Happy Unnie New Year!

Looking back on this year’s events and moments, I can say for certain that I am thankful. But don’t we always say this though? That we learn from the bad times, savor the good, and look forward to another year filled with hope, challenges, and rewards? I really can’t say anything else as this is how life progresses I guess. We go thru another 365 days hoping that this new year will impart something exciting for us.

Before 2018 officially comes to a close, let me say thank you to all the good and well, boring, korean dramas I watched this year. It has been an amazing year for TV shows and although I’m sure I missed a few good ones, the beauty remains is that I can always watch it next time. To the shows that didn’t pique my interest as much or I stopped watching midway, I’m sure you entertained other fans with your plot twists and equally meaningful life lessons. To all the crazy, powerful, and heartfelt shows I consumed this year, I’ll never forget you.

With that said, I cannot wait for all the new kdramas that will be shown in 2019! πŸ™‚ There are already a few I’m anticipating eagerly but I’m hoping for more surprises. As I look forward, I hope to continue this blog and bring you more life lessons and kdrama recommendations to make your days just a little more fun.

It’s going to be a new year filled with exciting and life inspiring kdramas. It may exceed our expectations, or we suffer with the characters’ difficult times, perhaps we wake up diving into a new adventure just waiting for us– whatever the new year holds.. I can’t wait πŸ™‚

Happy New Year everyone!

Merry Unnie Christmas!

2018 has been a year of changes and new adjustments in my life. I got married, moved to a new hometown, got the opportunity to travel to Europe, and learned how to cook. Not just the canned goods or scrambled eggs kind of cooking — the real stuff like porkchops, pasta, and fish!

I had a lot of ups and downs this past year as well and I know that things will never be easy, there’s always a problem just waiting to be discovered. But I have learned to be more resilient, a little less paranoid, and doing my hardest to face such adversities head on. I’m grateful for my family and friends who have shown me that we can’t avoid such challenges; we need to confront the difficult times because these experiences will make us stronger and wiser. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.

Kdramas this year have been so fun and thrilling I feel so much joy just spending my time watching them. I almost always finish a kdrama to the end but I admit that there have been a few shows that I stopped watching in the middle or almost immediately because either the story was too heavy or the plot was going nowhere. These shows have influenced my life wherein I can remember certain scenes or lines being said by a character and I reflect on the learnings or emotions in my present situations. It’s these murder mysteries, romantic comedies, slice of life, or supernatural forces that awaken my senses for life. I am grateful to watch other people (kdrama characters) go through their life and I, as an eager fan, grow in knowledge and realizations as well.

Enjoy the holiday season and Merry Christmas to everyone! πŸ™‚

Unnie Recommends: Clean with Passion for Now

Hoping that I’m not too late to recommend you guys this kdrama, Clean with Passion for Now, as it is already in the middle of its run. I initially scrapped my entry for this because some of the storylines were a little bit disappointing and messy, but it has tidied itself up in the succeeding episodes enough for me to give this show a chance for a clean slate.

Current Impression

The show is about Gil O Sol, a 20 something girl looking to find a job and be part of Korea’s workforce. She has a good personality — warm, friendly, but does not have the best track record when it comes to hygiene. With food stains on her clothes and showering only when really needed (Stinky alert!), she wasn’t able to land a traditional office job but instead, she is hired as a cleaner at a cleaning company called “Cleaning Fairy”, owned by CEO Jang Seon Kyol (Wearing a suit in the poster above), who happens to have mysophobia (fear of germs). He is a germophobe — he literally has several sinks in his bathrooms where he washes his hands sequentially, wears gloves when he needs to touch something unsanitized, and so on. They get entangled in each other’s lives with O Sol getting into all sorts of trouble with Mr. Jang and testing his limits of cleanliness. Is she the key for Mr. Jang to overcome his fear of germs? We’ll have to wait and see.

Before you read further, please be advised that I’ll be talking more about the story and can serve as spoilers already. You have been warned πŸ™‚

*Spoiler alert*

Like a true romantic comedy, Clean with Passion for Now has a love triangle angle, with the second lead being O Sol’s rooftop neighbor, Dr. Daniel Choi, a renowned psychiatrist who Mr. Jang happens to be consulting with. Dr. Choi pretends to be a jobless, friendly neighbor as he hides his true identity to both leads. He’ll eventually confess his feelings for O Sol and reveal himself truthfully. At this point, I am also afflicted with a condition, dubbed “Second Lead Syndrome”, defined as liking the second lead more than the intended main partner of the leading male/female. 

I mentioned above about being disappointed because there was one scene where Gil O Sol kissed her CEO, Mr. Jang, as an attempt to prove to her ex crush by then that she was in a relationship with the former. I get that it’s a romcom thing, girl kisses boy inappropriately, but sparks fly between them. But in real life, that is not acceptable in any circumstance. This is grounds for dismissal or even harrassment as an employee kissed his/her boss on the lips. Also, it’s a common theme in korean dramas for the male lead to be initially mean to the leading lady because they are apparently in denial of their attraction/feelings towards the girl but come on, there’s really no reason to be rude! How about the second male lead who is almost always the kinder and more caring from the moment they meet? I’d like to see them win over the girl because despite the male lead really having a heart of gold, the second male lead already showed that same compassion and respect right from the start. Clean with Passion for Now applies this plot device to a tee and as much as I adore the chemistry and interactions between O Sol and Mr. Jang, my heart goes out to Daniel Choi! ❀ 

Sorry for the supposed to be short rant that turned into a minor fan rage, hehe! This kdrama is still worth your time as the heartwarming moments between O Sol’s family, the friendship of O Sol’s Cleaning Fairy team, and underlying themes of social acceptance, workforce woes, and journey of self discovery are factors that make the show a great watch. This kdrama is not perfect but a little grime and plot clutter can always be cleaned up with better story development and a passion to provide viewers with quality entertainment.

Unnie Recommends: My Strange Hero

Korean dramas have been experimenting with a mixed genre of romcom, mystery/horror, and melo themes (E.g. Lovely, Horribly, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) all in one story. My Strange Hero has joined the likes of the aforementioned fusion of themes and it seems to be solidifying the fact that the playful mix of twists and turns can work.

Current Impression

I felt that the first 2 episodes (or 4 episodes since the show follows a 2 episode format in one day), to give homage to the title, was strange. The first half of the 1st episode focused more on a romantic comedy style —Β characters showing exaggerated emotions, funny antics or key scenes accompanied with a certain music/song, and slow mo timing sequences of certain scenes. It reminded me of the style of Scott Pilgrim versus the World movie where characters would talk matter-of-factly or absorbed in their own thoughts and the next scene or sequence would happen abruptly.

The rest of the episode and episode 2 was a blur of melo and mystery, I can even say went dark with how this kdrama’s main antagonist is portraying his role. The plot is not unique in terms of originality as My Strange Hero is about a male student (Kang Bok Su) who was wrongfully accused of pushing someone to their death back in high school. The scenes unfold in flashbacks of the past as the story timeline is already at their present age (27 years old). We see glimpses of him falling in love with his smartest classmate, Son Soo Jeong, and how she’s been living her life as an adult as well.

He seeks out his revenge on those people who wronged him with the incident thru a series of events that will lead him back to becoming a student of the very same high school that kicked him out. Although his plan includes Soo Jeong, I’m sure he’ll feel conflicted once they get to know each other again as she is a teacher at the school. What ensues in his (mis) adventures towards revenge is something I’m looking forward to! The male lead is a seasoned actor already having portrayed several kdrama leads but the actress playing the role has always been the lady antagonist in previous shows. I’m excited to see her play the lead female this time. She is no pushover as she is stubborn, says whats on her mind despite getting in trouble, and beautiful (of course). There is a border between annoying and confident and her character definitely belongs to the latter.

My Strange Hero depicts the story of loss, revenge, love, and other various emotions that a person can encounter. If you need a break from the routine of your daily life or you’re just looking for something different to watch, this kdrama is for you! After all, isn’t it the odd or the remarkable occurrences or things that we usually seek for in our lives? πŸ˜‰

Unnie Watch: Strongest Deliveryman

Anyeong! πŸ™‚ Backtracking on my posts, I realized that I’ve been recommending kdramas that are only currently airing in TV today. I’ve decided to start a new segment, “Unnie Watch”, as a way to honor previous korean dramas that I found interesting and enjoyable to watch. It’s nice to be updated with the latest shows but I also want people to explore and discover any kdrama, may it be past or present, that are worth the watch.

Let me start by recommending “Strongest Deliveryman”, a korean drama released around August 2017 starring Ko Gyung Pyo (curly hair guy in the poster) and rising star Chae Soo Bin. This was a refreshing kdrama as the main plot/theme revolved around the lives of Korea’s deliverymen (and woman!) on how they go about their jobs and how their daily life looks like. Although the plot probably isn’t a 100% accurate representation of this occupation, Strongest Deliveryman indeed delivered in terms of its heartwarming scenes, comedic moments, and romantic leads.

It was the actor’s first leading role after starring as the second lead in other shows and I couldn’t have imagined someone else play the role of Kang Soo. Fiercely loyal, smart, and maybe just unrealistically kindhearted, his character was portrayed with positivity and a penchant for doing the right thing in a situation. He never sticks around at a job for too long, constantly moving around because he is searching for his mother. Along the way, he meets Lee Dan A, a competent and confident delivery woman who is saving up every cent of her pay to study English and eventually work abroad. They don’t initially get along as Kang Soo gets a job at Dan A’s working place but she eventually warms up to him as he helps her earn money to pay off a debt. 

This kdrama also has a strong supporting cast that made the show extra fun to watch. The daughter of a food conglomerate (Won Hee) who harbors a crush towards Kang Soo, the son of a rich family (Jin Gyu) who needs to prove his worth to his family and to himself, the gangster owner (Dong Soo) and his feisty sort of girlfriend (Soon Ae) of the jajangmyun shop where Kang Soo works at, and the gang of deliverymen who Kang Soo forms a great friendship with. 

Strongest Deliveryman is a romantic comedy but wasn’t afraid to get into tear jerking topics with family issues plaguing the main characters. The culmination of this kdrama comes when Kang Soo helps the neighborhood he works at by creating his own delivery service company, appropriately called Strongest Deliveryman, with the help of his friends to combat the monopoly of a food company threatening to bankrupt its surrounding mom and pop restaurants. The romance between the two had its “aww” moments and the dynamics of the cast with their antics and mischiefs really made the show far from boring. They made the lead male’s character the anchor of the show– he was the one who had solutions to problems and didn’t seem fazed when the odds were stacked against them. But when he needed the support of someone when he was feeling down, I was happy that Dan A was able to show her support and belief in him.

Please make room for Strongest Deliveryman on your must watch list! It will definitely deliver in terms of quality and worth the watch criteria for any korean drama fan πŸ™‚

Unnie Life Lessons: 3 Things I’ve learned from Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land

Fresh off it’s hearty conclusion, Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land has easily become one of my all time favorite shows to date. I think it was a number of things– the talented cast, a mysterious plot, the romance, but the most fascination I had with the show was the setting: an airport. It’s a place to meet, to depart from, to come home to– a border of sorts for all types of people to converge in. How do people in an airport operate on a daily basis? What are the different departments? What problems do they encounter and how do they ensure a passenger’s safety/convenience in an airport? The show wasn’t solid in terms of plot development and there were certainly missing storylines here and there but overall, Fox Bride Star captured this unnie’s heart.

For a brief summary and my impression of the show, please check out my previous post to catch up!

Unnie Life Lessons

1. Being normal is okay. You don’t have to strive to be extraordinary to make a difference, doing things regularly is impactful and enough.

  • Nowadays, I think our society dictates the need to be great and exceptional to succeed. But how about just doing well on what we need to do (Ex. Our job)? It’s nice to go above and beyond at times to help our loved ones or provide good service (with no ulterior motive) but there’s nothing wrong in just being ourselves and living life normally.
  • I found Han Yeo Reum annoying at first because she wanted to butter up to her superiors by being nosy and overly ambitious. She disregarded everyday tasks as menial and blamed other people (the male lead) for her misfortunes. But in episodes 3 and 4, she realized the impact she can make by just doing her job properly compared to her futile attempts to impress other people.

  • The scene above shows Yeo Reum able to prevent harm as she was able to catch a signage before it fell on a little child. She felt that reminding employees in airport stores that signages are not allowed to be displayed outside as meaningless. As it turns out, this task is important in ensuring a passenger’s safety.

We can feel that our lives are boring and monotonous if we don’t travel often or do something out of the ordinary. It’s okay to veer away from routine but there is also no harm in appreciating simple joys of life — drinking coffee, going for a walk outside, and being with family.

2. Hardships is always a part of life. How we react and handle any challenge is of our own free will, no matter the situation.

  • Yeo Reum suffered from a victim mentality state as episode 8 will reveal, she was apparently bullied badly in high school. She blamed other people for her own faults and was clearly defensive whenever something unfavorable happened, it took a bit more episodes before she owned up to her mistakes and fought for her rights correctly as an employee. We see the growth of her self esteem and development in her relationships as the show progressed.

  • We can’t control everything that happens to us, especially the bad things, but how we deal with the aftermath is a choice we can control. We hear success stories of people who overcame their personal struggles despite having a difficult background– this is exactly what we can aspire to be. We can’t blame our circumstances for the actions we take, if that were always the case, perhaps only a handful of people would be successful now.
  • Yeo Reum was able to stand up to the bully who tormented her and as I hoped, her character became more confident and lovable. I’m not saying that feeling bad is not okay, it’s perfectly fine to feel upset because of a crappy situation. I’m someone who confronts my emotions by wallowing in them first but I try my best to recover and not dwell in the situation itself afterwards.
  • 3. Giving someone ample time and space to open up to you (if ever they do) can be more helpful than wanting to know every detail or story they are hesitant to tell.

    • The male lead, Lee Seo Yeon, is wearing a special device that allows him to walk and move around his left arm like a normal person. He was in a freak accident chasing after his brother when he was a kid. He just wanted to blend in with the crowd and not attract any special attention from anyone but of course as the show progressed, people slowly took notice of him. There was one scene where he asked Yeo Reum why she didn’t ask about his arm and she replied that it must be hard for the person asked to narrate the answer.

      This is a big struggle for me because I’m always eager to know my loved ones’ problems or thoughts and if they don’t tell me immediately, I feel bad because it seems like they don’t trust me well enough to be honest. BUT what I fail to realize is that it’s not about me or because something is wrong with me, it’s just how they feel about sharing to someone else. It’s their personal opinions and struggles, if it’s hard for them to say, I shouldn’t be entitled to demand it from them just because for example, I’m family or a close friend. Lee Seo Yeon was able to share his secret to Yeo Reum eventually but even if for example, we never find out such a detail, it’s nothing against us.

    Just because we are not privy to every detail of someone else’s life does not diminish our relationship with them. Give the other person time and space, we can still be supportive and be a good friend/loved one despite not knowing everything.

    Fox Bride Star/Where Stars Land is not just about romance but it also imparts lessons that anyone can relate to. If you haven’t watched this yet, please put it in your must watch kdramas list! πŸ™‚

    Unnie Recommends: Boyfriend

    The great TV gods are squeezing in their last hoorahs for the year and they certainly saved some of the best shows for last. Starring the beautiful and ageless Song Hye Kyo from Descendants of the Sun and Park Bo Gum of Love in the Moonlight, a new kdrama entitled “Boyfriend” helmed by the cable channel TVN premiered last week.

    Current Impression

    I think if fans were expecting a romcom lighhearted kdrama from this one, they should rethink about watching this. Song Hye Kyo’s character, Cha Soo Hyun, is a well-mannered and refined woman who is a divorced CEO of a hotel in Korea. She rarely smiles and her movements are somewhat stoic, her personality only cracking and shining through when she meets Park Bo Gum’s carefree and charming character, Kim Jin Hyeok.

    The 2 characters meet in Cuba and spent a night together watching the sunset, walking barefooted, and watching a salsa show together. I felt like episode 1 was like a “Next scene, next scene” collection of moments where after one scene was shown, another would immediately unfold next. It’s not that there was no continuity with each scene but since the latter part of the episode was focused solely on their date (just the 2 of them), it felt a little dragging. The sights and conversation between them were interesting enough but to be honest, what’s making me stick to this show (for now) is definitely Park Bo Gum’s character.

    I mean, just look at that killer smile! So innocent and pure. His kind and no nonsense character is a stark contrast to CEO Soo Hyun’s (dare I say?) a little boring personality. He lights up the screen with his puppy dog eyes and endearing smile that it’s impossible not to tune in for more. Don’t get me wrong, Song Hye Kyo is equally talented and beautiful but since she needs to act poised here, being the daughter of the former mayor of Seoul, I’m looking forward to seeing on how the guy will make the girl crawl out of her shell.

    They’ll meet again in Korea as Jin Hyeok gets a job in her hotel. The dilemma most likely to be if they can be a couple given their social status and position in her company. This kdrama is more like a melodramatic romance show, with some comedic moments nudged in there, but more subtle squeals than youthful romantic feels. It’s realistic and no doubt something I’ll still watch, but if you’re the type looking for a lighthearted kdrama, I suggest you can skip this one!

    But for the sake of these 2 gorgeous humans, I recommend trying an episode or 2 to see if you’re up for Boyfriend.