Thursday, October 26, 2006

Collectables

The long weekend holiday kept me busy and this posting took longer than usual... 미안헤요.

I think it started with Autumn in my Heart and boomed with Winter Sonata. Now, almost every single drama with potential to make it big, has them.

Collectables... from Korean dramas.

At the peak of Winter Sonata, thousands of women went out to get a Polaris necklace. I know quite a few of the small jewellers here in Singapore were producing copies of it faster than you can say “BYJ” and at a fraction of the actual price.

A quick check through Yesasia and Perfect Love, a Korean jewellery website, revealed Korean drama/ movie jewellery galore. Obviously, some are more well known than others like the couple necklace worn by Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo in Stairways to Heaven.



Some others... I was puzzled and had to crack my brains and try and remember. Did Ha Ji Won wear this in What Happened in Bali? Hmmm.

Of course, it's not limited to just fashion accessories. At one point last year, a very lovable pig made it to the 'must-buy' list. The pig from My Name is Kim Sam Soon cost a cool US$70. The pig really tormented Ji Heon though. Hehehe! But how come the Sam Shik pig is more expensive than the Sam Soon pig?

                                         

And we can't forget Alfred, can we? If you don't know who Alfred is, read here

Many of these products are sponsored by companies and are likely to be expensive. For eg, the polaris necklace was originally especially made by Golden Dew for the drama, Winter Sonata. There were 2 versions being sold at that time. The more expensive one was 18k silver, with small diamonds and cost Kr446,000won then. Up till today, it is still being sold and at the last count, there are at least 4 versions in the market ranging from the ultra expensive to the very affordable.




Again, some things are beyond my understanding... like boxing gloves cushion from A Love to Kill. Huh? I supposed it is Rain related.

But besides these collectables, there are a million other things in a drama that always catches a fan's eyes. That's why companies compete to be involved when there's a popular artiste (read: Korean Wave artiste) involved. In the latest issue of Asta TV (Oct), there's an article called Product Placement Revealed and it has some pretty interesting information.

Eg, car sponsorship can cost around 50,000 – 100,000. Perhaps it's no wonder that most dramas will feature some rich man/ woman. Because seriously, don't we all lust after such cars? Even if we can't afford them, it's still good to drool over them, even better if there's a hot guy in the car. Who could forget Lee Dong Gun driving his red hot BMW in Yurihwa/Stained Glass. Gosh, the car was hot and he was even hotter then. Obviously, not many people can rush out to buy a BMW immediately but hey, it's a nice dream, right?

And this being Korea, handphones are big and according to the article.. different phones/ brands are used for different age groups. Eg:
teenagers- SKY
early 20's to 30's – Anycall
late 20's and above- Motorola

Hey, what about the 40'ers? I supposed there aren't many hot stars that are above 40 years old. : (

In What Star are you From, (read my review here), there were fans enquiring the type of phone being used by KRW.. which was a Sky phone (a CDMA phone with portable media player!) But wait a minute, I thought SKY was meant for teenagers?

                             

And clothes... ahh... clothes... they are so important... Somehow though, all these actors seemed to be able to wear just any rainbow colours. Pink, purple, blue yellow etc? Just think of Park Shin Yang in Lovers in Paris. His suits really caught my eye and from there I found out about the brand Maestro. Hehe! I paid a visit to this store in my trip to Korea last year. But it is really expensive and I felt as if I should have been carrying my Gucci bag when I shop in there (not that I have a Gucci bag).

                                     

PPL isn't limited to just products but also locations as well. But I guess I'll leave that to another posting.

Sometimes, the products aren't expensive. The scarf used by BYJ in Winter Sonata was bought for 2,000 won in dongdaemoon. Of course there's the opposite end where the Frank Muller watch that he was wearing cost $?????? (I lost count of the zeros)

How to wear the scarf... if you did buy one. ^^ --->

But if you're lusting after those costume jewellery that you see the actresses wearing in the drama and don't know where to get them, well you may want to check out Ros's online fashion site-.

I believe the latest hot things are jewellery from the very hot drama, Jumong

Strangely, I seemed to have collected a large number of stuff.... Of course, my husband comments that these 'collectables' are collecting dust....

                             

Still, I wouldn't mind having one of this:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Which Star are You From?/ What's Your Star?

Which Star are You From
Cast: Kim Rae Won (Choi Seung Hui), Hung Ryeo Won (Lee Hye Su/ Kim Bok Sil/ Lee Hye Rim), Kang Jung Hwa (Yun Mi Yeon), Park Si Hu (Han Jeong Hun)
Director: Pyo Min Soo (Full House)
Synopsis


I finally managed to finish Which Star Are You From after many weeks...

It's not that the acting was bad.

It's not the Kim Rae Won and Jung Ryu Won has no chemistry

Nobody died (well, sort of).

Nobody had amnesia.

No vague brother/ sister relationship.

The 3rd parties weren't that irritating.

And it has a happy ending too (just in case you are wondering)

So why did it take such a long time? Hmm... I guess because the storyline wasn't that compelling and there was still that certain little spark lacking to make this a “I-must-watch-till-5am- drama”.

I do like the chemistry between the 2 'Wons'. It was what made me watch when I first caught sight of it early this year. I was really attracted by their ease with each other. Perhaps because both of them portray a sunny disposition. This chemistry continued throughout the drama which makes it a pleasure to watch.

               

But the storyline is somewhat a little dull and there are little surprises. Whilst I like the fact that they affirmed their love for each other quite early on (instead of dragging on like in Full House) I find the relationship development not quite well fleshed out. I mean, it's not every convincing to me how 2 people from different world (except for the fact that she looks very much like his dead girlfriend) fell in love so quickly.

And as much as I love happy scenes, me doth think there was a touch too many of these running/ cycling/ laughing in the meadows/ field etc.

But both their acting has improved tremendously, in particular Kim Rae Won. He's lost weight and is slim and fit, no doubt due to his previous movie (Mr Socrates). There is a certain maturity and stability in his good looks. He's certainly come a long way since I first saw him in My Love Pattzi (where he stole the limelight from Kim Jae Won).

He's able to convey a lot more emotion through just his eyes or facial expression and he's still funny when he has to be.

Two scenes from him stand out in my mind:
When he was having a meal with Bok Shil and in his drunken state.. he starts imagining she is Hye Su. The crying scene in the toilet was one of great sorrow.






In the last episode, when he and Bok Shil fought in the street and 'broke up'. After they turned away from each other, that little gesture of frustration and temper was really cute. (Gif from soompi, WSAUF thread)

But KRW is one busy man. His new movie is about to be shown... with Huh Lee Jae as the leading actress (read here to find out who she is). And he's preparing for his new drama, Gourmet (originally a Japanese drama). He's definitely working hard.. I wonder if he regrets doing movies like Plum Blossom now. And if you don't know what that is...I don't think you want to spoil your impression of him by watching such a movie.

Like I said, he's matured a lot. ^^ A couple of years back, I saw him in Singapore? He was in Bintan to do a magazine shoot and passed through Singapore. We were at the Taneh Merah ferry terminal to see him (not many Korean artistes passed through our shores back then). Altogether there were only about 20 of us, not many really. But I think he was caught by surprise with our appearance and was casually dressed after a long hard day of shooting. He was literally surrounded by strangers that he could not communicate with... Don't know where his manager was. It's no wonder that he was stressed and didn't appear very friendly. However, I would also count it as age and experience on how to handle such a situation. I think he would know better now should he ever be in such a state again. ^^

It would seemed he's determind to prove his worth as an actor judging from his last 2 movies.
Trailer for Sunflower


As for Jung Ryeo Won, I was pleasantly surprised by her acting in here as I wasn't too impressed with her in My Name is Kim Sam Soon. I thought she carrried off her role as a dorky, out-spoken and brave country girl very well.

I like the scene where she crying her heart out after seeing Seung Hui unexpectedly (after breaking up due to her mother's objection) and realising that she still misses and loves him a lot. Thank goodness she didn't wail..but instead she managed to sound as if her heart was breaking into a thousand pieces.

I just found out that she used to date Jun Jin (wow!) and she's had plastic surgery done (not that surprising in Korea). She's also a singer according to the profile. Hmmm....

Is this worth watching? I would say it's ok and worth a watch.. if only because of Kim Rae Won and the chemistry between the 2 leads. And oh... some interesting facts...

- It was originally supposed to be called 'Princess' but was changed because a similar sounding titled drama “Princess Lulu” didn't do well.
- It was fighting with the much anticipated Spring Waltz from PD Yoon.
- The writing team (I think) of Spring Waltz moved over to WSAUF.

What can I say?.. Kim Rae Won looks really good here.

                         

I really like the songs in the drama.

MVs:-
Miracle
Love you

Clips:-
Dialogue in last ep
NGs
(with him playing on the piano)
KRW singing
KRW played on the piano and sang "You Are Born to be Loved" in ep 11. ^^ Wonder why they seemed to like to have a guy playing on the piano and playing for the girlfirend. I think LIP started this trend.

Another reason for visiting Jeju Island.. isn't this beautiful?


--OST

-- Asta TV May issue, enquire at qingsmedia@gmail.com






Wonder what should I watch next....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dreaming of Autumn.... in Korea

Ahhh... Autumn...

The crisp cool air...the beautiful golden foliage....taking a walk amongst the great nature....all wrapped up in a big warm jacket and cool-looking boots.... Isn't it a wonderful dream....

Unfortunately..it really is. Because for the last couple of weeks, the air here has a burning smell....everything is enveloped in a haze...I've been wearing t-shirts and shorts as much possible because of the humidity... and don't even tell me about going outdoors.

The weather over at Seoul is a high of 21C and a low of 15C, with occasional showers. Over here, it's a high of 34C and a low of 25C, with no sign of any rain in the next couple of weeks.


But I can dream still right?


Korea's Autumn Leaves by Tom Coyner He has some amazing photos!

KNTO has some really nice suggestions on where to go during Autumn, including within Seoul. Click here to look at them.

                     
I love the red jacket but can you imagine wearing any of the above right now? I'll become baked pizza in no time.



And since I'm dreaming......I might as well dream further and bigger...... hehehe!^^

                             



Remember Autumn in My Heart (가을동화)? The first of the season series by PD Yoon? I think this was a prelude to the Korean Wave. Both the actors, Song Seung Heon and Won Bin will be out of the army soon. Time sure flies by quickly.



Synopsis
Autumn in my Heart MV



Sigh... I want to go Korea. 한국에 너무 가고싶어요.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Goong 2/ Prince Hours

Well, I guess the publicity for Goong/ Princess Hours in Singapore is still on going. There's actually a full page interview with Kim Jung Hoon (Yul goon) in yesterday's Straits Times. Well, as we all know none of the main casts from Goong 1 will be in the second season.

Guess what, they've finally confirmed the casts for Goong 2 or Prince Hours.

Yes, it's not going to be Princess Hours... because well, it'll be about a prince entering the Palace. And after weeks of speculation... Se7en (Choi Dong Wook) has finally confirmed he will be in it.

The synopsis:

Lee Hoo is a delivery boy working in a Chinese restaurant. Though poor, he has a sunny and optimistic disposition. He frequently delivers food to the Palace. And then, one day... he discovers he's actually a Prince! That's when the fun begins... with Prince Hours. Apparently, this story was inspired by a real story in Korea history.

The cast:

Lee Hoo- Choi Dong Wook/ Se7en
Lee Hoo... is a normal delivery guy, who one day discovers that he is not so normal after all... he has Royal blood in him. Just like Goong 1, much will be made of the contrast in his life before and after entering the Palace.

Se7en is young but he's been in the showbiz for 4 years as a singer. This will be his first step into acting (like I said... actors are becoming singers...singers are becoming actors etc... not that I'm complaining). I've not bought his album, so I can't really comment. He will be releasing his 4th album end of this month. He's also planning to enter the US market and will be performing there this month... Looks like he's going to be very busy for the next few months.

MV- Passion
      Come back 2 me (I like the dog a lot)
      Song in drama Smile Again

Hmm... except for the last one, I just realised that I do know the other 2 songs. Much comparison has been made between him and Rain. You will have to make your own judgement about this.

                                       

Yang Soon Ae- Huh Lee Jae
From the character synopsis, I guess she's a childhood friend of Lee Hoo. And probably girlfriend of this newly discovered prince. She too has a sunny disposition.. perhaps a little dreamy?

Huh Lee Jae (as it is written on BOF's website) is an artiste under BOF. She's been dubbed as a younger sister of Kim Tae Hee and it's not difficult to see why... they've both got big, beautiful eyes (So jealous!). I'm glad to see BOF's artistes going places.. ^^

Her latest movie, Sunflower is with Kim Rae Won. Sunflower will be released in November. You can see her in the movie's press conference

                                       

Kang Doo- Lee Joon
He's the prince to start with... till this other prince Lee Hoo came in. Like Shin goon, he's been trained to be a prince all his life.. so I can expect similar traits like being cold and politically correct.

I can't really find much information about this guy as he's quite new. I only know that he's in the 3rd season of Hello Francesca (a quirky show about a group of vampires who boarded the wrong ship and ended up in Korea)

                                       

Park Shin Hye- Shin Sae Ryung
Wealthy, smart, pretty... and ambitious. From the synopsis, I'm guessing she's going to fall for Lee Hoo, even though this prince is everything that she doesn't expect a prince to be.

I last saw her in Heaven's Tree (unfortunately, SBS doesn't have a English site, so this is in Korean). And though she put up a credible performance in the drama (I quite like the drama and I really like Lee Wan in it), she was way too young for this role. I'm sure you know that both she and Lee Wan were in Stairways to Heaven...

And oh... Heaven's Tree was fighting with Goong back then.....though of course it wasn't much of a fight lah...

                                       

Filming will start in November and will air on MBC in January 2007.

Will it spark another craze? Hmm... who knows... guess we'll have to wait till Jan 2007....



Soompi already has a thread on this drama, you can go here to read about it. Credit to cecilia and sandy @ purpletiger86 at soompi for the information and above picture.

*Edit- I've just found out that Marrisa has blogged about Huh Lee Jae too... hehe! Read it here

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bibimbap- 비빔밥

Some years ago, when I became a fan of Bae Yong Joon, I started to take an interest in all things Korean, including Korean food. Joon's Family organised a Korean cooking class at one of the CC and we learnt kimchi and kong namul (곤나물). Obviously, I never harboured any dreams of making kimchi but I thought I could at least do the bean sprout dish.

I was wrong.

I can only say that my husband took one look at the sad-looking bean sprouts and stayed far away from it. I've not attempted to do any Korean food since then (unless you count cooking instant Kimchi noodle).

Well, on Sunday, I finally attempted once again to enter the world of Korean food. I cooked bibimbap.

In all honesty, this is not the hardest dish to do. But still, I wanted to be sure and so I consulted not one but two cookery books. ^^ (kiasu lah) The one on the left is published by Hollym (available in Kinokuniya) and the other is free from KNTO Singapore.

                                             

Both recipies are quite similar. They used a lot of sesame oil, sesame seed and salt. As for vegetables used, both recipes are similar too, with just some minor differences. Frankly, in a dish like bibimbap, you can generally use almost any vegetables, though there will be some staple ones like cucumber and bean sprouts.

In my case, I used:
carrots
cucumber
bean sprouts (I couldn't get the mung bean sprouts in the market which would have been better)
shitake mushroom
french beans

Most of the ingredients just needs seasoning with sesame seeds, sesame oil and salt. I added garlic as well. For the cucumber and mushroom especially, squeeze out the excess water. Then stir fry all the ingredients individually except the bean sprouts, which should be boiled.

I wanted to buy Korean rice but almost had a heart attack when I saw the price. So I used the Japanese rice instead. It's still more expensive than the normal Thai rice. Has anyone tried the imported Korean rice? Is it better?



I think the most important thing was the seasoning of the hot pepper paste. This is what the recipe from the KNTO booklet said:
To make seasoned red pepper paste, combine 4 T hot pepper paste, 1 T sugar, 1 T sesame seeds and 2 t sesame oil and then mix them well.

I didn't exactly follow the recipe to the core but just did it according to my taste. I think it's probably better that way.

I think it turned out pretty well. Hehe!



For information on this simple, humble, highly nutritious dish, check out here

A couple of interesting sites on food:
Tour2Korea
Life in Korea

and both these two have started a special food blog... We really live to eat...haha!

Jos- Jos Loves Food
Yokee- Yokee's Korean Rice Bowl

You know, in all the Korean dramas and movies that I've watched, it seems almost normal to take the left over rice from the fridge and mix it with kimchi, whatever's in the fridge and hot pepper paste. The food would have been cold and yet....how come it always looks so delicious when they eat it? Hmm....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

May I check in now?

Dong Hyuk- Can I check in now?
Jin Yung- May I ask how long will you be staying?
Dong Huk- Forever



A couple of months back, I saw some episodes of the HK drama, Revolving Doors of Vengence. It was set within a hotel and the opening scenes reminded me so much of Hotelier. Recently, bb posted an article about BYJ having what it takes to be a true hotelier. Then about 2 days ago, I received an email from the 'CEO' of Hotelier2002.com.

What can I say? Is it a sign to talk about this drama again, even though I've already mentioned about it once briefly here.

A quick check revealed that I've joined the website, Hotelier2002 on the 29th Jan 2003. That's coming to 4 years. A rather long time. Bu I've come to enjoy this 'hotel', probably because the 'guests' are all fans of the drama, Hotelier.... and not necessarily fans of Bae Yong Joon or Song Yun Ah.

And as I read some of the threads in the Hotelier, it brought back much memories, not just of the drama but also of my friendship with these guests. Indeed, some of the information and discussion on the site are such gems that I want to share them with you here.

From the Land of Morning Calm- Mission Impossible... Possible? TT, the hotel's 'CEO' went in search of the elusive lighthouse. I honestly don't know how she managed to do it.

From the Gallery section, there is the Cut Scene thread and one of the scene discussed was the kiss in Casablanca. Why was it cut? Because it wasn't required but BYJ was determined to do his job thoroughly after dismal acting on his part in the earlier kiss. bb has uploaded the clip here and you can find out more about what happened. hehe!

And then there are the X Files, which are well... X Files... questions that may never be solved....Read the discussion on Frank Shin's hairstyle here. It's hilarious as the guests analysed in earnest on the changes of Frank Shin's hairstyle as the drama progress. (actually, I didn't even notice about the changes till they raised it)

In the lobby section, there are 2 threads still ongoing.

One of them is The Most touching moment in Hotelier. For me, it would be the scene of SDH at the lighthouse, after meeting his father. SDH cut a very lonely figure with just the lighthouse, the sea and the song "Life is but s Dream". I really loved that song and have uploaded the original version here


The other is The funny things about Hotelier. Seems most of us are tickled pink (including me) with Manager Wu's comment about the “Penguin's (Manager Lee) legs being rather pretty. This was after a spat between the two of them where Manager Lee was called a penguin and manager Wu was called a wolf. The expression on Manager Wu's face was really funny.

Over the years, the guests at this 'hotel' have expanded onto other things and often we will go off-topic. Actually, we always go off-topic. hahaha! Extract from family...(now having tea)

Tiffany:
Ok, this is one very blur guest/ family member checking...
Did something happened ?
Or I guess I shouldn't ask...
Well, my husband's (or rather most English) solution to settling any argument- have a cup of tea.
Or martini also can, preferably with Frank Shin for company.

Firefly:
Help! Need traffic control in Casablanca....

Brad:
“I like a nice cup of tea in the morning
I like a nice cup of tea with my tea
And when it's time for bed... there's a lot to be said
For a nice..cup of tea!”

Jusash:
How can one drink a cuppa tea before bed?
All that caffeine....immunity? Or is it decaf?
Earl Grey after dinner is good, when the aftertaste of coffee doesn't appeal.


It was followed by about 6 pages on discussion of tea.

Some of the guests have left, some have gone on to other things, some have had babies but most of us still pop by every now and then, as we have become friends. ^^

BYJ too formed a firm friendship with Mr Lee (the ex CEO of BOF) whilst he was filming this in the States. When BYJ wanted to set up BOF, he invited Mr Lee to join him. Though Mr Lee is no longer the CEO there, I'm sure they are still good friends. It was also around this time that Manager Yang became his manager. And now Manager Yang is one of the director at KeyEast.

When BYJ filmed Hotelier, it was 2 years after his last drama, "Have We Really Loved". Some will say his acting was a little stiff after 2 years of absence. He himself was nervous.. as expected. But most of us love the coolness, aloofness and the hunter Frank Shin/ Shin Dong Hyuk... whether in work or in love. I remembered being so impressed when I see BYJ walking into the prison and when he was in the helicopter. I went like :"Wow! He is so different from Kang Jun sang in Winter Sonata". Although his English in the prison and the car was a little err....off. To this day, I still can't really figure out what he was saying in the car. But I know he tried very hard and he was pretty good in the later scenes. One day, I hope, really hope to hear him speak in English.

bb has written a comprehensive post on BYJ and the Hotelier Days. It's in Part 1 and Part 2 She's really put up a lot of information, photos, clips and links, so do go and read it if you haven't.

I've been to Sheraton Walker Hill twice, where the drama was filmed. And each time, I still get a thrill. Like WS, I can clearly remember each of the scenes being played at the various sites.

















































Clips to watch:
MVs-
The Day We Met
For Love


The church scene

The compassionate scene

The Casablanca kiss scene

The Swimming scene


Behind the scene

(BYJ mentioned that it took him 5 times before he could break the wine bottle)


The Diamond Villa dance scene





You have built a hotel in my heart