Two incredibly strong first episodes! I don’t think I’ve watched a drama like this one in a long time.
Long hours were definitely put into creating this drama. The music, the way the storyline was introduced to us, the haunting Tim Burton-like animation, and visuals, it felt like I was watching a film!
The drama began telling us in animation form the story of a girl who lived in a castle, she was lonely and tried to make friends, but they were afraid of her and called her a “monster who brings along the shadow of death”. She ends up saving a boy from drowning, and he ends up following her around wherever she goes, for whatever reason, the shadow of death that followed her disappears after this. As if to test the boy and see if he will remain by her side, she ends up showing him her dark side: she rips the wings off of the butterflies. At seeing this, the boy becomes scared and leaves running. The girl is left alone again and the shadow of death returns telling her: “No one can ever stay by your side, because you’re a monster”. We are then shown the main character Ko Moon Young as the grown up version of the girl in this story and it is revealed to us that the shadow of death might be referring to her mother, since she replies “Yes, mother” to the words said to her by this shadow.
It’s a very interesting way of introducing us to the main character, she is a children’s book fairytale author, so it makes sense for her to tell us her story through a story. There’s still a lot of we don’t know about her, but one thing is for sure: She’s had a very rough and dark upbringing.
We are then introduced to our male lead, Moon Kang Tae and his older brother Sang Tae who has autism. Life hasn’t been easy for those two, it appears that Sang Tae can’t keep a job since “he’s too much to handle”. Sang Tae worries that Kang Tae might get upset at him for causing a scene and losing the job but we are quickly shown how much Kang Tae loves his brother, how forgiving and understanding he is too. He makes a living as a caregiver at a psychiatric hospital, he has many scars on his body from his long history of working with patients with psychiatric problems, but he seems to find his job fulfilling in some way, since he is good at it.
What brings these two characters together is one interesting encounter at Kang Tae’s workplace. Moon Young is sitting there in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area, smoking a very fancy cigar, waiting to read her book to the children at the psychiatric hospital. You can tell she’s not one to easily care about rules, and lacks consideration for others. She also has the habit of destroying beautiful things, as she plucks off the petals from a nearby flower shrub. I wondered if this reminded Kang Tae of the girl he once knew, or if he simply was very bothered by her smoking, but regardless of the reason, he approaches her and asks her to please stop smoking. They lock eyes, and for a moment they stare at each other as if they recognize one another. She then asks him if he believes in destiny and explains to him that “If someone shows up when you need them, you call that destiny”. The way these two look at each other is perfect, I feel the chemistry, the sadness and intrigue in their eyes.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am kind of in love with her character, she comes off at first as someone evil, mean, rude, and scary. Even her book at first, sounds like a book that isn’t meant for children since its so dark in nature, but by the time you reach the ending of the book, you come to realize, she’s not a bad person, children love her books because she encourages them, to face their fears, and grow from their trauma and past.
A scene I found interesting, was when the Nurse Nam Joo Ri shows up at her hotel asking for a signature to allow Moon Young’s father to receive a surgery he needs in order to live. The two seem to know each other from childhood, but seemed surprised to see each other (I wonder if Moon Young went by a different name before…) they talk about how they hadn’t seen each other in 20 years since she transferred schools. Moon Young says her father is dead, and then Nam Joo Ri begins to say “But your mother is alive…” and Moon Young interjects saying she registered her death a long time ago and claims to be an orphan. This leaves me wondering about what exactly happened to her family. Is her mother alive, or is she really dead? Did she have a bad relationship with both her parents? In the second episode, we find out that her mother was a writer herself, and is in fact dead and died suddenly…but then why did Joo Ri say she was alive? We also find out her father was a successful architect who went crazy. They keep blaming all the bad things that happened in her life on her.
These phrases about Moon Young were also mentioned throughout the first and second episode: “She was just born like that” and “That’s just how she was born”. I don’t think that’s the case though, if her father tried to murder her as a child, and if her mother died suddenly, and she had no friends growing up, I can understand why she is the way she is. People have shoved in her head that she isn’t worthy of good things in her life and happiness, that bad news follows her and they should stay away unless they want bad things to happen to them too. Makes me feel really sad for Moon Young, her children’s books help us understand that there is much more to her personality than just a mean, anti social, egotistic person. I cannot wait to see her transformation. It seems that Kang Tae really is someone good for her, I think they both can help each other heal from their past wounds.
One last thing to note from these two episodes: Butterflies (나비)
I still don’t know what that’s about, but if you guys have any theories, I am happy to hear them! All we know is that she used to rip the wings off of the butterflies, Kang Tae was horrified to see her do this when they were children, and Sang Tae has bad dreams about them because he claims a mysterious butterfly killed Sang Tae and Kang Tae’s mother. This honestly made me very sad since I love butterflies and we have been seeing a lot of monarch’s around SoCal this past month. I had a classmate who used to rip their wings too, back in the 1st grade. So this honestly brought back to mind some childhood trauma. I wonder what more significance these butterflies will have in the plot. I cannot wait for the next episodes, I really hope they are as detailed and wonderfully edited as these first two were. What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the first two episodes as much as I did, or did you find the drama to be slow? Let me know, I would love to hear what you guys thought about the premiere of: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!
Hopeless romantics, I feel you, there’s nothing worse than trying to find a good movie or show to watch and being left with the same old classics to simply rewatch. It seems like lately, at least in Hollywood, no one is making movies for the hopeless romantics anymore and the ones they attempt to write, just don’t have that spark that older classics like 13 going on 30 did! Well, that’s exactly why I love Korean dramas, they are some of the few shows out there that can still make anyone swoon and sigh and feel like there might still be hope to have that dream like love story!
Here is my personal list of the Top 10 Best Dramas for the hopeless romantic souls!
Extraordinary You is a new one, this one came out in 2019. At first sight, this drama may look like it’s only for a very young audience. The characters are high school students, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been out of high school for longer than you want to admit. However, this drama beautifully depicts that 첫사랑 or “first love” notion in a very untraditional way. The characters in this drama aren’t simple high schoolers, they are characters living in The World Of Comics! Yes, the lead character Eun Dan Oh realizes she not only isn’t the lead character of her life, but of the comic she’s living in, she’s just a mere extra! (I can relate). Everyone has a character “set up” in the comic, and they are basically bound to it. Even when the characters become self aware, and they start wanting to change their own storyline, their set up holds them back from making any progress! Imagine being a character in a comic, who is simply there to support the leads, whose set up is to die from a weak heart, and never truly receive the love they deserve? Everything is hopeless until the mysterious no named boy shows up, giving our homegirl Dan Oh a reason to keep trying to change her characters fate.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Like real good. So good, I’ve watched it like 4 times, and that’s a lot for me who can’t typically rewatch dramas I’ve already seen. This drama came out in 2012, but they have yet to write another one like this one. The story is about a young man named Kang Ma Roo, he’s a medical student and he has a younger sister who is sick that he must take care of. He is also very much extremely infatuated with his childhood friend Jae Hee, he would do anything for her, and he does, this innocent man, decides to take the blame for a crime Jae Hee commits. He spends time in prison while the woman he loves and took blame for, becomes the wife to a rich old man!
Trying to cope with the betrayal, he makes some questionable choices in his life, however, Kang Ma Roo’s life eventually intertwines with Jae Hee’s again when he ends up saving her step daughter, chaebol heiress Eun Gi on a plane. He seeks revenge, so he plots to seduce Jae Hee’s step daughter, and bring Jae Hee down. However, he ends up realizing that what he felt for Jae Hee wasn’t true love, or love at all. Eun Gi begins to fall in love with him and deeply, and by the time Ma Roo realizes he sincerely loves her too, he is already too deep in his lies and knows the truth would only hurt Eun Gi. This drama has it all, love, revenge, thrill, comedy, action, and sweet moments. You will be glued to the screen, and still think about this drama for years to come. I mean, it’s been 8 years for me and it still tops my list of favorite Kdramas of ALL TIME.
My goodness, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. THIS drama will live on as one of the best Korean dramas in history. There’s a reason why there’s still so much hype for it. The writer and director of this drama really outdid themselves. I think something else that makes this drama so perfect has a lot to do with the cast, and the perfect chemistry between the two leads.
This is the story of a woman named Seri, who although she is an heiress there is much more to her than meets the eye. She had a rough childhood and she has practically no ally or friend in her life. People are just around her because they are her subordinates and she’s the one that gives them a paycheck, but still, she is at least very successful at running her company, Seri’s Choice. Through a crazy accident, she finds herself lost in a forest, thinking she is still somewhere in South Korea, but to her surprise, she finds out she is actually in communist North Korea! She encounters a soldier who discovers she has trespassed into North Korea. Together they plan how to get her back to South Korea, but little do they know how difficult that parting will ultimately be. This drama is everything. ALL the characters were so wonderfully written and casted, you will fall in love with all the secondary characters in this drama but without them outshining the leads and their beautiful timeless story. This drama is long distance relationship taken to a whole new level, a love separated by borders that absolutely can’t be crossed.
This drama came out in 2018 and it was one of the highest rated Kdramas that year. It’s super fun, if you’re a fan of romantic comedies, this will be a perfect match for you. If this is your first historically based drama, you will be very intrigued by the interesting customs, culture and clothes from Joseon era!
It’s a bit hard for me to explain the plot of this drama without giving too much away. The drama is about a crowned prince of the Joseon Dynasty, his father overthrew the last king and caused a lot of pain to a lot of people. He has despised his position as crowned prince since, and refuses to consummate his marriage with the Vice Premier’s daughter. Joseon is undergoing a terrible drought and they blame it all on the crown prince for not consummating his marriage, so they pressure him even more. The Crowned Prince becomes angry that they are only blaming him and only pressuring him so he decides to make a decree that every single person in Joseon must marry by a deadline. Every single person. (I would cry). A woman named Hong Shim finds herself shocked by this absurd decree, she is the oldest unmarried woman in her village and the men left to choose from in the village are not exactly the ideal man for her or for anyone. She refuses to marry and they sentence her to 100 floggings. The crowned prince is then found by Hong Shim’s father, injured and suffering from amnesia after being ambushed by assassins. Hong Shim’s father not knowing who this man is, but taking advantage of his amnesia, says he is Hong Shim’s fiancé and that they will marry, all to avoid his daughter getting painfully flogged. This is how Hong Shim, and ordinary girl, finds herself in a marriage with the crowned prince of Joseon! Trust me, it seems complicated but it’s really not, it’s a really nice drama, with laughter and romance. Who doesn’t want a prince, at least for 100 days?
I love this drama so, so much and you will too. This drama just recently won Best Screenplay and The Grand Prize at the 56th Baeksang Art Awards. Not to mention cutie Kang Ha Neul’s award for Best Actor. This drama is absolutely gorgeously written. I’m not too big of a fan of mystery thrillers, but this one managed to combine mystery and romantic comedy perfectly. Which means this drama will keep you on the edge of your seat, but also give you enough romance that leaves you wanting to find a true love like this one.
Story takes place in a town called Ongsan. A single mom named Dong Baek moves to the town to start a new life, people judge her for nearly anything, but she becomes the center of attention when she decides to open up a bar named Camellia, time goes by and her business continues to grow and she remains in Ongsan with her son Pil Gu. Meanwhile Yong Sik, an Ongsan native, is transferred from his police position in Seoul back to Ongsan, and he happens to encounter Dong Baek and falls in love at first sight knowing very little about her, especially the fact that she is a single mom.
However even after he finds out, he has fallen for her so much that he isn’t willing to give her up for that kind of reason. He pursues her so honestly and sincerely its comical. Dong Baek is so taken aback by it at first, haven’t ever been the one to be pursued in her whole life. In the meantime, there is a serial killer in Ongsan called The Joker, who they haven’t been able to find since he committed several homicides. Dong Baek is then caught up in the whole mess since she was the only witness of one of the several murder crimes. It’s up to Yong Sik and his crew to figure out who the killer is before the killer sets his eyes on Dong Baek once more.
I’m telling you, you won’t regret watching this drama, it’s one for the books.
This one is quite similar to When The Camellia Blooms because it’s also good at mixing up good romance, comedy and some thrill! It’s a total swoon worthy drama, I mean Lee Jong Suk (WE MISS YOU) he’s a total hottie and well known actor in Kdrama world, he’s known for his amazing chemistry with the leading actresses he has worked with, this one is no exception!
This is the story of a woman named Nam Hong Joo who at first appears to be a nobody who just lazes around but is actually a well known reporter on leave from work. She has the ability to dream about future events, she’s tormented by these dreams since not all of them are good and there is nothing she can do to stop them from coming true. That is until she meets the literal man of her dreams, a man she dreamt about and he changes the outcome of a dream she had already believe to be set in stone. It turns out he too has these types of dreams. They team up to ultimately understand why these dreams are happening and why he has the ability to change them.
There’s also a second lead, super cute guy, but just watch it for yourself, you may develop second lead syndrome!
This drama is also an older one, it came out in 2013, but it truly does qualify as a classic. The popularity of this drama was immense during its prime time. Jun Ji Hyun is easily one of the best actresses in Korea, so this drama was guaranteed to do well but it did more than well because of the likability and quality acting from all the supporting actors/actresses too.
This drama is about an alien named Do Min Joon, ( I know, he doesn’t look anything like your typical depiction of aliens in America) who arrives on earth during the Joseon Dynasty and fails to return back home. He remains stuck on Earth for 400 years, having to switch identities often since he ages differently than humans. He ends up meeting a famous actress named Cheon Song Yi, who reminds him of someone he had met 400 years back. He saves her once, and then again, and then he can’t help but get himself involved in her life even though he promised himself to not get close to anyone since he would have to leave Earth shortly. Cheon Song Yi is quite the handful too, she gets herself in a lot of trouble but deep down isn’t the stuck up top actress she wants everyone to believe her to be, she is a caring person, sure a bit of an airhead, but she ultimately has a big heart that doesn’t just crave fame but rather seeks friendship and warmth.
You’ll love it, I promise, even if he is from another star.
This drama is every fangirls dream, I suppose it was written as an ode to the fangirl. This drama is sweet, romantic, and the chemistry between the leads is fantastic, and it has a good message in the end.
This drama is about a grown woman who at first sight appears as nothing other than a super professional, art curator. It looks like she has her life completely together, her style is on point, she’s got a career and everything. However, she has a secret life, one so secret and private that no one must know about, she’s a fangirl! I’m not talking about the casual fan either. I’m talking about the kind that runs a fan club, who follows her bias to get good photos of him, and has a house full of posters, art, merch of her favorite Kpop idol. Everything is going well and according to her plans, until she meets Ryan Gold, who becomes the director at the gallery she works in. They go through a couple misunderstandings and eventually Ryan learns her secret, but she remains unaware. Ryan begins to take interest in her and her little side hobby of fangirling.
This drama is beautiful because it doesn’t shame the fangirls, rather it encourages us to find someone who supports us and loves us for who we are, even if we have silly hobbies. It also gives us hope of one day finding true love, and fangirling over the man who wins our hearts instead of simply being a fangirl for someone we don’t know. There is hope for us, we can find our Ryan Gold.
This drama made me cry several times. It’s funny, it’s heart warming, and it makes you really think about life.
This is the story of a girl named Woo Seo Ri who was 17, she was in school, she was happy, she had a best friend and they would wonder about what their lives would be like when they turned 30 years old. Woo Seo Ri was a violin prodigy and her future looked bright, that is until she got into a big accident and ended up in a coma for 13 years. Gong Woo Jin had a secret crush on Woo Seo Ri when they were both 17, but he became a very aloof person after he believes he was to blame for the accident that happened 13 years back. They end up meeting again after she wakes up from a coma, but both without knowing each others identities and the past they both shared. This drama is about friendship and healing, and falling in love with the very person who helps you heal and grow.
We are finally at the end of our list. Doctor John is a drama that changed my outlook on life. It wasn’t afraid to talk about controversial topics, but allowing you to see the different sides of the spectrum. I personally am a big fan of medical dramas and shows, this one focuses on anesthesiologists. I’m used to seeing dramas about cardiologist or neurosurgeons, but never about those who specialize in pain. The cases are unique and new to viewers. However this drama isn’t just about medical cases, it’s about allowing yourself to be loved, cared for, and cherished even if you think you aren’t deserving of it or that your situation, or health may be a burden to others. It’s also about terminal illnesses and how to cope with the pains of life, both physical and mental.
This drama is focused on a doctor named Cha Yo Han, who is really good at his job, but ends up in prison for making a questionable choice with a patient’s life. The drama also revolves around Kang Shi Young, a very warm doctor who also made a choice in her past with a patient’s life that still haunts her. The two doctors end up having to work together in the same department.
This is one quality drama I highly recommend.
Where You Can Watch It: Viki
Well there you have it, so many swoon worthy dramas to choose from! I feel confident that at least one drama on this list will become a new favorite for you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
I want to start of by saying: I know it’s not summer everywhere. However, here in Southern California, we are finally entering summer time. Usually our summers here on the coast in SoCal consist of spending time at the beach, working on our tans (or avoiding them in my case), drinking plenty of iced coffees and iced teas, going out to eat with friends and exploring LA for fun. COVID-19 has changed all our plans for this year though. How will I be spending my summer? Probably going to the beach but avoiding being near others, wearing my mask every time I go out and making my iced drinks at home and of course, watching a BRAND NEW KDRAMA, because sadly the one I was watching right now has come to an end (The King: Eternal Monarch Review right here).
Here’s a list of a couple of Kdramas that are airing this summer! (or Winter ha!).
Release Date: June 19th Where You Can Watch: DramaCool
So this drama is based off of a webtoon, which means it will either be great, or lack in some aspects. It’s starring the oh so popular Ji Chang Wook, who will be playing a 29 year old man named Dae Hyun who was a public relations director who leaves his job and somehow ends up managing a convenience store (I wonder why the downgrade). Young actress Kim Yoo Jung also stars in this drama as a 22 year old named Saet Byul, who ends up working part time for Dae Hyun.
Going to be real honest with all of you readers, this drama doesn’t seem my style, and I may be skipping it. However, for those who love a little comedy, silliness, and lightheartedness this might be the perfect Kdrama for you to watch this summer. Also, side note, but apparently the television channel (based here in the US) Lifetime invested money on this drama! Strange right? Perhaps I will give it a chance just to see if it was worth their investment into the Kdrama world.
2. It’s Okay, Not To Be Okay/ Psycho But It’s Okay
Release Date: June 20th Where You Can Watch: Netflix
This drama has been on my look out for list for awhile because it’s Kim Soo Hyun’s first Kdrama in 5 long years. This drama is about a man who works as a caretaker at a psychiatric ward, and a woman who suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder, who also happens to be a popular children’s book author (I wonder if her creativity comes from her disorder). Will these two opposites fall in love? Could it be the lead actress isn’t crazy at all? Or will it be a drama about coping with your mental illness to teach us a lesson that “It’s Okay, Not To Be Okay?” We will have to wait and find out. As for me, I will definitely be replacing The King: Eternal Monarch with this one.
3. Was It Love/ We Were In Love
Release Date: July 8th Where You Can Watch: TBA
There’s still a lot of details left to revealed about this drama and the other last two since they won’t be released until July.
This drama’s lead character will be played by the wonderful Song Ji Hyo who is still looking flawless at age 39. She will be playing the character of a single mom, who hasn’t been in the dating scene for a good 14 years but happens to end up with 4 very different men trying to win her heart, will she give love another chance? Which man, out of the 4, will be the winner of her heart?
This drama is also not exactly my style, but I know this is definitely a drama for an older audience. Song Ji Hyo is a great actress, so this drama could potentially be a good one, I think I will wait on more teasers to see if this is a drama I want to invest my time on.
This drama’s teaser and promotional poster gives me shivers. Looks like it will be a very mysterious thriller drama.
This drama is following a popular trend going on in the Kdrama world, where the cast of many recent popular dramas are all mature adults, and well-seasoned actors, and the plots are more on the darker side.
Centered around a group of friends, several couples in their 40’s who are living a peaceful life until they all become somehow involved in a murder case, and nothing is ever the same for them again.
As for me, I most likely will not be watching this drama, I need a drama to take my life’s stress away not add more! However for those who love dramas that keep you on the edge of your seat and love the thrill, this might just be your drama for summer/winter of 2020!
I watched the teaser for this drama, and I was dying from laughter at the relatability.
“Those who are determined NOT to marry, actually get married first”
This drama is about a woman who believes men are all the same, so she declares that she wants to be happily single forever, and the moment she does she ends up receiving two love confessions!
You have to watch the first teaser of this drama for yourself, it is hilarious! I will definitely be on the look out for more teasers for this drama. If you can relate to this whole single for life situation, perhaps this will be a drama you will enjoy as well!
Ugh so much potential, this drama had so much potential! But oh well, what is done is done!
Lee Min Ho and I have a long history. He was actually the very first Kdrama male lead I EVER watched. Back in January of 2012 my cousin introduced me to my very first Kdrama: Boys Over Flowers. Gu Jun Pyo was definitely not the type of man I was used to crushing on, those curls were SO not my style and I thought his outfits were over the top.
However, with time, I looked beyond it (haha) and ended up really liking Lee Min Ho and his acting!
When I heard Lee Min Ho was finally back from the military, and that he was going to star in a new drama, I was curious to see what type of project he had chosen. However to my disappointment, it wasn’t exactly anything new. Sorry Lee Min Ho!
I’m used to seeing him play very similar roles, and for once wished he would try something a little different. The King Eternal Monarch was a fantasy romance thriller, set in two parallel worlds, one being modern day Seoul in the Republic of Korea and the other in Busan in The Kingdom of Korea.
I don’t deny that the synopsis did seem intriguing at first but from the very first episode we were plagued with a hundred different things going on. We were introduced to our main characters and to the crossing of the barrier between the two worlds.
Let me tell you, a friend of mine from Singapore and I had been commenting on each episode after it came out, we couldn’t help but complain about how many plot twists there were and how we didn’t know how the writer could possibly resolve all the conflicts and answer all the questions by the end of this 16 episode drama.
In a very complicated way, the writer kept introducing us to new characters, people who existed in both worlds, so we were left sitting there trying to piece together who was who and with what purpose the villain, Lee Lim, had decided to take them from their original world and switch them to work for him in the parallel one.
I can’t deny that the visuals and cinematography were fantastic. However the editing in some parts was a bit choppy, I noticed that after the ratings were dropping, they must have either hired a new editor or put a sword to his throat because it suddenly got better, but by that time we were already half way through the drama.
The characters just felt so underdeveloped. Still wondering what Prime Minister Koo’s role was in this whole thing, I wish she had teamed up with Lee Lim and done something worthwhile but instead they made her go from a strong powerful woman, to simply thirsty for power, enough to kill her own double from the Republic of Korea. Lee Lim as well was one of the weakest villains ever. I would have liked more back story of his life, all we knew is that he was illegitimate, but what led him to becoming so thirty for the throne? The same with his previous relationship as uncle and nephew with Lee Gon.
Let’s not forget about the lack of chemistry between the leads. I don’t even blame them or their ability as actors, it was more the lousy script to blame. I’ve seen more chemistry between them off screen. I think only for like two episodes did I ever feel like the love between the two characters was genuine and real. I expected more emotions from them but the director too, didn’t do his part in guiding the actors.
Let’s talk about the good parts in this drama though, enough of the negativity.
My favorite part of this drama was discovering how different the parallel characters were from each other, take Yeong for example, in the Kingdom of Korea he was SUPER serious, very intelligent, well mannered, and stylish. Meanwhile his counterpart Eun Seop from Republic of Korea, was funny, goofy, lacking style and not the brightest tool in the shed. When the two met for the first time, it made for one very enjoyable hilarious scene. The actor who played both Yeong and Eun Seop definitely carried this show on this back, he was fresh, he was fun and honestly I wished he would have had more screen time.
I also enjoyed the Court Lady’s role, she was funny and caring, and also had a secret past, which I WISH would have been explored more. Again, I can’t help but be left wondering if this story would have been a better one in book form or in a full length film, but certainly the 16 episodes didn’t quite do it justice.
Episode 16 left me wishing the writer would have written a better script, because for once the drama seemed fun. I loved the idea of them visiting different time periods. I longed for a final episode where we actually got to see Eun Seop/Nari and Yeong/Seung Ha finally getting together and having at least one romantic scene but we didn’t. We also never saw Lee Ji Hun and his mom finally living a good life. There’s also other unanswered questions but what can we do now?
At the end of the day, this drama was enjoyable, but not overly memorable for me. I look forward to seeing them in other projects, and I know the writer will learn from her mistakes, because truly this could have been a better drama, it had all the potential.
My Rating: 3/5
SO LONG THE KING: ETERNAL MONARCH! OFF TO MY NEXT KDRAMA ADVENTURE!
I’ve watched my handful of drama’s so far this year and if you know me personally, you know I LOVE music. I have a different playlist for every month with different songs, and I’ve been doing that since January of 2017. I’m naturally drawn to the Original Sound Tracks of Kdramas. Here’s my list of favorite OST songs so far this year!
Flower – Yoon Mirae
2. But It’s Destiny – 10cm
3. Sunset – Davichi
4. Special – Yubin
5. Here I Am Again – Yerin Baek
6. The Hill of Yearning – April 2nd
7. Sigriswil – Kim Kyoung Hee
8. The Song For My Brother – Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee
9. Slowly Fall – Ha Hyunsang
10. Who I Strolled With – Poetic Narrator
11. Together Again – Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee, Kim Kyoung Hee
If there is something I miss dearly about Korea, it’s their convenience stores. They were the most amazing little stores I’ve ever walked into! I’m sure to the locals they are no big deal, but when you have nothing close to that in Southern California, let me tell you, IT’S A BIG DEAL. Where we stayed during our trip to Korea, there was a GS25 convenience store right at the entrance to our apartment, the amount of times I have wished a GS25 was just an elevator ride away are too many to count. One of the many things I miss is the gimbap. The delicious rolls available with so many different ingredients to choose from. They were so cheap, so good, so nutritious, can we please get a GS25 in Southern California, my local city to be exact?
I’ll keep dreaming, the best we get is having a local asian market, and trust me I don’t take ours for granted. Here’s my recipe for convenience store style tuna gimbap. Something you can typically make at home, easy peasy, and be able to find the ingredients at your local grocery store, all but one ingredient that is only available at Asian markets, but the gimbap is still good without it, and if you can obtain it, it’s EVEN BETTER.
1 and a half cup of Jasmine Rice or a short grain rice for Sushi (I find that Jasmine rice works fine for me though people will tell you otherwise!)
Roasted seaweed packet
7 oz can of Tuna
2 or 3 Carrots (depending on the size) cut into sticks
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
Toasted Sesame seeds (Optional)
Imitation crab legs (You will only be using half of the 12 oz packet)
Yellow Danmuji (This really gives it that authentic Korean style taste, so if you can find it, please do use it)
This recipe makes about 6 rolls, if you wish to make the whole packet of roasted seaweed sheets, you want to double up on all the ingredients.
Funny side story before we begin, I first made gimbap for the first time back in high school, let me tell you as good as my attempt was, I AM WAY better at making the rolls now, it’s been YEARS, so don’t be discouraged if your first try isn’t perfect!
Let’s get to it!
You want to make your rice first. I have a handy dandy RICE COOKER (you can get the same one I have here, it’s a TOTAL game changer, but if you don’t own one, it’s not hard to make rice on the stove, if you need some help on how to make the perfect rice, check out this article here.
While you are waiting for your rice to cook, you want to begin cutting up your carrots.
You then want to sauté your carrots with just a little bit of oil of your choice, I use vegetable oil, and you want to just sprinkle them with a little salt, cook them until they are tender but not overly soft.
After you are done making your rice, you want to put it into another container so it can begin to cool down. Afterwards you want to add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and mix it in well, this is a key difference between sushi and gimbap, you flavor the rice very differently!
Set the rice aside and get started on your egg omelet. Just two eggs, some salt, oil, and let it form a nice little sheet, you will then be cutting this into little strips.
Next, you want to prepare the tuna, strain the tuna well and add 2 tablespoons of mayo, that’s it! But if you want to add a little kick, you can add 1 teaspoon of Gochugaru which are Korean style pepper flakes, or, if you don’t have that home but have some sriracha, you can add a teaspoon worth and mix well.
You now have everything to get started!
You will want to place your sheet of seaweed on the mat and coat it with rice. It doesn’t have to be thickly coated.
Then you want assemble the ingredients like so…
Roll it tightly, and set it aside to cut later!
When you’re ready to cut the pieces, you want to make sure your knife is coated with a little bit of oil and that the knife is sharp! Trust me, it will make the whole process easier!
And… you’re done! Yes, it takes way longer than it would if we just went downstairs or across the street to GS25 or CU, but it’s the best we’ve got! Enjoy!
So here’s a little backstory of my relationship with Kang Ha Neul as an actor, I first saw him in 2013 when he came out in the drama Heirs, he didn’t catch my attention, his acting was quite forgettable, and I thought he was just some random new actor that I would never see again in another drama.
I then saw him again in Angel Eyes, but the drama was so awful I couldn’t finish watching it, and I honestly forgot he was even in the drama! (My sister had to remind me).
I later watched him once more in Scarlet Heart Ryeo, however, I completely detested his character, perhaps it was because I was more intrigued by bad boy with a mask Mr. Wang So. Regardless of the reason, he didn’t wow me with his acting or his looks. I told myself I would never watch another one of his dramas.
Back in 2019, I kept getting suggestions for the drama When The Camellia Blooms, I read the synopsis and it didn’t seem my style, I saw that Ha Neul was the lead and remembered how much I didn’t like him in Scarlet Heart, so I completely avoided the drama. That is, until my trip back from New York this March. I had just parted ways with Crash Landing On You and wanted to download a drama to watch on Netflix with my sister on the 6 hour flight back home to California.
After having seen clips on the drama on Instagram, I decided it didn’t look too bad and I would give it a chance.
MY BEST DECISION EVER, and it could also be YOUR best decision too.
If you haven’t seen that gem of a drama, I highly recommend you do and soon.
There’s a reason why Ha Neul won Best Actor at the 56th Baeksang Art Awards, there’s also a reason why When the Camellia Blooms won Best Screenplay and The Daesang Award.
You can only truly understand the reason if you watch the drama for yourself.
Kang Ha Neul plays the opposite of your stereotypical Kdrama male lead, so it can be hard to accept that type of male lead at first.
His character has an accent, he’s not very book smart, he’s not a chaebol, he’s not super pale skinned in a suit, with lip tint. Rather he’s presented to us as a normal dude from a small town called Ongsan who loves justice, can fight really well, and is just plain goofy but with a big heart.
His smile throughout the whole drama will leave you with heart eyes!
The way his character treats the female lead will leave you craving that kind of love and respect and care.
The script is really one of the best ones I’ve seen in Kdrama world.
It’s a very heartwarming story of a single mom, a woman who has been living independently almost her whole life, but lacks self-esteem and courage, but through the trials she faces in Ongsan and the friends she makes along the way including our charming male lead, she prevails and comes out as one the strongest most relatable female characters in Kdrama world.
As much as I LOVED Hyun Bin in Crash Landing On You, Kang Ha Neul just really showcased a new wonderful side of his acting abilities. He brought this wonderful character Yong Sik to life and changed the definition of “dreamy lead”. We learned that a dreamy Kdrama lead just simply needs to be a man with an extremely good heart and personality, no need for the money, extravagance, and extremely stylish looks or superhuman abilities.
Kang Ha Neul is now of my TOP favorite actors. I’ve watched his variety shows and have come to love his personality too. He’s definitely my kind of man now, my apologies to Ha Neul for judging him so harshly before!
Here’s a stupid edit I made of us during my spare time today after finding out he won best actor. I would CERTAINLY cast HIM as my male lead in the story of my life with ZERO HESITATION.
Hello my name is Carolina! I am so excited to be writing this very first blog and introducing myself to *hopefully* people who also have a love for all things Korean dramas!
My kdrama journey began back in January of 2012, when my cousin Gaby told me to check out an amazing show on this website (RIP) called DramaFever! I was a tad skeptical at first, the website looked sketchy and the show she wanted me to watch was in Korean! I knew absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing about Koreans. When I jumped into the kdrama world, it was life changing! I learned about a completely different culture to mine (I’m Mexican) and learned little by little about their customs, food, language and about the beautiful country that is Korea. I became OBSESSED. I quickly jumped into Kpop too, for I think that is a little bit inevitable when you watch Korean dramas since the OST’s usually feature some amazing songs, and some singers from kpop groups sometimes get casted in these dramas too. Soon enough I found myself with all the other Kdrama and kpop lovers in my school meeting up for “Kpop club” during lunch! What did we do in this “club”? All we did was watch music videos on the big screens we had at the time in the classroom they let us use. Ah! Such great memories! If I could go back! 🥺
My kdrama obsession continued into college where I made a friend who was also watching the same drama as me, his name was Marco, we talked about the 2013 drama that was airing at the time called The Heirs at almost any possible moment we could during our Communications class. I realized even guys were into kdramas too!
There did come a moment though, a moment we probably have all gone through where we tried to quit kdramas. I tried to, I really did but no matter what, I kept coming back. Dramas are just these wonderful escapes from the real world, I had to learn to watch dramas in moderation, that is the key to success. If you watch them in moderation you can still enjoy a good drama and head to drama world, but still enjoy your real life too and make the most of your time!
In October of 2019, I finally took a trip to The Land of Kdramas, South Korea, and let me tell you, it looks just like the kdramas, so dreamy, picturesque and beautiful, the only thing missing was my leading man!
After coming back from South Korea, I have come to love dramas even more, because even if I am miles away in Southern California, I can escape for 2 hours to the place I wish I could call home!
So if you love Korean dramas as much as I do, please follow me along on this journey to spread that very love to everyone else who may still be missing out