My One Year KDrama Anniversary

I’ve been keeping an eye on all my favorite and new Kdrama shows, I’ve not posted as much about them individually as it consists of so many of them now.  In particular, I’ve been watching She’s So Lovable, featuring Rain, My Secret Hotel featuring Yoo In Na and Jin Lee Han, strangely enough I have also been watching High School Love On but for some weird reason that show kind of  peaks my interest. Maybe it’s because of the angelic aspect of it that I find intriguing.  I looooooove Discovery of Love with Eric Mun, he’s a creeper, and if you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know what I mean when I say he ‘creeps up on you’. I think Plus Nine Boys is also funny, and I completed all 16 episodes of It’s Okay, That’s Love, which was a neat little drama and sad all at the same time. I even managed to squeeze in Marriage, Not Dating (so funny), I started a few episodes of I Love You Don’t Cry, but I’m not sure I’ll complete that one, Because there’s 132 episodes.

What’s funny about not wanting to watch 132 episodes is I used to complain about 16 episodes and 20 episode dramas being too short. And now if I see any series that’s more than 30 episodes I don’t want to get into it because it’s going to take too long to finish. I think I’ve been spoiled in figuring out how everything is going to end. So much so that now, I wait until a drama is completely done, and then I’ll go and watch them by doing a marathon for maybe two weekends. I call it my microwave sessions. Not the length of time it takes me to watch them, but for the amount of time it takes me to find out if there’s a happy ending or not.

After One Year – No More Tear Jerkers

I’ve also stayed away from too much of the tear-jerkers now, they are just too gut wrenching. I could always count on a So Ji Seob gut wrencher here and there.  But strangely enough I haven’t seen a lot of new shows from him or my other leading favorites – Song Seong Heon, Won Bin  or Hyun Bin.  Not saying they’re not doing any, I just haven’t seen any.  I know Song Seong Heon did a movie, with a little risqué scene and I can’t wait to see that, and I also know Hyun Bin did a movie as well at the beginning of the year, but I’ve not seen that online as yet.  I have seen quite a bit of Kim Woo Bin as I’m watching some of his older shows, and I’ve seen a ton with my favorite suit-rocker, Choi Jin Hyuk, and that makes me uber happy! I LOVED him in Emergency Couple and Fated to Love You.  He has managed to keep himself very busy.

One Year Kdrama Obsession

This November Thanksgiving will make my 1 year anniversary of my Kdrama addiction. I’ve gotten to the point now where I watch almost exclusively only kdramas in primetime. Maybe once every two weeks I’ll go to my TiVo and watch all my american shows that I’ve recorded to get caught up. I stay on top of the news through MSN because I’m on the computer all day working, so now my Korean has benefited a bit from all the Kdramas. No I can’t speak Korean fluently, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot more Korean than I did when I first started watching Kdramas, this does not include me taking any courses.

When I do go online and decide to teach myself something new, like the alphabet, and maybe a few choice words, it helps me tremendously because I am still watching Kdramas and I now can identify those words that I’ve learned in my courses. It’s also much easier for me to hear when a word begins and ends almost like it does with Spanish for me. It doesn’t mean that I know what they’re saying, but I can hear each word and I can know when a word starts and ends for the most part. I’m sure that’ll help when I do go and learn a new phrase or sentence or slang, that I can pick it out in the Kdramas because I know now what to listen for.

It also teaches me how people speak realistically.  I’d learned a Korean phrase “i geoseun eulmaimnika?” which means “how much is this” .  In a Kdrama, it was asked only as “eulmaimnika?” which means “how much” and is a heck of a lot easier, probably less formal, maybe. Now if I get a chance to visit there, I probably won’t use the longer version.

The process is amazing to me, and at first I chastised myself for waiting a year to learn anything, because I’m really not taking any classes right now. But if I were taking classes, I’m so confident that I would have a tremendous grasp of the language, given the amount of the language I hear every night for three or four hours. I really want to get to the point where I can watch the shows without any subtitles. And once I can do that with Korean, I may tackle Chinese. I’m very afraid of the Chinese language because it just seems so doggone hard. But then again when I first started watching Korean shows, I never in 1 million years thought that I would pick up anything because I didn’t think my tongue would be able to pronounce it.

The Amazing Brain

It makes me think in wonder and awe, of the human mind and it’s capabilities – that a person can go somewhere and learn another language without any formal training. It also makes me respect even more individuals that come to this country without knowing a single lick of English and speaking the language – maybe not with the best enunciation or dialect, but they try and they conquered and I respect that.  Learning Korean the way I am is making me understand just how hard the English language must be for someone on the eastern side of the world. Everything’s the opposite, the sentence structure, they way they use their alphabet to write words, sometimes it’s stacked.  They too will now have to learn another alphabet, they too will have to learn the different slang in addition to the formal structure of the language. The English language also pronounces letters and combinations in so many different ways for no good reason (think “Thyme” and “These”, or “Thyme” and “Time” or “psyche” …..can someone tell me why there’s a “p” there?…… even though I know some words are latin based?)

The Korean language also makes me realize that we too have a formal version of our language as opposed to a casual version of our language, and then there’s slang. Think “crib”, and we’re not talking about babies, “hood” and we’re not talking about cars.  I don’t pay attention to all this as much, maybe because it just comes natural. I wouldn’t call a stranger that I  never met by his first name, unless instructed to, we think of that as being polite, and I realize I’ve taken all of this for granted, as well as the fact that it’s taken me umpteen years to learn it all to take it for granted.

Love and Regret

Even as a youngster, I always had a strong love and interest for any language other than my own, if I were to do it all over again, I would follow the path that I have planned for myself, which was to live for a minimum of 3 to 5 years in at least four different foreign countries to learn the language and cultures of each place. I never got the opportunity to start that, life happened, and that is one of my regrets. However,  I have an opportunity to do it in a different way through all the technology we have today, and I’ll see how it turns out.  Many people are going to places like Korea by teaching English as a second language, unfortunately for me I’m not able to do that. But if I had the time and the opportunity, I absolutely, definitely, would have done that right now because I am adventurous that way.  Many will say it’s not too late, and I tend to agree with them, but at this stage in my life, I would rather not uproot my life for a two+ years adventure of that kind. If I could find a job (not an airline steward) or start a business that involves traveling to safe locations I would do it in a heartbeat.

My Love/Hate Relationships

But enough of my regrets, back to my Kdramas. If I were at an awards ceremony, I would thank Google for inventing the neatest little contraption called the Google Chromecast.  That thing has allowed me to watch these Kdramas like any other TV show on my flat screen TV, all while being able to control it from my iPhone, iPad, or laptop.  And all for a one time purchase fee of $39 which is the cost of the product to put in the back of my TV. I am in awe of the simplicity of it and I love it.

No More DramaFever?

I’ve also made-up and broken-up with some of my favorite Korean TV websites. I started out with Hulu.com and DramaFever.com, but right now I am a little disappointed in their service.  So I’m now in love with Vicki.com, and I’m waiting for Kdrama.com/Soompi to get their Chromecast app together, because I love the ease of their iPad app.

I think that’s my issue with DramaFever.com – I use to pay premium fees to get zero commercials and some of the shows worked well with the iPad/Chromecast and others do not. And I never know when that is going to occur. I’ve tried to contact their support and I get an auto response thanking me for sending them an email and then – nothing!   If I’m going to spend even $.01 for something with bad customer service, I’d like that thing to work correctly all the time. There’s a certain cable company that has one of the fastest internet service speeds out there, but they’re notorious for God-aweful customer service. However, you can’t knock their product.  I have their service, and when I switched from another popular phone company that provides internet service, to this cable company, I began to experience the beauty of my lightning fast Macbook Pro with lightning fast internet.  I was able to watch on demand – truly on demand –  with no more waiting to download – but I can’t get my DramaFever app to cast my favorite shows 100% of the time and other apps can? And that’s where my disappointment comes in with DramaFever.com.

Hulu.com’s Premium Service

I actually learned about DramaFever.com through Hulu.com, and while I love Hulu.com, I don’t want to pay for a premium service and still have to listen to commercials, that’s my challenge with Hulu. And so I will continue to watch Hulu on my computer, I won’t be able to watch extended views of shows that I like to marathon, but I can live with that. I guess Netflix spoiled me, I pay my money with Netflix, I get HQ quality all the time, no commercials ever, and their product works with Chromecast so well and consistently and I just want my Korean TV sites to do the same.  To be honest, if Netflix streamed all the full library of Kdramas that Hulu, DramaFever or Viki had, I would never use any other site.

When I finally find that combination, I will never leave and I will be loyal to the end and pay whatever amount they want me to pay.  I must say that the one thing that I do love about DramaFever.com is the fan pages of the artists where you can get all your information about your favorite Korean stars and the detailed information on the shows. I love that about DramaFever.com.  As a matter of fact when I’m looking for information on shows and artists I still go back to DramaFever.com but I don’t watch any shows from them anymore – maybe once every 3 or 4 weeks, maybe something that I can’t find on Viki.com or Kdrama.com.

Commercial Hell

Finally, ALL – and I do mean all – the online TV sites TORTURE you with their commercials.  Now, understand that I hate commercials with a passion and the invention of TiVo was the best thing since sliced bread. But online you cannot avoid them (at least I don’t know how yet).  They interrupt my show suspense at the worst times, but I understand why they are a necessary evil.  On regular TV they are loud and obnoxious and 4 to 5 minutes of commercials is just way too long.  But – I never thought I’d say this – the good thing about commercials on TV is they give you a variety.  Online TV sites will kill you with 3 minutes of 1 commercial – over and over and over and over……you get the picture.  I’m here to tell you, your sales department, and the advertisers –  that torture has the opposite effect.  When I HAVE to listen to something I don’t want to, when it’s not funny at all but salesy as heck, and I have to hear it six times in 3 minutes, I am done with that product forever.  I don’t want it, don’t want to see it, it plants a negative in my psyche.  I’m not being cheap, some sites still has commercials even when you pay premium.

Finally, PUUUHLEASE, if we have to be tortured with repetitive, unwanted commercials, for the love of Lee Min Ho, break for commercials in a natural place in the show.  All shows are filmed to accommodate scene changes for commercials.  Why in goodness name do these online sites break for a commercial in the middle of a sentence, a slap, a kiss, a revelation, and then – Bam!…. 3 – 4 minutes of the same repeat commercial hell.  If your goal is to make the viewing experience so awful that you want to force us to pay premium, newsflash – there’s a lot of competition out there.  I never knew there were so many online TV sites.  But I must say Kdrama.com (now SoompiTV) does it right.  They break in the perfect spot for commercials, and they usually do about 2 to 3 commercials, even with a bit of variety. That’s very tolerable for someone like me that hates commercials with a passion.

Hey, I’m just a member of the “peanut gallery” bitchin’ after one year.

Happy 1 year anniversary to me!

Happy New Year, K Drama Lovers
Song Ga Yeon Debut Fight Stunner!

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