[Now Listening] The Korean-American Rainy Day Remix

Korea Rain

Yes San Diego, its raining, and no its not the end of the world (even though the traffic on the 805 and 15 appear as if it is). I present to you something connecting the current weather to Korea… Presenting Tiffany from SNSD singing a cover of the hit song “Umbrella”

And although this is not KPop,   as a Pacific Northwesterner it is my obligation to play our region’s national anthem.  Presenting “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” from Garbage. That’s right, we in the Northwest embrace the darkness, the melancholy,  the feeling of wet socks after stepping in a puddle is cathartic, windshield wiper squeals send us to nirvana,  and we create the most expensive and addictive coffee on the planet!!!

(picture taken from flikr.com digitalmeowmix’s photostream)

kJ Choi Leads at Farmers in SD

It was even more of a mystery for Choi.

He is not a regular at Torrey Pines and decided not to come last year until he heard from his host family in San Diego that the South Korean community wanted to see him play. Choi put on quite a show. He finally got some height and spin into shots while warming up on the range, and he converted that into the best round on the South.

He ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine — he started on No. 10 — and no shot was more pleasing than a wedge into a light crosswind on the 15th hole that settled inches from the cup.

“Best shot ever on the South Course — ever,” he said, grinning.

Save the Date! April 27th – Be at the Hollywood Bowl!

The Korea Times Music Festival is Coming!

KTMFSaturday, April 27th, 6pm the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles will be host to the 11th Annual Korea Times Music Festival. Featuring a wide array of Korean musical styles, the evening is well worth the modest ticket prices. Among last year’s line-up were MBLAQ, the Brown-Eyed Girls, Lena Park, Bobby Kim, Buga Kingz, Kim Kyung Ho and a special reunion of G.O.D. To stay apprised of ticket sales, go to the Korea Times Music Festival Official website (note: 2012 info is still posted) :

http://www.koreanmusicfestival.com/

The list of performers is released slowly beginning sometime in March. To get the latest info on what stars will be performing, AllKPop seems to get the latest, fastest!

http://www.allkpop.com/

Friday Drama Review: “Missing You” – Why did it Have To End?

missing youThe words “Final Episode” appeared as an unwelcome guest at a party. OK, maybe it was not the usual convivial, ‘cocktails-raised-in-cheer’ type party, but nonetheless, I was unprepared for the series to end. “Missing You” had me engrossed in its heartrending episodes.

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

At 15, Soo Yeon (Kim So Hyun), the daughter of a murderer is a social outcast. She is befriended by Jung Woo (Yeo Jin Ku) and the two become emotionally inseparable. A horrific event separates the two.

A decade later Jung Woo (played by Park Yoo Chun) is now a detective. His driving force has been his belief that Soo Yeon (Yoon Eun Hye) is alive and he will find her. Soo Yeon returns as an established fashion designer with Hyung Jun (Yoo Seung Ho), an emotionally damaged, wealthy fund manager who has been her only family since her escape from death.

Script/Acting: My rating 8/10

I have yet to see anything with Park Yoo Chun or Yoon Eun Hye that I didn’t like. When I saw that the two would be appearing together, I knew this drama would be a must-see. I was not disappointed. Their acting skills are superior. I will admit that I was more impressed with Park missing you2Yoo Chun than Yoon Eun Hye in this particular production. I think the character was too dark for her to play effectively. Kim So Hyun and Yeo Jin Ku were fabulous as the young couple as well. Her dark, brooding personality with flashes of hope played well off of Yeo Jin Ku’s bright smiles.

A certain amount of predictability is to be expected in a melodrama, and ‘Missing You’ certainly contained all of the key elements: star crossed lovers, misunderstood intentions, grieving parents. An interesting element in this script found in very few Korean dramas was the main character’s (Jung Woo’s) willingness to abandon his appalling father, Han Tae Joon, flawlessly played by Han Jin Hee. In this drama he is a man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, so I for one, have no issues with Jung Woo leaving the man behind, but for this to happen in a Korean drama is unusual at best.

I was also honestly surprised when I saw “Final Episode” at the beginning of episode 21. It’s not that there were so many loose ends that could not be effectively cleared up (they were), but it seemed there were avenues that we could still go down and, really, I just wasn’t emotionally prepared for it to end. Sigh. I guess it is a good thing that a drama leaves me wanting more?

Cinematography: My rating 9/10

Lots of flashback scenes were used, but I found it less irritating than in some dramas because they were necessary to the plot and they were often creatively constructed. There was an unusual amount of auditory creativity – not just in the music, but in creative use of auditory cuing. (i.e. The use of the sound of Hyun Jun’s cane and shoes.) Visually, the filming is dramatic – the lighting, the sets. Everything seemed to contribute well to the overall experience.

Music: My rating 8/10

Great music! “Tears Are Falling” (WAX) is a sweet, sad song that will bring tears to your eyes when you hear it after watching the drama. The second single, “Just Look at You” (Jeong Dong Ha) is equally sad and sweet. Italianesque classical guitar permeated the acoustic soundtrack and I’m hoping it will be released at some point as the music is absolutely gorgeous. So far, nothing is available on iTunes. YouTube has the two main songs, though.

Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10

There were so many really wonderful ‘non-main’ characters throughout the drama that really contributed to charisma and success of ‘Missing You’. “Wifey”, Jung Woo’s police partner; “Lover”, Soo Yeon’s mom and caretaker of Jung Woo; Hyun Jun’s psychotic mother. Along with the main cast, they all contributed to team that worked well together.

The final word? If you hate melodramas, you’re going to hate this because you’ll be teary-eyed from episode 1. I was actually amazing that I was that engaged from the get-go, but I honestly went through several boxes of kleenex on this one, folks. Need a cathartic release? This is just the ticket.

Happy Drama Watching!

I-Miss-You-Poster3

He he he he…  For those wondering why Friday’s Drama review was published on Wednesday? Well, you see, aliens landed  in my back yard, and somehow, after running around in their spacecraft, the time-space continuum was altered, and I was a little confused, and, well, you know how those sorts of days go.   CD

Friday Drama Review: “May Queen” – A Dramatic Voyage

May-QueenKim Jae Won, who earned my respect in the 2011 drama “Can You Hear My Heart”, drew my attention to this drama. The excellent performances put in by top youth actors and a top shelf cast of characters kept me hooked. Unpredictable twists and turns continued throughout keeping the viewers guessing throughout the entire drama.

Storyline/Synopsis: My rating 8/10

May Queen 38 episode epic tale of three families who fates are tied together in the shipbuilding industry. A ruthless man, Lee Duk Hwa as Jang Do Hyeon, kills his friend, marries his friend’s wife (Yang Mi Kyung as Lee Geum Hee) and subjects the witness to a life of servitude as a butler in exchange for his life. The hapless wife loses not only her husband in the tragic event, but the evil man disposes of her infant daughter as well (he believes) in order to make her reliant on him and his children for comfort. Jang Do Hyeon’s ambition is to be a shipping magnate and to do so he destroys his competition, Hae Poong Shipbuilding run by veteran actor Go In Bum as Kang Dae Pyung.

The bulk of the drama centers around Chun Hae Joo, played by Han Ji Hye, the lost daughter of Lee Geum Hee, Park Chang Hee (Jae Hee), the butler’s son, and Kim Jae Won as Kang San, grandson to Kang Dae Pyung and would-be heir to the now-defunct Hae Poong Shipbuilding. Many axes to grind…

Script/Acting: My rating 8/10

At 38 episodes one might be concerned that there may be too much going on, too many side plots, too many tangents, etc. as can happen in many dramas. Worry not, dear drama fans, while there may be the odd slow scene or two, every single episode contributed to the final story.

Ahn Nae Sang, a fabulous actor, plays Chun Hong Chul, Hae Joo’s father. Yet another “Red-Shirt” part for him, this character was also too short–lived for my liking. Hae Joo’s other family members were also well played. Hateful characters were played deliciously hatefully. Moon Ji Yoon perfectly played an oppa that you really just wanted to slap upside the head for the majority of the drama. In fact, the whole family did an amazing job of making you crazy most of the time.

Jang Do Hyeon epitomized evil ambition. His ambition ruined his son Il Moon, who was an arrogant bully from childhood. (Both actors played their parks well: Seo Young Joo as young Il Moon and Yoon Jong Hwa as the damaged adult.) Sister In Hwa had a more difficult role, vacillating between spiteful and pitiful. Son Eun Seo managed the part well.

May-Queen-PosterThe real stars were the main trio: Chang Hee, successful but loyal, finally turned vengeful and losing most everything. While not as charismatic as the others, Jae Hee was brilliantly dramatic and was successfully convincing in his character turn-arounds. Han Ji Hye’s character stayed true blue to herself throughout the drama. Her dramatic scenes were inspiring. Not enough can be said about child actress Kim Yoo Jung who played the young Hae Joo. I have seen her in several dramas now and this girl is truly an amazing actress! The most charismatic part went to Kim Jae Won who was completely adorably as Kang San. His upright character and sweetness would have won over any girl. The young Kang San (Park Ji Bin) also put in a fine performance.

Adorable couple award goes to Lee Hoon as Prosecutor Yoon Jeong Woo and Kim Ji Young as Lee Bong Hee. Their antics kept me giggling throughout the drama.

Cinematography: My rating 7/10

The cinematography was good. There was nothing spectacular and the shipping yards showed no signs of change over the years, which was a continuity issue. However, the sets and costuming were good.

Music: My rating 6/10

“Goodbye to Romance”, kind of an old-fashioned feeling song, was not one of my favorite songs, but it was appropriate to the script. Kan Jong Wook’s “39.5” is a beautiful, poignant song that also fits well with theme. Choi Won Hee  has a lovely piano piece that’s worth listening to.

Overall Charisma: My rating 8/10

The characters were very strong and very well played. The actors used in this drama seem to have been chosen with real care as they were all extremely well suited to their parts and played well off each other.

Taking a look at cultural differences between what American sensibilities would call for verses Korean values, brings into question a number of decisions made by the lead character Hae Joo in particular. The first is her unwavering respect, understanding and sympathy towards the mother who mistreats her so terribly in her youth. Despite constant abuse, Hae Joo continues to work her hardest to help support her family and assist her mother in any way possible. She meekly accepts all criticism. This kind of acquiescence is not tolerated in American culture or is seen as a weakness. In Korean culture, however, respect for one’s elders is a given. Granted, Hae Joo’s saint-like ability to cheerfully turn the worst circumstances into better situations undoubtedly not the norm, but that is what makes her character admirable. Hae Joo also chooses to stay with the abusive and/or useless members of the family when her only supporter dies – her father. Once again, after the loss of her only emotional support, a non-Korean girl would have high-tailed it for the next county, but Hae Joo stayed on to take over her father’s job as the responsible member for caring for the family. Even when she and the family discover that they are not blood related, at this point even Korean people would give up, as bloodlines are extremely important. Once again, Hae Joo chooses that family that “suffered together” as her “real family”.

Overall, this is definitely a hard-core dramatic piece with comic relief sprinkled in here and there. Have a handkerchief handy. From the beginning. Really. The characters worm their way into your heart quickly and it is easy to empathize with their stories. Sorry to be so long-winded on this one, but there was too much I couldn’t leave out!

Happy Drama Watching!

May-Queen-11

Korea Goes Loco for the Taco Bell Bulgogi Combo

Bulgogi Combo

Introducing the Infamous Taco Bell Bulgogi Combo in Korea.  This meal features a Fiesta Bulgogi Taco, Grilled Bulgogi Burrito and Soft Drink.  The Fiesta Bulgogi Taco contains lettuce and fiesta salsa (what makes this “party salsa” I’m not too sure of ), and the Grilled Bulgogi Burrito appears to have shredded melty cheese, and fiesta salsa both of which containing what appears to be the most photogenic beef advertising can pay for.

This KKonnecter hopes this is better than the “Loaded Potato Griller” Taco Bell rolled out a few weeks ago  (A pocket full of liquid cheese and cream cheese, and a few potatoes is not “Living Mas”…Unless Mas means “Mas Health Problems”…. Stick to the Bean Burrito Fresco)

-Fateh K.

Kkonnect goes to ‘The Tower’!

Last Sunday the 13th, Kkonnect staff, Cheryl, Jini and Natalie enjoyed the latest Korean film to show at AMC Fashion Valley. ‘The Tower’ was a captivating disaster movie which kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Korean films really know how to get to everyone’s emotions! Filled with a star-studded cast and amazing acting, this terrifying movie also included a nice comic relief occasionally to lighten the mood a little. Ultimately, Kkonnect definitely recommends watching this movie before its last showing this Thursday.