Sunday, 18 September 2016

Frankenstein's Monster (An introduction to K Drama royalty)

I have created a monster! And it is glooooooorious!!!! 
Cled has been lured to the Dark Side!!  Mwuahahahahahahaha!!

Looking back, it seems as well orchestrated as a military campaign, but in actual fact, like all the best relationships it was purely organic. For starters, Cled has seen me maintain this drama addiction for over five years there had to be SOMETHING in it!
Then a few months ago, Cled was in Limerick for a visit and one morning, while we were having coffee, I got a message from Judd - my drama buddy who is still in Korea. I apologised to Cled for the rudeness of messaging while she was visiting, but begged her understanding, as a 9 hour time difference is a harsh task mistress.  In mitigation, I included Cled in the exchanges, explaining that Judd and I were all giddy and excited about this new drama which had just started, 'W'.  I quickly explained the premise and gave a bit of background on the production team's previous hits, which made me so confident about this drama. By then, it was bed time in Korea, so I bid 'Goodnight' to Judd, put the phone away, and resumed my non-drama conversation with Cled.

Then in August, Ms.Amused and I went to Edinburgh to stay with Cled and her family. For our last night, I arranged a Korean 'Girl's Night In' - we did a full on Korean skin care regime, weird masks and all. There were Korean snacks (which we forgot to eat!) and I streamed the first episode of 'W', for Ms. Amused and Cled to watch.
They loved it!
The next day, Ms.Amused and I returned home, and I figured that was that.

Until, two weeks ago, when I sent a random message to Cled, crowing that I had managed to do a decent workout, despite having a crazy day, and that I would be rewarding myself by watching the first two episodes of a new historical drama. I linked her the trailer, to show her exactly what I was excited about:
See it in all its glory here. 

A few days later, Cled asked me for the link to the first episode. Next thing I know, she's hooked!  Completely caught up on this drama AND 'W' and has moved onto 'Iljimae', to enjoy some more Lee Joon Gi in all his swashbuckling splendour! (and who could blame her!)

Lee Joon Gi in 'Moon Lovers'

This morning, I got a request for recommendations and I thought, "O.K, now it's time to break out the big guns!"  I suggested one of the best loved K Dramas of all time, the one I usually use to lure in new fans - 'Coffee Prince'.

Oh! The happy memories I have with this drama!!
It was the fourth drama I watched and it is firmly at the top of my 'All Time Favourites' list.
But that is only a tiny part of its importance for me.

This drama was a massive hit in Korea. HUGE!  I arrived in Korea four years after it had aired and it was still the drama that all Koreans recommended to me when they suggested dramas to watch.
And it therefore earned me tons of brownie points when I was able to say that I had already watched it and loved it.

I remember one lovely, golden moment, outside my kindergarten: I was talking with four of the Korean kindy teachers (slowly and haltingly in my fractured Korean and their broken English) - but when I mentioned that I was watching 'Coffee Prince' at the moment - ahh! a moment of pure connection.
In fact, all five of us stopped dead in the street for several seconds, just to contemplate the hunk of gorgeousness that is Gong Yoo!

Gong Yoo - He acts, sings, plays guitar and is kind to puppies. In the words of my friend Tonny, "It's too much!"

I also credit this drama with giving me a memorable introduction to a treasured friend - F.D.A.

I have referred to this person in several posts, but what is probably not remembered is that F.D.A stands for 'Fellow Drama Addict'.  Allow me to explain:

It was the spring of 2012 in Ulsan, and I was taking in the sights of the Ulsan Whale Festival, in Taehwa River Park.  Towards the end of the day, I met my Favourite Diva and she invited me to dinner with a friend of hers.  We went to a nearby (and amazing!) tofu stew restaurant.

Just as our food orders arrived, Diva mentioned that F.D.A was thinking of trying K Dramas and could I recommend any. Well, I naturally and immediately replied, "Coffee Prince!".
I gave them a quick summary, being as careful as possible not to give away any spoilers.

But that wasn't enough to satisfy them. They demanded more detail. So I grudgingly agreed to recap the first episode.
One entreaty led to another and an hour later there I was, sitting on the floor of a Soon Dubu restaurant, reciting the lines from the climactic scene to a captivated audience of two.
I was dehydrated, and I'd hardly had a bite to eat, but it was totally worth it!
Diva's friend went home and watched 'Coffee Prince', and then went on to watch many more dramas, lots of which we watched together, thus earning the moniker, 'Fellow Drama Addict'.
(Meanwhile, I re-watched it with Diva and Ms.Amused!)

'Coffee Prince' was filmed in an actual coffee shop in Hongdae, my favourite part of Seoul. Over the years, whenever Lush and I went to Seoul, we would usually make an effort to find this K Drama location mecca. But dodgy maps, wrong turns and simple lack of time stymied our efforts.
We gave it up as a bad job and forgot all about it.

Last August, I had packed up my life in Ulsan, and Kanga and I were spending a badly needed few days in Seoul, decompressing before the move home.  On our second last night, I was walking Kanga through the sleepy back streets of Hongdae, when, like a lovely gift from the Drama Gods, (in recognition of years of faithful worship) I practically tripped over it!
I couldn't believe it! I stood there in stupefied shock!  (Seriously, there were angelic choirs warbling over the fence!)

The pic quality is dodgy as feck, but I think the post captured my excitement pretty well!  (click to enlarge)

And yes, Dear Readers, I DID go back the next day without the dog.  I sat in the window table where Eun Chan had eaten her jam sandwiches, and took a moment to feel grateful.
'Coffee Prince' had seen in my earliest days in Korea, helped me to connect with Koreans and foreigners alike, my long running and steadfast devotion to Gong Yoo had become common knowledge with most of my friends, and even my dog, Kanga, came incredibly close to being called 'My Chan', Eun Chan's nickname in the show.
It felt so utterly appropriate that 'Coffee Prince' should also be there at the end of my Korean adventure.

Now that Judd is in Korea and F.D.A is in America, I am giddy with excitement at the prospect of having a another K Drama junky in my own timezone again!

And Cled, just so you know - you will be finishing 'Coffee Prince' just in time to join me in watching Gong Yoo's NEW drama!

(rubs hands gleefully)

Thanks for sticking it out to the end folks!  Now I'm off to watch me some 'Coffee Prince'!


  1. Cled here! You wicked woman. I have binge watched this drama this weekend to the detriment of housekeeping and trying to explain to my kids that it's all their favourite aunt's fault that their mother is obsessed with a strange phenomenon called K-Drama.

  2. Hold up! Gong Yoo is going to be in a drama soon?

    *Cue Spanglish Accent*

    Excuse me?! Excuuuuuuse ME! This Sir-what?! How did this happen-when is this happening-and why have you been keeping this to yo-self Miss Lady? Unacceptable.

    1. P.S. This is Judd. (>_<)

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