To be honest, I never set out to blog. One day on Soompi during My girlfriend is a gumiho around episode 7, I began doing short key scene translations. Then during Sungkyunkwan Scandal, I started doing the same thing. They all started out just a few scenes, then escalated to more till I had an overall recap. The game changer was a very generous and patient blogger who held my hand each step of the way as I ventured into the blogging world – without Thundie none of this would exist. Only she would be brave enough to allow someone who was totally clueless about blogging to guest recap for her on TP for the last four episodes of SKKS. That was when I realized there was a way to continue helping other people enjoy kdramas the same night it aired and a blog was born.
Now that I have finished translating over 12 dramas, most of the readers know my recapping style. During the live broadcast, I only type the lines I am pretty sure of then after it ends, I download the torrent and fill in all my blanks and edit. Normally each recap takes over 5 hrs so some people prefer to wait and read the complete version then. Minimal screencaps might appear on posts if I have any time or energy leftover.
Quirky facts about me:
I am not fluent in Korean and I can’t read or write Korean at all, but I am Korean-American. I grew up speaking English so Korean is my second language, but I never fully embraced it. Even now, I update a cheat sheet of all the common adjectives, verbs, and nouns most dramas frequently use to help me along. Sometimes while I am translating, I sit there listening to the same lines about 20 times questioning my own heritage while simultaneously cursing the character for using fancy words I don’t know. That normally happens when characters speak with a dialect I am not familiar with like in Kim Tak Gu. Also when they use too many occupational terms – in particular business jargon drives me up the wall and makes me wish these characters were just artists who quietly paint sometimes. The ones I stay clear of and do not even attempt are when it’s a sageuk. A nightmare to translate would be a character who spoke with a dialect, whispered or muttered under his breath, and was a doctor giving a medical prognosis.
I can’t keep a Korean name straight to save my life. They all look and sound alike to me. Unless the actor is really good looking like JooWon, YAI, Hyun Bin, or Kim Soo Hyun, I don’t bother to retain any of their names.
It’s been almost a year since I started and so far there hasn’t been a time where I didn’t want to recap any dramas at all. I am thankful that the majority of the dramas recapped here were so good that I was eager to translate the next episode each time. I want to thank everyone for leaving such nice comments and giving me encouragement along the way. Your support fuels my motivation to continue each and every time so thank you very much.
Random thoughts I had about Korean dramas….
There are some common gripes about Kdramas I want to address:
I really wish they would stop airing those “wide-eyed kisses where they look like a deer caught in headlights” – maybe it was cute way back when and somehow it caught on that this is how first kisses on a drama should go, but now it’s just predictable and silly. Unless you were sleeping through the relationship, you should see that kiss coming I think. I don’t know what’s worse – when the male lead does that or when the girl. I am willing to bet that on O brothers, either J or TH will end up doing that for their first kiss. My bet is that J will keep her eyes open. Taking wagers on that now -any takers? :)
They should try to maintain some semblance of reality even when none exists or at least keep it in the realm of possibility: We all know these rags to riches stories do not occur in real life that often so we take them with a grain of salt, but when they push the limit of what we can overlook, somehow it distracts us from the story itself. Case in point- I didn’t watch PK, but I did see who played Kim Hyun Joon’s character’s father and can I just say – please. In what planet would a guy who looks like that be able to marry a woman who looks like her and have two sons who look that good. I mean come on- they even wrote that into the show-that he looks nothing like his sons. I have no idea if the actor who played the father was great on the show since I didn’t make it past the first episode or two, but I’m thinking I could have taken it a little more seriously if he wasn’t short, bald, and looked like the mom’s father more than her husband.
Female leads being so clumsy as they walk even though they aren’t drunk. Lately, I noticed there are a lot of scenes where the female characters are unsteady on their feet and can’t seem to walk straight. In real life, once in a while you see someone trip or something, but when it happens on so many episodes, you have to wonder why gravity seems to be out to get them. Sometimes it’s to show how quirky the character is, but mostly it comes off as clumsy and inept. For once, it would be nice to see a guy not be able to walk straight –just to even things out a bit.
“Noble idiots” is a term I learned from Dramabeans and it makes sense why so many people would hate it, but I think I need to clarify something. Yes it’s something I wish kdramas would ban, but it serves its purpose too. The characters have to do something idiotic towards the mid to end of the dramas to stretch out the episodes that are left. You can’t have pace without conflict. So many characters in the beginning start off doing things that make us hate them, but we have to keep in mind that there is a reason why someone is that mean or selfish. Another thing I noticed from living in Seoul, I think the trait to remain quiet and not stir up trouble is built into the Korean genetic makeup. For some odd reason, Koreans think it’s better to stay quiet and suffer rather than speak up and do something about the problem. I see this happening all the time when I commute around Korea. The worse case was when I was on a bus crossing a bridge. An inebriated passenger boarded earlier before we got to the bridge and heckled the bus driver – insulting him for being just a bus driver and basically putting him down. Of course the bus driver felt indignant to be ridiculed and mocked on a packed bus when he was trying to maneuver through traffic. The stress of trying to drive and fight back verbally with that drunk passenger made the driver lose all common sense and he stopped the bus on the bridge in the middle of the lane. Cars behind us honked and skidded to a stop or swerved to miss our bus. Every passenger was in a panic and we all braced for the impact since we were one hundred percent sure we were going to be rear ended by cars that came behind us. The terrifying thing wasn’t that the driver stopped on the bridge – what made it worse was he would drive on a little and stop again every time he got frustrated by what the heckler said. The driver kept doing that and it was a miracle we made it to the other end of the bridge safely. Almost half the passengers got off at the next stop to switch buses after that. This example illustrates all my points about how Koreans just suffer and stay quiet. In America, any one of those burly passengers would have picked up that scrawny drunk guy and tossed him out the door at the next stop. Better yet, the bus driver would have kicked him off. What I couldn’t figure out was why no one thought to react and do something about that drunk man and just allow him to keep mouthing off. Everyone just endured this whole ordeal and I think only one man was brave enough to tell the bus driver to ignore the drunk guy and keep the bus moving since it’s dangerous to be at a standstill on a bridge.
This next one comes from a friend who watches a lot more dramas than me. When I asked her what bugs her about kdramas, her immediate answer was “stop making dramas where rich, young, good-looking, single guys fall in love with older women who are married, divorced, or single and impoverished.” She named off a bunch of dramas recently that portrayed relationships like that. Evidently there are a lot, but I tend to stay clear of makjang whenever possible since I think I might be allergic to them. I have a physical response to them – they make me look away and wince in pain like I am being tortured. I watch dramas to be entertained – not scowl or frown at the screen for the entire episode. Actually, that’s when my handy mouse fast forwards and speeds thru the episode and my brain catches up and tells me to let this drama go to the wayside. That pretty much explains in a nutshell why I only end up watching like a handful of Kdramas a year. Being selective saves time and sanity.
8pm July 9th, 2013: I can count on one hand how many times I have been clumsy all these years and today I made up for all those missed times with one swoop – I spilled juice all over my laptop and it just seemed to “die” right in front of me by shutting off on its own with the scariest sound ever. I gave it to my computer guy for him to perform a miracle, but he just texted a photo and didnt bother to sugarcoat the truth and just said my “motherboard is dead.” I guess all the research I did online that said 60% of spills on laptops recover doesnt apply to mine. I borrowed his IBM so I can do the recaps. If I have to use my ancient powerbook from here on, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep doing recaps. It takes double the time than when I worked on my Toshiba. I am on the verge of a mental breakdown.
July 31st: Had to wait for my custom built Toshiba and jut now received it, but Windows 8 is putting me through a whole new nightmare.