Archive | February 2013

Revisiting When It’s At Night

Recently, one of the Kdrama blogs I follow, The Fangirl Verdict, posted something about re-watching Kdramas (read it here: What Makes Drama Crack Stay Fresh / Turn Stale). Coincidentally it was also when I was in the middle of my When It’s At Night re-watch.

I’ve been wanting to re-watch this old Kim Sun Ah drama for ages. I’ve seen it live and I have paused-rewind-play-rewind-pause-played it hundred of times while we were subbing it. And probably have watched it once with my mom. God knows how many times I’ve attempted a good re-watch for the past few years but was only able to manage to watch until Episode 2 or 3 the most. Could be lack of time or lack of motivation. Or both.

If I were to rank all of Kim Sun Ah’s post-My Name Kim Sam Soon dramas, When It’s At Night would fall on the last spot. Although some Kim Sun Ah fans (and non Kim Sun Ah fans as well) would think otherwise, most of her fans would share the same opinion as mine.

I used to think that this drama lacks on many things. It is not as engaging as many other K-dramas. The chemistry was awesome but it lacks the over-the-top romance. The main topic of cultural properties is quite boring. The beginning was promising but it wasn’t able to sustain its charm. Cho Hee was not as feisty as I thought she’ll be. Etc, etc, etc.

Those things may still hold true even if I rewatch it 10, 20, a hundred times more. But for some reasons, my feelings towards it have changed.

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I’m thinking maybe I had very high expectations for this drama before. It was, after all, Kim Sun Ah’s comeback from a 3-year hiatus. It was her comeback project after her phenomenal My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. It was a struggle for her (and the staff too, perhaps) to sustain THE Kim Sam Soon’s charm and at the same time veer away from it. It was also a struggle for me not to compare it with Kim Sam Soon and not to expect it to be something as awesome as Kim Sam Soon. So when When It’s At Night didn’t reach the phenomenal level that Kim Sam Soon reached, I was disappointed. I also think that the marketing strategy didn’t match what the drama is really all about. I was on the look out at every news and whatever bits of information that came out that time because I was so excited to finally see Kim Sun Ah active on television once again. It was marketed as something sexy and feisty at the beginning so I was waiting for something sexy and feisty. When it didn’t come, surely I was disappointed. And now that there are no more marketing hype clouding my head, I was able to take a look at, and appreciate When It’s At Night’s beauty as it is and was able to see something precious about it.

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I used to dislike Cho Hee. Again, with the image of Kim Sam Soon overshadowing her, I was looking for a feisty character. But I get to appreciate Cho Hee more this time. She is not meant to be as funny as Kim Sam Soon, nor as cute as Shin Mi Rae (City Hall), nor as powerful as Hwang Ji Ahn (I Do I Do). She is meant to be her. A hurt daughter hoping to find her father while raising a younger brother. A dedicated worker. A woman falling in love and being loved in return. That’s her. She is not meant to be somebody’s hero. And I now appreciate her character.

Of course I love Kim Bum Sang and Chief Kang. And Gyoon! These three characters, I think, are the drama’s strength.

I also find the love story satisfactory this time. I used to complain the lack of romantic moments between the leads after reading the final episode’s original script. But I guess what was shown in the drama is good enough. I’m actually glad the director didn’t push it too much because it may not match the ‘feel’ of the drama anymore. Romance was not the focus of the drama after all. But I still find it heart-fluttering-worthy many times. I like the mature approach on romance. And I love the sensible attack on one-sided love and love-triangle – a far cry from the cringe-worthy approach of Gentleman’s Dignity.

Also, I am more interested now in Korean cultural properties than I was 5 years ago.  Before, everything were just babbles of different kinds of celadon vases, incense burners, old painting and ancient books that doesn’t mean anything to me. Knowing a little bit more about Korean history and culture and having visited a number of museums in Korea myself, it’s now more engaging for me to  watch a drama dealing with issues concerning cultural properties than, let’s say, uhm… stilettos (*ehem*).

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Well, yes, to be honest this drama may still find itself at the bottom of my Kim Sun Ah’s drama list. But it is no longer because I don’t like it. But simply because I like her other drama’s a little bit more.When Is At Night is no longer my “obligatory” Kim Sun Ah drama. I used to say “When It’s At Night is not THAT bad” but now I can confidently say “When It’s At Night is NOT bad. In fact it is good.” Yes, yes. There are many loopholes. It has many shortcomings. But it is a simple heart-warming drama I can enjoy. I’m glad I did a re-watch and was able to find something precious about it. I’m looking forward to more re-watch in the years to come. 🙂

NEWS: “The Five” Movie adaptation Director Jang Yeon Shik talks about Go Eun and her attempt to seek revenge

This is not a new article. This was actually published in Movieweek last year (March 19, 2012). I just found this on the Facebook news feed of a friend. But I got curious about it and I also just want to try some reading and translations today so I’m reading it. Might as well time myself because I usually take my entire day when doing translations. 😦 And as always, please take my translations with a grain of salt. And also note that I got really lazy translating the second half. 🙂

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The fact that the movie will be directed by the creator of the original webtoon is exciting. However, more than adhering to the original web toon, Director Jang Yeong Shik intends to come up with a version of The Five that fits the new medium – film.

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Q: On what stage is the movie production now?

A: The screenplay is almost finished.

Q: The webtoon’s popularity was skyhigh so most probably you have received lots of calls from different movie production company. Why did you chose to work with Cinema Service?

A: I received calls from 14 different production companies. More than the money and contract terms I consider the production’s stability. At the same time I have my outmost trust to Producer Kang Oh Seok.

Q: While doing the dramatization, which points or parts did you give emphasis on?

A: Comics and movies are two different mediums. I think that when a comics is to be adapted into a movie, the former should be altered to match the later. With that being said, the movie’s ending will be different from the comics (alodia: 헉!!! ㅠㅠ Noooo!!!! I sooooo love the ending of the comics!!! I hope when he said ending, he doesn’t necessarily mean the-final-scene-ending. Anyway, I trust him and I believe that, more than anyone else, he is the first person who wouldn’t want to mess his precious work up. If he’ll change the ending I’m sure it will be as awesome, if not more awesome!) Just like the comics it will have a touching ending but there will be something more heartwarming along with that (alodia: 앗싸! I told you Dia! 걱정마!). When I wrote the draft 3 years ago, I came up with many different versions for the ending. The ending of the comics is just one of those many different versions. If you adhere so much to the original when adapting  it to a movie, the movie will not be able to have a life of its own. I believe that a movie in itself is a totally different medium. With that, all I am bringing from the comics is the framework. Comics and movies are very different. We often hear that adaptations can’t sustain the charm of the original work. Luckily I will be the one directing this (laughs).

Q: The character/s in the comics is an/are excellent one/s. How’s the casting?

A: Right now it’s almost finalized. I just can’t reveal it yet but you’ll be surprised! (alodia: ^_^)

Q: Will we be surprised because it’s going to be some big star? Or because it will be someone unexpected?

A: Both! (alodia: ^_^ I’m loving Director Jang more and more. Go on please! 🙂)

Q: While casting for the main character, Go Eun Ah, what was it that you looked for?

A: “After this movie, I will never have any CF offers anymore!” First and foremost I wanted to avoid those kind of actresses with this kind of thinking. Luckily our actress is someone who doesn’t care about those kind of stuff. (alodia: If I had read this article/this part before it was revealed that it’s going to be Kim Sun Ah, I would’ve known right away that it’s her! One of the very few actresses who doesn’t care about sacrificing her appearance/image as long as she can bring life to a character! ^_^)

Q: Who on earth could it be? (laughs)

A: A popular actress who is excellent in acting (alodia: One more word Director Jang and I’m setting up a fans club for you and you alone! ^_^ It’s more fun and lovely when someone talks good things about someone unnamed.)

Q: Before Eun Ah turned ruthless, she was just an ordinary housewife, right?

A: Yes, that’s why we wanted an actress who doesn’t only has a bright and cheerful image but can also completely change and do a 360 degree reversal of that image.

Q: Eun Ah is a very cinematic and charming character. But towards the end of the original comics, she grew weaker.

A: During the adaptation, Eun Ah’s character will be stronger. Overall the story and the 4 other characters will be enhanced in the movie. The villain, no matter how evil he is, will be seen as someone charming by the audience too.

Q: Is that character a psychopath?

A: Exactly. A “natural” evil. He’ll be a bit more realistic than the original comics version.

Q: What kind of feeling/texture are you planning on the film’s cinematography?

A: This time I’ll be working with Director (cinematographer?) Kim Hyeong Gu and it seems like our taste are quite similar. More than shortening the images in a flashy manner, we are planning to focus on the story. Our goal is for the image not to interfere with the story. The strength of The Five, to begin with, is its story.

Q: The Five’s plot is driven by tension, isn’t it?

A: And so as not to loose it, we are working thoroughly to maintain it. This is the most difficult thing for the director. The Five’s plot is originally meant for a comics. Since then I’ve been working on the screenplay for about 3 years. So even if I’m a rookie director, the fact that the preparation time is quite long, it has helped me a lot.

Q: Director Kang Woo Seok had an experience in adapting a manhwa to movie. Did he give you any advice?

A: Surprising as it is, Director Kang Woo Seok is not the type who will utter a single word of advice, rather he will observe silently. Until now he has never been involved directly to the project.

Q: The Five is a project with a message that gives a new perspective on how one views the world. What kind of message will the movie have?

A: Eun Ah is an orphan who had difficulties in getting married (alodia: her in-laws doesn’t approve of her). She is just starting to live a happy life when it was  snatched from her and was once again left alone. On top of that, she became handicapped. And I still think that _____. That’s why this movie is a story of a character marginalized by society. It would be wonderful if the movie will be worth the sympathy of the female audiences as well.

Q: If you can describe this movie in one word, what would it be?

A: It’s not a movie full of surprises, it’s a movie filled with suspense.

Q: When will this movie premiere?

A: The filming will begin the first part of May and we are planning to premiere on theaters before the year ends. We are currently squeezing the schedule of the second half of the remaining work that needs to be done (alodia: Please note this article was published last year. They started filming a few days ago and are aiming for a fall or winter premiere).

Q: Are you going to use a lot of computer graphics?

A: Yes. Among my desires now are __________ (laughs). So I am in the process of appealing to the staff (?). The schedule was very tight when the comics was being published so I had to let go of some visuals. If we can reinforce graphics too, we can provide a great cinematic attraction for the viewers. That’s also the reason why domino was chosen. It is not only for the sake of the story. It’s something to look forward to. (alodia: Yeah, I almost forgot about the domino. As what the director keeps saying on this interview, the story is really the strongest suit of this project. So strong I almost forgot about the domino and the possible wonderful cinematic execution of it when turned into a film. I AM looking forward to it!)

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A revenge story of an ordinary woman who was deprived of happiness. Fast pace and flashy storytelling. Frightening and brutal images of crime and revenge alongside values of family, friendship and humanity. A heart-warming story that will make your heart tremble at one moment and will make you burst into tears the next.

Source: MOVIEWEEK [웹툰 원작 영화⑤] ‘더 파이브’ 정연식 감독 “처절한 복수극 행할 은아는?” 

The Legend of The Missing Subtitle

Ok, so there’s really no legend. I just can’t think of a better title for the post. XD.

Anyway I was happily marathoning a Korean drama. I just finished an episode and the next one automatically played… 1 minute… 2 minutes… 3 minutes… 4 minutes… then the character said a sentence that I’ve come across My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel I am currently reading and translating. I know what the sentence mean but it doesn’t sound very natural when I translated it literally to English. “Wait! What’s the best way to say it in English?” So, curious as to how it was subbed, I paused my video player and pressed the rewind button so I can “read again” the subtitles carefully. I will probably have to edit my translation to phrase it better in English…

The video played.

Subtitles didn’t appear!

Apparently I have been watching without subtitles for a whole 4-minute. I forgot to rename the subtitle file for the next episode so my video player didn’t pick it up automatically.

This is not really the first time it happened to me. Usually because of not renaming my subtitles properly subs won’t appear on the next episode. I would only notice it once I had that ‘wait-what-did-she-say-again’ moment on the first few moments. But this time I was really surprised when no subtitles appeared after I played the video again. I have been understanding everything completely I really thought I had my subtitles on. It makes me wonder, if I didn’t rewind it, how far I can go watching without subtitles?

I actually noticed that on this latest drama that I’m watching, I’m listening more than reading the English subtitles. I’m glad I’m also improving on my listening skills (even if I’m not working hard on it lately – I’m reading more these days while trying to get my mouth do its job). But I’m still far from letting my subtitles go. Not yet. I’m still very much dependent on them. But I can’t wait to finally let them go.

It feels like when I was first learning how to ride a bicycle. Riding a bike is difficult and scary. Just like most kids learning how to bike for the first time, I needed my grandfather’s help so he used to hold the rear of the bike for me while I try to pedal. Aware that someone’s holding it for me, I kept pedaling. But there are moments I didn’t know he already let go minutes ago. However the moment I found out he is no longer holding my bike, I panicked and wobbled and fell down. Even if I managed to bike on my own a few minutes ago, I wouldn’t start until I know somebody’s holding it for me. Eventually, after lots of efforts, I learned how to bike – racing after boys, standing on it and sometimes I don’t hold the bike handles for fun!

Just like in watching my dramas, I still need help from subtitles. I can survive a few minutes without it especially when I’m aware that I don’t have them. But the moment I realize they are not on, I panic and put them on again. But I believe, eventually I’ll let go of them. Soon! 🙂

Stop Using Google Translator

Just another rant…

I hope I won’t come off as arrogant or something… it’s just that whenever I come across an obviously Google translated sentence (whether it’s Korean to English or English to Korean) I cringe. I’m not talking about anything or anyone in particular. I just happen to browse some random websites and SNS and came across one of those horrors once again.

If you like a language enough for you to want to use it, then study it properly. Slowly or not it doesn’t matter. But properly. Doesn’t have enough knowledge yet but wants to use the language? Then use what you know no matter how simple it is. Knowledge is really very limited and not enough to write a sentence by yourself? Then don’t write/use it (yet). Use the language you are comfortable with if you can.

I’m not saying not to try and practice. By all means go ahead and try! Make mistakes! Make lots of mistakes and learn from it. Making mistakes because you don’t know yet but you tried is way more awesome than copy-pasting a machine translated sentence that you don’t even know no one can even understand.

I know how frustrating it is when we are still starting. Been there, done that. And yes I’m guilty of using Google translator to translate my English thoughts to Korean many years back because I was both desperate and excited to talk write. And I hoped someone told me to get off Google Translate (or any other online machine translators) then. When I try reading what I have written before using Google translate not only I can’t understand them, I don’t even know what I was trying to say.

And yes, I still use Google translate up to this day. When I’m too lazy to input words I do not know on Naver dictionary one by one. Or when I quickly want to recall a word I already know but have forgotten. Or to double check my spelling. Or to quickly scan through a long written text. But please, do not copy-paste machine translations and label them as translations! Or make it appear as if you’ve personally written it.

Do you think it’s understandable? English (or any other language) when machine translated to Korean is as gibberish as the English machine translation of Korean (or any other language).

Stop using Google Translator people!

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Analyzing a Korean Sentence Linguistically

One of the many long sentences I encountered while reading My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel is this:

오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다.

Again, even if I understood almost every word perfectly the problem of who did what, who did what, who did what to whom, what was done by whom clouded my mind.

Eventually, using my DIY-aka-pseudo-linguistic method again, I was able to figure out who’s who and what’s what. But a user, bonbon2023, from WordReference was able to explain the sentence awesomely in a linguistic way and I’d like to share it with you guys – especially to those who are also studying / are interested in linguistics.

For lexical explanation오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다.(Mom raises her right hand, which have held rice spatula, with glaring eyes seeing daughter defiant today for some reason.) In this context, though different wording, 눈에 힘을 주다 can be otherwise expressed as 눈을 부릅뜨다 or 눈을 번뜩이다. ‘오늘따라’ means ‘왠일인지 오늘, which is today for some reason, and ‘따라’ signifies there’s no specific reason.’강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에’ suggests ‘Daughter is being defiant’

For grammar explanation, this is how I analyze the sentence by morphology or syntax.
Basically when we analyze sentences in morphology, we usually reveal the nine parts of speech in the sentence.
오늘(noun, 명사)/따라(particle 조사)/ 강하게(adjective, 형용사)/ 나오는(verb, 동사)/ 딸(noun, 명사)/의(particle, 조사)/반발(noun, 명사)에(particle, 조사)/ 엄마(noun, 명사)/는(particle, 조사)/ 눈(noun, 명사)/에(particle, 조사)/ 힘(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 주며(verb, 동사)/ 밥주걱(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 들고(verb, 동사)/ 있던(verb, 동사)/ 오른손(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 치켜드신다(verb, 동사).

The above is based on nine parts of speech. If I go further, ‘따라, 는’ is ‘focus particle or delimiter'(보조사), ‘의’ is 관형격조사, ‘에’ is adverbial case particle(부사격조사), , ‘을’ is objective case particle(목적격조사) in your sentence. And when it comes to word-building ‘치켜드시다’ is the complex verb(합성동사), which ‘치키다’ and ‘드시다’ are mixed by the ending ‘-어’ attaching to the stem ‘치키-‘.

Given the sentence in terms of inflection(활용), which refers to change in form of verb or adjective, ‘주며’ ‘
들고’, ‘있던’, ‘나오는’, ‘치켜드신다’ are considered.
The ending -며 in 주며 is coordinate conjunctive ending(대등적연결어미) because it links the preceding clause and following clause on grammatically equal terms.
-고 in 들고 is supplementary conjunctive ending(보조적연결어미) since it enables 있던 to modify ‘들고’, thereby adds progressive meaning in the chunk. ‘-ㄴ’ in 있던 and ‘-는’ in 나오는 are 관형사형어미 so 있던, 나오는 modify noun ‘오른손’, ‘딸’ respectively. -ㄴ다 in 치켜드신다 is closing ending(종결어미).

On the other hand in syntax, there are seven parts of sentence 부사어, 관형어, subject(주어), object(목적어), 서술어, complement(보어), 독립어 when basically analyzing the sentence.
Thus the compound sentence is analysed as:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의(관형어) 반발에(부사어)/ 엄마는(subject)/ 눈에(부사어) 힘을(object) 주며(서술어)/ 밥주걱을 들고 있던(관형어)/ 오른손을(object)/ 치켜드신다(서술어).
The subject ‘엄마는’ is the third person singular. 부사어, 관형어 are additional constituents when it comes to constituents of sentences, thus the sentence can make sense even after omitting them like the following> “엄마는 힘을 주며 오른손을 치켜드신다.” This is main sentence.

The type of compound sentence is extended sentence(이어진문장) since ‘엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며’ and ‘밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다’ are coordinate clauses(대등절) linked by ‘-며’.
Consider the following:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의(관형구) 반발에(adverbial phrase)/ 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며(coordinate clause)/ 밥주걱을 들고 있던(관형구)/ 오른손을 치켜드신다(coordinate clause). 
‘오늘 따라 강하게 나오는 딸의'(관형구) performs as the 관형어
 that modifies noun 반발 in adverbial phrase(부사구). 밥주걱을 들고 있던 modifies noun 오른손. 
When we look at ‘치켜드신다’. 
The ‘-시-‘ prefinal ending shows the respect to the agent ‘엄마’ and there’s ‘-ㄴ다’, which is the form of 해라체 of declarative form.
However, 
the sentence on the whole shows the sentence is not aimed for specific audience. In other words, closing ending ‘-ㄴ다’ in this sentence is not closing ending of 해라체 in 상대높임법 used for face-to-face or conversational situation(상관적장면) but neutral-register(하라체) of in declarative sentence used for writing(단독적장면). 

Given the tense, the tense of main sentence is present tense determined by closing ending ‘-ㄴ다’. If
 the ‘inflected forms performing as noun, numeral, pronoun modifier'(관형사형) are underlined for explaining relative tense based on time of event in main sentence, it is shown as the following:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다. 
The first 관형사형, the ‘time of event(사건시)’ of ‘나오는’ coincides with the time of event in main sentence, thus it’s present tense. The second, the time of event of ‘있던’ precedes that of main sentence, thus it signifies lasting of movement precedes the point of ‘time of event’. 

FYI: Think about nine parts of speech and seven constituents of sentence when you analyzing sentence.

WOW! Like, really WOW! Not anyone can explain this sentence the way he explained it. And for a moment I even thought he’s probably one of our professors. I wish he (she?) is my professor though. Not only did I learn how to analyze the sentence, but I also learned a lot about syntax.

I’m not sure if I can do it on my own though when it comes to analyzing sentences as I go on with my reading but I will try my best.

This is one of the few moments I love being a linguistic student! 🙂

I love going to WordReference Forums whenever I have questions about Korean. The people who answer are really awesome! And I also like browsing through the questions of others because most of them were stuff I’m also curious/confused about.

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I was stuck in traffic yesterday for a good 4 hours. Thanks to the traffic jam I was able to finish 4 chapters of the novel I am reading :). And the more I read, the faster and easier it becomes. ^^

“The Five, High Five!” First Filming Day and some updates!

Yesterday, February 14th, The Five had it’s first filming day. According to tweets of the webtoon writer and movie director Jung Yeon Shik the first filming day went well.

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^He said the first filming ended well. He said today’s a day wherein he realized what an actor is in the truest sense of the word. And lastly he said that all the actors that they have in The Five are the best!

Hearing this from the movie director gives me goosebumps! Now my imagination is running wild thinking how the scenes from the manhwa I loved so much are being transformed to live action. And hearing him say all the actors are great makes me so happy coz I’m pretty sure Kim Sun Ah‘s present today! Yes Director Jung, our Kim Sun Ah’s the best! 🙂

Earlier yesterday, Director Jung also tweeted this photo:

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^ He said they’ve been preparing since dawn yesterday (for the first filming day). I wonder what scene they filmed today. 진짜 되게 궁금해요!

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^ He also said they now have a chant for The Five. “The Five! High Five!” When someone yells “The Five” please yell “High Five” back! Because now everyone is like a family to him/them.

I checked his previous tweets and found out that the script reading was done last February 8th. And he said 3 actors cried. Who are those 3 actors??? I’m sure Kim Sun Ah’s one of them… who could be the other 2. 되게 궁금해요 ㅠㅠ

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And! Tada! I also found another photo from the 고사 (2013.01.29) from the twitter of another staff (producer?) Park Seong Geun.

https://twitter.com/sk6715

https://twitter.com/sk6715 (posted on 2013.02.10)

Follow them on Twitter:

Director Jung: https://twitter.com/action286

Producer(?) Park: https://twitter.com/sk6715

Actress Lee Chung Ah: https://twitter.com/EWIIWE & http://me2day.net/ewiiwe

Kim Sun Ah doesn’t have twitter so follow her on Me2Day and Facebook instead for updates about the movie:
Me2Day: http://me2day.net/kimsuna1001
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialKimSunA

Finding A Language Exchange Partner

First and foremost, I’d like to thank those you left comments on my recent rant about my Korean speakings skills. I was just feeling crappy that day so I wrote my crappy thoughts down. I was surprised by the comments, especially the lengthy ones. It does made me feel better, made me think and made me want to do better. Thanks guys! I wish there’s a like button on comments too! 🙂

Following most of the suggestions, I think it’s time for me to find a language exchange partner. Actually I’m quite envious with some bloggers who have really great language exchange partners. I guess it’s a good idea to start looking for one.

Actually I have lots of Korean friends. Some were exchange students I’ve met in our university and some were my schoolmates from CNU when I was on exchange. Some were friends of friends. But most of them are from Kim Sun Ah’s fandom ^^ and they were my closest friends. Some foreigner fans of Kim Sun Ah also studied/are studying Korean so I also get to talk to them in Korean (since they claim they don’t speak English/they refuse to speak English and I don’t speak their native languages and they don’t speak mine). With that being said, I actually shouldn’t have any problems finding someone to practice my Korean with. True. And not. Yes I often contact them and I often get to talk to them through email, our fancafe, facebook and on kakaotalk. But we are not close enough to call each other regularly and I’m sure they are all busy so I don’t want to bother them. Thus my writing and reading skills keeps getting better while my speaking skill is left behind.

I’ve tried looking for a language exchange partner before via Sharedtalk. After talking to few people I deleted my account because I found a partner. A very sweet 11-year old girl XD. She’s very enthusiastic in Skype video call. She likes talking and I like talking to her as well. But it didn’t work well. She even made schedules for us but whenever it’s our schedule to practice English she’ll suddenly stop being talkative and then will start talking in Korean. I get to talk in Korean, yes, but I get bored. Well, kids are kids so she only talks about the same thing over and over. We also can’t keep time because she wants to talk longer and I only want/need about 30mins of talk time because I’m very busy. Though it didn’t work out for us when it comes to language exchange, we became really good friends until now. She’s actually the reason why I was able to go to Lotte World. She bought me tickets and keeps buying me stuff and accessories while we were there. I still talk to her if we have time. Not in a language-exchange way but just as friends. Since then I never tried looking for another language-exchange partner – until yesterday.

So yesterday I tried my luck once more in finding a language exchange partner. I made a new account in Sharedtalk again and I also went to Interpals and Iaminkorea. I browsed some members and sent a few messages to some members.

I’m looking for a female partner because I often feel 어색하다 with males. It would be nice if it’s an 언니. And of course someone willing to talk via Skype regularly and is not just looking for friendship but someone really serious in language exchange. I don’t want to just be able to practice Korean. I also want to help them. I don’t want it to be a one-way exchange.

I saw many comments online saying it’s difficult to find Korean friends online. Many foreigners said they sent messages but never gets a reply. So I was surprised that since yesterday I kept receiving messages and emails. Was it because of how I wrote my profile? I wrote it 100% in Korean. And I guess mentioning I an online English tutor gave me an edge? XD

My first language partner is actually a guy and younger than me. Opposite of what I was looking for initially. But he is very enthusiastic about the idea of having a language exchange partner. We exchange email messages and chatted a lot before we started talking in Skype. Another good thing about him, he’s actually attending an online English tutorial – similar to where I work – so the idea of free talk via Skype is not new to him so we were able to start right away. Some Koreans I’ve talked with feels awkward in talking right away and wants us to get to know each other by email first, correcting each other’s mistake and the likes and do skype if we are more comfortable with each other. Though it’s a good idea, as I’ve mentioned I have many friends with whom I can practice my Korean writing with. I need to practice talking right away. So far I am enjoying my first partner’s talk time. We talked in English yesterday and we talked in Korean today. His Korean voice is actually very nice. It felt like talking to TTMIK’s Hyun Woo. And he is good in matching my pace and correcting my mistakes – something my 11-year old partner wasn’t able to do. He also have loads of time these days. Looks like we can hit it off. I just hope we can have matching schedule when a new semester starts in Korea next month.

I’m still getting to know and trying to figure out schedules for 2, 3 other female Koreans. I think all of them were serious too. One of them is 2 years younger than me and is also taking online English lessons so we can drop the formalities and we’ll start right away. The other one is an 언니 and fairly serious about this too. I feel very comfortable talking to her via email so I’m looking forward to talk to her. But she’s pretty new to the whole language-exchange and skype thing so we’ll take it slowly (actually I’ll wait for her to install skype). She also seems busy so we might not be talking in a regular basis. It’s okay though because I think my first 2 partners are enough. The third one is also an 언니 but haven’t replied to me again.

There are many more others. I’m tempted to talk to them too but I know I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ll send them replies and if they are really serious I’m pretty sure they’ll keep contacting me. It’s not bad to have new friends, but I might have to sign out of the language exchange websites soon before my inbox gets full.

So far, among the language exchange sites, my favorite is Iaminkorea. I’ve met a number of serious language exchange partners there. If you are looking for one, try that website. 🙂

[Audio Blog] 더 파이브

Desperately trying to improve my speaking skills, I tried doing some recordings. I still can’t do an impromptu recording in Korean, so I just read what I have written in Sunaforever a few days/weeks ago.

I’m quite proud with what I have written. I actually don’t know how I was able to write this well. I’m not saying this is something good but in my writing level it’s one of the best ones I’ve written so far. Usually when I have strong feelings over something and I wrote about it in Korean (right away) I do better than how I usually write. I wrote this just after reading the webtoon while still teary-eyed and all. The other time, I opened my heart and talked about my 짝사랑 to an 언니 and I was able to write a 5,000-character email in one sitting! And I also did well when I wrote about the snack event we prepared for Kim Sun Ah because I was so happy after meeting her again.

Anyway, this is already the corrected version. There were some corrections made by people from lang-8. My pronunciation is still really bad and I made some mistakes. Urgh! I’m just reading it and I still make mistakes! Too lazy to do it again so just enjoy picking up the mistakes. Feel free to leave comments, suggestions and corrections. I’ll appreciate them! 🙂

발음… 발음아… 우리 앞으로 잘해보자!

더 파이브 잘 읽었어요!

한국어를 잘 못하는 저는 만화를 전부 읽어본적이 없어요.
뭐… 틈틈이 시간 나는 대로 한국어 연습을 위해 어떤 유치한 만화 1, 2 장을 대충 읽은적은 있어요.
근데 당연히 저는 더 파이브에 관심이 많고 너무 궁금해서 읽을 기회 나타나자마자 곧바로 읽기 시작했어요!
자신 없는 저는 그 만화를 이해 할 수 있는지 없는지 모르겠지만 끝까지 읽어보고싶었어요.
너무 궁금해서 그래요.
생각보다 너무 어렵지는 않았어요.
물론 읽으면서 네이버 한영과 국어사전 많이 쓰는데요 ㅋㅋ
100% 이해못했지만 (특히 사전에 찾을 수 없는 사투리과 욕도) 아마 80~90% 이해했어요.
저한테는 그만큼도 너무 소중해요.
그리고 읽으면서 한국어도 많이 배웠어요.
뭐… ‘젠장’ 같은 것? ㅋㅋㅋ
ㅋㅋ 농담이에요.
욕말고 좋은 단어과 문법도 많이 배웠어요.
믿어주세요~ ㅋㅋ

밤마다 12시까지 알바를 해야 돼요.
알바끝나자마자 새벽 4시까지 읽었어요.
3일 동안 그렇게 열심히, 천천히 읽어봤어요.

처음엔 너무 슬프고 불쌍하다는 것을 느껬어요.
읽을수록 더 궁금하고 더 떨리고 떨리고 떨렸어요.
어떤 공포나 스릴러 영화를 볼때마다 아무리 무서워도 손으로 눈을 가리기까지 해본 적이 없는데
결국에 이 만화를 읽으면서 두 번 손으로 두 눈을 가렸어요! 비명이 나오는 것도 참았어요! 떨렸어요. 진짜 떨렸어요.
그리고 고은아씨를 끝까지 응원하고 싶은 마음이 들었어요.
결말을 바로 알고 싶어서 빨리 읽으면 좋겠다고 생각했어요.
그런데 10장 남았을 때 부터 계속 읽고 싶지 않았어요 ㅠㅠ
고은아씨에게 좋지 않는 일이 생기면 마음이 견딜 수 없을까봐…
그리고 빨리 읽으면 다 끝을거예요.
드라마 보는 것처럼 격한 감정이나 느낌 있어서 그리울까봐 계속 읽고 싶지 않았어요 ㅠㅠ
당연히 너무 궁금해서 못 참았어요 ㅋㅋ
마지막 회를 읽고 에필로그동영상을 볼때 눈물을 흘렸어요.
또한 동영상을 끝나고 10, 15분 지나도 눈물이 계속 흘렸어요.

이게 뭐야?!!!
원래 제 생각에는 복수에 대한 스릴러이라면 미국 스릴러 영화랑 비슷하지 않아요?
스릴러가 다 그래요.
연쇄살인범 1명 있다. 주인공은 그 미친 놈을 잡아야 된다. 물론 그건 쉽지 않다. 아무리 힘들어도 결국에 그 놈을 죽여버린다. 축하한다! 끝!
근데 이 만화를 읽은 다음에 보통 만화… 보통 스릴러아니란 걸 깨달았어요.
눈물 흐르고 너무 놀라고… 소름(이)끼치는 느낌부터 감동 까지 느꼈어요!
물론 이 만화는 2010년에 한국콘텐츠진흥원에서 우수상을 받고 대한민국에서 유명한 만화이래요.
그걸 알지만 생각보다 더 훌륭해요
읽으면서 만화 읽기아니란 걸 느꼈어요.완전 영화 같아요!
영화이라는 말이라면….
이 만화가 영화로 볼 수 있는 것 더 좋죠!
그렇게 좋을지… 아니… 더 좋을거라고 믿어요.
읽으면서 머릿속에 선아언니를 상상했는데…
현실에서 우리 김배우님이 보여줄 연기가 더 좋은것이죠!
얼마나 기다려야 돼요? ㅠㅠ
저 같은 외국사람은 누구보다 더 많이 기다려야 돼요 ㅠㅠ
영화권에 가서 볼 기회도 없고 DVD 나오기 전 까지 많이 기다려야 돼요 ㅠㅠ
뭐… 한국에 가지 않는다면….. ^^;;

제 처음 읽는 만화는 다 파이브가 돼서 좋죠!
만화중에서 명품인 것 같아요.
아직도 못 읽어본 사람들, 이 만화를 사서 읽어 보세요.
끝까지 다 못 읽어본 사람들도 빨리 읽어 보세요.
후회 안될거예요!

[만화] The Five Review

WARNING: May contain spoilers! But I will try to minimize, if not avoid, them.

The Five is a Daum webtoon written and drawn by 정연식. It won the 2010 Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) content contest and was uploaded as a paid webtoon the following year via Daum Comics. It was later on printed into a 5-volume comicbook. And will be adapted into a movie soon.

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I haven’t read a complete 만화 or webtoon. I do read a couple of webtoons once in a while if I have some free time. But I usually just scan through them and look at the pictures. I read all the text, yes, but I never bother checking the words that I do not know (unless I am really really curious). But ever since it was announced that my dear Kim Sun Ah will star in the movie adaptation of the famous The Five webtoon, I can’t help but be curious about it. So the moment I got my hands on this webtoon, I started reading it right away.

Wanting to understand it well, I arranged my browser windows this way:

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So whenever I came across a word that I do not know, I look for it on Naver dictionary. And I read it that way for 3 straight dawns (since I have a part-time until midnight I can only read it at dawn, until I can no longer open my eyes at 4am).

It was not as difficult as I thought it’s going to be. Of course reading was not a breeze. But with the help of Naver dictionary, I was able to understand the webtoon. Not 100% of course. There were many words that can’t be found on both the English and the 국어 Naver dictionary. There’s a character who uses 사투리 and I never understand a word he said. There were also some slangs and 욕 here and there. I googled some words/expressions. Or when I really can’t find it and is extremely curious I asked The Crush who, luckily, is very good in explaining. In the end I was able to understand maybe 80~90% of all the text. I understood the story completely but I may have missed a point or two along the way.

Prior to reading the webtoon, I’ve read summaries about it here and there the moment it was announced that it’ll be adapted into a movie. They said it’s a revenge story. Eun Ah (Kim Sun Ah) survived a brutal massacre by a psychotic serial killer. Her beloved husband and daughter died. Half-paralyzed and on a wheelchair, she plotted her revenge. She gathered 4 people to join her and help her with her revenge. In exchange, she’ll give her organs to them.

Of course, as a Kim Sun Ah fan I was excited. Well, I guess even if the news says Kim Sun Ah will star as a tree with no speaking lines in a new movie I’ll get excited XD. But on a serious note, the reason I’m really excited is because Kim Sun Ah mentioned before that she wanted to do a thriller/suspense/horror. So I’m happy that she gets to do what she wants. And of course, me too would like to see her on a dark movie. I don’t think a lot of people outside the Kim Sun Ah fandom knows that her follow-up project after My Name Is Kim Sam Soon is supposed to be a thriller movie Thursday’s Child that, unfortunately, had lots of productions issues. She ended up not finishing the movie (and had to face a lawsuit resulting to her untimely hiatus after a big hit ㅠㅠ). The movie pushed through with a new director, new cast and a new title – Seven Days.

Initially, frankly speaking, aside from the fact of 1) Seeing Kim Sun Ah again on the big screen and 2.) Seeing Kim Sun Ah on a thriller I don’t have much expectations about the movie. A revenge thriller? I’ve seen this on a hundred American thrillers (and the corresponding Filipino copycats). There’s one serial killer. The main character’s goal is to catch the killer. It will not be easy. But no matter how difficult it is he/she gets to kill the serial killer at the end. Congratulations! The end! Of course there are twists here and there, but basically that will be about it.

But The Five is different. I’m not saying it doesn’t come with the usual thriller cliches here and there, but the thing is there’s more to The Five than what a usual thriller has to offer.

The thriller part is really good in itself. The way it was executed was simply awesome. Whenever I watch a horror movie or thriller, I don’t go to the extent of covering my eyes no matter how scary the movie is. But I had to cover my eyes once or twice as I read the webtoon. The good thing is I can intentionally stop scrolling down when I can’t handle it anymore (unlike in a movie when I can’t). The cliffhangers were awesome too that’s why I stayed up until 4am because I can’t stop reading it. I wanted to finish reading it as soon as possible because I got really curios on how this will all going to end. However the nearer I am to the ending, the slower I want to read it for two reasons. 1.) I was so scared to find out what’s going to happen to the end and 2.) I’ve grown to love the characters, especially Eun Ah that I don’t want to “part” with her. Yeah, tell me about withdrawal syndromes on a webtoon!

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Eun Ah and the rest of the characters were all well-written. Most of them started as heartless characters but as you get to know each one of them, you can’t help but feel for them (except for the serial killer of course). And one more thing I like is that it’s all about Eun Ah (the way My Name Is Kim Sam Soon is all about Sam Soon). I actually dislike stories with so many characters overlapping each other especially when the story is really just all about one.

Eun Ah is a really cool heroine! We can see her transform from a really feminine mother and wife to someone who’s trying to be strong, yet still scared and hurting, for the sake of revenge. And the transformation is not something that is too abrupt. You can see her pain all throughout the story and one can’t help but sympathize and empathize with her.

There were also a few funny parts. It worked on the webtoon and I hope it’ll also work on the movie.

And I’m most happy with the ending. I believe that endings can make or break a good plot. The ending was not something I was expecting and it was indeed very touching. <<< SPOILER ALERT >>> I know right from the start that Eun Ah is meant to die. Once the revenge is successful she needs to donate her kidney, an eye, her liver AND her heart. I was able to witness how the recipients worked so hard and even put their lives on the line for Eun Ah not just so they can get the promised organs for themselves/loved ones, but they also started caring for her. It would just be heartbreaking if they can’t get the organs they’ve worked hard for. Especially when they did nothing wrong. But the entire webtoon let us get to know Eun Ah and made us love her. Of course I don’t want her to die. BUT I think that was a selfish wish of mine. For how can Eun Ah continue living after everything she had to go through. Her only family was murdered and she practically had no one. No friends. No other family. And not only that, a lot of people also suffered because of her along the way. How can someone like her continue living. So at the end of the day, I don’t really want her to live anymore. I wish she’ll just go on a 좋은 데 and just be at peace. BUT I don’t have the heart to see and accept the fact that she’ll die. So yeah, that kind of dilemma was ironed really well.

I felt so many emotions while reading the webtoons. Not only did I cover my eyes on scary parts. I had goosebumps every now and then. I started rooting not just for Eun Ah but for everyone. I’ve cried a lot too. Serious crying. I am easily moved by movies or dramas and I easily get teary-eyed. But the only time I brawl as much and as long as I did after reading this webtoon was while watching My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and Rooftop Prince. After the final chapter, there is an epilogue which is not really an epilogue but a music video – a photo show of all the important points of the webtoon played along the official webtoon OST. So while watching that “epilogue” I was brawling. And even after the music ended, I can’t stop my tears.

And just for the record, this is not just about Kim Sun Ah. Of course it makes a difference knowing Kim Sun Ah will be the main character. And I admit I imagine her as Eun Ah from the start. But I can honestly say that if even if it’s not Kim Sun Ah. Even if this drama is not going to be adapted into a movie. I would still love it as much.

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Reading the webtoon actually feels like watching a movie already. And it’s just not me. I’ve read comments of other readers and they felt the same way. The more I can’t wait for the movie now. And usually I’m worried about adaptations. But since the writer and creator of the webtoon will be the movie director too, I have nothing to fear. I just can’t help but be a tiny bit worried because it’s his first time directing a movie – which could actually be a good thing to in the first place, right? I just wish that there will be no problems at all during the entire production. From the first filming day until the day it will be exhibited on theaters.

And speaking of exhibition… I would love to see The Five ON CINEMA! I’m already agitated as early as now. We have to wait a few more months before it will be shown on theaters. And I have to wait some more months on top of that before it gets released on DVD! And watching it on DVD is no fun!!! A movie like this one must be seen on theater! ON THEATER! Unfortunately Korean movies are not exhibited in our local theaters. There were selected exhibitions during Korean Film Festivals but 1) there’s no guarantee that this movie will be selected and 2.) most of them were played from a video copy projected on screen – not on a film roll! I’ve always wanted to watch a Korean movie on a theater IN Korea. It’s not a bad idea to have The Five  as my first movie in Korea. When I told my mom I definitely must see this movie on cinema – IN Korea, she told me I’ve gone nuts! XD

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I strongly recommend this webtoon! If you have a chance to buy the online webtoon or the comic book, do so. You won’t regret it. The online webtoon’s price is not that expensive but I know it’s difficult for us foreigners living outside Korea to buy a copy. 😦

My Lowest Point in My Korean Learning

As I’ve said in a previous post, my “lows” over my Korean skills lack of Korean skills often happen after a good “high”. A few days ago I managed to finish reading an entire manhwa (all 52 chapters) and though I didn’t understand 100% of it, I understood enough for me to laugh, for me to cry brawl, for my skin to crawl… I even covered my eyes twice or thrice and had to suffer withdrawal syndrome after. So overwhelmed with the manhwa, I even wrote a little review (or should I say ‘reaction’) about it. The longest serious and non-prattle text I’ve ever written in Korean by myself. Yes it’s still too child-sounding and have errors here and there, but I’m quite satisfied and happy with what I’ve written. If I’m more comfortable using more grammar and vocabulary I could’ve expressed myself better but nonetheless I guess I was able to somehow convey my thoughts pretty well. Satisfactory enough for me and my level in writing.

I am happy with my recent reads (a manhwa, a novel, and a new textbook). I learn a lot each day. And the more I read, the easier it gets. I was foolishly skipping in my own little cloud nine when I was whacked in the head by my deteriorating speaking skills. And I fell flat on the ground.

Speaking has been my weakest point. I think a part of it was because I didn’t begin my study “properly”. Not thinking that I would, someday, speak in Korean I focused more on words, grammar, anything, everything but proper pronunciation. Since then and until now I usually study with my eyes and brain. Reading, thinking, writing in Korean – quietly. I seldom open my mouth and speak. And because I know I am not good, my confidence in speaking is not that great either, making speaking a lot more difficult for me.

In a place where I do volunteering, there are a number of Filipino employees who can speak Korean well. And when I said well, I mean they can carry continuous and spontaneous conversation with the other Korean employees/volunteers. I also have classmates that went on exchange in Korea who are very good in conversation. The funny thing is, they would often ask me what is X in Korean or how do you spell Y in Korean and what does Korean sentence/phrase Z (especially when they are reading/writing something). I wonder how they can speak so comfortably despite not knowing a bunch of fairly easy words/grammar.

I honestly feel bad that my speaking skills are not at par with other Filipinos I know that speaks Korean. I used to calm fool myself with the excuse that they all have studied in Korea and I haven’t. I don’t actually believe that one needs to be in Korea just to be able to speak Korean well. I believe that one can speak Korean well even if they haven’t stepped in Korea (same goes for other languages). But after I became an exchange student, even if it’s just for a month, I can no longer fool myself and use the same old excuse.

I want to believe that different people have different learning curves. That I can also improve if I will exert enough efforts. So I am patiently trying. But my patience ran out last Saturday.

Last Saturday I met a good Japanese friend who is good in Korean. Since my Japanese skills is almost non-existent and she “claims” she’s not good in English and refused to speak to me in English (She’s been like that since the first time we’ve met, but I know she can speak and understand English because she speaks to others in English. But she never speak a single English word to me. Not a single one! And I love her all the more for that!) we talked in Korean. I showed them around Manila – mostly on historical places. Lacking knowledge on historical terms in Korean, it was difficult to explain the different places and different events that occurred in our country in Korean. But it’s not only that that I was frustrated about. I can’t even fully express myself even if we were just talking about random things. There were so many things I wanted to tell her, ask her, things I want to talk about. She asked me lots of things and I want to tell her exactly what’s in my 마음속. But I failed. I just can’t. I can’t find the right words and the right sentence ending that can convey my feelings well. I didn’t know where my -더라, -더니, -듯, -바람에, -수록, -도록 went. All I know they all left me and only the -이에요s, -죠s, -잖아s, -는데s, -아/어서s, 갓같아s that stayed! 개다가 has visited me once along with my favorite -자마자. And as always all the -가다 and -오다 verb combination confused me to hell! I was both tongue-tied and mind-tied. Most of the time I can’t even finish my sentences. The moment she shows understanding of what I was about to say I stop without  finishing my sentences. My word choices were not that great either! And don’t ask me about my pronunciation either.

I was frustrated and very tired as I try to rack my brains. But she said one two things that snapped my patience with myself. She saw my My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel and I told her I am reading it now. She said she gave up reading it a long time ago because it was so difficult and there were so many words she doesn’t know. She also asked me to tell her the story of the manhwa we were both reading because she still can’t finish it because it’s difficult so she just quickly scan through it and look at the picture.

W.T.H?

WTH?!!!

She’s so fluent in Korean. She can talk to our Korean friends without any trouble. She can perfectly blend in as if a native speaker. Just like my co-workers. Just like my classmates who went on exchange. Comfortably.

What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I speak like them? I can read a novel. I can finish a manhwa. I can pour my heart on writing. But why does my stupid mouth won’t open properly. Why do words just won’t come out of my mouth. Why do I feel so 긴장하다 and my thoughts turn into a bowl of 비빔밥 whenever I need to speak up.

And for the first time I cried over my Korean skills.

I must be doing something wrong. Why am I the only one like this? I should do something about this. But until now I don’t know what to do.

I tried convincing myself that I’ve improved a lot already. 2 and a half years ago, when I first met her, my Japanese friend, we barely talk. A few words. A few short sentences. Some signs. And a lot of smiles. And now we were able to finally talk. I should be grateful. I should be happy. Well I am. But that was 2 and a half years ago! Yes I’m glad I made an improvement. But if that was 2 years ago, I should’ve been way better than how I was last Saturday!

I felt so sad sending my friend away. I’ll miss her. And I also hated myself because there were really lots and lots and lots of things I wanted to tell her. We talked about many things and I discovered that we have similar opinions on several issues we are both facing. I want to tell her my experiences and my feelings. I really wanted to open my heart to her the way she did to me. But I wasn’t able to. I wanted to hit my stupid mouth!

But no, not giving up of course! Darn, no! After crying last Saturday on my way home, I promised myself that the next time I’ll see my friend, I’ll be able to express myself well! Although I don’t know yet how I can improve my speaking skills, I’ll find a way. Maybe I should start listening to radios? Korean podcasts? Start an audio blog? Get a language partner?

아는 방법을 알려주세요~