: you see, hear, speak, think (ok, let’s throw in taste and smell too XD) new and different things you were never able to before. But that goes for learning any language, I think. :)
So much stuff happened in a span of one episode! I still don’t know why such a good drama like this isn’t getting much ratings from Korea, but screw the ratings! I just hope they don’t change a lot of things just to garner more views. Which leads to the question: where the hell is second-lead guy Chi-soo? He and Ok-jung’s brother have returned to Joseon from Qing, so I don’t know why he hasn’t made even just a short appearance yet.
The handling of Queen In-gyung’s death was really well done—I loved how Lee Soon stayed by In-gyung’s side until it was dark out and just held her hand tight. The royal couple’s conversation was heartbreaking:
이순: 나를 봐서라도 털고 일어나셔야죠. 인경:너무 흉한 손인지라. 정말 따뜻합니다 손이. 인경: 이제 편히 눈을 감을 수 있을 것 같습니다. 이순: 아니요. 이리 가면 안 됩니다. 내가 미안한 것이 얼마나 많은데. 그대를 이용해서 미안하고 그대를 사랑해 주지 못해 미안합니다. 인경: 전하 덕분에 많이 설레었고 행복했습니다. 이순: 내가 그대의 마지막 여기서 꼭 지킬 터이니… 마음 편히…
Tsk. Just as Lee Soon was starting to take good care of his queen, she contracts smallpox and dies! If Ok-jung were out of the picture, I would have loved to see Lee Soon and In-gyung work their marriage out and have wonderful kids. ;____; Yoo Ah-in’s acting here is just outstanding. The disbelief, the grief, the guilt—it all showed as he was holding the queen in his arms. Ugh heartbreak.
And I love, love, love how they showed the passage of time. There was no need for captions on the screen—they just showed the changes of the seasons with some really good (but really sad) music.
The sadaebu are all urging Lee Soon to get a new queen; even the Dowager Queen insists on him getting a queen (and keeps on talking about Minister Min’s daughter, yeech)—and while at first Lee Soon’s all jokey about the characteristics his queen must have, he gets all serious when his mother becomes pushy and says, “Mother, the grass on the late Queen’s tomb has yet to grow. Please stop.” That was probably the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing he’s said about In-gyung so far, and I’m glad that at the very least, he wants to give respect to his first wife.
Skipping off to the archery scene between Dong-pyung and Lee Soon. Dong-pyung misses one shot, which makes Soon curious as to what he’s thinking of. Dong-pyung tells him that he suddenly remembered something that happened in the palace (mistaking a palace maid for Ok-jung, although he doesn’t say this outright).
Lee Soon teases Dong-pyung and asks him if he’s keeping some palace maiden in his heart. Dong-pyung laughs and tells the king he can’t think of even desiring a woman that belongs to the king. Soon laughs at this, and Dong-pyung says, “Aren’t all the palace maids inside the palace the King’s women?” Soon says they’re all but palace maids. Dong-pyung jokingly asks: “Then, if I come to love a palace maid and I say we will run away together, would you let her go?”
Soon says, “Of course that’s not possible. But if it’s you, then I’ll think about it.” Dong-pyung smiles and says he refuses to be a playboy anymore.
BUT THEN, after finding out that Ok-jung really IS in the palace, he immediately finds the king and was about to tell him about the palace maid (and probably ask Soon to let Ok-jung go)—only Soon has somewhere to go, so his story will have to wait. But it’s too late—because the next time he finds Ok-jung, she’s with Soon—and he just kissed her.
I ship Lee Soon and Ok-jung so much, but seeing Dong-pyung in the background just broke my heart into tiny pieces.
Aside from the scenes above, there’s a lot more that happened in the episode; however, STILL NO CHI-SOO. Where in the world is he and why have they not shown him yet? I thought he’d be the big hindrance between Lee Soon and Ok-jung, but now that OTP is established (Ok-jung’s speech in that last scene confirmed her feelings for Soon, imo), I don’t see how he’s going to make a splash that will shake the foundations of Soon- and Ok-jung’s budding relationship. D:
Great episode, great acting, and more movement forward for the love story. Perhaps by next week In-hyun will be queen and Ok-jung, at the very least, of suk-won rank. And please, please, please show Chi-soo, yes?
Tell me I’m not the only one who enjoys this drama and is disappointed with the ratings it’s been getting. Six episodes in and I already know that I’m sold. I was going in to this drama with lots of curiosity and interest on how they’re going to make Jang Hee-bin the protagonist but had my doubts about Kim Tae-hee acting in her first sageuk. From what I’ve seen of her so far she’s a limited but passable actress—the one drama I liked her acting in was My Princess (she was ok in her Japanese drama, Boku to Star no 99 Nichi, too, although I have to admit I’ve yet to finish that one), so I was wondering how she’s going to handle a big, meaty role such as this one. So far, she’s doing a better job than I had anticipated, and what more could I ask for?
Also: Yoo Ah-in and Sung Dong-il. Stellar performances so far! I knew Yoo Ah-in was a talented actor, but he’s nailing it in every. single. scene. Sung Dong-il is just awesome overall no matter what role he’s playing (I love him in all the roles I’ve seen him in), but watching him be the cunning and vengeful father? Pure wowza-homg-awesomesauce.
(I’m still waiting for Jae-hee—WHEN IS HE GOING TO SHOW UP???—to enter into the foray and for Hong Soo-hyun to up the ante a notch higher once she becomes Lee Soon’s second queen. And let’s not forget Lee Sang-hyun—my heart bleeds for his Prince Dongpyung character, okay? He who does not get the girl and just watches from afar…oh, the tragedy!)
I know ratings are not the end-all, be-all of dramaland, but I’m pretty sure it’s still quite disheartening to the staff, crew, and actors who are working hard on this drama. If I can just magically up the ratings just a teeny tiny bit I would, but alas, I have no power over the minds of the people in Korea who actually make a dent in the ratings game. D:
Still, give the drama a try! It’s very interesting and (so far) a really good drama!
So cute, so sweet, and having way more depth than most rom-coms—those are the descriptions that immediately come out of my head after thinking of Flower Boy Next Door. To be honest, I was expecting over-the-top situations and acting à la Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: cute, frothy, and crazy, but something that needed to be taken in small doses occasionally or you end up getting sick of it (like ramyun). But FBND was not like that: it’s more muted, more thoughtful, so much better than FBRS, and I loved it.
Love love loved it.
The character development, the cute chemistry between Dokmi and Enrique, Jinrak’s bittersweet unrequited love, the editor and Donghoon (they’re hilarious and awesome and awww I like them together!), and everything else that was thrown into the mix—and yes, that even includes Do-hwi, who was hilarious in her schemes to win Jinrak over, even when she was such a bad friend (the worst friend ever?) to Dokmi.
(And can I just point out how cute I find Go Kyung Pyo is? XD Cannot believe he’s a 90er.)
What I also liked about the show was the small snippets of prose that we get from the characters. The FBND world is made up of characters who have talent in the arts, so obviously it’s going to be a huge part of the drama. There’s Dokmi’s little snippets of writing, at the very end, she has three documents, one about That Woman, another about That Man, and another about That Woman’s World. It was like a little pensive diary she kept, and I really wish I could write a little like that, in Korean and in English, hah. I really wish we could’ve seen more of Jinrak’s webtoon and the words he wrote in it, because I really felt a tug at my heart whenever we get glimpses of his creation. That webtoon speaks whatever he couldn’t say outright to Dokmi, and I felt for him because I’m a little like him in that way. *ahem ahem* In the last episode, there’s a particular Dokmi and Enrique voice over that I liked:
사랑은 자신의 절반을 내어주고 그 자리에 그 사람의 절반을 채우는 일이라 생각했다. 그 여자는 자신이 내어줄 절반이 어둡고 부끄러워 사랑을 밀어냈다. 부족한 절반이 모여 완성을 향해 가는 것이 사랑이라는 걸 그 여자는 이제 겨우 깨닫는다.
사랑은 태엽 감는 시계다. 빛나는 새 것일 때는 정확한 시간을 알려준다. 세월이 흐르고 태엽 감는 일을 잊어버리면 시계는 고장나고 멈춰버린다. 그 남자는 오랜 시간이 흘러도 멈추지 않도록 태엽을 감기 시작했다.
If there’s a concept of drama series that totally works, it would have to be this, the Flower Boy series of TVN. They started with the quirky Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, and yes, while I did eventually get sick of it, I was so addicted to it beforehand—it was beyond crazy. Shut Up! Flower Boy Bandwas thematically different—gritty, raw, and dark, it focused on friendship and grief and loss and growing up and was one of the best dramas of 2012 in my book. It’s great that while all three Flower Boy dramas are completely different, there’s heart in each of them, and you can’t go wrong with a drama that has a heart.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for TVN (Nine: Time Traveling 9 times, obviously!) and for the Flower Boy series—as long as they keep making really good shows like this one, I’ll keep watching ‘em.
When I first heard of the movie A Werewolf Boy over at Dramabeans sometime in 2011, I was a little skeptical over the idea of Song Joong-ki playing wolf boy, not because I doubt his talents (I definitely don’t) but because I’m pretty sure the first thing I thought of was Twilight, which was such a godawful movie (the sequels were better, I admit). Seeing the gorgeous posters and the trailers did well to make me immediately forget about that comparison, though.
Here’s the subtitled trailer, just because:
Twilight talk aside, I think it was last month when I found out that the movie’s having a US release and that there’s a showing at a cinema near us, so naturally I (along with my sister) jumped at the chance to watch it. There are a few reasons why I wanted to watch this at the big screen instead of just waiting for the DVD release: first, I’m a huge Song Joong-ki fan and wanted to support him; second, the stills and trailers being shown were just absolutely beautiful; third, because this is the first time I know of a Korean movie playing anywhere near us (but that’s because I’m kind of clueless when it comes to these things); fourth, because I adore Park Bo-young; and fifth, because I’m a huge Song Joong-ki fan and purposely watched it to ogle at his gorgeousness (yep, he deserves two reasons—or he’s the MAIN reason…or the ONLY reason? XD). I have tons of reasons to watch it and there’s a cinema nearby that’s showing the film—what’s to stop me from seeing it, yes?
And see the film I did. I got up abnormally early to see it on the first show time yesterday. Seeing as I watched a 10 AM show and it’s a foreign, subtitled film to boot, I can’t really gauge the popularity of A Werewolf Boy with regards to its non-Korean American audience by the amount of people that were in the cinema with me, but I can safely say that there were a few non-Koreans (including me and my sister) who watched the film at the same time I did.
The film starts with a Korean family living in the US. Grandma Sooni, who was expecting a phone call from her granddaughter living in Seoul, gets a surprise call that immediately sends her packing for a short visit to South Korea. She and her granddaughter make their way to an old house located in the province, something that triggers Sooni’s memories from 47 years ago, back when she was around her granddaughter’s age and needed the fresh provincial air for her weak health. It was there that she and her family unexpectedly encounters a feral boy whom she trains and eventually falls in love with.
Of course, not everything goes smoothly, both in training the boy to become more human and in both Sooni- and the boy’s path to love: it takes a while for the boy (named Cheol-su by Sooni’s mother) to learn how to properly eat instead of wolfing down (heh) every morsel that comes his way, not to mention a third wheel in the form of Ji-tae, the unpleasant young landlord who aims to make Sooni his future missus. There’s also the itty bit about Cheol-su’s uncanny strength and reflexes that begins to tear apart the idyllic haven that Sooni’s family has begun to foster with Cheol-su.
The film is really visually beautiful, although to be honest the wolfy bits somewhat made me return to reality with its cheap effects and cheap-looking wolfy costume. I also think the English title is a wee bit misleading; Cheol-su is not a werewolf in the same way werewolves have been portrayed in the past, so that little tweak is a nice change. However, it wasn’t fully explained in the movie how Cheol-su became what he is, so I’m a little frustrated with that. But since the story is more about the growth of relationships between Cheol-su, Sooni, and the people around them, I do think it’s fine not to dwell too much on what made Cheol-su and instead focus on the excellent stuff, which is in Sooni teaching Cheol-su and her learning from him as well.
While I do know that Ji-tae’s character is important in the storyline, I really think his over-the-top jealousy and unpleasantness was absolutely unnecessary. I’ve read online that the alternate ending for the film has more bits about Ji-tae’s background, though, so I’m really hoping to watch that.
Aside from that, both Song Joong-ki and Park Bo-young acted really well. I loved them both before watching this film and love them even more after. Joong-ki managed to show a whole range of emotions for the entire film without speaking much. Yet once he speaks his first word, boy, I cry a river of tears.
A Werewolf Boy is very heart-warming and also a little heartbreaking. I do suggest that anyone who plans on watching this bring some tissues; I had to resort to wiping my tears using the sleeve of my jacket because I didn’t have any on me. It’s a great film, and I definitely recommend it.