You’re Beautiful: It’s Beautiful

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Oh my god. I am so crazy about this drama right now.

You’re Beautiful is just my style of K-drama; it’s got the unrealistic but fantastic plot, the sickenly adorable cross-dressing female, and the juicy, heartbreaking romance that can only be found in one hell of a great love triangle. Yeah, it’s all there.

I’ve always heard this drama being raved about. It can easily be said that “You’re Beautiful” is one of the very highest in the ranks of some of the most popular and famous K-dramas, and now, at last, I understand why.

First of all, the cast. We’ve got Park Shin Hye, who, up until now was nothing more to me than a famous name, who is beautiful both in her acting and in her looks. She is the kind of boyish, naive, sweet little character that I always pray for in a K-drama, and her acting is superb. I enjoy every minute she’s on screen. In addition to her, there’s Jang Geun Suk, who’s name alone promises some really high-quality acting, singing, and just plain charisma. He is really perfect for this role; and I hate his snoody, stuck-up, jerk-of-a-character as much as I adore him. He’s the kind of character who can make you pissed and super mad one minute, and then have you swooning and sighing “Awe” the next moment. Together with Park Shin Hye, there is one great pair.

Then, there is also Jung Yong Hwa. (Isn’t he lovely?)

 Though his character is slightly more minor, I felt compelled to give him his own paragraph in my blog here, particularly because I think I have seriously fallen in love with him over the course of these few episodes of You’re Beautiful (6 to be exact). I don’t know who I love more, him, or his character. I remember reading his name on the cast list and thinking “Isn’t he some guy from CN Blue?” I happen to be a HUGE CNBlue fan, although I’ve never been all that familiar with the actual members. Anyways, aside from his obvious overwhelming talent as a singer/songwriter/musician in his band, I am so happy to see him in a drama. His character Shin Woo might just be the sweetest, most heart-wrenching character I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I almost cry every time I see him, and I am constantly thinking to myself “Please, OH PLEASE, let the next scene have Shin Woo in it!” Sadly, he has very few scenes, but the scenes he does have are packed with so much shy, sweet, love and sincerity that I think I’m going to melt from all the adorable darlingness of he and Go Minam’s relationship (Team Shin Woo, NOT Taekyung, thank you very much!) ❤

Okay, okay, so aside from my clear fondness for Jung Yong Hwa, and my consitantly recurring attachment to drama’s that feature a cross-dressing girl (Is it just me or are those drama’s always the best?), I am more than loving this drama. I have to fight the urge not to watch about ten episodes per sitting, and painfully must will myself to only watch 2-3 a day.

The romance, the drama, the comedy. It is so addicting and delicious, I don’t think I can possibly keep myself from anymore episodes.

As of now, I shall go watch another episode. And, as usual, hope for more Jung Yong Hwa ❤

Much Love, Ria

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U-Kiss Neverland Comeback (I Couldn’t Resist)

Okay, so I happen to be on one kick-ass awesome  homestay in Japan at the moment, and I could be writing a really exciting and compelling description of my many Japanese adventures here in this fantastic country, but what does this fangirl choose to write about instead? Why, U-Kiss’ Comeback of course!

Let me start by saying, I was NOT a U-Kiss fangirl, nor have I ever been. To me, they were remininscent of yet ANOTHER boring, blur-into-the-background K-pop boy band with the same sound and style as too many others with no real spark. This was, of course, before their recent comeback. Let me just say that I am blown away, truly.

Literally OVERNIGHT I transformed from a mildly enthusiastic mere “listener” of some U-Kiss, to a full-blown fan of this awesome group. Truly, they are highly underrated. Even I myself seriously underestimated how talented they are. Now now, I know as well as anyone that the credit for the songs themselves go to some anonymous studio song writer, but aside from the “song writing” the performing part is definitly captured beautifully. My bias has always been ‘that one hot guy’ as I called him in former U-Kiss videos (you may know the lovely darling as Kiseop <33); though I can proudly confess to actually knowing some names now. All within the span of one day I’ve downloaded almost all of Neverland, and I am continually growing crazier and crazier for this incredible album and group.

From the title track Neverland, which I LOVE, to the equally enjoyable electronic track Top That, I am also really enjoying most of the ballad songs, such as ‘Take Me Away’ or “Someday” which is SUPER rare for me. I am seriously biased to electro pop autotune based songs, and I often roll my eyes at ballad songs (which all sound the same to me) or skip over them entirely; I know, horrible, right? Anyways, thanks to U-Kiss, I am actually giving these great ballad songs a listen, and I love them . The vocals are really fantastic, there’s something really sweet and soft about the voices in U-Kiss; I can’t seem to put my finger on it.

My favorite song would be Obsession. Is it because Kiseop sings most of it? Perhaps. Probably. I don’t know, there’s something truly special about those tracks like this one that mix electronic and ballad into a this kind of fancy, high-quality hybrid. It’s great. Plus, I’m a sucker for softer songs with cool rap parts mixed in. Really makes for good entertainment 😀

Anyways, if you’re like me, and you think U-Kiss is just “another K-pop boy band”, have some patience, listen to their new stuff, their old stuff, all their stuff. I think they really have something extraordinary about them, and in one day, they went from almost last on my list of boy bands to the top percentile. I can’t pinpoint what struck me exactly, but these great songs and good looking members certainly make it easy to love them ❤

I look forward to future U-Kiss music and performances. I am now hooked. U-Kiss Fighting!

(And yes, I will post some info about Japan someday soon…once I can stop raving about U-Kiss >_<)

I shall return to my Japanese life and try to tone down my immense Korean fangirlness for sake of Japan. Ha Ha.

Annyeoung….I mean, Oyasumi~ ^_^

Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun, and more Kyuhyun. That is all I need.

        Why yes, I have just posted a picture of perhaps one of the most beautiful and talented people on this earth. And yes, you are very VERY welcome, my friend.

Don’t know Kyuhyun? Don’t like Kyuhyun? Please, leave now. I mean it. Don’t even bother to read my blog unless you are at least mildly a fan of this wonderful creature. If you don’t know him, I hope I can englighten you.

Most commonly known as Super Junior’s “maknae” Kyuhyun is the baby of the group, with the voice of an angel. Everytime I hear him sing, whether it be in the hazy background chorus of a Suju dance pop song, or the lead of a touching K.R.Y. ballad, I feel like either a) Bursting into tears, b) squealing like the little fangirl that I am, or c) melting into a puddle of emotion on the floor.

However, my adoration for him is not a shallow one. Honestly, I believe that, even if he wasn’t the adorable, charming darling that he is, his voice alone would render me a hopeless fan of everything he does. He is too talented to deny; and the music industry is lucky to have him.

Super Junior, Super Junior M, KRY, SM Ballad; to name a few. I will continue to jump for joy whenever this heavenly singer is recruited into yet another sub-group of SM Entertainment. And, as much as I, as well as just about all fangirls, craves the delicious idea of him being a solo artist, with each scene of a MV dedicated solely to him, deep inside we all hope and pray that he will never leave Super Junior, and that Super Junior in itself will be eternal.

I believe there is a god somewhere that looked upon Kyuhyun as an infant (who was most likely just as adorable then) and decided to bestow upon him the greatest, most beautiful voice ever to be blessed upon humanity. Haha. Yes, I mean it.

Being the dedicated (I say “dedicated” to avoid really saying what we fangirls truly are, which is “sickly obsessed”) fan that I am of him, I have watched plenty of Star King and Immortal Song 2 clips to fulfill my dosage of Suju playtime and glimpses into what I can only imagine their “personality” to be. And Kyuhyun (of maybe it’s just because I’m so enormously biased) seems to forever be the most endearing.

Ahhhh I could rant forever, but I know I’ll get too carried away. I’ll stop here, just giving you a little taste of my love for him (perhaps too much so). Meanwhile, I shall return to listening to Suju KRY’s “Words of the Westerly Wind” which is literally THE MOST BEAUTIFUL song I have ever heard. Please, go look it up now. Kyuhyun sings a great deal of it! 😀

Thanks for reading my obsessive ranting! Hope I didn’t scare you too much (I scared myself a little). 😛 I believe there is a deep fangirl of something within all of us! Some of us are simply too scared to unleash it. But here, I unleash it. My love for Kyuhyun, my favorite singer and artist ever. I respect his music, just as much as I admire his looks ^_^ Keep at it Kyuhyun! Fighting!!

Annyeoung! ~

Just for kicks, here’s one more pic 😀

A Tribute to the Old and Beloved DBSK

       DBSK, Dong Ban Shin Ki, TVXQ, Tohoshinki, Yoochun-Jaejoong-Junsu-Changmin-Yunho; quite frankly, there are too many names to keep track of these days, and, sadly, the one I seem to use most is JYJ. I know, sad right?

Inspired by my recent re-watch of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, featuring Mickey Yoochun, I felt compelled to revisit the loveliness that is DBSK. And here I have come to tell of my great love for them.

To me, DBSK is not merely another boy K-pop group on my list, and is most certainly not a group which seems to fade into the background of often-we all know it’s true- fake, look-alike and sound-alike world that is K-pop. In fact, to me, DBSK is so distinctly separate from everything else.

I suppose to an “outsider” (as I prefer to refer to those non-kpop fans) DBSK would seem to be just a typical boy band, and maybe they are, but to me, I just see so much more.

DBSK was a group I stumbled upon accidentally on Youtube one fine fall day about 2 years ago. I’d never heard of K-pop, and South Korea had been nothing more than just “some Asian country” at that point in my life. However, after a few minutes of watching and listening to DBSK, I had already become a sick, devoted fan of K-pop, without my realizing it.

It started with Mirotic, and then onto Crazy Love, Balloons, and Wrong Number, followed by pretty much everything else they ever released. I became crazy with K-pop fangirl syndrome, which I was not able to understand at that early stage of my obsession, after all, I was a K-pop virgin at that point. All I knew was that I was really drawn to it all. It was like this new magical world had opened for me, and before I knew it, I was sneaking out my ipod to watch DBSK videos in class and on the bus…

DBSK and their music just gives me this sweet nostalgic feeling. Even if this nostalgia is only from 2 years ago, I still find it strangely distant and lost. I am so different from who I was back then, and when I listen to anything by DBSK I just feel comforted. To me, they hold such a special place in my heart….I just can’t explain it. I feel more connected to them than ANY K-pop group, even my favorite Super Junior.

The break-up did hit me hard. I remember being mostly pissed, and repeatedly screaming at my computer “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!” It seemed the break-up came too soon.

I’d never been a particular fan of Yunho or Junsu for some reason, but I was madly in love with Jaejoong (my first taste of a true beauty k-pop idol), charmed by Yoochun and his beautiful, distinct voice, and entertained by cute little Changmin. Thus, when they split, I was undoubtedly on JYJ’s side (if only they could switch out Junsu for Changmin :P) though I was particularly dissapointed that they had songs in English and were trying to appeal to the “American” market (which clearly failed).

So, I have turned against what I call the “New” TVXQ, which to me is totally not worth my time. The sweet charm of the 5-member group, and their own distinct style has been beaten apart and shredded in the machine of generic, overly auto-tuned mainstream K-popness. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that, but not in DBSK! They were always so special and unique, and now that Yoochun, Jaejoong and Junsu are gone, the group clearly lost all the talent and was forced to resort to the same exact concept every other K-pop group has, you know, the bad-ass image with the suffocating auto-tune and overbearing electronic beats with no real homage to vocal talent.

ARG. So, clearly I am on team JYJ. I prefer their single “Empty” to “Keep Your Head Down” ANY day of the week, thank you. Plus, I can only seem to look at Yunho and Changmin as the two selfish ones who were too concerned with their image to care about being mistreated by their record label. Sure, JYJ hasn’t gotten as much recognition, only because they changed the name. They were the three who had enough sense to keep some dignity of individuality and break away from the suffocating constrains of the K-pop industry.

Okay, I’m sure I probably just seriously offended some TVXQ fans. I’M SORRY! But, come on, can you blame me? I lost my sweet darling DBSK, and it seems to have been replaced by two strangers I don’t recognize or enjoy.

DBSK is so special to me. Maybe they aren’t that big of a deal to others, but to me, I can only see my little 15 year old self giggling over their videos and adoring them so much. And, if it weren’t for DBSK, I would never have been introduced to this exciting and fantastic world of K-pop!

Crazy as it may seem, I do believe DBSK changed my life. All thanks to Jaejoong, Yoochun, Changmin, Junsu and Yunho. Thanks you guys! Even if you’re not together any more :/

Time for bed. Oyasumi~ Annyeoung! ~

 

My #1 All-Time Favorite Drama

For the first time ever, I am rewatching a drama.

Typically, when I finish a drama, I think of it as a chapter of my life that has closed, and I move on. When I finished Nodame Cantabile a few days ago (which was wonderful!) I moved on to watch Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, in hopes of enjoying another J-drama. While it wasn’t particularly bad, by the time I reached episode 3 I realized I was beginning to go through K-drama withdrawal and needed to quench that intense thirst for good acting and beautiful Korean actors.

Unconsciously, I drifted back to my favorite drama. The best drama I’ve ever watched. The most unique, the most enthralling, the most “mature” as well. All in spite of my aversion to “repeating” old dramas.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

I am watching it again, as it brought me so much joy and fufillment the first time. And you know what? It’s just as great the second time! Really!

We’ve got Park Min Young, sweet and cute, as the lead Kim Yoon Shik, and her costar is our little Mickey Yoochun from DBSK as the stuck-up Lee Seon Joon. Plenty of other charming, wonderful actors and actresses light up this historical period drama about the prestigious Sunkyunkwan University in 18th century Joseon Korea.

So, I know alot of teens want to puke at the though of a ‘historical’ drama, and hey, I can understand your feelings to some extent, but bare with me here. Sungkyunkwan Scandal may take place in the ‘olden days’, but what it lacks in modern flair it makes up for in fantastic acting, strong dramatic plot twists and even a colorful soundtrack.

This drama is the most unique I’ve ever seen. It’s not your average bubble-gum romantic comedy boy-meets-girl kind of drama. And, while many parts may bring about smiles and laughter, overall, this is not a comedy, and the crazy, unrealistic quirkiness seen in average dramas is absent. In fact, this drama actually is a DRAMA, and though it is fictional, it is not terribly unrealistic. In fact, of all the dramas I’ve seen (which is a lot) this one seems to be the highest quality one I’ve ever watched.

Sure, I love the classic kidnappings, relationship quarrels, love triangles, terminal illnesses and dark tormented pasts of your typical cookie cutter Korean dramas, but it really is refreshing and incredible to finally watch a drama that doesn’t need so much flair and hype, and seems to be crafted so carefully.

But don’t get me wrong, this drama is not by any means a serious, stern, complex drama that you must be super mature and appreciative of history to enjoy. There is plenty of romance and suspense, and the characters are all so god-damn lovable I can’t even pick a favorite! Overall, I enjoy (for once) a heroine that is an intelligent, academic scholar (kind of like me) who doesn’t act like a typical “teenage girl” like we are used to. Nevertheless, she is so cute, and paired with Yoochun, the two of them compliment each other perfectly.

I cannot rave about this drama enough. If you love dramatic, girl-disguises-as-a-boy-to-save-her-family historical plots, good acting, plenty of intelligent drama and some of the best characters out there, you MUST at least check out this drama. In my opinion, it deserves way more recognition. I will always be prepared to advocate for this drama!

Well, I’m off to watch more Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Annyeoung!

 

Super Junior: Mr.Simple (Rant)

 

So, the moment I have been waiting almost all summer for has finally come. SUPER JUNIOR COMEBACK!

Me, as well as most of the asian population, has waited a year and a half for this moment. When I saw the released teasers, and listened to every track on the album, I was more than impressed.

I was expecting what I traditionally expect from Super Junior, beautiful faces, endless charm (KYUHYUN!) but with music that was mediocre, but bearable because it was from THEM. But, this time, I am genuinely enjoying these tracks.

Not to mention all the amounts of Kyuhyun I am soaking up from these songs.  He is my bias, and I do believe these comebacks would not mean close to as much if he wasn’t in so much of them. (Is it just me or does he seem to be getting more parts and a greater emphasis?) Well, he is perfect, so why not?

So I was screaming like a crazy fangirl when the album was released. I thought I was going to explode from excitement, and I felt like one of those Beatles fangirls from the ’60s. You’d think I was meeting Suju for god sakes, I was that crazy.

Right now I am MAD for the track ‘Feels Good’, it my new favorite song, and I can’t seem to stop listening. However, the album in general is REALLY amazing me. The Super Junior babyness seems to be fading, and there is this new maturity they have, which was also present in their Bonamana comeback. I loved Bonamana, I did, and I loved ‘Sorry Sorry’ and ‘It’s You’ as much as every crazy fangirl, but I just feel this album is especially great. Maybe it’s because I’ve been waiting so long, or maybe it really is above and beyond! Who knows.

And, another thing. Please, someone tell me, why Hangeng, Kangin and Kibum are ALWAYS gone, yet still counted as the original 13? I was somewhat suprised to see 10 in this comeback (particularly Heechul, who is usually off in his own world) but feel like the whole concept of “Super Junior, largest group, 13 members” has become distorted. They are betraying that emphasis with every video.

OH WELL! Super Junior could probably commit a crime and I’d still think they were awesome. I don’t care what anyone says, they ARE K-pop, and k-pop would not be anything without THEM.

Here’s to you, Kyuhyun, Dongahae, Eunyeuk, Leeteuk, Shindong, Siwon, Sungmin, Ryeowook, Heechul, Yesung, Hangeng, Kangin, and Kibum! KEEP IT UP! I’ll be an old wrinkled woman who still cherishes the greatness of your many singles and comebacks and rocks out to ‘Sorry Sorry’ in many years from now.

Annyeoung! ^_^ (I’ll certainly be back with more Suju updates when the music videos are released! >_<

Korean Vs. Japanese Dramas

So, I’ve deduced that my Asian-drama addiction has lately breached the simple scope of merely ‘watching’. Aside from my growing collection of drama OST’s, I unconsciously spent about two hours today merely READING about dramas on DramaWiki. And that brought me plenty of fufillment, let me tell you.

It’s hard to resist the urge to watch strictly Korean dramas. They are FAR better than anything Japanese I have seen, but I have yet to explore the Taiwanese drama industry. I read about plenty of Taiwanese and Japanese dramas today (to the extent that I began recognizing actors and actresses in the cast list) and tried my best to be as interested in them as I was in the few-but incredible- Korean dramas I’ve heard of.

I think of it like this: Korean dramas are the ‘Hollywood’ (bear with me) of the Asian drama kingdom. They are high quality, glamorous and beautiful, with superb acting, regardless of how seemingly ridiculous the plotline. Japanese dramas, however, are completely NOT Hollywood, and resemble moreso an Indie film- enjoyable, but almost in the sense that you’re forcing yourself to like it simply because it seems so cute and low budget.

I know that sounds terrible, but I’ve only finished two of the Japanese dramas I ever started, and one wasn’t even that great. Like J-pop, I force myself to “enjoy” it merely because I love Japan so much, but UGH. I’ve never once walked out on a Korean drama, and K-pop is a constant element to my life.

I decided that the major difference between Korean dramas and their Japanese neighbor lies in the culture of the countries themselves. Koreans are more conservative when it comes to comedy and romance, where as the Japanese are much more liberal (for example, sexuality, and even homosexuality, are not nearly as big of a deal). Japanese entertainment in general is based so heavily on anime and manga that it seems that when Japanese use REAL people, rather than anime characters, the  actors still retain that traditional “anime” behavior, and it simply doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong though, Japanese dramas are not bad, I am simply a drama snob; too accustomed to Korean dramas and good anime to wrap my mind around them. I do admit, however, that Japanese have a talent in humor. I do believe I laughed more watching Hana Kimi (my favorite Japanese drama) than I probably ever did with Korean dramas. Also, Japanese dramas feel less “fake” than Korean dramas, as characters are less celebrity and polished.

If you like the fun, crazy exaggerated acting of anime characters, you will surely love Japanese dramas (most are based off manga) and if you ever need a good recommendation, check out Hana Kimi (a crazy fun cross-dressing comedy) or Orange Days (an emotional drama about a deaf girl). Or possibly the heartwarming Proposal Daisakusen. I plan to give Japanese dramas more of a fighting chance over Korean dramas, and I hope others notice their indie charm as well 😉

Oyasumi~

Coffee Prince Invasion (Spoiler Alert)

Aka The greatest thing in the world

So. Right now I feel like I am going to burst from extreme love for Coffee Prince.

Honestly, this tops it all. Here I was, thinking I was getting myself into just another cute drama to add to my list, and now I am so deeply invested in this show, I cry in every episode, I feel my heart beating fast- it’s just. UGH!

Han-Gyul just found out that Ko Eun Chan is a girl. And DAMN was it intense. Now I just feel so sad. Their romance was getting so good and then Ha Rim had to go and spoil it. But hey, the truth had to come out sooner or later. I’m currently listening to X x by DJ Guru- a techno-esque track that was used during Han Gyul’s meltdown scene in the car with the sad but adorable montage of Ko Eun Chan and her darlingness. I can feel his pain through the song! Poor Han Gyul! D:

BRAVO to Gong Yoo. His acting is INCREDIBLE. I have seldom seen such a good performance from an actor I’ve never heard of. I mean, there are those such as Lee Min Ho or Hyun Bin who are mentioned everywhere, you expect them to be good by default, and they seem to be in a thousand dramas, but until now I haven’t heard of or seen Gong Yoo. From now on, he is my top.

And then there is Yoon Eun Hye, who I can only think of as a boy now. To see pictures of her as a HER is just…odd. I don’t think I could possibly watch a drama without her portraying my beloved Eun Chan. She is just fantastic. I can feel her emotion. I feel partly biased to Gong Yoo when it comes to acting quality, but her intense cry scene with Han Sang in episode 10ish really made me applaude her (not as though I haven’t done so all through the series).

I could just rant forever about how perfect this show is. I’m not even finished with it (currently on episode 12 of 17) but I already want to re-watch it, and I mourn the end of it. I have to force myself not to watch anymore than 2-3 episodes a day as to ration it out. It’s difficult.

Thinking back to my last drama, Playful Kiss, it’s almost laughable in comparison, despite how much I loved it. I remember having read about Coffee Prince while midway through the last episode (I was surfing around on my awesome DramaWiki) and getting so interested I actually WISHED for Playful Kiss to hurry up and end. I started Coffee Prince immediately afterward, and I don’t look back. XP

Random side note: I was thrilled to see Kim Jae Wook (I actually had to look up his name, SHAME ON ME) in this. He has a minor role as Sun Ki-though his dominant personality does shine over many major characters- but when I saw him I just lit up with girlish excitement. IT’S DIRECTOR JUNG-IN! That was all I could think of. All I can see when I look at him is that fantastic adorable sweet darling character from Mary Stayed Out All Night, and how he is in my very top list when it comes to all-time favorite characters. When he hugged Mae Ri as she tried to leave……*tears* That killed me. I must have watched that scene twenty times.

Sooooo ANYWAYS. Sorry to be such a bore. I am passionate about my Korean dramas, and my actors and actresses. To me, I believe they may be more meaningful than K-pop, if you can believe it. (Though Kyuhyun’s Suju Teaser pick did kill me a little inside with excitement).

Well, thought I would pay devoted homage to The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, which has lit up my life tremendously, and given excitement to my lack-luster summer vacation, and filled me with so much emotion, I swore I would melt into a puddle on the floor.

I love you Coffee Prince, and the old dramas I love, as well as many more to come! Kanpai!

Well, Oyasumi! Chu~