Korean Christmas Gift Ideas

kakao friends

So I’ve just finished my Christmas present shopping for this year – I left it a bit late really. As always I was on the hunt for Korean gifts to send home. Last year on my Korean gift hunt, I found all sorts of things from ‘Gangnam Style tea’ to a ‘garlic case apparatus’. This year on my quest for something cute, I headed straight for the Kakao Friends shop. Then I found some practical goods in the Sillymann store, and finally nibbles at Lotte Department Store… Continue reading “Korean Christmas Gift Ideas” »

Book Review: Please Look After Mom

Kyung Sook Shin is one of Korea’s most well-known and popular contemporary female writers. With her latest book, The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness, recently released, I decided that it was about time I read her best selling novel Please Look After Mom (which has been waiting patiently on my bookshelf for 3 years!) It won the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012.

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Andong Hahoe Hanok Village

andong hanok village

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to go to Andong City, in Gyeongsangbuk-do. It was a centre for Confucianism during the Joseon period and many influential yangban noble families lived in the area at that time. These days there are still villages of traditional hanok houses there, but of course many have been turned into guest houses for tourists (like me 😉 ) wanting to get a taste of traditional life. We stayed for one night and I was determined to experience all the things that Andong is famous for: hanok houses, jimddak (chicken cooked in a soy-based soup), and Andong soju. Continue reading “Andong Hahoe Hanok Village” »

Fusion Sageuk – How Lee Byung Hoon changed historical drama with Heojun

lee byung hoonDirector Lee Byung Hoon has been credited with revamping the sageuk industry in Korea. He became famous internationally when he directed Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum, 2004). But he made his comeback to directing with the drama Heojun, 2000. Previously, in the 1990s he observed that sageuk was very popular in Japan and had high ratings because it was watched by all ages and gave the Japanese viewers a sense of pride in their country.

But Sageuk in Korea was only watched by the over 40s. For several years he had been overseeing drama production at MBC, but then decided to go back to directing. He told his family that he wanted to direct sageuk. But his daughter was against it because she and her friends thought that sageuk was boring and dull. He decided that he needed to make his dramas appealing to schoolchildren and young adults too. Continue reading “Fusion Sageuk – How Lee Byung Hoon changed historical drama with Heojun” »

Notes from the book by Jewel in the Palace Director Lee Byung Hoon

lee byung hoonIn his book, Build a Kingdom of Dreams, Lee Byung Hoon, the director of the Korean historical drama blockbuster hit Jewel in the Palace (MBC 2004) writes about his approach to directing dramas – from choosing a writer, to working with cast, filming and editing. Not to mention the dreaded challenge of tackling viewer ratings! Here are some of the points that I found interesting in the book including how he revamped historical dramas and anecdotes from drama sets. The book is also great for studying Korean reading which I wrote about here.

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Korean Book Review: 꿈의 왕국을 세워라 Build a Kingdom of Dreams by Director Lee Byung Hoon

lee byung hoon For any Korean language students who are also interested in Korean historical drama, (sageuk), reading director Lee Byung Hoon’s 2010 book 꿈의 왕국을 세우라 Build a Kingdom of Dreams is a great way to kill two birds with one stone: improve reading and vocabulary whilst learning more about the world of Korean drama.

Lee Byung Hoon (not to be confused with the famous actor Lee Byung Hun) is the director of several blockbuster hits including Heojun (MBC 2000), Sangdo (MBC 2002), Dae Jang Geum (MBC 2004), Dong Yi (MBC 2010), and Horse Doctor (MBC 2013). He became a household name in Korea after the hugely successful MBC drama Heojun in 2000 when ratings reached over 60%. It is still one of the most successful dramas of all time in Korea. (it’s still my favourite drama too and I really recommend it :) ) Continue reading “Korean Book Review: 꿈의 왕국을 세워라 Build a Kingdom of Dreams by Director Lee Byung Hoon” »