Viki

I am NOT a Korea-boo, thank you very much!


#1

The whole . . . shall we say interesting . . . discussion about Back Street Rookie’s gentle free spirit Han Dal-Sik (played by Eum Moon-Suk) makes me think that those who love Viki but have their feet firmly planted in reality need a forum.

We can all trace our interest in “Asianese” dramas to specific things in our lives.

  • Some people are actually Asian for one thing. And speak, you know, one of those Asian-type languages. That gives some folks a bit of street cred, right?
  • Some people live or have lived in Asia.
  • Some people are married to Asians or will be or have been.
  • Some people have Asian friends or are Asian friends.
  • Some people grew up with an appreciation for Asian history, culture, and food thanks to parents and grandparents and places of worship that instilled in them the wonders of being alive in a world full of amazing human beings (amazing often in spite of life being very weird at the best of times).

I still find it sort of funny, just sort of, that Eum Mun-Suk was ripped up one side and down the other for being some sort of half-breed Korea-boo when the guy is totally Korean, gets to travel around Korea, gets to pal around with “glassy” celebrities, and knows the words to every possible Korean popular song.

Because he’s. You know.

If and when the last remaining vestiges of masking insanity and related insanities are finally taken off the world table, I have every hope of visiting Korea with a tour of some kind. And eating gimbap till I burst.

Why?

Because, in addition to being born basically two and a half months after the end of the Korean War (which resonated through my childhood in so many ways), my peace-loving, human loving parents would NOT stop brainwashing me.

My own parents!

For example.

Growing up, I lived about two hours south of Washington, DC. The summer before I turned ten, relatives came to visit, and my parents did two things: shepherded everyone on a tour of Colonial Williamsburg and then on a tour of Washington.

In Washington,we got to see monuments and memorials and the inside of the White House. And we got to see the not-yet flowering Japanese cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, planted there in 1912.

For my tenth birthday, I got a book:

It has a set of slides (for an old-style slide projector) and a 45 rpm record with narration by Edward R. Murrow, one of the early stars of CBS radio and television.

When I was thirteen, my parents gave me art lessons for two years, and I fell in love with watercolor. Not Mount Fuji, and not Jirisan, but they say young painters always imitate the most famous images.

When I was 28, a group of women from a Presbyterian church in Korea came to visit my roommate’s church, and they brought her a lacquered box. When she left to go to Africa and write articles for the church’s newsletter, she left me the box. It was an octagonal, brown lacquered box inlaid with the symbol “double happiness” inlaid in mother of pearl. It looked similar to the box below. My sister now has the box.

(Startpage screen caps)

As a grad student in the mid-1980s, I participated in an international friendship group that met at the chapel at the University of Rochester (NY). I met a number of people from various parts of China and started reading up on the country I only knew about from looking at a map.

And all the while, whenever I was introduced to “real deal Asianese” types of food, I ate them.

Then, in the early 2000s, I watched Shining Inheritance on DramaFever and became completely addicted.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

How about you? How did you fall in love with Asia? With Asian dramas? With the whole adventure?


#2

My family is from Laos but my siblings and I were born in Thailand. We came to America ('91) when my siblings and I were all still so young. I was only 2.5 years old.

From the time I can remember, my parents has always watched Thai lakorns and Chinese wuxia serials. I grew up on them. Which lead me to watching Taiwanese dramas in highschool. I didn’t start Kdramas til about the end of my senior year. I also started Jdramas around the same time.

I can’t remember my first Thai lakorn or Chinese Wuxia… since in my mind those were there from the very beginning.

My first Taiwanese drama was, “Devil Beside You” with Mike He & Rainie Yang.

First Kdrama, “Snow Queen” with Hyun Bin & Sung Yuri

First Jdrama, “Hana Kimi” ('07 ver.) with Maki Horikita & Shun Oguri


#3

Netflix recommended the drama , Abyss and I have been hooked since, stories were far more interesting than American television.


#4

If you had a choice between the $19.99 all you can eat sushi special at “the” sushi place in your area . . . and the a la carte lunch menu at “the” Korean place in your area . . . and the spend too much but have so much fun dim sum menu at “the” dim sum place in your area (and they do exist where I live), which would you choose, and why?

And have you ever had anyone ask, “Why do you eat that stuff? You’re not from that culture.”

(Because I’m hungry, and I love it?)


#5

No one would say that where I live, I don’t think my kids know anyone who doesn’t eat sushi, other than their grandfathers. It would be more odd if someone didn’t eat it.


#6

Tough choice, but it would probably be sushi in the end, even if I don’t really eat enough in one sitting to make an all-you-can-eat really worth it.

I have never, ever heard anything like this. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life in very culturally diverse places, but this concept would never even occur to me. On a week to week basis, we eat foods from other ethnicities/cultures nearly as often as we do good ole American food.


#7

I think your parents are amazing. Please tell them I said that.

Actually, I am a Koreaboo, in that I do have a distorted image of Korea, both of them. South is great. North is oppressed. Everyone is yeppuda and they all say Oppa and Unnie and Noona. It’s this sort of Dramaland in which I’ve chosen to live.

The real Korea, however, is pretty much identical to my own country, with the whole Communism and separation from the West and then came a misunderstood Democracy that’s totally broken. But I don’t want to talk about that. It’s depressing. The real world is awful. Everything is awful. So Yes, I’m a Koreaboo. I live in a fantasy world. Isn’t that why we’re all here? Not because of our Asian legacy or connection – people are universally the same – but because we want to escape into a World of Oppas. :smile_cat: :two_hearts:


#8

I wish I could tell my parents personally how amazing I think they are, but they are no longer on planet Earth.

It is only in retrospect that I understand how fortunate I was to be raised with the view of life that my parents believed in. They certainly had their issues, and I have mine, but above all they believed in the essential beauty of life and humanity even in the midst of chaos and war and natural disaster.

I guess you could say they believed that people should, whoever they might be, live big or go home.

And maybe the key is shrimp. Born in Texas, raised in Virginia, every time I can remember having a fancy meal, we had shrimp, especially at Christmas and Easter. It’s the small, simple touches that elevate life from the quotidian to the extraordinary.

What I notice in the K-dramas and other dramas that “speak” to me is the small gestures that characters make and that other characters appreciate.

In Back Street Rookie, the mom shows her care for the FL by making her rice and a fried egg. And that relationship, in contrast to the relationship between the chaebol mom and her daughter, is pure and simple.

When I was working on pre-subs for The Prince Who Turned Into a Frog (my introduction to the lakorn) I laughed when one character said to another something like, “I can tell when you don’t finish your omelet that something is bothering you.”

And (as in the case of Mexican novelas), the most astute observers of the human condition are those who have not had it easy in life. They are not just survivors; they have learned how to thrive in the midst of trouble and have a heart for others who are still struggling.

And food plays such an important role in getting people through tough times.

I discovered gimbap, after enjoying sushi for a number of years, when a group of friends went to a Korean restaurant after church one Christmas, and they invited me along. Wow, could not get enough, still can’t. Such a simple food and yet so satisfying.


#9

I am so sorry to hear that. Well, it’s not all bad. They had you. And clearly, they poured a lot of love and compassion and awesomeness in doing so. No doubt, they must be very proud of you. I, too, I’m happy whenever I meet decent folk who are kind enough to share some of their life experiences with yours truly. :smile_cat: :heart:


#10

Kinda Boring but:

I fell in love with Crash Landing On You after telling a friend - Nope no way I’m not watching anything with subtitles but in July 2020 - I took a chance and it was so ROMANTIC - I stopped watching Hallmark - the stories are so much more complex.

Then I watched GOBLIN and I was SUNK - SUNK deep in drama - I cried and cried and had to pause episodes of GOBLIN and it is still my #1 drama.

Now I am so in love with Korea - the culture - the language - the people - the food
I started eating lots of Korean dishes and frequent my Korean Restaurant often.
I do actually understand some Korean and love learning new phrases - I really want to learn the language. And travel over to Seoul and Jeju!

Now falling in love with Taiwan - Japan - Chinese dramas! And of course the food!

I also listen to music from Korea (k-pop) and Taiwan - all the music in my car is now mostly 2pm - Henry - Marcus Chang - Bii - Astro - Infinite - EXO - ATEEZ - etc etc etc

(Oh and I have like 17 Collections on VIKI and I talk way to much about HOTTIES
and LOVE doing WATCH PARTIES with you crazies!!! LOL)


#11

Hallmark Channel has one story and one set of tropes. And not too many umbrellas.

Goblin is an exceptional K-drama. I think there was a lot of stumbling around at several points where the writers seemed to forget their own story arc, but it told a dramatic story, had great music . . . and had the funniest bromance EVER.

And the way the ML and 2nd ML looked (and still look) so good in long leather coats.

Can I get an OMO?

I think that, for Goblin, a sense of style and not just of trendy fashion is what made it so visually memorable.


#12

I was all about the BROMANCE! IT was the best part!


#13

Here’s a Korea-boo boo-boo.

Don’t know how many people here are from “Asianese” cultures where it has been a “thing” since time immemorial for adult men friends who are heterosexual (and women as well) to walk together in public holding hands.

I don’t understand all the cultural reasons why this is a feature of some cultures. Mutual assured survival of some kind? If a wagon, beast of burden, earthquake, typhoon, angry weapon-bearing person shows up out of nowhere, one good yank, and both friends survive another day?

But how many times have adults and children from such cultures been ridiculed and humiliated by “fans” of those cultures? The timed comments for Viki shows were the first thing I learned to turn off because so many of them are written in such ignorance about SO MANY things.

My momma taught me early on: if you can’t say something meaningful about others in public, don’t say anything at all. Do not shame your mother by showing yourself to be a total clueless, insensitive jerk EVERY time you flap your lips.

Does that ring a bell with anyone?

(I have started watching the “reality daycare” K-drama Little Forest, and my heart gets all gooey when I watch how both children and adults help each other over rough spots with a quick hand-clasp or wrist-clasp. It’s not at all something that would ever happen in modern American culture, and it’s so simple and pure and supportive.)

(Program homepage)


#14

Female friends usually hold hands, and guy friends put their arms around each other when they walk in Korea. It is such a natural things to do among friends/siblings of the same gender that I was shocked when my uncle warned me and my sister not to hold each other’s hands when we first immigrated to America. I heard later that the Westerners mistakenly thought Korea was a homosexual heaven when they came to visit Korea back in the 80s & 90s when they saw all these people holding hands in public.


#15

I really hate it when international fans keep shipping and calling every singer they like a homosexual… people these days really can’t accept cultural differences and it’s so annoying to watch. The second one man looks at another man, it’s over for them. The TCs and other comments will be FULL of all sorts of weird nonsense. And if someone openly denies it, they start screaming again because they’re being “intolerant” or some other word that has lost its meaning.

Honestly though… do people in America never hold hands or walk with their arms around each other(of the same gender) in public? I always thought they were more “physical”… i don’t know, I thought they hug everyone they see and stuff :sweat_smile: I’m sorry if I’m being ignorant.


#16

He was protecting his nieces, but it still made me giggle that he shocked you :rofl:

Nope it’s not the norm for this behavior here in the USA. Not to say it does not exist, it does, but as you’ve said, it’s normally people who are in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, or husband, and wife. :blush:


#17

I know! In Asian culture, friendship among the same gender can be so deep and meaningful and important, without any sexual connotation. In Korea, male friendship over even his own girlfriend or wife are honored. But most Americans tend to believe that when they have such deep friendship, they must be gay, lesbian, and/or bi.

Umm, only if you want to show that you are gay/lesbian.

Unlike in Asia, Americans tend to be more “physical” with the opposite gender.


#18

I would be a shipper of sorts, but not in the same way that most fans are, I love how affectionate they are and how much they take care of each other. Seriously, these men and ladies are kept away from the opposite sex, by many companies, and people need touch and affection, not everything is sexual.

As to friends holding hands, when I was growing up you’d never see guys holding hands, and on the ultra rare chance that you did, they would be thought of as gay, girls on the other hand could hold hands or walk arm in arm, and no one would think anything of it. Very strange double standard when you look back on it.


#19

Some of those idols do feed the fans imagination, when they do things like passionate kissing or suggestive backhugs and grinds with their teammates during concerts and not only, or kisses with just a piece of paper between their mouths in reality show games.
I know that many of them are not actually gay, it is just “fan service” for those weird girls who like to fantasize about male homosexuals and are the adoring public of BL.
But this is even more sick. I mean, if you’re really gay, more power to you. But to pretend you are when you’re not, just to please fans, that’s gross, and an affront to real homosexuals who are getting marginalized, victimized and ridiculed in many Asian countries including Korea, and are thus afraid to come out as such, and have to hide all the time.


#20

I’d eat at the Korean place because they are rare in this part of Idaho. We have plenty of local sushi restaurants and dimsum places.

No. That is such a weird, insulting and asinine question. And why do you hang out with people who think that way? My question for you is where do you find such rock-heads?