Category Archives: query

Ikseongwan 익선관

For a long time I wondered why the bulbous hat worn in the Joseon court had what appeared to be Cicada wings in the back. Now I know! Thank you Arirang TV!

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Love in 운명처럼 널 사랑해 (Fated to Love You)

Every once in a blue moon something comes along that has you so entranced, so engaged, so… moved… that it leaves you at a loss to comprehend just what is happening to you. As you try to make sense of it, it sparkles and shines with every gesture. Words issuing from it are musical pearls of poetic truth that imbue the very air with a richness never before imaginable to your dopamine-saturated mind. Thus … Continue reading

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Pragmatic Altruism vs. Noble Idiocy in 운명처럼 널 사랑해 (Fated to Love You)

I have long wanted to examine pragmatic altruism in KDrama narratives, a trope which exemplifies certain Confucian ethical tenets, yet is repeatedly deprecated as “noble idiocy” at interweb oases where KDrama aficionados gather, including DramaBeans, the go-to resource for KDrama news, recaps, and commentary. Finally compelled by this summer’s revelatory 운명처럼 널 사랑해 (Fated to Love You), a romantic comedy at once loud and subtle, playful, sly, culturally erudite and deeply moving –whether in mirth or in woe– … Continue reading

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Fated to Love You: Princess Snail and her Odd Prince

When you can’t reblog, maybe a link to the original post will do… Fated to love you: Princess Snail and her odd prince Storytime with Lee Geon and Kim Mi Yeong courtesy of Drama Fan @ “Stuck On Hyuk” 🙂

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김수한무 거북이와 두루미 (A Fable)

“김수한무 거북이와 두루미 삼천갑자 동방삭 치치카포 사리사리센타 워리워리 세브리깡 무두셀라 구름이 허리케인 담벼락 서생원에 고양이 바둑이는 돌돌이“. So the story goes: A long, long time ago, a man who was descended from a long line of only sons per generation became father to a baby boy. So he consulted a name-specialist to give his only son a name symbolic of a long life. But no matter what the name-specialist suggested, the man insisted, “longer… make … Continue reading

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Once upon a time… Dr. Stranger, take notes!

Dear writers, directors and producers of Dr. Stranger, it has come to viewers’ attention that you were absent from class on the day we covered “The Fundamentals of Storytelling.” Although your actors have been bending over backwards and executing death defying thespian somersaults to breath life into the *___ you have foisted upon them, it is clearly time for an intervention – on their behalf and on behalf of well-meaning viewers everywhere. Rather … Continue reading

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아름다운사람

And now this, from 내 이름은 김삼순 (My Lovely Sam Soon): 아름다운사람 서유석 작사 : 서유석 작곡 : 서유석 편곡 : 서유석 장난감을 받고서 그것을 바라보고 얼싸안고 기어이 부숴버리는 내일이면 벌써 그를 준 사람조차 잊어버리는 아이처럼 오 오오오 오 오 오오오 오 오 오오오 오 아름다운 나의 사람아~ 당신은 내가 드린 내마음을 고운 장난감처럼 조그만 손으로 장난하고 내마음이 고민에 잠겨있는 돌보지않는 나의 여인아 나의 사람아 오 오오오 오 아름다운 나의 사람아   … Continue reading

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49일: An Exploration of Empathy

“There is a pain that you cannot truly understand until you have experienced it yourself…” So runs the dominant theme in the beautiful, unexpectedly humorous, yet haunting  49 Days featuring the exquisite Lee Yo Won and the blithe Nam Gyu Ri. Indeed, it is empathy, or the lack thereof, that is at the core of each of the stories woven together to create the tapestry that is 49 Days. It is through empathy that the … Continue reading

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고백 – 정선연 … just ’cause …

고백 – 정선연 내가 원한 게 없다면 그건 나의 거짓말 내겐 전부인 그댈 갖는 게 나의 소망인데 // 모두 잘못이라 해도 그대 날 받아주오 나의 욕심이 그댈 힘들게 하지 않는다면 날.. 바람 가득한 바닷가 고독.. 멈출 수 가 없는 운명이 우릴 기다리고 있는 걸 차마 느끼기 전에 나 그댈 사랑하게 되었단 고백.. 나를 받아주오 // 그대의 마음에 슬픔이 내릴 때 나 두 손에 그댈 향한 내 사랑을 모든 것을 나당신께 드릴께 그대 … Continue reading

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동이 (Dong Yi)

What a discovery! Watching 동이 (Dong Yi) is like unwrapping a present you received a long time ago and decided to open later but then ended up neglecting to open because “later” never came and you soon forgot about it. And then one day you discover the still-wrapped package in the top shelf of the coat closet and  take it down and start opening it out of idle curiosity, absent any expectations, only … Continue reading

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황금의 제국 (Empire of Gold)…

Among all the sins a man might commit, betrayal – a species of fraud – ranks among the most ethically abhorrent. The key to understanding the gravity of the sin of betrayal, and the crime of fraud, is the fundamental role of trust in the organization, function and governance of society. In Aristotle’s model of the ethical spectrum whereby human relationships range from the primarily transactional (business and trade) to the largely … Continue reading

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I ♡ 무정도시 (Heartless City)… truly… sadly… deeply…

…by the end of the first chapter I could already tell that things are not going to end well for our protagonist. When we first meet him, it is the middle of the night in Seoul and Jeong Shi Hyeon is standing on the roof of a tall, tall building from which an undercover police officer who suspected he had been made has apparently just plummeted to his death in the street below. … Continue reading

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Ahn Seok-Hwan (안석환) – The (not)-Everyman Extraordinaire!

To celebrate the end of my first year as a KDrama aficionado, I’ve put together a little tribute to Ahn Seok-Hwan, that bundle of awesome that comes wrapped in a different package in every – and I do mean every other (well, almost) KDrama I’ve seen. He is that guy – you know, the character actor who seems to appear in every drama you watch, is always very present, very different, yet so, so familiar that it … Continue reading

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Boys Over Flowers, or “The Education of Gu Jun Pyo : a Bildungsroman”

Recently, I stumbled upon Boys Over Flowers (꽃보다 남자), the second kdrama series I ever saw nearly a year ago, and found myself watching it all over again! Had you asked me a few weeks earlier, I would have declared myself no longer compelled to revisit the tale of Jan Di’s misadventures among the spoilt rich. Don’t get me wrong: I greatly enjoyed it the first time around. I remember breezing through each episode … Continue reading

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Teuroteu Tourchsong Tribute: 심수봉 – 사랑밖엔 난 몰라!

Perhaps nothing inspires my inner Tourchsong Crooner like the teuroteu classic “I Know Nothing But Love” (사랑밖엔 난 몰라) by Shim Soo Bong (심수봉). I first heard it nearly a year ago in the absurdly addictive kdrama Boys Over Flowers and was immediately hooked. So it was not long before a casual search of the interwebs yielded a bumper crop of YouTube videos of several versions of the song performed by the teuroteu legend herself as well as … Continue reading

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At Last! Time Travel Done Right!

It was purely on a whim that I started watching  Nine: Nine Time Travels  (나인: 아홉번의 시간여행), and all I can say is YES! As in, FINALLY! — a time travel story that spends most of its energy broaching topics closely pertinent to the question of time and also near and dear to my heart — namely: Free Will vs. Predestination; Counterfactuals and Causality; the simultaneity of the present in all instances; and the progressive/sequential nature of the … Continue reading

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Liebster Award!

  So I just got through designating my own set of arbitrary awards for “Must See” KDrama  when I got this lovely message from Maybee at dramababble telling me that she had nominated me for a Liebster Award. Please check out her fantastic blog and read her own Liebster Award entry! First, let me just say – “Oh, what an honor! I would like to thank my agent, my manager, my personal assistant, my … Continue reading

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Series or Feature Film? Hwang Jin Yi and Shin Yun Bok, a Case Study.

who tells the better story? – who tells the story better? It’s one thing to watch two kdrama adaptations of the same story, like MBC’s  The Return of Iljimae and SBS’s  Iljimae. It’s quite another to have at your disposal feature film interpretations of stories already elaborated in full length dramas as happens with two artistic geniuses of the Joseon era whose lives are dramatized in the television series Hwang Jin Yi and Painter of … Continue reading

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Curio in KDramaland… (or, Through the Sageuk Lens)

I have been contemplating the virtues of the well made sageuk and what its persistent appeal to me (and maybe even to other viewers) might mean. Surely, something… It turns out that while I apparently have watched only one third as many sageuks as contemporary fictions (from comedies to melodramas and everything in between), I am more disposed to want to collect historical dramas than I am contemporary fictions. When it comes … Continue reading

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그 겨울, 바람이 분다 (That Winter, the Wind Blows)

Betsy Hp over at Creating Volumes posed a curious question in her recent notes about That Winter, the Wind Blows (그 겨울, 바람이 분다), a drama that follows the vicissitudes of Oh Soo’s oh-so-complicated life. Our hero is a con-man — a playboy, a gambler and a smart ass — and he is posing as the long lost brother of the blind, orphaned heiress to a mega-fortune. If he can pull off the … Continue reading

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Island in the stream…

The summer after I received my diploma in Romance Languages and Literatures and struck out into the world as a Medievalist, I happened upon I know-not-what Korean Drama on hulu and I could not take my eyes off the 16-episode tale so woeful that it wrung from me every last tear my lacrimal glands could produce, leaving me quite spent. Then I discovered DramaFever and for six months after that I drank … Continue reading

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The Many Names of Astrid Farnsworth

One of the funniest conceits in Fringe is the excellent Mad Scientist Walter Bishop’s plethora of reinventions and variations of Agent Farnsworth’s name. Some people think it’s because Walter cannot remember Astrid’s name. I, however, suspect that this little quirk is a voluntary affectation through which the inimitable Walter Bishop expresses his profound affection for his infinitely patient, kind and compassionate  sidekick/caretaker/friend and mother hen. So among Walter’s onomastic gems for his beloved Watson … Continue reading

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Words…

Stand in awe of the woven wonder of Words: these that are nought but wisps crafted of as much substance as wraiths that haunt the dreams of mortals; And once uttered, vanish into that realm whence the insubstantial spectres that muddle mens’ minds draw forth; for ‘though perceived, bear no corporeal weight and are nothing to the touch. Yet never was sword crafted so keen and jaggéd — that so swiftly slid … Continue reading

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For the love of a poet…

John Lennon’s voice just started piping through my speaker, recounting how Mother Mary whispers “let it be” to the troubled soul… Curious. I have not heard the song in ages and it really never gets old. However — and there has to be an ‘however’ — I find myself wondering whether the sentiment in this song is optimistic, delusional or resigned… I never stopped to consider the possibilities before — perhaps because … Continue reading

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Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος…

Kar chakruok Wach ne nitie, kendo Wach ne nikod Nyasaye, kendo Wach ne en Nyasaye. Hapo mwanzo, kabla ya kuwapo kitu kingine cho chote, aliku wapo Neno. Huyo Neno alikuwa pamoja na Mungu, naye alikuwa Mungu. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Au commencement était la Parole, et la Parole était avec Dieu, et la Parole était Dieu. in principio erat … Continue reading

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