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. 🙂


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.


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!)


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?” 

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!


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.
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.


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. ^^

[소설 Translation] My Name Is Kim Sam Soon Prologue

DISCLAIMER: I’m still not good in Korean. Please take my translations with a grain of salt (might as well take the whole salt shaker with you). I am just translating directly with no proof-reading. If you found errors in the translations (in case you have a copy of the novel) and/or my English I’d appreciate if you can give corrections by leaving a comment below. I’m just doing this for fangirling purposes and I find reading and attempting to translate the novel as another opportunity for me to learn Korean in a fun way. Also blogging the translations might push me to finally finish reading the novel within the year. 


The life of a Korean old maid

It’s easier to get hit by an atomic bomb than to find a man at the age of 30.
[Fanny Fink*]

“Mom! This is my lifelong wish! I definitely certainly absolutely MUST do this within the year!”

“Hmph! Fat chance! Just drop it, you brat!”

That was Sam Soon’s mom initial reaction as she heard, yet again, her youngest daughter’s objective for the year.

“And why EXACTLY can’t I?” asked Sam Soon with furrowed brows to her mother who had, once again, ruthlessly got in the way of her rosy dream.

“This is the thousandth time I’m telling you this, you brat! Do I have to remind you who gave you your name? Your grandfather did! So how can you change it as you please?”

“This is also the thousandth time I’m telling you this, Mom! You too should actually take responsibility. Was I born as your third daughter just because I wanted to? Why am I the only one given such a tacky and old-fashioned name?! Kim Sam Soon? What on earth is Kim Sam Soon?!!!”

“You… you..! Watch your mouth!”

Of all days, Sam Soon is showing quite a strong attitude today. Her mother glared at her and raised the rice spatula she has been holding – looking all ready to hit her as soon as she blurt out just one more wrong word. Usually Sam Soon would back-off with that kind of threat. But today was different. Of course, just to be on the safe side, she sees to it to take a step back for every step her mother made towards her. But she kept her head high and continued saying what she wanted to say.

“Is that so, Mom? If I was named Sam Soon then my sisters should’ve been named Il Soon and Yi Soon too, right? But why is it that eldest sister is named Il Yeon, second sister is Yi Young yet me, the youngest… ( – deleted sentence -) Why am I the only one named Sam Soon?”

Her mother was a bit startled with Sam Soon’s latest and incontestable argument. Seeing her mother soften a bit, Sam Soon gained more courage and spoke in a slightly higher tone.

“Right, Mom? Hurry up and get married within the year, you said? Huh! What to do? Every man I met struggles not to burst out laughing upon hearing my name. Why are you being like this to me and me alone? Am I adopted? Is that so? Is that so?!”

For 29 years, she carried the name Kim Sam Soon and suffered all the burden that comes along with it. Every time she introduces herself and says, “My name is Kim Sam Soon,” for sure 6 out of 10 people will burst out laughing. The other 4? Well, they were able to successfully suppress it.

Since she’s been suffering for almost 30 years now, Sam Soon just let it pass for the most part of the year. However there will be at least a month in every year where she hated her name the most. And it happens to be that month right now. She has a haunting feeling that the root cause of all the misfortunes and difficulties she’s been going through is none other than her unlucky and hideous name.

Suddenly, Sam Soon remembered the last phone call she received just last Christmas from a guy she used to love. The beginning of the string of misfortunes.

[Merry Christmas. Let’s break up.]

For someone who bakes cakes, Christmas is the busiest season of the year. Sam Soon was only able to endure the heavy works on her shoulders that season with the thoughts of seeing her boyfriend again the soonest. That call was something she least expected. At first Sam Soon wanted to believe that she’s just having hallucinations from exhaustion. Or, if not, maybe he’s just joking.

“Is that some kind of a joke?”

Yes, must be a joke. But still does he really have to ask this kind of strange things at Christmas? She was in the middle of this train of thought when she heard a heavy sigh on the other line. The guy on the other line continued talking.

(I have never been more serious as I am now.)

And that was how her 28th Christmas became her worst Christmas ever. ( – deleted sentece – )And that’s how, up to this date, she is a lonely 29-year-old single. She thought, “To hell with this corny name!”  If only her name is at least along the likes of, say, Kim Hee Jin, then these ill-fated things wouldn’t have happen, she thought.

While in the middle of her mutterings, Sam Soon entered the room she is sharing with her second eldest sister.  Her sister was watching a foreign movie and there on the screen was a really gloomy-looking woman. The woman said, “It’s easier to get hit by an atomic bomb than to find a man at the age of 30.”

At that exact moment, that unknown woman’s words pierced Sam Soon’s heart. And she also felt a pang of panic. Of course, no one can really tell, but the chances will be slimmer when she turns thirty.

So on that night, she made an oath in front of her sister.

“Sis, I made a oath in the name of heaven.”

“And what is it?”

“I solemnly swear that within the year I will definitely apply and have a successful name change and I will meet and date a guy a million times more fabulous than that jerk who cheated on me!”

Her sister giggled upon hearing her oath.

“Ah? Reeaaally now, my dear little sister?” her sister said in a sarcastic tone.

“And also, if I end up dating a good-for-nothing-jerk again, I’m a Dutchman,” Sam Soon said in a determined voice. “Got it, sis? You stand as my witness, okay?” she continues. “So, the moment you see signs that I’m about to get tricked again by a good-for-nothing guy you must whack my head and bring me back to my senses, okay?”

“You are you saying that this time you’ll never fall for just looks and will date a really fine guy?”

Sam Soon nodded without batting an eyelid.

“Of course!”

♡      ♥      ♡      ♥

To escape the cursed singlehood, Sam Soon went to a matchmaking agency. The agent was reading Sam Soon’s bio-data and creased his forehead when he reached the section about body measurements.

Name: Kim Sam Soon
Birth date: July 25, 1975.
Zodiac Sign: Leo.
Blood Type: B
Father: Kim Bok Man. Self-employed
Mother: Park Bong Sook
2 older sisters
Occupation: Patissier (pastry chef)
Specialty: Making delicious cakes
Hobby: Eating those delicious cakes
Body measurements: ……

“Height 159cm. Weight 63kg. Hmm… hmm… this is a bit… …. No properties… savings is somehow…. Father is self-employed.”

Her body measurements has always been like a top secret and it has never been exposed like this to any guy. Now this agent mercilessly analyzed it just like how a butcher sorts out rotten from fresh meat. He looked up and Sam Soon met his eyes wiith furrowed brows.

After they exchanged piercing stares with each other, the agent eventually surrendered and looked again at Sam Soon’s documents and in a casual tone asked, “If you were born in 1975, how old are you then?”

Does he have to ask something so obvious and can easily be calculated? Nonetheless it leaves Sam Soon no other choice but to answered right away.

“Well, 29,” she said in a low tone.

“Hmm, age 29, occupation patissier, annual income… okay, body measurements…. uhm, uhm… ehem, ehem.”

 The agent keeps coughing as he scanned through Sam Soon’s personal details – age, height, weight and finances – making Sam Soon all the more uncomfortable.

“As you know it, in this not go great economic situation, female university students who can’t get jobs are flooding the marriage market. For every 100 female members, there are barely 60 male members. It’s highly competitive than college admissions.”

“So, is he saying that if those spring chicks can’t get married easily, it would be way more difficult for me?” Sam Soon muttered to herself.

“Fortunately you have a secured job and that’s a strong point. However, frankly speaking, your age, educational background, body frame, etc, etc puts off your chances in meeting a pair. That’s why…”

“That’s why what?’ Sam Soon thought. “Although I gained 12kgs while nursing a broken heart for 2 months, I’m not that ugly looking, and, as you’ve said, I have a stable job. So, what’s the problem?” Sam Soon continued her trail of thought.

But what the agent said next felt like a bucket of cold water poured over her strong self-confidence.

“How about being a special member until we find you a pair?”

The agent’s voice was one notch politer. He suddenly gives off an aura of a salesman who is hard-selling his products. She is 29 years old. And she haven’t heard of anything “special” that doesn’t come with a “special” price tag. But as was told by the agent earlier, she’s not that bad anyway. Sam Soon, also in a more polite tone, asked.

“If it’s a ‘special membership’, how much will the membership fee then?”

Well, even if the fee will be expensive, if this is the way for her to meet a nice guy then Sam Soon thought she shall take this challenge. But that thought only lasted until the middle-aged agent’s next words.

“It will be 7,900,000 won.”

“What did you say?”

Sam Soon’s eyes grew even wider and her mouth fell open. It’s as if the agent said that tomorrow’s the end of the world. The agent casually repeated what he just said.

“7,900,000 won.”

“7,900,000 won? Not 790,000 won? If meeting one guys is at 10,000 won… it’s 790 times more? Are you perhaps gonna introduce me to Bae Yong Joon, Jang Dong Gun and Won Bin?” Sam Soon shivered.

The agent gave Sam Soon a lousy smile and said, “Although we don’t handle celebrities here, in this time of adversity and the stiff competition to the altar…….”

Sam Soon suddenly stood up even before the agent finished talking. As she started walking towards the exit, she suddenly turned around, sat down, and snatched away her bio data from the agent’s desk. All the information about a woman named Kim Sam Soon is written on that information sheet. That place is not to be trusted with that kind of document.

Sam Soon tear the document apart and shoved it inside her bag. And in a chilly tone, she angrily snapped at the agent.

“Even if I starve to death I will never have that kind of money! Even if you ask anyone out on the streets they’ll say there are no deadlines in marriage. And 7,900,000 won can already cover the entire cost of a wedding ceremony!”

With no intentions of yielding, the agent snapped back at her.

“What you said may be true but, Ms. Kim Sam Soon, with your age, your body, and your face, baiting a guy off the streets will not be an easy feat either. Ah, not to mention that rustic name of yours! Ah, have you seen that German movie “Fanny Fink?”

Oh, how much she wants to strangle this ahjussi who keeps mocking her. But she shut her mouth and waited for what he was about to say about the movie that he suddenly brought up. After a few beats, the agent said, “It’s easier for women in their 30s to get hit by an atomic bomb than to date a guy. The honestly of that line was very impressive for someone like me who works in the marriage industry (?).”

It feels like the agent stabbed her chest with a kitchen knife. She imagined herself force-feeding him with a cake peppered with poison. Realizing it was impossible to do so, Sam Soon left the marriage agency office and banged the door shut. She’s just 29. Still single. Still a promising age. She can’t commit murder.



*Fanny Fink the main character in a 1994 German Movie Keiner liebt mich (Nobody Loves Me)

Korean Learner Comments:


Three days. It took me three days to translate 15 pages. Well, not 3 full days. If translated into hours maybe 15 hours? It’s a good start. I hope to improve my speed in reading and translation soon. It was very difficult, yes. But I enjoyed it so much! It’s the first time I read something and understood it almost 100%. Almost. There were a couple of sentences that I just can’t understand no matter what I do. I used the dictionary a lot as I read and translate. I’ve highlighted new words and marked confusing sentences. I input new words to my new anki deck.

The drama watcher me is more comfortable with conversational Korean. Thus the sentences in the books inside quotation marks were the easiest parts for me. The rest of the narration and descriptions are still very difficult. It’s also difficult to translate. Even if I understood a sentence already, sometimes it just doesn’t translate well to English. That, plus the fact that I’m not an expert in English either. There were many times I can easily translate some sentences into my native language, but not in English.

I enjoyed reading because I am not finally exposed to the “written Korean”. The style, most especially the unending embedding of modifiers, is still new to me and it takes time before I can fully absorb a sentence. After 15 pages, I can feel getting used to it YET I don’t think I can ever produce something like that if I’ll write. I hope now that I am starting to read more, I’ll be able to go out of my “conversational writing style” someday.

Words. Too many new words. And a number of them were pair words (uhm, how do you call them?) – words that can’t stand alone and can/must only be used with another word. I’ve used the 국어 dictionary a lot because there were many words that are not in the Eng-Korean dictionary. There were even words that are not in the 국어 dictionary that I have to google. Some were even have to be explained to me by The Korean Crush.


어림 반 푼 어치 없는 소리! – Not a chance!
인정사정없다 – ruthless, without mercy
모친 – mother
부친 – father
마른하늘의 날벼락
부들거리다 – 자꾸 몸이 부르르 떨리다. 또는 자꾸 몸을 크게 부르르 떨다
한이 없다
멋지구리하게 – 멋지게
나만 어디서 주워왔어?

Fangirl Comments:

Ekkk!!! Finally! Finally finally finally! After sitting in my bookshelf for 6 years, finally I get to read AND understand one section (one out of 22)! These scenes were not in the drama as they were. Her arguments with her mom about how tacky her name was were scattered on many “dinner scenes” in the drama. The scene in the marriage agency was just Sam Soon’s dream (well, was it?) in the drama. And as what novelist Ji Soo Hyeon said, Sam Soon seems more feisty in the drama. But both are lovable. In the drama her annual income is zero because she got fired after skipping work on Christmas because she had to stalk her cheating boyfriend – which was used as a strong opening scene of the drama. I love the funny tone of the novel. And I must comment writer Kim Do Wo and Director Kim Yoon Chul for carrying it all the way to the drama. Can’t wait to read the next chapter, but it may take time… loads of time.

All About My Name Is Kim Sam Soon Novelist Ji Soo Hyun

DISCLAIMER: My translation of the article may not be accurate.

If it’s not yet obvious, I’m a big My Name Is Kim Sam Soon fan. Before I become a Kim Sun Ah fan, I was first a Sam Soon fan.That drama caught me off guard, made me laugh and cry at unexpected moments. Made me look at life differently. Made me shake off all my insecurities. Made me enjoy life more. In my book, it’s the best drama every written.

My Name Is Kim Sam Soon is originally a novel, written by a female novelist Ji Soo Hyun, published in 2004  – a year before the drama aired. The novel was later adapted for television and was penned by drama writer Kim Do Wo.

When I first learned the My Name Is Kim Sam Soon was originally a novel, I can’t help but be interested in the book so I had a friend buy me a copy even if my Korean then is not even enough to introduce myself properly. All I did since then is open the book once in a while, read some pages (without understanding it), close it, put it back on the shelf, and hope that someday I’ll be able to read it. Like REALLY read it.

I’m curious to find out what were the changes made in the drama version. What parts were removed. What parts were retained. How faithful the adaptation was? And, honestly speaking, I’m most curious to know which will I like better.

I’m also curious about the novelist, as much as I am curious with Kim Do Wo (and other Korean drama writers). I’ve always wondered what kind of person they both are to come up with such stories and characters. Are they married. Do they have kids. Are they romantic. Are they similar to the character/s they write? Or are they the exact opposite?

Anyway, yesterday I came across a short article – an interview with writer Ji Soo Hyun. If I’m not mistaken it was part of the “Curious about My Name Is Kim Sam Soon” series of Woman Donga and was written in 2005 (in the middle of the drama’s broadcast). The article satisfied my curiosity over the ‘mysterious’ novelist. Now she is not just a name to me.


My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novelist Ji Soo Hyun

Self-portrait of Novelist Ji Soo Hyun

Self-portrait of Novelist Ji Soo Hyun

As the drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon gains popularity, a lot of people became more and more curious about the writer behind the original novel, Ms. Ji Soo Hyun. She dislikes the idea of showing herself to the public, thus she refused a photoshoot and we proceeded with an email interview instead.

Age: 32
Blood type: B
Hobby: Eating delicious cakes
Ideal type: Someone like Hyun Bin – arrogant but with a warm heart

That’s the profile of the writer who wrote the novel from which the sky-high popular MBC drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon was adapted from. She said she is very similar to Sam Soon because she actually modeled the character to herself. She was born prematurely (7 months) and she has always been clumsy since she was a child, tripping here, falling there. And whenever that happens, she repeatedly hear her mother sigh “Aigoo! This little Sam Soon!” And even Kim Sun Ah’s (as Kim Sam Soon?) mistakes or errors in the drama, she all have experienced them.

“Since I was a kid, there were times I’ve thought of becoming a patissier because I love cakes. But I don’t have great baking skills like Sam Soon. The cakes I baked were uneven and the cookies I made were too hard you can’t even chew it.

“Just like in dramas, I’ve also experienced lots of bad lucks and bad timings. I have met a fender bender WHILE I was having a driving lesson. I went to the district office to pay my dues on the deadline just in time when the doors are being closed and locked. I even have to be rescued in Halla Mountain (alodia: this I’m not 100% sure).

“When Sam Soon is upset she bake cakes early in the morning. When I’m upset I scribble at dawn,” she said.

She took Industrial Design in college. In 2000 she quit her job, moved to Yongin Gyeonggi-do and started writing. At that time, her health was not so good. She had plenty of free time at home and one day she came across a website where you can upload your written novels. So she started posting stories she imagined since she was a kid.

Last year, her internet novel that gathered a lot of attention, “Noona and I or She and I?” was adapted to television in KBS Snow WhiteAnd just last March, her “Our 4321 days” was adapted as KBCS 18 vs 29. Other than those two mentioned, currently, television and movie production companies have purchased rights and contracts of most of her novels for TV or screen adaptation.

“Sam Soon is a character that was patterned after myself.”

“The reason why a lot of women my age, cherish the drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon so much, is that they feel that they can see themselves in Sam Soon. ‘Must go to blind dates no matter how boring it is.’ ‘Must save money for the future.’ ‘Must diet.’ They sympathize with Sam Soon who find all these things easier said than done. They also cheer for Sam Soon who works hard despite unfavorable circumstances.

The lead male characters who appeared in the novel reflect Ji Soo Hyun’s ideal types. “Whenever I write I think that to be able to reach the readers, they too must be able to feel the feeling of being in love. Creating handsome characters with good personality would be effective but it is not always the case. Men who cherish women sincerely – I make an effort to create those kind of male characters whom women would want to fall in love with,” she said.

Ji Soo Hyun doesn’t fret as to what and how many parts they exclude or edit out from her novels when they are being adapted to other mediums. She said, “I have already expressed myself the way I want it on my novel. It’s a pleasure to have my work to be adapted into a drama. It’s fun to imagine when you read a novel. And it’s even more fun to see it with your own eyes in a drama.”

“AsI watch the drama, I can see that both the writer and the director exerted efforts in being faithful with the original novel. Sam Soon is more vigorous and full of energy in the drama than in the novel, but that’s plainly her – Sam Soon. Jin Hun, I think, was almost exactly the character in the novel – not just being younger, but being simple-hearted while acting pervertly; and having a painful past. Hee Jin, Jin Hun’s ex-girlfriend, appeared way earlier than she did in the novel but I’m also curious as to how her original small role will develop into a bigger one in the drama.”

“The novel and the drama were two different fruits from the same tree,” said Ji Soo Hyun. I may be the one who provided the basic foundation, but I completely give my trust and believe the director, writer and all the drama staff,” she said.

SOURCE: 여성동아


Sadly this article (and a whole lot more out there) was not translated because most people are just curious about the drama then. Times like this I really love learning Korean! I wouldn’t have learned about this awesome writer if I don’t know Korean. XD

I am currently downloading 18 vs 29 because it looks like I’m gonna like it. I guess more than Writer Kim Do Wo (My Name Is Kim Sam Soon screenplay writer), I’ll be stalking Writer Ji Soo Hyun more. I’m more encouraged to finish reading My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel now that I know more about the novelist. 🙂

한국콘텐츠진흥원 Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA)

Trying to continue my then abruptly interrupted quest of I Do I Do‘s origin, I’ve spent my afternoon reading Korean articles about KOCCA 한국콘텐츠진흥원 (Korea Creative Content Agency) and their contest history. The first article I read (about the contest, contestants and winners last 2010) was difficult. But the more article I read the easier it becomes. Because the words just keep repeating (since I’m reading about just one topic). I should really read a lot!

Anyway, aside from learning Korean, I did not only find out what I was looking for, I also got some additional information here and there.

First, KOCCA is a government agency that supports the multimedia cultural industry of Korea. And yearly they held writing competition for underground creators/small production companies/amateurs in various media (drama screenplay, movie screenplay, manhwa, video game). And they finance them and connects them to production houses in the aim of having the work produced/broadcast/screened/published.

So, I Do I Do was a TV Drama screenplay entry by a small production company 김종학 Productions (I think headwritten by Jo Jung Hwa). Contrary to the articles that came out, it was last 2009 and NOT 2010 (and I had to suffer reading all throughout 2010 related articles!). They only won 장려상 (participation/consolation prize) but it’s something big since there were thousands of entries (literally – but for all categories). I am not 100% sure because I am not that updated to ALL K-dramas. But the other winners for TV drama screenplay are not familiar to me so it seems like I Do I Do was one of the first one to get produced.

The thing is, the summary of the screenplay goes something like a fake marriage of 2 individuals to get to where they wanted (richness, fame, success) fast. There were no marriage, fake or real in the drama. Was it revised? Would the drama have been better if it wasn’t revised? I dunno…

Now one thing I discovered, Kim Sun Ah’s upcoming movie The Five is also a product of KOCCA!!! It won one of the many 우수상 (second places) in 2010 and was immediately published as a webtoon the following year. And was published as a comic book later that year. And now, will be adapted into a movie!

What’s with Kim Sun Ah and KOCCA winners? 🙂

Korean Modifiers!

I’m often overwhelmed (and simply stunned) when reading Korean sentences that can get as long as… forever.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to read a simple article about 씨름, for intermediate learners and I just can’t move on with this one simple sentence:

승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다.

After looking up new words in the dictionary I do get that this sentence means “The winner gets a cow.” Period. I know I can move on and proceed with my reading. But the obsessive-compulsive me doesn’t want to let go and I spent all my breaks today to figure, not just the meaning, but how this sentence was structured.

I almost gave up and was about to ask a friend to translate it for me in English, once and for all. But after typing the sentence in kakao, I gave it one more try and this time I attempted to break the sentence into parts or “blocks” and I think it did work for me.

I started with 황소.

An ox (황소를) was given (주었다).

Given as a what? As a prize (상으로).

상으로 황소를 주었다 – an ox was given as a prize.

To whom? To the strong man (aka contestant/participant that has to be a strong man) (장사에게(는)).

What about the participant / What kind of participant? What participant?

A participant that won (이긴 장사).

So an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won (이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

Won what? What kind of win? An ultimate win (최종적으로) aka grand prize aka grand champion (after playoffs/elimination games).

So, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion. (최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다)

Where? Champion where?

In a Ssireum match (씨름 경기에서).

So, one more time, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion in a ssireum match (씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

But… what kind of ssireum match / what kind of match/game is a ssireum / what is ssireum? Aka how does the game proceeds?

A ssireum game that proceeds by the method of knock-out rounds (승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기).

I want to interpret it like this:


The above pseudo tree structure may not be linguistically correct, but it’s how I can easily see how I interpreted this long sentence. The simplest sentence I can form here is:

[   [씨름 경기에서]    [이긴 장사에게는]    [황소를 주었다]   ]

And the rest of the words that goes in between modifies each “block”.

[  [((승자 진출 방식으로) 진행되는) 씨름 경기에서]   [(최종적으로0 인긴 장사에게는]    [(상으로) 황소를 주었다] ]

So, one last time:

The ultimate champion in a ssireum match, that (usually) proceeds in (a series of) knock-out rounds, was given an ox as a prize.

Not a good translation. But I don’t really want to translate the sentence. I want to understand what are the functions of each of the elements of this sentence.

Now this is actually one of the shortest “long Korean sentences” (shortest long? Go figure!). It can go on and on and on and on… as they add more and more modifiers to describe each “block”.

It took me hours to analyze a sentence as short as this one! Must practice reading more (because these types of sentences doesn’t usually appear on my dramas XD) so that I can analyze faster and eventually, hopefully, can analyze long sentences in real time (without having to draw tree structures! OTL).

What is your number 18?

I was googling some Korean song lyrics yesterday when I first encountered “This song is my # 18”. Does it mean my 18th favorite song on my top 20 fave list? And what’s the big deal if it’s the 18th? It’s not like your number 3 or 2 or 1. I later learned that “My # 18” means the song that I can sing the best.

And this morning, as I was watching Episode 5 of Ohlala Couple, I encountered that expression again. Soo Nam (on Yeo Ok’s body) was blurting some classical song when his mother (Yeo Ok’s mother-in-law) asked him (thinking it was her daughter-in-law) to turn the radio off.

니 18번이 ‘밤 비 내린 영동교’잖니!

Isn’t your # 18 “Night Rain Falling on Yeong-dong Bridge”? How come you are suddenly on classical music?

But why 18? What’s with the number 18?

A Korean friend briefly told me the expressin originated from Japan and later on spread in Korea as well with a slight modification on the original meaning (and he didn’t elaborate further! :p).

I found THIS on Daum 지식. And according to the answers, it has something to do with Japanese culture. One explained it further saying it has something to do with Kabuki – a classical Japanese dance-drama. Though # 18 means one’s favorite song, usually it also has the meaning of the best and most interesting thing. And the latter meaning is the one that originated from Japan. Anyway, in Kabuki theaters there is usually an intermission in between scenes. The intermission is a popular one-act play that are separated into 18 parts distributed all throughout the kabuki performance. And usually the last part of these one-act plays, the 18th, is the best, most interesting and most popular. Therefore these meanings (best, most interesting) is attached to the number 18. And probably where the expression “What’s your number 18?”, which is frequently used in noraebangs, originated from.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of this information though. I don’t know much about Kabuki either. I just relied on the answer I found on Daum. I am not even sure whether my understanding is 100% correct or not. If you know more about this expression and why and how it started, leave a comment below. 🙂

Sadly I don’t think I have a # 18. I don’t sing very well. 😦

How about you guys? What’s your # 18?

[소설] I Do I Do: Chapter 1.1

DISCLAIMER: I’m still not good in Korean. Please take my translations with a grain of salt (might as well take the whole salt shaker with you). I’m just doing this for fun and found reading and attempting to translate the novel as another opportunity for me to learn Korean in a fun way.

Mary jane. A lovely shoes with rounded front and a strap. It’s easy to match it with any outfit but if it is worn with a very feminine one-piece dress, it’s like being a princess from a fairy tale. A magical secret moment when a cute and innocent girl changes into a lovely lady. A shoes that hides a secret sexiness.


SHOWCASE 1: The place where my mary janes took me.

First day of kindergarten.

Dad bought her only daughter a pair of red shoes. The same kind of mary janes that Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland wore.

Ji Ahn steps her little foot into the red enamel shoes that sparkles like a ruby. And for the first time Ji Ahn heard the sound of her soul the moment she fastens the thin strap with a click.

“Right, this is it!”

The round front of the shoes covers the toes and everything turns into one – yes, that kind of ‘matching’ feeling.

Every clacking step Ji Ahn took, she heard the sound of magic unfolding. Every clacking sound Ji Ahn makes on each of her step is the sound of magic –  the clacking sound of happiness.

It seems like Ji Ahn can go anywhere just like Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz, just like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and just like Cinderella who’ve met her prince charming. It seems like it became possible to go anywhere Ji Ahn wants just like magic.

“Shoes, shoes! Take me to the place where magical shoes that are as pretty and as wonderful as you sleeps!”

A place full of shoes that are lovelier than Dorothy’s and more dazzling than Cinderella’s!

Then, if she can grab that happiness by a hand she’ll be happy, won’t she?

Now, if only she can fill her hands with beautiful magical shoes……..

[소설] I Do I Do: Cover

DISCLAIMER: I’m still not good in Korean. Please take my translations with a grain of salt (might as well take the whole salt shaker with you). I’m just doing this for fun and found reading and attempting to translate the novel as another opportunity for me to learn Korean in a fun way.


It’s funny that you will give up on life just because of THAT?
A straight forward cheer to those who have dreams!
The role model of today’s generation – romantic-comedy queen Kim Sun Ah!
Winner of KOCCA’s story-writing contest

So what if you took the wrong path? So what if you have to step back a little?
The safe route is not necessarily the best one!

Front Cover:

She is a natural born shoe-holic. Since childhood, for no apparent reasons, she just happen to like shoes.

(She) thinks Manilyn Monroe’s life is really cool – having a scandal with Kennedy and dying a mysterious death while still in the flower of her youth. (note: the text was cut off on some parts)

Strongly denying it, but honestly I really don’t know. Maybe I’m liking that ‘kid’?

Eliza said, “The world is full of things that you never could have imagined happening. But the things that you thought couldn’t happen, when it happens, it is really cool. Because the things you never thought could happen, is happening.”

Although your classy outfits is shouting Gangnam, your exuding ‘hometown manners’ reveals that you are Chungbuk’s ‘little princess’.

Haven’t been on a date for 10 years. A city workaholic worn out and stressed 365 days a year.

If she were to choose a color to represent herself, she’d probably choose primary colors over pastels. It must absolutely be clear whether something is hot or cool; something like ‘somewhat roundish’ and ‘lukewarm’ doesn’t amuse her.

Inside Front Cover

Do you know what “line” is? A millimeter can make a difference in the quality!

Kim Jong Hak Production Planning
First place winner for ‘Korean Story Contest’ in a KOCCA sponsored Mythopoeia Project 2010
MBC drama

Jo Jeong Hwa (screenplay)

Born in Seoul and majored in Scriptwriting for Film and Theater at Sangmyeong University. He debuted as a junior writer for MBC sitcom Non-stop, and after that wrote scenarios for movies (No Comment Family, Man Who Went to Mars) and dramas (Rays of Sunshine, Stranger Than Paradise) and has then been active on both the silver screen and television.

Park Yi Jeong (novel)

He joined writing contests with the motto of leaving various deeply moving works. He wrote with a wide spectrum. From general fiction, romance, fantasy as well as action, thriller, comics and cartoons, to game stories.
He worked with many experts on different genres gaining him a deep understanding and a strong foundation and was sought by OSMU (One Source Multi Use).
He has also fictionalized movies including Haunters, Petty Romance, Blind and Sunny.

Inside Insert

Eliza said, “The world is full of things that you never could have imagined happening. But the things that you thought couldn’t happen, when it happens, it is really cool. Because the things you never thought could happen, is happening.”

<excerpt from Anne of Green Gables>

Back Cover

“Why does it have to be shoes? Why do I have to be at the bottom?”

“Do you know that good shoes takes you to good places? At first I only thought that pretty shoes brings you good luck. But it’s not the case. Shoes actually can let the magic unfold. The braver I become, the better I feel. So I will be taken to a place where my heart leads me. And that place is the best place that could be.”

I, Hwang Ji An, is a natural born shoe-holic. Since I was a kid, for no apparent reason, I’ve always liked shoes. Even when I have to wear a sweatsuit without make-up, I must wear only the prettiest and most luxurious pair of sneakers.
Tremendous efforts and a deep passion I gained even worldwide recognition for my talents and skills. And in my age, of late thirties, I received the best treatment in the industry being a top designer and gaining a director position in my the company that I work for. And at this rate I think that as long as I continue running forward, there’s no doubt that I can become a CEO and be able to launch a brand under my own name. However, one day I stumbled upon a path that I have never even imagined. Is this the collapse of my dream? Or is this the start of a new life? First I have to try. But because of pride, or perhaps embarrassment I am hesitant.

Inside Back Cover

Director Hwang Ji Ahn’s “Life Coaching” for those who are dreaming a dream.

1. Design your goal.
Hwang Ji Ahn’s coaching tip: You have to sketch your life.

All designs starts from a sketch. Same with your life.  Sensible women design their own life and must know how to combine colors too. Whether life is a first-class luxurious brand, or an imitation on a display rack on the streets depends on your own choice. It’s not somebody else’s, it is your life. There’s always something that is solely your own that you can’t sacrifice or share with somebody else. To me it’s shoes and fashion. Before I even reached puberty, I have already started designing my own life. Dreams, future, desires? I like all of them. The moment you start sketching your life, life becomes beautiful. Keep that in mind. A masterpiece is not born, they are made.

2. Design your tomorrow.
Hwang Ji Ahn’s coaching tip: Once the draft of your sketch is done, start putting the details.

Have no regrets after a day passes by. There’s still another chance for you tomorrow. And that chance has been prepared for you. First of all start from choosing the shoes and the outfit you’ll wear tomorrow. It’ll be the beginning of a change on busy mornings. And you will see improvements on yourself little by little. Before you know it you’ll become the object of envy of others. Refined, fashionable, glamorous, luxurious, lovely, sexy, classy, powerful… Solely through fashion, you’ll be able to possess all of these. The tomorrow that you can design can be as diverse as this. Keep this in mind. When you design your tomorrow, you design your success.

3. Design your confidence.
Hwang Ji Ahn’s coaching tip: Coco Channel said, “I am fashion”

Your own ability. Style is an aura. Successful people are……..