Happy Lunar New Year!
This year we had two days off (Thursday 30 and Friday 31 January -which was New Year’s Day.) But now, after a long weekend of eating too much, I am regretting my over-indulging and have put myself on a strict diet of radish tea.
On New Year’s Day I got up early and helped my mother-in-law prepare the dishes for the ancestral memorial ceremony. (read what happens in Lunar New Year here) We had eaten breakfast and were done and dusted with the washing up by 10:30 am. So then it was time to settle down to watch the special holiday TV programmes while continuing to graze on raw chestnuts, dried persimmons and jujube, cinnamon drinks, Korean pears, oranges from Jeju island, rice crackers, and anything else put in front of me! (If it’s there, I’ll eat it!)
One of the variety shows on this year included a game called Idols Chicken Fight (아이돌 닭싸움) which I believe can also be called Chicken Sumo! It’s a sport involving two contestants in a ring. I don’t know if this game is played anywhere else apart from in Korea. (And it’s hard to find out as I don’t know what it would be called. I googled Chicken sumo and got nothing.
The aim of the game is simple: knock the other player over. But this is easier said than done as you have to do this by HOPPING ON ONE LEG and holding the other leg with both hands.
개그맨 ‘gag men’ 유민상 (wearing black) vs. 박성광 (wearing white)
One hand has to be holding the bent leg at all times, so if you take your hand off your leg, you lose the game. This New Year’s Special contest also included matches between Korean Idol singers from boy bands. The idol contestants in this Chicken Fight Youtube clip are 최민호 Choi Min Ho singer with boy band 샤이니 Shinee (wearing blue) vs. 바로 Baro singer from boyband B1A4 (wearing white). Enjoy!
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to practise calligraphy more! At the end of last month I completed my first year at the calligraphy school and we are now on winter break, so Wednesday afternoons are free until March when the new term starts. But we ended the year, rather excitingly, with an exhibition of all the students’ work!
Exhibition for calligraphy students for 2013 was held in December at the Calligraphy Museum
And here is my final work. I must confess that although I did practise a little bit at home throughout the year, I wasn’t overly diligent until that day in late November when the teacher gave each of us newbies a different poem to practise. (Up until that point we had all been practising the same characters) and he pointed out that we all had to practise hard for ‘THE EXHIBITION’!
That’s when the ‘cram practising’ began – I knew my work wasn’t going to be fantastic, but by this point I was just trying to avoid embarrassing myself.The teacher told us to bring our three best pieces in to class and he would choose the best of the three. To makes matters worse, we also had to start practising the smaller characters which are written down the lefthand side of the exhibition work (which tell us the name of the poet and the name of the person who wrote the calligraphy). And as the small characters are written with the SAME huge brush we use for the larger characters, trying to get them right is VERY FRUSTRATING …We were all cringing I think when we had to hand in our final piece. But the teacher says that no one is EVER happy with their work. They ALWAYS feel that they can do better.
In my poem, the writer feels nostalgic after saying goodbye to his friend who is going back to his hometown. The writer reflects on time passing by and wonders when he too can visit his hometown. The teacher chose the poem for me and I think it’s very suitable since I’m away from home too. (BTW the poem is read vertically from right to left)
The exhibition space: My work is the first on the left
But I have to say it was fun to see my work mounted on the wall! We all had to pay 40,000 won to cover exhibition costs. But this included having our work mounted onto a scroll which was rolled up after the exhibition and boxed for us to keep.
Jun Kwang-ryul as Heojun (MBC 2000)
Last month I watched Mandate of Heaven (KBS 2013) which portrays the plot to kill Crown Prince Yi Ho who went on to become King Injong. (1544-1545). The next king in the Joseon period was his half-brother King Myeongjong. However, Myeongjeong (r.1545-1567) was too young to rule at first so his mother Queen Munjeong became Regent (and I’ve covered lots about her in recent posts including how Queen Munjeong was portrayed in Mandate of Heaven). King Myeongjeong did eventually rule himself but I haven’t found any dramas yet about his reign. So moving on to King Seonjo (r.1567-1608) we come to my all-time favourte sageuk drama…. Heojun (MBC 2000) starring Jun Kwang-ryul as the famous Joseon doctor Heojun. There was a recent remake of Heojun’s story this year but I plan to watch the 2000 version directed by Lee Byung Hoon. (BTW He also directed other huge hits including Dae Jang Geum (MBC 2004) Yi San (MBC 2008), Dong Yi (MBC 2010), Horse Doctor (MBC 2013), Merchant (Sangdo MBC 2002).
I want to watch Heojun again since it’s been several years since I watched it the first time. And it was also one of the first sageuks I watched so I’m interested to see if and how I see it differently the second time around. Will it still be my favourite? BUT it IS 64 episodes!! My plan was to try and get through one sageuk a month but this is going to be a marathon event and will probably take longer. On the other hand, I remember the last time I watched it each episode always ended on a cliff-hanger so I had to keep watching ….FOR HOURS and HOURS. There was no time for stuff like work or sleep. Can I really put myself through all this again?
Yes I can.
We jump to 14 years later to March 1591, the 24th year of King Seonjo’s reign. It’s the memorial of Gong Bin’s death, and her now adult son, Prince Gwang Hae, holds a ceremony for her. But he is sad and feels that his father, the king, has forgotten about him too – just as he forgot about his mother.
Heo Jun is back at the palace but working hard on writing medical books. He is not in charge of any royal patients. On the other hand, the ambitious Do Ji has moved up in rank and is set to take over from Dr Yang as the Royal Doctor. And when he does this, he will finally achieve his dream. NOTHING must be allowed to get in the way of his promotion, so when In Bin’s son gets seriously ill, Do Ji is not sure if he can cure him. So what does he do? He passes the buck to Heo Jun! Continue reading “Heo Jun episode 55 Leeches” »
Oh Gun finally marries Hong Choon. Gong Bin is getting worse and so Heo Jun goes off to the mountain to find her fresh herbs since all the good herbs are being given to In Bin. But while he’s away Gong Bin becomes critically ill. And when Heo Jun gets back, it’s too late … Continue reading “Heo Jun episode 54 A Wedding and a Funeral” »
Heo Jun is able to cure Gong Bin even though the head doctor thought there was nothing they could do for her. Of course the King is overjoyed and against the officials’ wishes he forgives Heo Jun and this time refuses to back down. Phew! There’s good news for Do Ji too as In Bin gets pregnant and he is put in charge of looking after her. But Heo Jun also gets promoted to Gong Bin’s personal doctor. So the rivalry is going to heat up …
Continue reading “Heo Jun episode 53 Consorts Gong Bin and In Bin” »
Heo Jun and Da Hee are in prison and if Heo Jun is found guilty of his past crimes he could face capital punishment. It’s not looking good and (gleefully) Do Ji goes to check Heo Jun’s health for what he believes is the final time. But when Royal Consort Gong Bin suddenly becomes seriously ill, there is a glimmer of hope as, in desperation, the King calls for Dr Heo … Continue reading “Heo Jun episode 52 The Trial” »
From the Korean Grand Prix to a K-Pop concert we did manage to get out and about this year. So here are a selection of pictures …
1. I don’t have many winter pictures from this year. I think I was hibernating most of the time. We did go to Yangyang though overnight and stayed at a resort by the beach. It’s quiet on the beach in winter. Continue reading “12 Places I visited in 2013” »