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Often when the general public discusses Korean popular culture, and the Hallyu Wave that rose from it, they are usually talking about K-pop front, right, and center. But did you know that, long before K-pop was popular among listeners and fans outside of Korea, it was Korean dramas that were breaking bank abroad? Among these Korean dramas was, most notably, Winter Sonata. This drama was a massive hit among the generation before us.
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But that was only the beginning for K-drama’s rise. They did take a bit of a back seat in the early 2000s to let the music industry expand and explore internationally. But almost every year, there seemed to be at least one Korean drama catching the attention of international viewers. There was Full House, Coffee Prince, Boys Over Flowers, and The Secret Garden, just to name a few, that were drawing the love of not just Koreans, but from other Asian countries as well. My Love from the Star, a Korean drama that was released a few years later, caused a frenzy among its Chinese viewers, even setting new trends and habits with the Chinese public interested in Korean popular culture.
However, as important and integral as the Asian audience as a whole has been to k-drama’s rise, it’s often said that you haven’t actually made it until you’ve made it with the West. And while Korean dramas had definitely made it in Asia, they were far from breaking through in Europe and in USA. Why is that?
One obvious answer to the question is the language barrier. Though the Western audience speaks far more languages than just English, none of them is exactly fluent in Korean. Unfortunate, since it’s a great way to learn the language. That, coupled with the lack of broadcasting deals with the local broadcasters, ensured that these Korean dramas were not even going to be broadcasted on any of the Western channels. In other words, they were only available online. And being available online only also meant that often there were no subtitles that readily came with it.
That started changing with DramaFever and Viki, plus a couple of other streaming services that followed. Not only did they offer streaming episodes from popular Korean dramas online, but they also came with subtitles. Each of these websites started off with fan made subtitles, with several Korean drama fans working together to ensure the highest quality and accuracy. Through sites such as these, the accessibility to Korean dramas became more widespread, and thus their viewership and popularity began growing more diverse. DramaFever unfortunately shut down recently, but Viki is still going strong, allowing its viewers dramas from other East Asian regions as well.
The services of the likes of DramaFever were largely what ensured that the Korean dramas could finally break through in Europe and USA. While they’re not yet as common spread as Hollywood produced contents, they are making waves, and they are gaining more and more viewers each passing day.
So, what exactly is so captivating about these Korean dramas for the hype of k-drama rise to take place? Though there are a variety of different types of dramas existing out there, from periodical dramas to medical and crime shows, the most popular genre among the Korean drama lovers is by far the love stories illustrated in at least one drama shown every night of the week. There are typically two different types of leads: the rich boy meets poor girl type, or the older woman meets younger guy type. And no matter how many times this simple basis is recycled, the audiences will gladly eat it up!
But while the basis may seem awfully similar every other time, there are still enough changes to each premise to make the Korean drama a whole new, fun watching experience. With all the ridiculous twists, turns, love triangles, and episode ending cliffhangers, it is not too far off to compare Korean dramas to telenovelas. However, it is not fair to the industry to say that every drama is formed around the same tropes, though it is correct in the case of many. After all, there are several that derive from the premise enough to bypass the comparison, such as My Love From Another Star. However, as the Korean drama loving audience also loves romance to an equal degree, it is extremely uncommon to see dramas without romance as the driving force, even if the settings may wildly change, from high school to historical eras.
That does not mean that all hope is lost for those who are not interested in romance. Over the years the Korean dramas have gotten more diverse, with new hospital and police dramas popping up all the time. They have even begun making Korean versions of popular American TV shows such as Criminal Minds!
Just a few years ago, there may have been a point in the recent years where the Korean dramas seemed to land in a rut, where innovation had gotten lost and instead the same formula was being used over and over again. But luckily for the fans of Korean dramas, it seems like the creators are getting their creativity back, having recently began coming up with great and more innovative Korean dramas again. One such example is The Goblin, which ran in early 2017.
Now that we’ve covered some of the history and current state of Korean dramas, we would love to hear from you. What is your favorite Korean drama? What is the upcoming drama you are most excited to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto
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This is a variation of the popular Korean/Japanese fried pork cutlet dish that uses chicken instead. The chicken is marinated in a soy/ginger/garlic sauce to give it deep flavor before breading and frying for a crispy finish.
The ingredients below are for 1-2 sevings and are approximate depending on the size of you chicken pieces.
- 1-2 Chicken breast, butterflied and thinly sliced
- 1 c flour or tempura flour
- 1 c bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt (optional)
- Cooking or Frying oil (enough to fill a pot if deep frying)
- ½ c soy sauce
- ½ c sugar
- ½ c water
- 1 T minced garlic
- ½ T minced ginger
- ¼ c ketchup
- ¼ c Worcestershire sauce
- 2 t soy sauce
- 1 t sugar
- Take a chicken breast and butterfly it, then slice it into pieces ¼-inch to ½-inch pieces.
- In a bowl or container, mix the marinade ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, water, garlic and ginger) and add the chicken pieces. Make sure the chicken is covered with the marinade. Cover and let marinate at least one hour, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
- On two separate plates, or in plastic bags, add the flour in one and bread crumbs to another. In a bowl, beat the eggs.
- Take a piece of marinated chicken and place it on the flour. Mix it thoroughly, making sure it is covered all around with flour.
- Move the flour-covered chicken piece to the egg dish and coat the piece with the egg mix.
- Now move the chicken piece to the bread crumbs and thoroughly cover with bread crumbs. Move covered piece to a plate and repeat for the remaining chicken.
- In a pot, add frying oil until it is about 1-to 2-inches deep. Turn on heat and allow the temperature to rise. Flick a bread crumb into the oil to test the temperature. It should sizzle moderately. If it doesn’t sizzle, turn the heat up. If it pops and reacts, lower the heat.
If you are pan-frying, heat the pan first, then add some cooking oil.
- Take a breaded piece of chicken and carefully add it to the hot oil. (CAUTION: Be careful not to drop water into the pot as this will cause boiling oil to splatter everywhere and risk injury).
- Turn the chicken piece over periodically, noting the color and firmness of the piece. It should be a golden-brown color when done.
- Drain and remove the cooked piece and place it on a paper-towel to rest. Repeat for the remaining pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix the Katsu sauce ingredients together (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar).
- Drizzle over the finished chicken katsu pieces, or serve in a small dipping dish on the side.
For a finishing touch, you can cut the chicken katsu pieces into thin strips and serve on a plate. Add some salad or cabbage salad with dressing on the side.Help support us. Scroll down for more content.
What do you think? Do you need to be in Korea to learn Korean? How about to a fluent level?
I debated this together with Sean Pablo, a fellow YouTuber from California. I took the side of saying that it's not necessary (for the purpose of having a debate), and Sean took the side of saying that it is necessary. We talked about the pros of living in Korea, and also why it might not be necessary (or is it?). Check it out~!
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So here’s what happened. I was all set to start blogging on the regular again, with my new, relaxed schedule — I even did a whole photoshoot for how to make pumpkin purée, but the file is still sitting there untouched on my desktop, because, one day in early November, while I was in the studio working on a recipe for pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, my old producer walked in.
She told me that she wanted me to come work on her new show with her. In exchange for going back to the radio station, I could work from home all but one day a week, and the most challenging part of the job — managing upwards of 20 guests per week — would be a nonissue, since the new show has no guests at all.
To be honest, keeping the shop open late into the evening and on weekends was really weighing on me. This is going to sound stupid, but I only got a dog once I went freelance for a reason. I don’t judge people who have no choice but to leave their pups home alone all day. Shit happens — I know that better than anyone, but I was really feeling guilty for keeping him in a pen for several hours a day. It’s part of why I quit the radio job in the first place. And dinner had become completely unmanageable. B has good intentions, but a chef he is not. He has tried his best, but cooking is stressful for him, which meant that, with me busy at the shop until 9pm, we were ordering in nearly every night, which, in addition to making me feel awful physically, gouged into the money I was making by being in the shop in the first place.
On top of that, walk-in business a the shop has slowed substantially since the weather has turned cold. It’s not a matter of not attracting enough people in — there just simply aren’t enough people walking past in the first place. In the summer, at least 50 people an hour would pass my studio, but now, I’m lucky if I see 50 people going past all day. The vast majority of my business at the moment is custom orders, and while I continue to waver on the issue, I’m inclined to pursue that as a more viable business model in the longterm. But building up that clientele will take time.
So the idea of working from home on my own schedule and earning one full paycheck while having all the flexibility I need to continue doing custom orders was very appealing. And the job in general is not the kind of work situation you come across here in Seoul every day. I really enjoy the content of the show, as well, which is always a bonus, so I decided to take my producer up on her offer.
But, in the lead-up to the Christmas/New Year/Lunar New Year holidays, our team has been cranking out nine shows a week — that’s nine two-hour scripts I’ve been writing per week, which is becoming fine now, but when I first started took up nearly as much time as a regular full-time job.
So. Excuses, excuses. I’m settling into the show format now, though, and hopefully soon we’ll be back down to just seven shows a week. I’ve shifted the blog to a format that I find less intimidating — more like traditional blogging, so I don’t feel so much pressure to pump out targeted content and can instead do more rambly bits like this, like I used to do.
My friends, it has been quite a year. It has been quite a couple of years, if you want to know the truth of it. There’s been lots of bad, if we’re being real (and we are), but there’s also been a lot of good. In some ways, I feel like I’ve returned to myself, or a part of myself that got lost a bit when I got so comfortable in my life here in Korea. Going into the new year, I feel like the blurred vision that inevitably results from barreling blindly forward is starting to come into focus, and I feel sharp, zeroed in. A lot of my recent past has been about surviving, and from the notes you all have left me, it seems like I’m not alone in that. But I hope it’s time to move beyond it.
Today, if you don’t know, is the winter solstice — the shortest day of the year, and the longest night, otherwise known as Yule, which is the basis for Christmas. It’s a symbolic day, because while it represents the world at its darkest point, it also marks the beginning of the journey back to the lighter half of the year. I personally prefer the dark half of the year, but I can appreciate the concept that nothing stays dark forever.
This will probably be my last post for 2018, so leave me a note and let me know what you’re hoping to bring into focus in 2019, and how you plan to formulate your journey back into the light.
Oh, and merry Christmas.
Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.
Nothing's Really Real is a podcast based out of Busan, South Korea.
(Episode 42) Babopalooza was a sketch comedy show held on December 1st and 2nd of 2006 in Busan, South Korea. A little over a week later, nine of the foreign performers began being arrested, interrogated and in some cases drug tested by the International Crime Division of the Korean police force.
Chris Tharp and Sam Hazelton were two of those performers, and they join me on this episode to discuss the show, why they were arrested, and beyond.
Nothing's Really Real is available anywhere you might listen to podcasts, including iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, or Stitcher.
If you enjoy the show, please tell a friend about it, leave a review on itunes, and remember I love ya.
The view from the main hall towards the entry gate at Gwangmyeongsa Temple in Busanjin-gu, Busan.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Gwangmyeongsa Temple is located in Busanjin-gu on the southwestern slopes of Mt. Palgeumsan (236m) in Busan. The temple was first built in 1920 by the monk Hyosup. You first approach the temple through Busan’s back streets and byways, until you come to a hospital and urban farms.
Over a cement bridge, you’ll see the beautiful entry gate that first welcomes you to Gwangmyeongsa Temple. The exterior walls are adorned with fierce Vajra warriors. Stepping through the gates, but before entering the main temple courtyard, look around inside the temple entry gate. You’ll notice a beautiful set of intimidating Sacheonwang (Four Heavenly Kings) murals.
Finally inside the temple grounds, you’ll notice the Daeung-jeon Hall straight ahead of you. The main hall is book-ended on both sides by the monks’ dorms and the visitors’ centre. The exterior walls to the main hall are beautifully adorned with masterful Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. Also, and up near the eaves, you’ll see fish wind chimes hanging from the corner of the rooftop. Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll notice a triad of statues seated on the golden main altar. Seated in the centre is an image of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul). And hanging on the left wall is a simplistic Shinjung Taenghwa, guardian mural.
To the right of the main hall is a diminutive bell pavilion that houses a beautiful bronze bell. Standing about a metre and a half in height, the bell is adorned with swirling images of Biseon (Flying Angels) and various Buddhist iconography.
To the left of the main hall is the Chilseong-gak, which now acts as the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. This simple building, which is both wood and brick in part, houses a beautiful older mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), which rests in the middle of a triad of shaman paintings. This painting is joined on either side by more modern murals of a frowning Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and a stern looking Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And as you exit, if you haven’t already, take a look up at the fading, but beautiful, signboard.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Beomnaegol subway station, line #1, stop #118, you’ll need to find the Beomnaegol bus stop called “Beomnaegol Station.” From there, take bus #29. After 6 stops, or 7 minutes, get off at the Anchangmaeul Ipgu (안창마을 입구) stop. From this stop, walk 4 minutes towards the temple.
OVERALL RATING: 3.5/10. Smaller in size, Gwangmyeongsa Temple in Busan has intimidating entry doors when you first arrive at the temple. Adding to this artwork is the beautiful bronze bell and shaman paintings housed inside the Chilseong-gak.
The entry at Gwangmyeongsa Temple.
The beautiful, yet intimidating, entry gate at Gwangmyeongsa Temple.
One of the fierce Vajra warrior paintings that adorns one of the temple entry gates.
One of the Four Heavenly Kings that adorns the interior wall of the entry gate.
The Daeung-jeon Hall at Gwangmyeongsa Temple.
One of the Ox-Herding murals that adorns the exterior walls to the main hall.
One of the metal fish chimes adorning the main hall.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The guardian mural that takes up residence inside the main hall.
The temple bell pavilion.
Inside is housed this beautiful bronze temple bell.
The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall at Gwangmyeongsa Temple.
It must have once been the Chilseong-gak.
The beautiful old Chilseong mural housed inside the Samseong-gak.
The more modern Sanshin mural also housed in the Samseong-gak.
As well as this curmudgeonly looking Dokseong mural.
And the view from the Samseong-gak out towards the temple grounds.
An integral part of learning a new language is getting comfortable with the adjectives with which you will be able to describe the world around you and even yourself. In today’s lesson we will go over an adjective that will help you describe a character trait or behavior. Very soon you’ll know how to say shy in Korean!
‘Shy’ in Korean
There are a few words you can choose from when you want to say shy in Korean. The first word you can use is 수줍다 (sujubda). If you open the online dictionary, this is the one it will offer you first.
The synonym to 수줍다 is 부끄럽다 (bukkeureobda). This is the word you’ll hear being used the most, though its meaning of shy isn’t exactly the same as that of 수줍다. The word also means bashful, and it can even be used to imply you’re shy about something because of feelings of embarrassment. In other words, the word 부끄럽다 also means to be ashamed or to be embarrassed, though in a lighter sense.
Another word for how to say shy in Korean is 쑥스럽다 (ssukseureobda). This word also means bashful and embarrassed, and is also seen as synonymous with 부끄럽다.
Lastly, you may also find the word 열없다 (yeoleobta) to be the most fitting one to use in some situations. On top of using it as the word for shy, you may want to use it to describe feelings of awkwardness or timidness.
Associations for ‘Shy’ in Korean
Let’s learn an association for the word you’ll probably hear and use the most, 부끄럽다. The first part sounds a little like “book” and the second a little like “rob”. So to make this story, what’s a book you’d feel ashamed of being robbed of? How about being robbed of your Holy Bible? Let’s use that as a story:
You go to the police to report your book was robbed. You’re ashamed to admit, they stole your Bible! 부끄럽다
A word of caution about Romanization
While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.
After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?
노래를 부를때 쑥스러운 느낌 생겨요. (noraereul bureulddae ssukseureoun neukkim saengkyeyo.)
I feel shy whenever I sing.
왜 그렇게 열없게 웃고 있어요? (wae geureohke yeoleobke utgo isseoyo?)
Why are you smiling so awkwardly?
우리 아이는 수줍음이 많은 편이야. (uri aineun sujubeumi manheun phyeoniya.)
Our child is very shy.
그 남자와 이야기를 하고 싶지만 너무 부끄러워서 안하고 있어. (geu namjawa iyagireul hago shipjiman neomu bukkeureoweoseo anhago isseo.)
I want to talk with him but I’m not because I’m too shy.
So now that you know how to say ‘shy’ in Korean you don’t need to be shy any longer! What word would you like to know next? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto
Just last week I finally released "Korean Made Simple Workbook #1," and this past weekend shot a quick promotional video so that you can check it out.
Keykat agreed to help me make this video too, which was nice of her.
Those living outside of Korea might be most familiar with cosmetics when it comes to Korean merchandise. Although Seoul Fashion Week may be a relatively new thing for non-Koreans, don’t be fooled, Korea has had a pretty big fashion scene for a long time. Korean women’s fashion especially having thrived through it.
These days, more and more Korean fashion brands and shopping malls are offering shipping worldwide. Thus, the worldwide Korean fashion craze has begun. Maybe you too are curious of how to dress if you were a Korean woman. You may be surprised to find out that Korean women’s fashion is quite different from what you see in music videos, though you’ve likely seen glimpses of styles in various Korean dramas.
So what type of clothes should you put together into an outfit to add a sprinkle of Korean women’s fashion to your style? And where do you shop at for these clothes?
Tops and Dresses
This style is both effortless and versatile. All you need is a top and a dress to put over it! The only “no no” usually is having both items be patterned, as it will easily clash. Many street shops, and online malls as well, sell readily made sets that come with both the top and the dress. But you’re entirely free to mix and match however you please! Maybe today you feel like having a basic white long sleeved tee under a basic black tank dress? Maybe tomorrow you want to wear a ruffled flower blouse under your dress?
Knits Over Dresses
Another popular way to incorporate dresses in a new way is by wearing it under a knit or a sweater. There are multiple ways to achieve this look as well. Either a regular length knit or a sweater, with the dress showing as a skirt. Or, alternatively, a knee length knit with a deep side slit under which the dress will show. One particular trend is also combining the knit look with a transparent dress, sometimes made of lace, with pants under the dress. Now if this isn’t mastering layering, then what is!?
High-Waisted Bottoms With Tops Tucked In
This is something you will see on the streets of Seoul a lot. With very few exceptions, girls usually tuck their tops and blouses in the waistline of their skirt, shorts, and pants. Also, low waisted bottoms are not popular. Instead, the bottoms will typically reach all the way to the naval button, or even all the way up to the natural waistline.
Although showing any cleavage is considered a big “no no” in Korea, and off shoulder tops and crop tops are a very recent addition to Korean women’s wardrobe, there’s one type of style that has never gone out of fashion: mini bottoms. Even if it is the coldest day of winter, you’ll still see girls on the streets dressed in mini dresses and mini skirts, not afraid to show off their legs. It’s like they can’t feel the weather at all! And though it may sound odd to a Westerner, showing as much leg as possible is perfectly fine in Korea, especially in Seoul.
If there has ever been a nation of women that will stick to wearing heels through thick and thin, that would be Korean women. Of course, shoes of all type and color are made, on sale, and used, but chances are that if you ever see a woman conquering a mountain in heels, she would be Korean. Whether they are stilettos, slingbacks, wedges, or chunky boots, Korean women sure love the added height. And why wouldn’t they? Their petiteness makes for perfect company for heels, especially with the right outfit.
But just because Korean women love their heels and mini skirts, doesn’t mean there aren’t an equal amount of them that prefer a more relaxed, even tomboy-ish look. To every skinny jean loving girl there is one that loves loose pants. For every form hugging dress, there is an outfit consisting of a loose top with a loose bottom. And Korean women know exactly how to make this look work. Even the girly girls are typically very into shirts, blouses and tees that are at least two sizes oversized, combining them beautifully with a tighter bottom.
Now that we have a few of the key looks down, it’s time to figure out how to actually achieve them. Where is it that Korean women shop at besides the ever loved street shops?
As far as affordable but famous and respected brands go, Stylenanda is at the very top. Though, it is not the cheapest brand around you also won’t have to pay yourself sick to dress in their clothes. Stylenanda offers fashion in all shapes and colors, with their style typically being of the more modern street fashion variety.
This popular brand offers classic and timeless Korean fashion styles in earthy tones. It is a great place to shop for fashionable clothes that are wearable for any occasion. While feminine with a touch of ease and comfort, they’re trendy from season to season.
Ribbontie is the edgier version of Cherrykoko. Though not as quirky as Stylenanda, their clothes are fun, chill, and perfect for your everyday street style look. The brand was formed as a merge of three smaller brands into one.
For those girls who prefer a more cutesy look, Icecream12 is a great choice. Their collection is cute and colorful, and they also have a range of tennis skirts, a clothing item that can be found in every Korean girl’s closet, for sale.
Now that you have the basics of Korean women’s fashion down, share your stylist creations with us in the comments below!
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto