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.
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!
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?