The thing with Heojun is that right from the word go, it’s intense. (No wonder it reached record-breaking viewing figures of over 60%!!) By the end of the first episode my stomach was in knots over the injustice of it all. Heojun, I feel your pain. Straight away we know that this is going to be all about overcoming the injustices of the class system and the social rules of Joseon society.
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.
During his reign King Seonjo (1567-1608) had two Queens, 9 official concubines, and lots of children. But we only see three sons in the drama Jung Yi, Goddess of Fire (MBC 2013) - Gwang Hae who became the next king, his older brother, Im Hae, and his half-brother Sin Seong. The future of the three princes is uncertain at this point as the king refuses to choose who will be the next king. All three sons are born to concubines (Gwang Hae and Im Hae are sons of Gong Bin; Sin Seong is In Bin’s son) which is not ideal for a crown prince. As the oldest son, Im Hae feels that he is the obvious choice. But the drama suggests reasons why Prince Im Hae was never picked to be the future king.
Prince Im Hae (Lee Kwang Soo) Prince Gwang Hae (Lee Sang Yoon) Prince Sin Seong Continue reading “King Seonjo in the drama Jung Yi (2013) and why he chose Prince Gwang Hae to be the crown prince” »
This is a light sageuk drama (32 episodes) set at the royal kilns of Pulmon during the reign of King Seonjo (r.1567-1608). I thought that having the story based around ceramics was an interesting angle. I did a bit of throwing on the wheel when I was at art college and I was quite interested in doing ceramics as my major until I discovered that it is really, really hard! Trying to centre the clay before you make your bowl just KILLS your wrists. Ow! No wonder we only ever see our heroine when she’s putting the finishing touches to her pot, never doing the hard work at the beginning! (pics from MBC)
It was very nostalgic watching Heo Jun again since it’s been several years since I watched it for the first time. And I have to say that it’s still my favourite sageuk drama. Here are my top 6 favourite scenes. I’ve put them in the order that they appear in the drama.
The court of King Seonjo (1567-1608) and his government of squabbling factions provides the main setting for the story of Heo Jun, the most famous doctor in Korean history who rises from a low class son of a concubine to take the most prestigious medical position in the country: Personal Physician to the King. (This post is about the MBC 2000 version of Heo Jun where the king is played by Park Chan-Hwan) Continue reading “How is King Seonjo (r.1567-1608) presented in sageuk drama Heo Jun?” »
Went to watch the baseball at the weekend at the Mokdong Stadium to see Nexen Heroes vs. LG Twins. There was a large crowd for the home team Nexen Heroes. I don’t know much about baseball but I do know that Nexen lost 2-4. The atmosphere was a little more subdued than usual as there were no cheerleaders as a mark of respect for the victims of the Sewol Ferry Disaster.
It was a subdued Children’s Day (May 5th) and Buddha’s Birthday (May 6th) this year as the country is still shocked, sad, and angry after the Sewol ferry disaster three weeks ago. A lot of anger is aimed at the government for the accident – a list of allegations including that the boat wasn’t seaworthy, had too much cargo onboard, and that the rescue operation was slow and ineffective suggest that Health and Safety has not been on top of the agenda.
Outside City Hall in Seoul people lined up to put a white Chrysanthemum on an alter in remembrance of those who died. There was a 40 minute wait from the end of the line to the alter where people could pay their respects. A large banner hangs across City Hall with an apology to the victims of the accident: 미안합니다 mi-an-hamnida
Children’s Day was especially sombre since most of the victims were high school students all from the same school. I heard that in some classes only one student survived. Many school trips go ahead in spring but after the disaster school trips across the country were cancelled. Bodies are still being recovered and one diver has died trying to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage under the sea.
On the grass outside City Hall there are yellow paper boats with messages to those that died on the ferry.
A sign on the grass in front of the paper boats invites people to stand here for quiet contemplation.
The fact that the passengers were told to remain in their cabins to wait for further instructions when the boat was clearly sinking (not to mention the video footage of the captain being rescued in his underpants) has understandably caused outrage – the children who were trying to be good and doing as they were told by adults they trusted were the ones who didn’t survive. Here’s one message I saw on the noticeboards. It says “Korea, where people who follow the rules get hurt”. Very sad.