My Personal Train Wreck

[As an early Christmas present, I’m pleased to introduce a new guest blogger to you. A familiar voice on the Dramabeans Open Threads, leonardswench is an avowed kdrama addict who also happens to have a job that makes me green with envy: reviewing kdramas! Please welcome her! --thundie]

I am a sucker for cops. You might as well know now, if he is Korean and flashes a badge, it’s too late, there’s already been an ovary meltdown. I’m saying all this to preface my personal k-drama train wreck.

I’m traveling along in life, American, Texas housewife, mother, job, hobbies, happy, and blissfully unaware of Korean dramas. I didn’t want them, didn’t need them, didn’t know they existed. I was a member of a writer’s forum, and we admins had decided we needed a worldwide review section, divided by region, taking in literature, television, film, theatre, music, fashion, and pop culture. Everyone laid claim to their ‘region’ of choice, leaving two areas standing up for grabs from my girlfriend and I: Russia, and Asia. She couldn’t stand the thought of Asian anything outside of Chinese buffet restaurants and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to watch anything Russian-made after a rather horrible earlier film experience, so … there I was, busy writing Asian reviews.

Well, not quite, BUSY, you understand, more like, wow, first, Asia has all these places with film and music and television departments. I landed at Hong Kong Cinema and mysoju.com and began to explore my way into the unchartered waters of lokorns, k-dramas, HK productions, j-pop, and so much more. I was barely treading water in unfamiliar territories with no background knowledge at all — and almost everything I saw and read left me disappointed, and feeling like I’d like Russia back, please.

Then my train wrecked. It was late at night, I had not blogged on any Asian movies or television for over a week, missing a few deadlines on my writer’s forum, and I was desperate to watch something I liked. My last drama had been a Mainland drama (Chinese, or C-drama, to me) and it had taken extreme willpower to make it through the horrible story-line, acting, production values, editing, and the finding-anything-positive-to-say-about-it review. (I will write negative reviews, but I do try to find something good in every production. Sometimes, it is just not possible.)

I was at mysoju.com, flipping through drama and movie profiles, caught the word “detective” and thought, “At least this one is about a cop, maybe I’ll find the crime stories worth watching.”

If you haven’t guessed it yet, Lovers in Prague (2005) was my personal train wreck. For starters, I liked the intro music, which is always a good beginning. I didn’t know the actors, could not read or speak Korean, had to rely on subtitles and grainy video links that loaded slowly and frequently paused, but there I was, watching my first k-drama.

Perhaps it appealed to me because it started in Prague, not Seoul, and it was funny in the first 30 seconds of dialogue. Perhaps it was the heartfelt acting of Jeon Do Yeon or Kim Joo Hyuk. Maybe it was just the cop. I clearly had not read much beyond the word “detective” since the first crime was solved in one minute and we moved straight into the relationships and crying. Welcome to k-dramas!

Regardless, at 6 a.m., I realized I had a problem. I had just watched 5 straight episodes of a television series and only the necessity of a 20-minute nap to get me through morning classes prevented me watching episode 6. I spent my lunch hour on that episode, slept in the van while my daughters were in dance classes, drove back home to spend the next eight hours watching seven more episodes. I managed 3 hours of sleep and repeated the process: one episode at lunch, 4 episodes to finish that night. I fell into bed at the conclusion, too tired to blog or process everything I had seen in that 48 hours.

Clearly, I had math problems. There were not enough hours in the day, or night, and yet, over the next 48 hours, I watched it all again, equally as hooked as the first time. My husband asked, “Are you having a breakdown?” I didn’t know what to answer. I was stunned, overwhelmed, and in shock — train wrecked!

Four-and-a-half-years later, I have not looked back. And I still feel train-wrecked. K-dramas make me excited, make me cry, laugh, confuse me, tear me up inside, beat me down, lift me up, run my emotions around for awhile before spinning them out of control, make me think about my life and my outlook on love and relationships, drive me to write daily on several blogs and forums, lead me to a secret k-drama club, and to top it all off, I am attempting to write my second k-script of the year.

And for some reason, I don’t think I am the only one who is still in the train wreck. In fact, I know I am not. So, where were you? What were you doing? How did you go from having one life, to being in the middle of a k-drama train wreck? I want to know, so that I can laugh, cry, and share with you that we are all not alone in this fabulous, wonderful, frustrating, amazing world.

I’ll be watching Lovers in Prague while I am waiting for your answers.

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208 thoughts on “My Personal Train Wreck

  1. First kdrama was Lovers In Paris. First started on Taiwan dramas but the lure of romantic Paris made me want to check that drama out. After that.. as you said it. There was no turning back. Even though I could not rewatch the drama without yelling, cursing, rolling my eyes, or ripping my hair out, that’s how I got started. After that, marathoning a drama has become a norm. 16 episode drama will be over in just over a day. Sleeping and eating were second priorities back then. I was devouring the long list of dramas I was trying to catch up on to satiate my thirst for this kdrama addiction. Yeah, I was a train wreck. I still am actually, 6 years later.

    • Somedays, Maria, I cannot believe that the same writer did Lovers in Paris (LIP) and Lovers in Prague (LIPr). In all honesty, watching some of the frustrating to bad dramas have made me appreciate the good dramas even more, so I don’t totally regret any of them. (Okay, maybe East of Eden, there’ll have to be a blog about that one, I’m sure, I still need to cleanse my soul.)

      It’s good to hear from a 6-year veteran, as I actually thought this train wreck would be over by now. I guess that just isn’t so, for some of us!

  2. Ooh, leonardswench, enticing us to spill the beans on how we got sucked into this alterna-universe, eh? :lol:

    When I first read in the papers about this strange beast called the Hallyu Wave (and about a sappy-sounding drama, Autumn in My Heart), I told myself I would absolutely not get lured into it. Some months later, I just happened to turn on the TV and lo and behold it was Winter Sonata. So pretty the landscape and so pretty the cast. Not realizing the danger, I waded in…

    Thank you for an awesome first post!

      • I’m still in love with the cop, so, no problem, I’ll nauseate you all with the details!! You are going to regret this, you realize? LOL

        • Oh, no regrets at all. *hatches devious plan to flood leonardswench’s LIPrague review with a gazillion Ha Jung-woo screencaps, bwahaha*

        • I promise, God willing and the creek don’t rise, to review LIPr for TP. I love the series, still, and yes, absolutely the best of the trilogy.

    • About being a train wreck, I seriously think I’ve become uglier because of kdramas. I’m permanently beady-eyed from marathoning them into the wee hours of the morning.

      • True that! haha Baggy and droopy eyes, bad eyesight, frizzy hair etc. If you’ve seen Hotaru no Hikari, I become like the lead girl when it comes to dramas. Super composed at work but when she gets home, she gets super lazy and messy just content to be eating, drinking and sleeping. I’m the same way (and can even look the same way! oh noes!) except maybe without the sleeping part, because who needs sleep when you can be watching dramas haha!

      • Not to mention being a person who used to pay some attention to what I wear to work to a person whose only concern is, “Did I wear this yesterday?”

        (Sometimes the answer is yes.)

      • Bloodshot eyes, dark circles, random hairstyles. Oh, yeah! My ‘excuse’ is that I have to do/watch something while folding laundry and doing other random household tasks, but a look at the current laundry pile would not make a believer of you.

    • When you invited me (so very kind, thank you, I LOVE talking about my little obsession *cough), the first thought I had was, “How did I get in this mess?”

      And now you know!

  3. First there was Winter Sonata. Caught a few episodes here and there and then saw it all on vcd (VCD!). Cried and moved on. Years later my mum and brother were watching 18 Year Old Bride. I mocked them, mocked the show but found myself watching the rest of the episodes with them that weekend (I’d started when they were halfway through). Laughed and moved on. Now shortly after that, I decided to give k-dramas a chance again and purchased the DVD boxset of My Girl. That was the beginning of the end… consumed it in less than 1.5 days with barely enough time for sleep/ food/ attention to personal hygiene. Watched it again and then I went into a buying and downloading frenzy of other k-dramas. It’s been I think 4 or 5 years. I try to balance things out a little (and by balance I mean give myself time between dramas) otherwise how’d I function normally ever again? However, I’ve recently started to help with fansubbing on top of the drama watching so maybe I’ll be forever crushed under this train wreck? :D

    • My Girl was the second K-drama I bought. My kids still love it, and my k-drama-hating husband still quotes it (he’s fine, he’s talking about his hate of k-dramas now, so that’s the first step in recovery). And I will never get over my little Lee Don Wook and Lee Jun Ki love. I shipped both male leads and nothing has changed after 4 years. My Girl was about drama #10 to watch, I think. In hindsight, I wish I had kept track of more details about my train wrecked life!

      I just quit subbing … because it was cutting into my watching and blogging and writing! LOL I think you’ve just gone down the permanent path, though, ineedmoredrama! And it sounds like we have a similar k-drama anniversary date, 2007-ish?

      • I was so conflicted on who to root for in My Girl (which is one of the few dramas where I totally shipped both leads as well). Who deserved the girl? Dong Wook, Jun Ki, Jun Ki, Dong Wook… in the end? Forget the girl! I’ll welcome you both with open arms. Oh wait, what were we talking about again?

        I’m questioning my decision in this subbing business lol. I’ve only been able to watch 2-3 dramas since I started subbing about August this year. It’s pretty full time work eh? I hardly have time to lurk on blogs and forums now!

        And yeah, I think it was around 2007 for me. Happy anniversary lol.

      • My girl was what got me into Korean dramas. It was my second drama and I watched it my freshman year of college. I remember sitting in my room bawling my eyes out not completely understanding what was happening to me or where those emotions were coming from. It was down hill from there. Seriously, K-dramas have like 3 story lines that are retold over and over but I can’t get enough of it!
        To be honest, my gpa would probably be better if I have never discovered Korean dramas but I don’t think I would have been able to get through bombing a test or presentation and the stress of college without them.
        I tried to kick the habit once and succeeded for about 3 months but then I came back and discovered there were so many new shows for me to watch.
        5 years later I have accepted my fate. I embrace my k-drama addiction.
        ps. fun fact: talking about my love of k-dramas helped land me a job! true story. my boss said it was one of the most memorable things she had heard in an interview! just goes to show!

        • can you believe i still watch my girl occasionally? not all the eps at once, but i just pop whichever dvd in and let it play. when it was airing on the animax channel earlier this year, i caught it there too. there have been better dramas since but what can i say? i’m sentimental that way :p

      • My Girl is my trainwreck. I still always go back to it as my safe home base. Before that, i saw bits and pieces of Lover in Paris and Harvard Love story, both sent me screaming out of the door and never wanting to look back. And then, bam, I got me 2 handsome looking men in one series – SOLD !

        • I watched lovers in paris shortly after my girl. that wasn’t as bad as harvard love story. i yelled and cursed at my tv screen, fast forwarded a lot and then yelled and cursed at my poor friend who dared recommend it. only for her to tell me she hated it too but passed me the dvds in case i might like them. thankfully our friendship survived that minor hiccup and we’ve since been more honest with what we truly like!

  4. I usually lurk but I thought I would finally participate and comment. The first k-drama I watched was Coffee Prince. My sister got me started on it, and I remember being reluctant to try it. I started it when they were just subbing the episodes. Somehow I went from being sceptical, to anxiously waiting for the next episode. Now my sister and I have gotten our mother and grandmother hooked on them too. Just imagine a 70 year old woman, who wouldn’t watch anything foreign, inhaling dramas one after another.

    • Hi, Danni, thanks for de-lurking! And Coffee Prince, what can I say? Still has me, hook-line-sinker, even after all these years. I think those were the first real kisses I had seen in a k-drama, so it made quite an impact.

      Inhaling is a good way to describe it: Ojakgyo Brothers may be my current ‘crack’ of choice, but it’s not my first time!

  5. My first korean drama was Full House. Like you, I’m not korean but I had a korean friend who insisted that I watch this drama. The plot summary sounded interesting enough. Episode 1 was okay. I honestly only wanted to continue because of cute Song Hye Kyo and the super hot Rain (hey, give me a break! I was still in high school at the time). I watched episdoe 2, 3 and 4 and noticed that it was past 3. But I couldn’t stop. I knew I had to have some shut eye for school so I take a 2 hour power nap and wake up again to watch some more. I swear, kdramas worked better than caffeine for me back in those days.

    The train wreck happened for me everytime I would push off a paper or studying. I even wrote reviews for forums and journals that we would pass around in school. I converted some of my friends into drama addicts and slaves. We would often joke that if we hadn’t discovered korean dramas, we would probably all have some crazy awesome GPAs and in Harvard or something.
    But seriously, I was so addicted to dramas at one point that I just got lazy and didn’t want to do anything. When you can finish 3-4 series a week, you start losing touch with reality for a bit lol. I think today I’m still a kdrama fan but I refuse to be super addicted like I was before. I could recite off the top of my head more k-actor names than I could presidents of the USofA within the first 2 months of addiction haha. I told my friend to slap me upside the head if all I’m doing is sitting in front of a computer all day watching.

    • Ah, Celest, that made me laugh, and you know why? I now have trouble remembering American and British actors’ names, while having no trouble with Korean actors/actresses. Everyone in my family thinks I am crazy when I cannot remember who that Ryan guy was in Sandra Bullock’s last rom-com, and what is that actress name, you know the one who was married to a rock star, had a naughty tape, has never made a decent movie, and yet is constantly in the tabloids, something Lee?

      I don’t mainline dramas anymore, but my backlog of watches and re-watches is phenomenal, so I may go there again someday, when the kids are raised.

  6. My first comment at Thundie’s Prattle for my sister :) Leonardswench. Delurked activate.
    My train werck is, ah you may guess, Autum in My Heart. Hand Towel love you…. Won bin who? I saw only you. The rest is perhaps like every k drama addict has ever experienced. hi hi

    • Baby Girl, you’re so wonderful to de-lurk for me! (By the way, Baby Girl in the South of the U.S. is like saying younger sister/niece/female person I love.)

      Yeah, The Hand Towel. He makes me watch things that make me shudder. lol

    • Pohonphee – that’s funny because my eyes and heart was with Won Bin all the way. My very first Korean Drama (although, not the one that got me and took me *gulp* nearly 5 years to finish). The one that got me was my love Coffee Prince, though Stairway to Heaven did implant a bit of obsessiveness into me, but that’s for another day. Autumn Fairytale was also where my first brush with Second-Lead Male Syndrome. =)

      Leonardswench – YAY & <3

      • Thanks, Okie Dokie! :)

        Coffee Prince is like putting on that old rugby shirt of my college boyfriend’s. It is warmth, comfort, a touchstone in my life, and while time has worn some edges and put some holes here and there, I won’t give it up, I won’t retire it to the rag box, and I still wear it regularly just to feel the gushy yumminess again.

  7. Welcome leonardswench. Wonderful way to describe the start of an addiction :)

    I love watching films especially Asian films and among them Korean films are my favorite. Even more than films, I like novels and Dangerous Liasions is a favorite of mine. And then there was a Korean adaptation titled Untold Scandal. Had to watch it and I loved it. I knew and loved the two female actors but the male lead was stranger, acted by Bae Yong Joon. It was such a great performance that I seeked more of his work and it turned out that he only did K-dramas. I decided to give Winter Sonata a try and there and then I was hooked. My friends were victimised with all the plot updates as I watched 3 episodes a night. Looking back now it is not even among top 10 of my favorite K-dramas but WS is the one that got me hooked :)

    • I love Untold Scandal, and was so glad it was so good: it really held its footing and surpassed Dangerous Liaisons in some respects, I thought. I watch all k-movies, too, as I still review them.

      I did mean to say, I no longer review ALL of Asia, luckily, I was blessed with two additional ladies who came along to help with that region, so I really just handle Japan, Taiwan, and Korean movies, fashion, et cetera.

      I love our words that we use, “addiction” (yes, that is the only thing to call it) and “victimized” (what else would you call endless ranting and raving and chatting about some ‘foreign’ film or drama while your friends’ eyes are glazed over and the ‘mmhmm’ responses are accompanied by frantic behind-the-back gestures of ‘get-me-out-of-this’?) and “hooked”.

      One thing about k-dramas, you either seem to love them or hate them, no in-betweens.

  8. My first k-drama was Emperor of the Sea, but that wasn’t my first train wreck, because we were watching 2 shows a week on TV. It started our addiction to k-dramas, but it was under control! Ok, so we bought the DVDs and rewatched the entire series again…and again – but in limited doses, you understand!

    No, my first train wreck k-drama? Man – that would be ::hanging head in shame:: Save the Last Dance for Me. When I shifted over to watching on line instead of on TV, first I finished Thank You, which I had been in the middle of watching when the station went off the air, I started watching older shows, and for some unknown reason, StLDfM caught me one rainy weekend.

    Little did I know! A little highspeed DSL, and poof, I was marathoning that show for all it’s ridiculous glory. Then it was time for Coffee Prince, which I happened on just it was going nuts. POOF straight down the rabbit hole with that one. And I haven’t looked back.

    And pssst, Danni, my Mom is older than your grandma, and she knows the exact schedule of the shows and of the estimated time of arrival of the subs for Tree With Deep Roots.

    • Ha ha ha about your mom, momosan! I know that if we were able to get the actual broadcasts at some decent hour, I would be glued to the set and know the schedules completely.

      Save The Last Dance for Me has a very special, very warm place in my heart. There are some k-actors that I will follow down any rabbit hole.

  9. I have swallowed so many kdramas without stopping to chew that I only remember the ones that really left an impact on me. My first Kdrama was My Name is Kim Sam Soon which was shown on local TV, which I watched by chance. I decided to check it out when it was midway thru and needless to say Sam Soon and Sam Shik cast their spell on me. I have since seen it countless times and fell in love with a handful of actors. Once I realized I could see other Kdramas on the net I was completely lost and developed an appetite I have yet to fulfill. Until recently I wouldn’t watch anything that had more than 25 episodes but I must admit that I caved in and have started watching the longer ones. Every time I find a drama I like it becomes an itch in a spot that is hard to reach and you can’t stop until you scratch it.

    • Another good description, SsarangG, they are itches we HAVE to scratch. Even bad dramas, once I start, I have to finish.

      My Name is Kim Sam Soon started the whole Hyun Bin love for me. I have never looked back, either.

  10. *unlurking* I would say, mine was Autumn in my heart. It was being shown on a local station then, and my friend was really into. I got curious and bought the DVD box set. It has been more than 5 years and I don’t see the end of my marathoning of kdrama/jdorama and movies in sight. It gives me the excuse to cry and it just brings me joy.^^

  11. Oh yeah, I tried resisting the temptation for a while and then gave in. Everyone around me was switching from TVB series to kdramas and I absolutely refused to watch all that sappy crying (Glass Slippers was the airing drama I think). Then on a trip home I spent all my time w my grandma and she spent all her time watching dramas so I couldn’t help it afterall. It was Stairway to Heaven and Sunlight Upon Me that did me in. So freaking dramatic and yet so addicting. When I got back to the States I just had to find out how it ended. Of course it took like a year before the subs finally finished and I waited a year for a crappy ending. I also met my college roomie at that time, who was also a kdrama junkie. Needless to say we just made things worse together lol

    • There is nothing like another addict to make your own addiction grow, Hamster428!

      I am always fascinated by the ones who resist: I was kind of reluctantly dragged into Asian reviews, and then quickly sucked in to Lovers in Prague. Yet here we all are, k-drama-ing away!

  12. My first Korean drama was Goodbye My Love by Ahn Jae Wook and Kim Hee Sun, a drama which aired during the days when terminal disease was the norm (abt 3 yrs ago!!!). But like momosan, I had everything under control back then, having known that I could only watch ‘em on TV and that would actually have to spend a hundred bucks on a DVD box set. I watched K-drama sparingly, only when I had the money, time and chance.

    Then it happened. It was time to leave the nest and go overseas (for tertiary education). Free from parental control, unlimited access to internet – and I stumbled across DL-links to dramas. That was the beginning of my train-wreck. It was 2005, when My Girl came into my life. After My Girl, everything changed. I downloaded like crazy, spent even more money on pirated Korean dramas just to satisfy my thirst, stayed up till early hours in the morning, my life spiraled out of control! I watched everything anything Korean.

    Several years down, now.. I’m still hopeless hehe. I still download like MAD, but am more selective over the stuff I watch. On working days, I limit myself to 3 episodes max (normally I do 2 hours a day). Parents still think I’m overdoing it, and I’m too addicted. But alas, cannot help it knowing I’m already part of it. hehe

    • LOL and My Girl has much to answer for.

      I love how we all get sucked in different ways, differing dramas, same dramas but different ways within that drama … but we all get sucked in, in the end.

  13. My first kdrama and trainwreck was My Girl. My sister used to rave about kdramas and I didn’t understand her at all. I mean, why watch a drama in a language you don’t understand when you understand 5 languages and can pick and choose dramas/movies from any of the 5 languages? (My sister has a talent with languages. Infact, now she understands korean as well…so that would be 6)

    Then while on youtube I happened to watch an MV of My Girl. I just happened to click on the MV that was staring at me quietly from the “recommended” section (Oh! Those youtube guys!)

    It was so cutely done, that I just wanted to check it out. If the drama I chose had been anything else, perhaps I would never have ventured into the kdrama world. My girl was just perfect for me. Then I wanted more, so I started watching the most popular dramas on dramacrazy. It was only till SKKS started that I started watching them live and then raw.

    Anyway, I watched “my girl” almost 2 years ago. Since then, not one day has gone by where I haven’t watched something kdrama/jdrama/tdrama related. Not ONE!

    • It’s like a personal daily habit, right, aoiaheen? At least, for me it seems to be! If I do no have my daily dose of k-drama, it seems like I have forgotten deodorant or my bra, left my purse somewhere, something is just not right with the universe.

  14. Count me as another delurker!

    My Kdrama addiction started just a few months ago– I went from being mildly curious (“what’s this new kdrama channel on Hulu about?”) to subscribing to DramaFever and watching mmm.. about 8 shows? In 3 months? It started with Gourmet, but was sealed by My Name is Kim Sam Soon.

    I’ve loved finding Dramabeans and this site; it makes me feel less alone!

  15. A friend of mine who is not Korean came up to me once at school and told me she got a cute Korean movie which her uncle gave her. The movie was My Sassy Girl , i liked it because it was different from what i was used to. It was nothing like the German, French and English / American movies. From then on i watched every Korean movie i could lay my hands on. My sister was like how can you watch movies you don’t even understand the language they are speaking… My sis is now a kdrama addict… My first drama was Full House, i became train wreck after this drama. I marathoned 16 episode dramad in a day, went to sleep at 4am even if i had school the following day , completely forgot some class papers… I became addicted only a year ago, so i had so many to dramas to catch up.

    • Truthfully, Full House was marathoned in 4 days, interrupted by a romantic weekend with my husband. He could not understand why I was so eager to go home! (No wi-fi where we were staying!)

  16. My first drama was Playful Kiss, funnily enough, since it did not suit my taste at all. At first I thought it was going to be a movie since the episode was marked as over an hour long. Then I realized that it kept going! It was the strangest thing–at the end of one episode, seemingly the entire school was in a chant: “Piggyback, piggyback!” I wondered to myself, what kind of show ends on that note–with an entire school chanting at one student to give another a piggyback ride?!?
    At that time I was still unfamiliar with the standard Korean drama ending or with the concept of basing a tv show on a popular manga. To me, the characters were just acting in ways that were completely unrealistic. And why did one student keep calling the popular male student “oppa”?
    Despite these objections to my first k-drama, there was something about it that drew me in–it was just so unAmerican, so much less flashy and cynical. And now I can safely say that I am on the k-drama boat!

    • I wonder, Maidenelle, if you will look back in future years and more warmly regard Playful Kiss? I know this sounds impossible, but I am fonder of Lovers in Prague now than when I first watched in, and I was pretty smitten then! Afterall, it was the one that hooked me … and also my first!

      • I wouldn’t rule it out…but then again, I doubt it. :) I will always regard Playful Kiss fondly precisely because it was my first, but on its own, it doesn’t do much for me.

        (Though I must confess, I did like It It Started With a Kiss, but I know that for some, the comparison is a no-no.)

  17. Ahahaha, your post was so heartfelt and amusing. Also, Jeon Do Yeon in a drama?! That must be before her Cannes Queen days.

    So, I too started off exactly two years ago with Goong, starring Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon. I got the intro from my cousin, who got it from a Chinese friend at school. I made her download all the episodes on her iPod and watched it there. Yes, the screen was half the size of my palm. I loved that drama to bits. I had no inkling of what cliches were, so I just ate that thing up with a shovel. I laughed, cheered, and bawled my eyes out. To this day, just listening to the soundtrack brings back the actual feelings they evoked at the time. Since then, I have always been at some drama or the other. Looking back, Goong wasn’t the best drama by any standards, but it was a damn cool introduction. To this day I consider myself a Yoon Eun Hye fan who followed her from her debut, just because of this.

    • Yes, Jeon Do Yeon before she became the Queen of Cannes (well-deserved, I think), and I love Yoon Eun Hye to bits, as well (although I am totally jealous of nearly every photo spread she does, that woman is just too gorgeous to be real).

      I had to learn all the cliches, of course, diorama, and one of the wonderful things I discovered in hindsight about Lovers in Prague is that it twisted almost all of the cliches on their head. :)

  18. Oh, LW, love your first post! So glad you are here!
    This made me LOL and nod in agreement My husband asked, “Are you having a breakdown?” I didn’t know what to answer. I was stunned, overwhelmed, and in shock — train wrecked!
    How can this usually intelligent, chain reader fall off the reality train in only one wrecking day?

    My kids and I fell into Hulu to watch BOF first. I was glued to the PC, but since we all watched it together, I had to wait to finish, somewhat impatiently.

    Coffee Prince, otoh, sweating in the summer heat along with YEH and GY. Imagining the smell of the capucinos and waffles, sighing with the lush leaved branches out in the cafe… Watching and weeping with GY’s struggle. Begging her, “JUST TELL HIM!” And that kiss! That was the show that got me. I think I called in sick to work to finish it in two days, a three hour nap in there somewhere.

    KSS, ROI, My Girl, YAB, Personal Taste I watched in quick succession after that. I went through all of the dramas DB listed as 9’s and 10’s that I could find.

    (I have to say, though, if AinmyHeart were my first, I don’t think I would have had the same experience. Yes, THT was beautiful with his close cropped hair, tight t-shirts with bulging biceps….where was I?….but fauxcest with the blue lipped robotic beauty? I struggled to finish.)

    Looking for something new online led me to a new online life with friends worldwide I wouldn’t trade for the world. So glad I clicked on “Addicting dramas” button!

    Thanks for asking, Thundie and friends!

    • For those who do not know, Jomo and I seem to be soulmate sisters: nearly everything she loves in k-drama, I love. I will always take her recommendations. We do not ALWAYS agree, but I kind of love our disagreements more. And we have nearly IDENTICAL taste in MEN, which means we fight over “THE BOYS” of k-drama (a lot!!!) and we are sneaky with each other about claiming our loves!

      If you do not have a soulmate k-drama sister, or brother, I wish for each of you one. It makes the mad, mad days of addiction so much sweeter!

      • Awww! What a nice thing to be – a soulmate sister! I am honored.

        Let me say this about LW, she can spot hot miles away. Not just the obvious CSW hot, or THT hot. I’m talking the smoldering kind buried beneath bad hair bad wardrobe and bad scripts.
        I remember her telling me Lee Dong Wook was hot…HA! That boring guy from My Girl?
        Then I watched La Dolce Vita…and got it bad for the Wookie, too.

        Btw, she fell in love with the cop in Prague; my journey there netted me one hot bodyguard – Ha Jung Woo, and with LW’s assistance tracked down every thing he ever did on screen!
        Looking forward to sharing and stealing many more men, dearest LW.

    • HUGS, Baby GIrl!! (I am so Southern some days, my apologies in advance for being huggy and a chatty Cathy and greeting everyone!)

  19. My train wreck is diffrent from my first kdrama…
    My first kdrama was “All about Eve”, about a million years ago… it was just a funny show i liked because it was diffrent, was in Korea (I’m from Panama- Latin America) and i absolutely loved the clothing, the cast, plot, where it was (in London! yey!) and how amazing the story was. Then i watched Winter Sonata and Autumn in my Heart, and still no big deal… just a cute story.

    BUT my train wreck, that provoked the addiction, is called My Name is Kim Sam Soon. When i watched this in 2010, i was in a very vulnerable moment in my life and this show came to my rescue. TRULY. I was unemployed, deppressed and in a big hole… after that, i watched a LOT more dramas and the addiction was born…♥

    • Aww, that is so heartwarming!

      I have to say, many days, the k-drama lifts me out of where I am and helps me along, or breaks me down in tears and helps me cry out personal pain.

      It’s a beautiful thing, the way dramas can reach into our souls and touch us.

  20. My first K-Drama were “All About Eve” played by Chae Rim and Jang Dong Gun. But my train not really wrecked yet.
    I’m still on Taiwan drama back then, even after watching Autumn in My Heart that made me vow an eternal love for Won Bin.
    Not until I found Rain in Full House (yes, I know his cloth are horrible, but hey! His smile is cute) and bam! My train wrecked. It was 6 years ago and my train still wrecked.
    After that, I just craved for one to another K-Drama. Watch it from morning till another morning, giggling like some crazy woman in the midnight and yeah, my ideal type of man keep changing one time to another time depended what I watched. From Prutty pretty Lee Jun Ki to tough cookie Jang Hyuk, that I can’t believe I have so many room in my heart. And now, with all that already long list, I already made a new room for a new one, Joo Woon :D kya!

    • See, no matter where you are, for all of us, has there NOT been some mad giggling at midnight?

      Thanks, mywhiteyasmin, for reminding me of clapping both hands over my mouth to prevent the waking of 4 sleeping kids, a husband, and a random number of dogs (depends on the year, right now, 4 dogs).

  21. Thank you, leonardswench, and everyone else who is sharing their “train wreck” stories. Having grown up watching k-dramas all my life, I do not have a “first ever” k-drama story. So it is makes me all giggly and a little jealous to read all your stories.

    But I do have something similar to a “train wreck” story. While I have watched k-dramas with my parents all my life, it wasn’t until 1997’s “Star in My Heart” that I watched a k-drama under my own volition. It was a “trendy” drama and made me think for the first time that South Korea was cool. In my eyes at that time, South Korean hair, clothes, and lifestyle seemed so awesome. It was the first time I fangirled over the main lead, Ahn Jae Wook, and thought he had awesome hair. I even hung a poster of him on my wall. I will sheepishly admit that I still like the hair, no matter how greasy and gelled it looks.

    I saw Koreans using cellphones for the first time in this drama and man, Ahn Jae Wook looked so sexy using them. I wanted the fashion of the female lead, Choi Jin Shil. I bought the OST and listened to it every night. I sang all the songs. I even bought Ahn Jae Wook’s first album because of this drama. I cut out a newspaper clipping of the leads and carried it in my wallet.

    This was the era when Korean immigrants had to rent videos to get their k-dramas. So week after week, I was at the edge of my seat, dying for my parents to go to the video store and get this drama. I would watch it as soon we got home, not letting my parents watch anything else. I am glad that they indulged me.

    LOL. I was searching a picture of Ahn Jae Wook’s hair and found the exact pic that I had cut out from the newspaper to carry in my wallet. Oh, the memories.

    • It makes me a little jealous that you grew up watching k-dramas! Such memories to have, and treasure, I think Thundie has to sort out the pictures (she does for me!), so she’ll be along to take care of that, I’m sure.

      What a wonderful train wreck story, joonni!

      • Hi joonni!

        It seems WordPress only allows admin (that’s me!) to embed pics. No worries; just post the URL and I’ll do the rest, muah!!

          • I’ve not watched Stars in My Heart, but pals like Dahee have talked about it (forgot if they were rants or raves, LOL) so I do have an idea of the story. I don’t think I can watch anything of Choi Jin-shil now; I’m so going to cry if I see her on the screen.

            • Yet another problem that I have in common with thundie: Choi Jin-shil was an amazing actress and I am very tender towards her performances.

  22. My first kdrama was… hmm, I keep changing my answer every time I answer this question. It was some 80s drama where a man and a woman kissed, fell on the bed, and the next thing you know, the man was smoking on the bed and I guessed, uh oh, someone’s going to be preggers! Oh, the good old trashy 80s k-dramas. That, or Queen Inhyeon, or Three Families Under One Roof.

    I’m going strong at 25+ years of kdrama watching, and honestly, it never ends, although there are bouts of “I don’t know why I’m watching this crap.” But then there are more of “I love you so so much” that sucks you right back in. Welcome to the club!

    • LOL I kind of like some of the ‘trashy’ older k-dramas that I have been watching.

      Bring on the crap? Cheers, totally jealous of 25 years!!!

    • Yes, there are definite phases of “I don’t know why I’m watching this crap.” I usually watch J-dramas to fill in that space, or focus on Korean variety/talk shows. But then I start craving that emotional havoc, rollercoaster, “crack addiction” that k-dramas induce. And I go right back.

  23. Drama addiction, how does it start…? Heh, I’ve enjoyed all these different versions of boarding that train. I didn’t know Asian drama existed until a friend on LJ posted some gorgeous icons and I innocently asked her where they were from. Before I knew it I’d dl’d my first drama episodes and was on a steep learning curve about where to obtain my new crack and how.

    That was early 2008 and the drama in queston was The Legend. Since then I’ve watched around 85 dramas, not counting those I dropped half way or erased from the list because of a WTF ending. Some of them were bad, some were good, some awesome and some just plain awful. Like most of us I had marathons of gigantic propostion when I hardly slept, going through drama after drama like someone possessed. At some point a lot of them just started blurring into one without leaving any lasting impression. Well, those days are gone. Too little sleep gives me migranes and kill my eyes so I’m much more moderate with my viewing habits. I’m also not as forgiving as I used to be when k-dramaworld was all new and shiny so I’m less likely to watch just any old rubbish if it stops being entertaining or doesn’t make a connection on some level.

    So yeah, I’m still onboard that train though it’s not hurtling along at such a breakneck pace any more. The way is now a bit more hairy and sometimes it’s an uphill battle to the next stop…. or the next crash. :)

    • It’s good to hear from a seasoned traveler, Sundown, who has found her own pace (or his? but I think her). This past summer I went through something similar when I just could not find anything I wanted to watch again.

      Then I went back to my favorite actors, actresses, and writers and started on their backlog of older dramas, finding more gems along the way. It was enough to revive me well and truly. :)

  24. I live in Puerto Rico and have a kdrama obsession since our gov’t tv station showed Jewel in the Palace and My Name is Kim Soon a few years back. My day and schedule revolves around kdramas and I have been through enough marathons and sleepless nights to be clinically diagnosed with kdrama fever and ordered treatment @ Kdramas Anonymous.

    • Yes Kdrama Anonymous, that’s a good name, Mara, but what if we don’t want to go through the 12-step to get the sobriety? LOL :)

  25. I started watching Asian dramas with the Hana Kimi TW-version and then moved on to a lot of J-doramas (which had their own trainwrecks, like waking up at 4am on a school day to sneak down to the computer and getting caught by my mom >.< or staying up til 6am to finish a show and trying not to cry on the last episode in my half-delirious state). I guess my first trainwreck K-drama would have to be Shining Inheritance – I watched 7 episodes in one day when I had a paper to be working on and a midterm to study for. I think the makjang just got to me, as I remember clicking on the next episodes frantically with a literal jaw-drop xD. Although I was disappointed with Goong and Boys Over Flowers afterward, once I started watching Secret Garden and got introduced to the world of Asian drama blogging, there was no looking back!

    But I think my worst trainwreck drama was My Name is Kim Sam Soon – I went to inordinate lengths to finish that in two days, probably because it was the one completed drama I didn't read recaps for ahead of time..

    • foraredrose, you said something that really struck me: the word SNEAK.

      You see, I am still sneaking dramas, too. I just realized. I probably do not have to, really, my husband is fully aware of what I do since we both have home-based businesses and adjoining offices, but I sneak them from girlfriends who do not understand the obsession. I do not have to sneak them from my kids, having now “grown up” around k-dramas, they are usually the ones to say, “We have to had Lee Don Wook’s new drama to The Schedule, Mom.”

      But if my girlfriends say something like, “Are you still watching those foreign soap operas?”, I usually say something along the lines, “Oh, a few.” Which means I am sneaking about a dozen dramas at a time.
      :) Old habits die hard?

  26. Bringing out another delurker, I normally don’t comment. Too lazy, ha! I’m from USA. I actually started last year, during wintertime. That day, I was bored with American tv shows and have nothing to watch so I strolled thru hulu.com. Then!

    My life completely changed when I saw Coffee Prince and I finished the whole thing in one day. I was amazed that I actually enjoyed other country’s tv shows/dramas. So I got more curious and found another one which was Personal Taste, I enjoyed it too. I know, I know. Remember I was a newbie! Believe it or not I actually liked East of Eden, I’m probably few ones in minority that liked that drama and might be my crack drama. I just wanted more and more, then I was goner when I checked out korean blogs/reviews websites. I simply forgot about real life. Recently started to branch out a little (Japan, HK, Taiwan), slim pickings there to enjoy their dramas. So here I am. So you’re not alone.

    My aunt ask me what I’m doing every day, I tell her the same thing. Watching korean dramas. LOL.

    • Okay, JK, two things:

      first, congratulations on de-lurking and welcome!

      second, EoE is your crack? That does it, I am going to go back for a re-watch with a fresh eye. That anyone can find EoE their crack has given me hope that a re-watch will put a new coat of paint on the drama, and I so badly want it to have that new color!

      I think I will save it for after Christmas so I can re-cap as I go.

      • I watched it last year (EoE), that time I was a newbie. Everything I saw during that time was fascinating, interesting, and different. I should rewatch it too. Not exactly sure if it’s my crack drama. Since it means I would watch it again and again, no matter what people think of it/how crazy it is. But I remember I actually liked some storylines/characters in that drama and same time, it got a little bit of soap opera in it. I’ll let you know if it ends up on my crack drama list. :D. Let me know if you changed your mind when you rewatch it.

  27. I joined the Korean obsession back in early 2009. I actually got hooked through the movie 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant on youtube, then slowly found my way to mysoju where I got more drawn. Not really sure which was my first kdrama, could’ve been Boys Over Flowers but I didn’t get completely hooked until You’re Beautiful started airing. That drama got me really good because I couldn’t wait until the raw episodes were released (I never watched raws), I slacked on my studying, and scoured online blogs for any itsy bitsy pieces from the drama to keep me alive through another week until the next episode airs. After that drama, I was lost in K-drama, it was like discovering a new planet! Love it though ^___^

    • Gusya, I am so glad that You’re Beautiful got you completely hooked. My second daughter thought I was a bit nuts about all the k-dramas until You’re Beautiful came along. By then, she had watched over 30 dramas, but something about that drama turned the corner for her. She is still more choosy than any of my other children, but when she can take the time, she goes back to re-watch You’re Beautiful over and over.

  28. Well, here’s my story :)
    It all started in the beginning of June (it’s my 6th month anniversary!). I unsuspectingly went over to my Chinese friend’s house. She and her cousin were watching a Korean drama and I joined in. She quickly told me what had happened so far (of which I understood nothing and had to keep asking questions) and said this drama was amazing so I joined in on episode 8. We watched maybe 4 episodes. I went home and marathoned the rest on my ipod and then went back and watched the first 8. I figured out how to download the OST and was hooked. I could say that Boys Over Flowers captured me but I think it was Lee Min Ho (his smile!!)
    My friend told me that there was a current drama with him that she was watching so I started City Hunter. Lee Min Ho again :) I understood none of the first episode’s story and only wanted to see him but then I was hooked. I was going overseas and used every chance with wifi to watch CH episodes. 2 houses I stayed at had the wifi fixed right after I arrived (what a great coincidence!) and I would download episodes on to my iPod for the plane ride and only listened to BOF ost and Suddenly from CH ost.
    Now I’ve learned that YouTube isn’t the only place to watch dramas, I read blogs everyday, I’ve watched 9 dramas and am currently watching 8, and I’ve started commenting and making headers. What has happened to my life? Oh well, I’m stuck and the scenery on this trainride is beautiful!
    (wow, I wrote a lot)

    • I love, ydoodler, that the Lee Min Hot got you addicted and coming back for so much more than him. His smile is killer, and I totally understand why you love the ‘trainride’! :)

  29. My train wrecked happed two years ago come March. I was 4 months into being laid off and desperately looking for a job. I had a routine. I would wake up as if I was going to work; shower, make coffee, get dress and open the lap top to start my diligent search on every job search website there is…I would spend every morning shooting my resume out to every place that fit my job skills. But there are so many hours in the day to do that. There’s only so many hours you can vacuum your rug or scrub the toilet. I was getting bored being at home! Bored with a capitol BORED! One day I began to troll the interwebs to watch some American television shows I had missed and stumbled upon a little show called My Name is Kim Sam Soon. I thought…why not? The synopsis looked interesting and I was in no mood to wash the bedding…again. And OMO! Trainwreck! Kim Sam Soon was sassy! She spit rice in that hottie’s face! She threw up on Hyun Bin! She peed on Binnie’s back! She was tender and brash. She was afraid and yet bold. She loved like she’d never been hurt! I was completely hooked and I feel in love myself; with both of them As soon as it was over I was clammering for more. Two years have passed and I have never looked back. I’ve watched 73 dramas to completion and I’m watching about 5 that are airing in Korea right now. I’ve even branched out to Jdramas. I can tell you who Beast are and JaeJoong! Matsuda Shota can do no wrong and Kim Sun Ah is still my hero. …I had a dream last night I was married to So Ji Sub…Shhh don’t tell my guy. So there you have it. And American Television…I’m sorry. I have no time for you anymore. Oh…and the job? I found one…A pretty good one. One that lets me visit Kdrama blogs on my lunch hour!

    • Jeanie65jh, I have to say, my favorite part of your train wreck story was about American television. I do try to watch some shows, but I find them incredibly boring now and the same as last year’s and fully of pithy one-liners and politically correct story-lines and ….

      they just fall flat. Where is the substance, I wonder? Why can’t my mind and my funny bone and my heart all be engaged at the same time? I have one favorite, I still watch because of the leading man, but for the most part, I am so sick of reality television, zippy airless sitcoms, and unappealing crime shows, and the Late Night Wars robbed me of my one joy, Coco, for a while, that I generally got disillusioned with almost all American television.

      Yeah to jobs that allow k-drama watching on the lunch hour!

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