Category: South Korea

Because This is My First Life (KDrama Review)

Because This is My First Life (KDrama Review)

This is a rather tender love story.  It stars the gorgeous Jung So-Min and a return to the small screen for Lee Min-ki in a leading role after 10 years.

I would watch anything with Jung So-min in it because she is such a good actress and she has that fresh and bright screen presence, which I like.

I was really pleasantly surprised with this drama.  There are a lot of things going on with the various characters.  But in the middle of it all is a tender and sweet developing love story between two lonely and rather reserved individuals.

Jung So-min plays Yoon Ji-ho, a 30 year old assistant writer of melodrama who is being taken advantage by work mates and family and became homeless.  By sheer coincidence she ended up renting a spare room with Nam-se-hee (played by Lee Min-ki).

Se-hee at 38 had his life planned in minute details.  He owns his apartment through mortgage which he hoped to have paid in 12 years time and is scrimping every penny to do so.

Nam-se-hee has rented out his spare room but had had bad luck with tenants until he met Ji-ho. She was ideal for him.  She is quite house-proud.  When writing, she would clean and polish every surface in the house to get her inspiration.  She also love the Kitty, Se-hee’s cat.  That’s not all she avidly does the recycling.  And to top it all, she loves football/soccer.  She support Arsenal just like Se-hee and they would spend time watching the game on tv. In their contract, they agreed that they can not like each other.

Se-hee’s parents are pressuring him to settle down and get married.  Se-hee asked Ji-hoo to marry him but Ji-hoo had to turn him down as she equates marriage with love and not just a landlord and tenant but with a marriage contract.  🙂

Ji-hoo moved out but found that she was lonelier and so does Se-hee.  He was missing her.

I love that Se-hee is beginning to loosen up a bit from being very uptight.  It is very slowly but really rather sweet to watch.

In episodes 3-4, after Ji-hoo was assaulted by a drunk actor, whom she had a crush on for three years, Ji-hoo was at her lowest ebb.  This finally drove her to accept Se-hee’s proposal of marriage.

It is a sweet love story and Min-ki and So-Min have a good chemistry.

I can’t wait for tonight’s episode.  By the way, this is a very short series of only 10 episodes.

I do highly recommend this drama.  In the first episode there was that conversation about the neocortex.  The neocortex is that part of the brain that gives you memory and sensory. The neocortex is the price humans have to pay for evolution.

Fated to Love You (You’re My Destiny) Dramas

You’re My Destiny (Taiwan 2008 original version)

Fated to Love You (You’re My Destiny) Dramas

This drama is so good that it has been remade in Korean and currently by Thailand.  The original version is of course the very watchable Joe Chen and Ethan Ruan 2008 Fated to Love You Taiwanese version.

Fated to Love You (2014 Korean Version)

You’re My Destiny (2017 Thai Version)

Go Back Couple (Korean Drama Review)

Go Back Couple (Korean Drama Review)

I first heard about this drama a couple of months ago.  I heard it was going to be a Jang Na-ra starrer and I looked forward to it.  Jang Na-ra has a delicate expressive face, which never ages.  I love her, there is always vulnerability to her acting that gets or speaks to you.

Go Back Couple is a time travel drama, shown on Fridays and Saturdays with 16 episodes.

Choi Ban-Do (played by Son Ho-Jun) and Ma Jin-Joo (played by Jang Na-Ra) are both 38-years-old and a married couple who got together when they were both in university.

Fast-forward 14 years on, Choi Ban-Do works as a medical sales rep, not sure what happened as I thought he was studying civil engineering (civil construction), and Ma Jin-Joo is a housewife with a toddler to look after.

Ban-Do is a hardworking man, who does everything for his clients, almost  24/7, that he has neglected his wife and their child.

Due to misunderstanding and hardship of fulfilling their responsibilities, they began to take each other for granted and only ended up bickering when they are together .

During an anniversary that they could not celebrate, in the heat of the moment, due to utter frustration. The last straw was Jin-Joo finding a credit card statement with hotel bills and then being sent a photo of her husband holding another woman (this was all innocent, of course).

Jin Joo announced to her husband that she wanted a divorce.  Do Ban-do was at first surprised, but agreed to it.  Within a month, they were divorced.

They realised that they had married too young and wished they could go back and restart their respective lives.

On the day of the divorce, they both took their wedding rings off.  Jin-Joo dropped hers while aboard a bus and Ban-do threw his outside his bedroom window.  Both rings seemed to undergo something supernatural. Jin-joo and Ban-do experienced an earthquake-like shaking and rattling.

The next morning they both woke up in the bodies of their 20 year old selves.

Jin-Joo’s first scene as a 20 years old was really poignant that it brought tears to my eyes.  She was crying out for her dead mother in her sleep.  But she was being woken up by her mother.  She was so happy to see her.  Throughout the morning she hugged and followed her mother, who said she was beginning to creep out with Jin-Joo’s clinginess.

I love this drama, so much so that I first watched it raw, I just can’t wait for the subtitles. And then watched it this morning with the English sub.  The mother scene still got to me.

I am putting a lot of faith in this drama.  There have been so many Korean dramas that I could only watch 2-3 episodes and I tend to give up fairly early on.

I supposed the storyline of this drama is more appropriate to me, being married.  Don’t I wish sometimes that I can go back in time?  Hell, yeah!!!

Episode 2 is also very watchable. Jin-Joo tried to restart her life but her ex seemed to be everywhere.  On a blind-date where they first met, Ban-do ended up still choosing her but said he did it so he can dump her.  She followed him out of the restaurant only to find him chasing after his first love.  Jin-Joo was heartbroken.  She comforted herself that at least it is a closure but she heard a little voice and saw the figure of their toddler following her.

She ended up in a flood of tears and mistakenly got into the back seat of Jung Nam Gil’s (second male lead) car, thinking it was a taxi.  I actually want these two to get together.

Again her scene sleeping next to her mother made me cry. huhuhu

Episode 3

They are now both getting into the single life.  There was a scene where Jin-Joo in her high-heels running on a slippery slope and being rescued by the handsome Jung Nam Gil (Chang Ki Yong) wearing his ROTC uniform.  I have to admit that was so romantic.  I wanted them to get together there and then.  🙂   Oh the clubbing scene is really nostalgic.  Loving this drama.  I watched it raw and then with subtitle.

Ban Do has a double standard mentality.  He doesn’t stop himself from enjoying his youth but time and again would remind Jin-Joo that she was an old woman with a child.

It is that addictive.

Episode 4

Again I wish that Nam Gil and Jin-Joo get it together in the end because they do have such a lovely chemistry.  It is young and fresh.  I watched this episode so many times, fast-forwarding sometimes on the scene between these two.  I am an old romantic.

I can’t went for next week.

My Korean Jagiya (Philippine Drama Review)

My Korean Jagiya (Philippine Drama Review)

I have heard a lot about this drama from Facebook.  It is made and widely promoted by GMA 7 to cater to the Korean drama obsession of many Filipinos.

I have to say that when I first heard that Heart Evangelista was the lead, I thought they would get a big name Korean actor or rising star like Kim Young Kwan or Lee Soo-Hyuk to play the leading man.  After all, Heart is known for being a bit of a princess who grew up in the lap of luxury and is very fond of designer brand such as Hermes, LV, D&G, Dior, etc.  She demands the best!

Anyway My Korean Jagiya is Philippine Korean fusion and many scenes were filmed in Seoul.  The lead male actor is a Chinese Korean, who I have really never heard of before.  His name is Alexander Lee.

I have just watched the first episode.  The story so far is that Alexander Lee plays Kim Jun-ho, a once popular actor who made classic Korean dramas like Coffee Prince, 🙂  I love you Kim San-sun, 🙂 etc but has gone off the radar in the last seven years.

There is this lady in the Philippines, who was a Kim Jun-ho die-hard fan.  She is Gia, played by Heart Evangelista.  Gia is a tutor at an international school.  She is going out with a man called Ryan, who she had known since elementary school.  Gia was hoping for Ryan would put a ring on her finger soon.

Anyway, Gia is good at her job, so much so that she got an excellent work evaluation.  As a reward, she was sent to Seoul to attend a convention.  She was besides herself with excitement.  She jotted down all the places that Jun-ho had filmed for his dramas before including the Jagiya House.

The episode ends where Gia bumped into Jun-ho inside the Jagiya house.

Based on this episode, it is not like those polished Korean dramas.  It is very rough, rickety and the acting is terrible.  Hopefully the characters would gel soon.

Also the script is terrible with atrocious dialogues.   How possible is it to have your foreign idol to have as his first love a Filipina? Be an uncle to a Korean Filipino boy, who happens to be in your class?  This is obviously what they call in Korea as a makjang.  They created plots which are outrageously absurd and illogical, which is hard to relate to.

I hope this drama improves as between just you and me, I had looked forward to it!  🙂

…..

Episode 2

Jun Ho had a girlfriend called Cindy, a Filipina, a fair-skinned Filipina.  She was a bit of a slapper.  She asked Jun Ho to choose between her and his career as she felt neglected especially when Jun Ho would pose for selfies/groupies with his fans.

Anyway, out of the blue Cindy announced to Jun Ho that she was pregnant.  Jun Ho was actually excited only to find out that he was not the father but his own brother.  🙂

Jun Ho was so traumatised that he cut all ties with his own brother and then left the entertainment industry.  He had been cocooned in a Buddhist monastery for the last five years.

He learnt that his brother who is now based in the Philippines was in a very serious accident.  He, therefore, had to go to the Philippines.  He was expecting to meet Cindy again in the hospital but he was advised that there was no Cindy or any other female that had visited his comatose brother.

By this time Gia is back in the Philippines and found a ring on her boyfriend’s bag.  She was so delighted, at last Ryan was about to propose, or is he?

Why is Gia always wearing that school-girl sock with shoes or even sandals?!!!  True there are Korean dramas where the girls do wear them, but not throughout the whole series.  Is this some sort of racial profiling 🙂  that Korean girls wear socks on their shoes whether they were in high heals of flatties?!!! LOL

Later episodes:

There is not much chemistry (in my opinion) between Heart & Alexander.  Heart does give her all in terms of acting but Alexander is rather wooden.

Anyway, Alexander asked Gia to marry him so he can officially adopt his nephew.  Gia, of course, said yes afterall she was already in love with Jun Ho even before they met.

Gia was so optimistic of their coming union that she signed the pre-nup without even reading it and prepared for the wedding in her Korean hanbok.

Jun Ho was rather aghast thinking that Gia was overly excited with the contract marriage.  He had to tell her in no uncertain terms that Gia does not really love him and he will never love her and the fake wedding was just a way to adopt his nephew.

Gia was finally brought down to earth.

I have to admit this drama grows on you, perhaps because Heart E does try her best.  Also it seems, unlike so many Filipino drama serials, Heart is not stereotyped as someone downtrodden.  She is feisty and, yehey, she does not wear socks all the time now!

She looks lovely in her one-piece bathing suit more alluring than Cindy in her Bikini.

 

Korean Drama Catalogue (Mi Lista)

Korean Drama Catalogue (Mi Lista)

Currently, I seemed to have run out of Korean dramas that I’d really like to watch.  It seems I just have to see again my favourite dramas that I have seen previously.  There are many dramas that I would like to see again.

Here is my list of favourites:

Cheese in the Trap

I absolutely love this drama.  It is a sweet romance between Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin) and Hong Seol (Kim Go-eun).  Yoo Jung is the heir of a big company while Hong Seol was a hardworking college student.  To start with Hong Seol was rather weary of Yoo Jung as he has a rather psychotic tendency.  He can blow hot and cold and therefore you are not sure where you at with him.  But having said that Yoo Jung was attracted to Hong Seol, he was very romantic but in his own terms.

The development of their relationship was so sweet and at times rather disturbing (if that is the word).  Yoo Jung was so forceful in his chase of Hong Seol.  Before she really knew it was became the girlfriend of Yoo Jung. Hong Seol was not sure whether to fully trust Yoo Jung but in the end she did truly loved him.

This drama is rather addictive.  I have seen it several times and it feels as fresh each time.  Brilliant acting by both leads.

The only thing was that the ending was just to hanging!  Hong Seol was left waiting for an email from Yoo Jung for his return!

 


Coffee Prince

This drama is a good starting point to watch if you have just heard of that ever so gorgeous Korean actor Gong Yoo.

This is about a romance between a playboy, Han Kyul, and a tomboyish woman, Yoo-joo.

Yoo joo had to pretend to be a boy in order to secure a job in an all male coffee shop, which is a project given to the playboy Han Kyul by his family to teach him a lesson for being spoilt and layabout.

Han Kyul treat Yoo joo well like a little brother but he started feeling more brotherly with Yoo Joo.  He started questioning his sexuality.  He was pretty sure he was not gay as he was not attracted to other men.

But he can’t really deny himself any longer and just went for Yoo joo, who at his time had a massive crush of Han Kyul himself.  This is in episode 10.  Gong Yoo is so damn gorgeous!  If you had not seen this drama before, I advise to binge watch in over the weekend!  I just rewatched episode 10 now and I miss them so much I have to rewatch the whole thing.


 

 

 

 

Perfect Neighbour – KDrama Review

How to Meet a Perfect Neighbour, poster

Perfect Neighbour – KDrama Review

I seemed to have run out of new Kdramas that I would like to watch so I thought I should probably go back to the old KDrama catalogue, which is fortunately is immense.

Having just watched Secret Forest, where I liked the actress, who played  the female lieutenant, I searched more on her body of works.  She is called Bae Doo-na.

She actually has a good library of films and dramas under her belt.  I thought I should start with a Perfect Neighbour also known as How to Meet A Perfect Neighbour.

I did not make a mistake.  This Kdrama has everything: romance, comedy, drama and even murder.

Bae Doo-na was so cute

Basically the story is the neighbourhood where the residents are mostly working in a company where Yoon Joon Suk (Park Shi Hoo) had just come back to take over as the president as his father had taken ill and was comatose.

A lot is going on in the neighbourhood.  Various intrigues including murder.  There was a man in the neighbourhood who was much admired and popular with the ladies.  He was Prof Baek Soo Chan (Kim Seung Woo).  He suffered had times and ended up working in the company as well.

Bae Doo-na is a fearless, emphatic and quirky girl.  She is really laid back and does not get upset easily.

She was working as a temp staff in the company’s shopping centre when hooded men came in and frightened the staff and customers, including a little girl.  Without thinking Bae Doo-na rushed in to protect the girl and suffered broken bones from her effort.  Her bravery was much reported.  The old president was so impressed with her that he hired her his own secretary.

When the president got sick his son came back to take over the business. Joon Suk was a brusque man and says little.  Bae Doo-na found him hilarious.

To cut a long story short, Bae doo-na became the love interest of the boss, but the boss is set to marry someone else.  Though heartbroken, Bae Doona agreed to become the boss mistress.

She developed a rather touching friendship with Baek Soo Chan, who was secretly in love with her.

The ending is romantic.  It is a happy ending!

Secret Forest (Stranger) KDrama Review

Secret Forest poster

Secret Forest (Stranger) KDrama Review

I am currently glued to this thriller drama from South Korea.

It has that edge of seat feel to it.

There are so much going on.  When you thought you are ready to trust someone, suddenly, he/she is revealed to have a hidden agenda.

It is so watchable!  It is classy.! It is fine acting! It is intelligent! It is dramatic!

The story is about Hwang Si-Mok, who works as a prosecutor.

The prosecutor office is full of goings on.  Corruption resides side by side with justice.  Old-boys network is prospering; they have a law unto themselves.  Si Mok is the only righteous prosecutor.

He was supposed to have been an aggressive child, so  he was lobotomised, taking away the limbic system of the brain which control the emotion.

Si Mok, the adult, is completely emotionless, thus, he thinks in black and white and very righteous. He does not feel empathy with people and therefore not prone to corruption.

He is aware though of the corruption in the prosecution office and more so when he got directly involved with one of the murder victims who was at the centre of bribery and fraud.

With his investigation, he joined forces with a feisty police lieutenant Han Yeo-Jin.

It has so much twists and turns.

Highly recommend this drama to anybody who wants to watch a good hokum!

OMG!!!

It was taut to the very end.  The anti-hero of the story became a hero with monstrous tendency.

This story is really aching to have a part two.  More adventures for Si Mok and the gang to spread justice where it is needed.

I cannot say it strongly enough that this drama is really cut above the rest.  It is stylish and worth another immediate viewing to just see all those others going on in the side that might have been missed.

I commend all the actors for their brilliant take on their roles.  Daebak all around!

 

Boricha (Korean Barley Tea)

Boricha Tea, photo by JMorton

Boricha (Korean Barley Tea)

Time and again when watching Korean dramas, the characters are often seen drinking water.  Sometimes their drinking vessels are the standard transparent glasses.  I noticed that their ‘water’ is often brownish in colour and I thought that is rather colourful for just plain water. 🙂

Apparently this ‘water’ is a boricha, much loved by Korean as everyday hydration and thirst quencher.

Boricha is brewed from roasted barley.  Pre-roasted barley is widely available in Korean supermarkets and groceries.  Roasted barley tea-bags are also on sale.

Barley tea, apparently, is caffeine free, it is good for digestion, can control blood sugar and most importantly – it can aid weight loss 🙂

How to make it:

2 litres water

3 tbsp roasted barley

Using a large clean pot or pan 🙂 bring the water to a boil.

Add the roasted barley and continue boiling for another 5 minutes.

Using a sieve, strain the roasted barley tea into a heat-resistant jug,  ewer or pitcher.

Let it cool and then refrigerate until needed.

 

Princess Hours: Korean or Thai Version?

Korean Version

Thai Version

Princess Hours: Korean or Thai Version?

Princess Hours or better known as Goong, being the original Korean version, is a classic story of an ordinary girl marrying into royalty.

Goong was based on Korean’s manhwa, which is similar to Japanese’s more famous manga.

Goong, the series, was shown in 2006 starring Yoon Eun-Hye and Ju Ji-hoon.  It was widely popular throughout Asia.  Why wouldn’t it be?  Now and again we need that feel-good factor of a rags to riches fairy tale story.  It gives us hope that it could happen to us as well. 🙂

Thai’s version is being shown right now.  I must say it is a very watchable as the main characters are very likeable.

Though this 2017 Thai version added a few twists and turns here and there, the framework is still basically the same as the Korean version.

Korean actress, Yoon Eun-Hye made the role, Chae-Kyung, hers and is an outstanding actress.  It was, therefore, extremely hard for the young Thai actress, Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha, to better Eun-Hye.  But having said that Ungsumalynn delivers a likeable performance as the crown princess, Kanning.

The wedding in the Thai version was believable as a royal wedding, Ungsumalynn was so beautiful and Phiangphor Sarasathapheng was drop-dead gorgeous crown prince, and there is that splendour to it.

Anyway the story is about an old fashion arranged marriage. 🙂

The previous king once promised an old friend, who saved his life or kingdom, that they should marry their respective heirs to one another.  As the promise was made a long time ago, the current royal family could have ignore it but the present king was the upright and honourable sort and rather ailing.  He wanted to see that the succession to the thrown is fully established should anything happen to him.  He, therefore, ordered through emotional blackmail, his son to marry the daughter of the old king’s friend.

The story is more complicated as the prince was in love with another girl who was a ballet dancer in the Korean version, while an Olympic level archer in the Thai.

Minnie, prince’s ex,  played by Jongjaiphar Suthada, has flaring nostrils and combatant facial expression,  was easy to dislike.  She gets all the ire.

For the Korean version the role was played by Song Ji-hyo, who has since become a very popular actress.  She plays Hyo-rin and was rather charming.  Therefore, the anger for the unhappiness of the  Korean crown princess, Chae-Kyung, was directed to the crown prince for his indecisiveness. LOL

The acting and script in Goong is better written.  There is a seriousness about it.  While the Thai is more of a mild caricature of the original.  Thus both provide their own respective charms.  But having said that Thai’s Princess Hours did become laborious to watch during the end.  Probably because of the lack of real chemistry between the main leads.

A modern day Cinderella is always a welcome watch to break the humdrum of everyday routine 🙂

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