Month: January 2018

k-dramas

K-Drama: ‘Hwayugi’ Binge-Watch Alert




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Hwayugi, also known as A Korean Odyssey, takes cues and inspiration from Journey to the West, a Chinese novel. Don’t expect this to be a faithful retelling of the source material. Instead, the Hong Sisters take the basic concept, adapt it for the modern times, turn it on its head, and add their own dash of style and world building to the mix.

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80% of the votes from the previous poll went to Hwayugi, so I have been dutifully binge-watching between episodes of Just Between Lovers and Untouchable. It’s a rather large feat as each episode of Hwayugi is a whopping 80 some odd minutes. To be fair, I’m often so engrossed in the story that the generous episode lengths pass rather quickly.

Here, Lee Seung Gi has teamed up with the Hong Sisters again. (You may remember him from My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.) I’m not complaining as this is the sixth project of Lee Seung Gi’s that I’ve watched. His work never disappoints and he’s picked the perfect role for his return to dramas, post military.

Lee Seung Gi plays Son Oh Gong, who also goes by The Great Sage. He’s a troublemaker that does as he sees fit, which is how he became imprisoned on Earth in the first place. Son Oh Gong is not below trickery if the end result is in his favor. Still, he’s not an inherently evil person. Although, he is very selfish and singular minded. He also has a terrible temper and has trust issues with everyone he interacts with.

Oh Yeon Seo as Jin Seon Mi plays a very strong but lonely woman in her thirties. She has the ability to see ghosts, and while it has been a most unpleasant aspect of her life, she uses the opportunity as a vehicle to be successful in the real estate business. Seon Mi helps rid property on the market of troublesome ghosts. Due to her ability, she was ridiculed as a child and didn’t have any friends. It was a traumatic experience that has caused Seon Mi to rely on her own abilities alone.

There is a real fun cast of characters that makes Hwayugi a joy to watch. Cha Seung Won as Ma Wang is hilarious and fun in all of his quirky and flamboyant actions. Everything he does is very extravagant and you can tell that Cha Seung Won is having a ball playing this character.

Lee Hong Ki is also a sight for sore eyes. Modern Farmer is the last time we’ve seen him in a drama. I find him funny and entertaining as top star PK.

There are so many great elements to this drama that I readily recommend it. Ten episodes have already aired and it is the perfect time to take a chance and binge-watch. I love the spin on the original lore, the acting, the plot, the character dynamics, and so much more.

In fact, in order to avoid anything spoiler-y, I will be working on a separate post talking about my thoughts on this drama so far. (And let me tell you, I have a lot to talk about!) A ten reasons post is also in the works. I’m coming down with a cold and feeling under the weather, but I’ll do my best to get some posts published this week.

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k-dramas

K-Drama: Is ‘Untouchable’ On Your Radar?

I’ve been quietly watching Untouchable from week-to-week.

Untouchable is a gritty, darker look into the wealthy and powerful world of Bukcheon, a fictional city in South Korea. In Bukcheon, the Jang family have served as leaders for three generations. Their reign and rule of the city has been anything but clean and honest.  If there’s any kind of corruption going on in Bukcheon, it seems like there’s always a direct connection to the Jang family. Their presence is felt everywhere — from the police station to low-level criminals.

Stories about power plays to be the wealthiest and most powerful aren’t anything particularly groundbreaking, especially not in k-drama land. And Untouchable has that in spades, especially the clashing between the Jang brothers. There are small moments where you’ll smile or laugh, but they’re usually outweighed by darker content.

I wouldn’t say that I’m loving this drama. I do enjoy it and it has a lot going for it, but I’m not completely hooked, which makes me a little sad. There is great acting and great content to be had, but I have this strange feeling of something being off or missing. I’m hoping that I’ll feel more satisfied once I catch up and things start falling into place.

What do you think? Are you watching Untouchable? How is it meeting your expectations?

P.S. I will talking more in depth about this drama over the weekend or early next week. I have two more episodes and I’ll be up to date with this series. Despite some minor issues, I do like this drama and want to touch base on what’s working and what isn’t working.

k-dramas

10 Reasons You Should Be Watching ‘Just Between Lovers’

  1. The story doesn’t shy away from the difficult mental duress our leads are suffering. They experienced a very traumatic event that has stayed with them through adulthood. What I most appreciate about this drama is that it doesn’t forget the pain and suffering our leads are experiencing in favor of other content.  Instead, the story peels back each characters many layers in a very, natural, believable timeline.
  2. Junho (from 2 PM) is outstanding for being a newbie actor and his work here deserves to be commended. Everything about his portrayal of Lee Kang Doo is perfection. Whether it’s an emotional breakdown or one of Kang Doo’s rare smiles, Junho brings so much depth and awareness to this character.
  3. The beauty of Just Between Lovers is that it nicely showcases how the same traumatic event can affect everyone differently. No one reacts to a situation exactly the same as the next person, and that level of realism makes the story more honest and compelling to watch.
  4. Won Jin Ah is also knocking it out of the park as Moon Soo. While her character is tiny and quiet at times, she’s fiercely determined and family loyal.
  5. The soundtrack. I know k-dramas can sometimes feel tedious and eye-roll worthy when the same couple of songs play throughout the episodes, but they are such great songs that I can’t help but love them. They do such a great job building up to pivotal moments. I would definitely recommend checking out the soundtrack.
  6. Oh my, the chemistry! Junho and Jin Ah really have a natural chemistry that breathes life into their characters. They have a great repertoire and come across very natural in their interactions with one another especially.
  7. Let’s not forget the slow burn romance. Romance is typically slow in k-dramas, which isn’t surprising, but what’s nice about it in this aspect is that we get to spend a ton of time watching our leads grow and develop an amazing friendship.
  8. The emotional impact. Let me take a minute to stress that this is a very emotional story. You will laugh out laugh and you will cry ugly tears. It’s emotionally draining but in a good way. It all feels authentic as we learn more about our characters inner demons and struggles. Those emotional moments make it so much easier to connect to the characters
  9. The plot is not a crazy train. It’s well thought out and slowly chugs along, gaining more momentum and revealing more tidbits to keep the story going. Thanks to a plot that makes sense and doesn’t try to be too ambitious, the pacing feels just right. There may be subplots and small side stories, but it seems that everything is connected somehow. I really appreciate that attention to detail.
  10. And last but not least, I love the poignant use of the flashback sequences. There is so much to love–like the slow burn romance the writers have carefully crafted, but I really appreciate the use of the flashbacks. It’s enough to shed some light on the big traumatic event with the S Mall collapse, but it does so in a way that you’re only given a puzzle piece at a time.

And there you have it! A quick list 10 reasons to watch Just Between Lover. I have to admit that this my favorite k-drama right now. It’s the right blend of everything for me. No drama is perfect, but I think this one comes pretty darn close.

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2018 & New Beginnings


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We may only be 14 days into the New Year, but I feel more determined and motivated than I ever have before. Maybe it’s because turning 30 in December brought so many things into perspective in my own life. For the first time in a long time, I want to put myself first and immerse myself in something I’ve always loved: culture.

With friends, I have decided to travel to Toronto, Canada this year for a whole week. My goal is either in the spring or the fall. I plan to visit many places, but the area I want to explore the most is Koreatown. I don’t know if I have any Canadian readers out there, but if I do and you’re local to the Toronto area, I would love your guidance and recommendations.

I’m excited to try the Korean restaurants and there’s even a grocery store in the area. I plan to document my trip and share it with all of you. From my research, there is a lot of culture in Toronto, so I’m excited and feeling blessed that I get the opportunity to travel there. It may not be South Korea, but it’s one step closer.

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What Should I Watch Next?

I’ve been chipping away, bit by bit, with my many goals this year. I’m still doing some aesthetic changes to the blog, but it’s in a pretty decent state right now. While I work on that behind the scenes, I have also scheduled myself more time to indulge in drama watching. One of my goals this year is to be kinder to myself and put my needs first. I have big plans for this site, which I hope I can pull off.

I mostly cover k-dramas, but I’m going to diversify and add more Thai and Filipino content as I also get a lot of hits on that content. I also enjoy Thai and Filipino dramas, so this is a win-win for me. The problem is that I no longer have a subscription with TFC–that is why I stopped reviewing Filipino dramas. It’s a pricey monthly subscription. I already have subscriptions to Netflix, Viki, and DramaFever, so the costs add up quickly. I also now pay yearly for It Started With a K-Drama. Helping bring content that my readers enjoy is important to me, so I urge you all to vote below and let me know your thoughts. K-dramas are my number one love, so that content always comes first.

reviewst-dramas

T-Drama: ‘P.S. Man’ Series Review

I have quite the growing ‘to watch’ list, so I decided to tackle it with a Taiwanese drama since I had such a good experience watching The Perfect Match last year. Make note: my experience with t-dramas is quite limited. I’m continuously trying to broaden my horizons and be better-rounded in the Asian dramas I watch.

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things with blogging, too. I’m on a bit of a drama kick, so you’ll be seeing much more from me this year. Hopefully, I can keep up this momentum throughout 2018!

Fighting!

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k-beauty

K-Beauty: ‘Berrisom Animal Mask – Red Gingseng’ Review

Happy 2018, chingu’s!

We’ve made it to another year. As things continue to shift and change in my life, I promised to post more and share more all-things-Asian with my readers. I hope you all stick around and enjoy the content because it all started with a k-drama…

I’m finding more and more k-beauty products in stores in the US.

Truth be told, I’m not a beauty guru. As I’ve reached another milestone age (30), I’ve decided that I want to take care of my skin as much as I possibly can. While I’m still relatively young, I’m not getting any younger. The new year inspired me to start 2018 off on a positive start by trying a Korean face mask. I don’t know much about beauty, but I know Korean beauty standards are no joke and that they have great skincare items on the market.

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