Tuesday, February 23, 2016


My skin burns at the touch of bodies
Swaying, jerking, searching
With flailing arms and sweaty fingers
This room is bloated with heat
A balloon filling up, about to fly away
Cologne and cigarette smoke intertwine
Like your eyes with mine
Hello, hello, new pretty soul
Dancing like fireworks, your laughter
Sparks and then dies, repeat, repeat,
We could be racing in an adrenaline war
But you just melt like ice cream
On an early summer night
Slowly and quietly you dissolve
Into my skin, I will carry this with me forever
I can hear the voice in my head
Fleeting and thrilled, the nature of it
Like a breeze or a shooting star
Slipping through the night.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

January 8:09 A.M

Hello gradient dawn,
January is chilling us and we
Press fingers to cold glass
Electric white screen of morning
From Tokyo come short words
The fog, the haze dispersed,
Filling me up, the shock of
Iced clarity burning like
Wind on my face. 



Cheerwine Floats

Let's drink youth  for the last time,
By a final toast of Cheerwine floats
Laughing and blurry eyed with heat and sugar highs,

My bare feet in the cool grass,
Your shoulders drooping beneath linen
Wrinkled and spoiled by summer's merciless smother

Take a deep breath, I will be spinning
Beneath ancient columns, grazing red bricks
Kicking up dust of ages past

"Mr. Jefferson said," yes, I'm sure he did,
Along with the birds and the crickets who sing
Our supposed sonnets of opportunity,

But my only souvenir is this dance
Possessed by the love of a May evening
Your eyes reflect a map of star-studded destinations,

God bless this little old city and your boyish voice
As all grows quiet, for not one will call out to me
If I walk these pathways ever again.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Top K-Dramas of 2015 {List}

With 2015 come and gone, I felt like doing mini-reviews/ranking of my top 5 favorite K-dramas of 2015. A snow day allowed me the time to go ahead and make this post. So, without further deliberation, here it is!

#1. Fool's Love/Hogu's Love

from dramarecap.com

Premise: "To make anything extraordinary into something ordinary".
Centered around the protagonist's name, Ho Gu, the title of this drama is definitely a play on the way Koreans "create" names for their children. In common speech, the word "hogu" means "fool", generally someone easy to take advantage of. Perhaps "pushover", or "gullible, but lovable idiot" comes to mind. And while the individual Chinese characters of "ho" and "gu" meant something entirely different to the parents who named this unfortunate young man, the common meaning of his name follows him wherever he goes.
He is a trusting, warm, loving, and extremely gullible artist, trying to make it in the world of online comic books but lacking the backbone to stand up to his demanding friends-turned partners or a publisher. He bends over backwards for everyone, including his younger twin sister Ho Kyung, and every girl he has ever been romantically interested in. As a result of being a tender, but poor nice guy, most women use him and then dump him without ever formally declaring a relationship with him. He's a "hogu" without any hope, but a twist of fate pushes him to make some changes.

By the second episode of this drama you will be thinking, like I did, that it fits within a particular conventional plotline that has been popular in K-dramas of recent years. Think. Again. This drama is jam-packed with unconventional story lines and lively, believable characters. I have compared it on multiple occasions with the timeless Coffee Prince, not just for the daring choices of the writers, but for the warmth, simplicity, and affection this drama seems to exude from its core.  Unlike popular "poor girl meets rich guy" dramas centered in a stylized, wealthy Gangnam, this drama takes you to Seoul's narrow, winding backstreets, little corner shops, and basement rooms; through the endless formalities and restrictions of "saving face" to the deeply-held assumptions of Korean culture. Yet, not to paint a picture too fantastically dreary, the story welcomes you into the hearts of human characters who are willing to push away from the limits of society and embrace each other with love.
This drama never loses its humor nor its humanity. I laughed through my tears. And if you have ever lived in Korea or visited, this drama will make you miss seaweed soup, village buses, and one-room apartments a lot more than you ever thought you could.

Also features my favorite song by Busker Busker, "Yeosu Night Sea".

#2. Unkind Women

Premise: Three generations of women live in one house together. Not a single man is present, but it seems they are getting by just fine (?) on their own. Okay, in actuality, they are not getting by that well at all, though its not for lack of men. In fact, they generally blame men for all of their misfortune. One man, to be exact: their father/husband/grandfather, who disappeared one night, presumably dead in a fire at a bar. Before he passed away, it was discovered that he was having an extramarital affair, and the spark of anger his wife held has continued burning in her heart to this day.
The wife, Soon Ok, has become an old woman, running her own cooking franchise. She has books, her own brand, and private classes, but still her unresolved anger dictates her life. Her eldest daughter, Hyun Jung, is a successful TV host, but her position is threatened by increasing age and fading beauty. All the while she suffers from loneliness; scarred by her father's behavior, she avoids relationships with men at all costs. The younger daughter, Hyun Sook, was expelled from high school for various reasons beyond her control, and the drama particularly focuses on her individual story. She is a failure at life, a complete loser suffering from depression and anxiety due to her mistakes. She and her husband are separated. Her daughter, who worked as a professor at a university, loses her position. The drama follows all four women as they attempt to regain their happiness, hope, and pride.

This drama would be top of the list if it weren't for the fact that it is quite long (and Hogu's Love is just that good). Don't be intimidated by the 24 episodes, however. This drama is completely cheesy but totally worth it as we watch our family of ladies get into scrape after scrape with the men in their lives. It isn't a romance, it isn't a mystery, it isn't a melodrama, it isn't a coming of age story, it is all of them, together, co-existing in a  deliciously random kind of harmony which employs truly phenomenal, experienced actresses to transport this story to the screen. Even as the characters grow and change, they never lose their individual temperaments; quirks which bring humor and life to the story. Finally, a huge thanks to my friend Hojun for directing me to this drama. I wouldn't have found/watched it if it weren't for him.

#3. Twenty Again

 Premise: Returning to a time of youth and missed opportunities.
Nora is a middle aged housewife who always wanted to attend college, but had a shotgun wedding right after graduating high school. Her husband then moved the entire family to Germany for several years, during which Nora grew into her role as a mother and housewife. But saying she never looked back would be unrealistic.
In the present, her relationship with her now-professor husband has crumbled. He claims she is not well-read enough for them to communicate. Lacking any idea of how to respond, Nora simply agrees with him and they begin the divorce process by signing a contract and obtaining some papers. However, her husband doesn't wish to formally submit the papers until their son, now a high school senior, graduates college, for fear it will be too hard for him to take.
Nora obediently agrees to all of this, while inside she is deeply hurt by the fact that her husband no longer loves her. In an effort to rekindle their love, she secretly attends hagwon classes, takes the college entrance exam, and is accepted at one of the country's top universities. Though she plans to tell her husband immediately and then leave the school, she enjoys it so much she decides to stay. Her happy college days are met with complications when she realizes her husband (who she was told worked at a different school) has secretly transferred his employment to her school. Her son is also accepted into the same school, and her high school friend, Cha Hyun Seok is a visiting professor, teaching one of her classes.

The first episode will have you begging Nora to get some backbone, but this won't happen for a while. A sense of independence is something which must be cultivated, not forced. But have no worries. She cultivates a new, personal version of herself as she relives the year she never had- the age of twenty. In the process, she brings light to her life and restores the dreams of youth others have lost. This is a heartwarming drama about something I always considered common and unquestioned: the decision of a middle aged person to go back to school. It is more complicated than you might think.
The romance of this drama is extremely well-done. Respect, space, and understanding is given by the male lead as his female counterpart "grows up" in front of him, transforming from an apologetic doormat into someone who is willing to call out injustice, work hard for a goal, and appreciate her own accomplishments. Furthermore, it cannot be said that they never experience disagreements, which makes the relationship even more real to me.

#4. The Producers

Premise: A high school boy's longtime crush becomes a television producer (or PD for short). Therefore, he becomes a PD too.
Though perhaps not the most logical step for young Seung Chan, as the life of a producer is quite difficult, he works hard to do his best on his first day. Oh, that is, until he realizes that his first love is dating the flippant, free, and obnoxious Joon Mo, who just happens to be his supervisor. Thrust onto the PD crew of the hilariously failing 2 Days 1Night program, Seung Chan is immediately the target of everyone else's insecurities, failed relationships, and lack of creativity. As he stumbles through this new world, his blunders are met with the fierce and unforgiving Ye Jin, PD for Music Bank. She's a brusque older woman, burned by one too many young idols and their companies trying to tank her show with skimpy outfits and untamed lyrics.  Things get even more complicated when singer Cindy becomes involved in the 2 Days 1 Night program in an effort to keep the show afloat. But Cindy is prissy, needy, and demanding, and a rough show like 2 Days 1 Night might chip her nail-oh no! Enter Seung Chan, the only one who can convince her to stay on the show (and therefore keep his job, which he desperately needs now that all of his /romantic/ hopes and dreams have been crushed by his supervisor whom he hates but must help in order to stay employed).

The entire plot of this drama is one hilarious loophole after another. I found it to lack substance at times, and it became especially frustrating after the director switch (though unconventional, I liked the style of the first director more). However, the fact that KBS made a show about it's own PD department bumbling around through various harrowing yet humorous moments is a charming concept. Seung Chan is lovable, lovable, lovable, though he's definitely a complete pushover at the beginning of the show. Joon Mo makes you want to smack him, but no worries-plenty of women do. And our two feisty ladies, in their attempt to create a world of stability from chaos, remain bitter, demanding, grouches through and through, but perhaps they soften up a bit towards the end *wink*. The acting in this drama is just as top-notch as the other three on this list, featuring big names Cha Tae Hyun, Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Soo Hyun, and IU, and a whole cast of other well-known faces. If you haven't watched this drama, you have at least heard of it. I enjoyed the concept and the plot was alright. I found, like most generally good/okay dramas it was stretched out too much towards the middle and became a bit draggy, but thankfully it picked itself up and charged on ahead without losing too much steam.

#5. Warm and Cozy/Jeju Island Gatsby

Premise: "I'll give you a chance if we meet again. Grow up into a cool girl who makes me fall instantly."
"Then you grow up to be a failure, one I'd throw away instantly. Live recklessly so that I'll have that chance with you."
A poor girl has a kind encounter with rich boy, but for ten years they do not meet again.
In the present, the poor girl has grown into a poor woman who is fed up with life in Seoul. Deciding to start a business in Jeju, she gives all of her money to her cousin to start the process, and he screws up royally. She moves to Jeju to pick up the pieces of her disastrous failure. Enter boy from high school who is still rich but now even more immature and mean than he was before. Yay! Prince charming here to save the day! Not.

Awww, Jung Joo. Life in Jeju is a real struggle when she finds out that her cousin has bought a rotting and rickety property for cheap and run off to honeymoon in Brazil with all of her money. To make matters worse, after finding out her boyfriend is a cheater, her high school "prince charming", Gun Woo, reappears in her life. He's still far better off than she is, and his attitude stinks like a typical rich guy. But wait, not only is he rich and childish, he's running a failing restaurant in a town of people who hate him just because he's still in love with a terrible girl who treats him like dirt. And his older brother, Mr. Responsible Jung Geun, knows it. When Jung Joo's life is falling apart, Gun Woo comes to her aid through a series of misunderstandings and the loss of his car and credit card ("IF YOU DON'T BEHAVE I AM GROUNDING YOU" finally happened after over twenty years). They work together, though often at odds, to befriend the townspeople, mayor, and famous lady divers of Jeju to create a Warm and Cozy place where great food is served and love blossoms. It's a typical Hong Sisters drama. This show was a little slow to get started, but once it gained focus it became pretty addictive. I love the glimpses of native Jeju life from the perspective of two non-locals, the amazing food is amazing, and while Jung Joo and Gun Woo's relationship drove me insane most of the time, the push and pull is only natural for this extremely finicky pair. You will rip every piece of your hair out right during the middle drag zone, because this show will drag along at a snail's pace like nothing you have ever seen.  You will hate and love it simultaneously until all of those emotions have been exhausted. But there is redemption in the fact that this show incorporates a super sweet sideline romance, development of side characters, gorgeous scenery/filming, a family background mystery, lots of island culture, the Jeju language, and great food (did I already say the food is amazing?). It also employs great actors Kang So Ra and my beloved darling Yoo Yeon Seok. Watch it on a rainy day when you have no idea what drama you want to see, and it will, through the crazy, make you feel warm and cozy.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (because it's hard to condense K-dramas into one post):

Oh My Ghostess!---unique plot, great characters, KIM SEULGI. Love her.
Sensory Couple/The Woman Who Sees Smells---that murder plot though. Also, Park Yoochun.
Tomorrow Cantabile---please marry me cello guy (read: Park Bo Geom). Also, Joo Won. You just want to hug both of them.

And there you have it. Check out these amazing 2015 dramas when you get the chance. You won't be disappointed!


Monday, February 15, 2016

The Waltz

I waltz alone in the blue light of dawn
One, two, three, four,
Rhythmic swaying in the delicate moment
Nearly silent, if not for music,
Drifting in the air, not to be shared with you
Coffee in hand, piping hot, not to be shared with you
One, two, three, four
Heart aching with want and for what, not to be shared
With you, at least, as I imagine
It does so for want of you--it knows no better!
Than wanting, and it knows not the pleasure
Nor possession of this dawn,
Not to be shared with you, or anyone, at all.