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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209 thoughts on “My Personal Train Wreck

  1. Nothing like a good “what was your first k-drama addiction” to get all sorts of people to delurk — I lurk all sorts of Asian drama blogs and usually don’t say much, but always enjoy the posts. But here I am, finally voicing my own thoughts, lol.

    I grew up with Asian dramas, specifically Hong Kong series from TVB’s studios (along side American sitcoms from the early nineties). My biggest addiction back then had always been any and all historical or wuxia genre series, typically the ones based off of the infamous Jin Yong (Louis Cha) novels. Sure, there were other TVB series I loved to watch as well, but in the past couple years, production quality has pretty much started to plummet dearly. And so about ten years ago, I started skipping and jumping around to other Asian media areas (anime and manga, j-dorama, Taiwanese Idol dramas). I finally landed in K-drama land about a year ago, but my first K-drama hadn’t really hooked me despite it being the all-too popular Coffee Prince — I watched it, then I moved on. Back to Taiwanese Idol dramas and variety programs, skipping in between SOME decent TVB productions, as well as enjoying American sitcoms and movies.

    My train wreck, I think, came in the form of either of these two series: rom-com You’re Beautiful or action-thriller City Hunter. I honestly think that City Hunter was what did it for me (unless it could be the fact that I had to wait for the last two episodes for over a week that left an impression). You’re Beautiful left quite an impression on me, despite it’s cheesiness (which I loved anyway) and started me into K-drama land, curious for new fun and giddy rom-coms, just because I’m always a sucker for rom-coms. It wasn’t like I needed to watch K-drama on a regular basis after You’re Beautiful, but I was curious and needed a new area to explore (TW Idol dramas were getting old).

    But City Hunter… I marathoned eighteen episodes of City Hunter within a short two day sitting, only stopping to sleep for a few hours or to go to RL job. And then after those eighteen episodes, I realized that there were two last ones yet to air — and I ended up sitting at the edge of my seat for a week, checking the subbing progress, day after day, hoping that every time I refresh the page, the subs would be finished and I could put an end to this strange new addiction. I felt like I was going crazy cause I needed to know how the series would end — Is there going to be a happily ever after? Was someone else going to die? What happens to our City Hunter?!!

    Well, when the series finally came to an end, I admit to myself that I wasn’t done with K-drama land and it wasn’t just a curiosity anymore. Of course, my first thoughts were, “I need more Lee Min Ho,” and so off to the subbers and streamers once again. After that, I’ve been obsessed with not only Korean drama, but also the Korean language, Korean food, and Korean music.

    To this day, I don’t know why I chose to pick up City Hunter since it’s not a rom-com, so not my typical choice. But I’m glad that I did, because I finally found a good new source of entertainment after becoming disappointed by TVB’s recent streak after having grown up with it.

    Eek! Excuse the length of this, I really DO ramble on a lot.

    • Anicheung, totally love your story, no excusing needed!

      See, that obsession with the drama led to the language, the food, the music, (the soju), the fashions.

      I love that k-drama seems to have something for everyone, of all tastes. If you make the leap to embracing another culture and it’s mediums, you are a k-goner!

  2. What a fantastic post! Thanks, leonardswench!

    I have been trainwrecked, which is the perfect way to describe it – you don’t WATCH K-dramas, K-dramas HAPPEN to you! I was trainwrecked almost eleven months ago. I was fluttering around Hulu for something I hadn’t seen yet when it decided to upend my life by suggesting that I try something called “Boys Before Flowers.” Christmas break was about to end, and I was looking for something to keep me busy until classes started again for the spring semester. Without knowing anything about K-dramas or Hallyu, I clicked on the first episode, and found myself marathoning the entire series over three days. The series left me with more questions than it answered: Why does this girl shriek all the time? Who is this ridiculously handsome lead with the unfortunate curls? And most importantly, WHAT IS THIS WORLD I JUST DISCOVERED?! After BBF, I moved on to Playful Kiss, then Beethoven’s Virus, and suddenly classes became the time in between K-dramas. In the time since then, luckily, I’ve learned how to fit my life into my K-drama schedule, but I know I’m still trainwrecked (K-wrecked?) since I just this week passed on dinner out with my friends to watch episode 9 of Flower Boy Ramyun Shop.

    • Ha ha ha, I love that you have the same ‘problem’ I do, TiaC. Friends, or new episode? Hmmmm … my friends are just going to be bashing their husbands, complaining about their bosses and jobs, whining about their snotty teenagers, and worrying over calories, all at a meal we are ostensibly there to ENJOY. FBRS, coming right up! :)

      P.S. That’s not technically ALL my girlfriends do and say, but before k-dramas, I was out the door with my credit card and stilettos before my husband could find the diapers for the baby. Now I change the baby while watching k-dramas and sometimes cannot remember what I have done with the used diaper. *cough

  3. I started watching K-movies long before I knew K-dramas even existed… but other than a handful, none even really stuck with me….then about four and a half years ago, I was enthralled by a Hindi song, which wouldn’t get out of my head..A little research told me that the song was adapted from the OST of a very popular Kdrama…I was soon looking for the original song and since the MV of the song struck my curiosity I was soon looking into the drama and before you know it, I had watched all 17 episodes of Delightful Girl Choon Hyang in about 30 hours….At first I thought everything about the drama was silly …from the name, to the plot synopsis to all the antics in the first episode…but by the second and the third I was giggling and by the fourth I was busting a gut and then I found myself crying and even shreiking at some of the crazy plotlines in the middle and towards the end of the drama…I only went to sleep that night because I had school the next day and I was antsy the entire time I was at school and got my laptop out to finish the rest of the drama as soon as I got home….that was one hell of an experience

    • There does not seem to be any “rush” on earth like a k-drama rush, I find it a unique experience. I have watched my dad try to kick a cigarette habit and seen his edginess, and I feel much the same way when I am episode-deep in a k-drama.

      Neurologist need to study our brain patterns, I think. :)

  4. My Trainwreck is and will always be Coffee Prince… my super glue.. SKKS… <3 lol….. BTW I am sooo proud of you!!! Great Post

    • Aww, hugs, Ambie!! There can never be enough Jae-shin hiccups or Han-kyul at the beach. Thanks for stopping by, I am touched! Sniffle. HUGS!

  5. I’m loving everyone’s stories! I have to admit that I’m jealous of everyone who grew up with Kdramas. Being American and nowhere close to Korean I’ve had to hide my addiction over the years because people don’t seem to understand my little obsession. I started off with Taiwanese dramas and Japanese dramas that were remakes of shoujo manga. Back in the day I used to be obsessed with manga but once I discovered dramas they ended up taking over my life. I don’t read manga anymore but I’ll always be grateful for them being my gateway drug! haha

    But the drama that made me fall in love with Kdramas would have to be Goong. A friend recommended it and I marathonned the whole thing throughout my Christmas break. I was obsessed. All I did was watch episodes and if I was dragged away from the computer I thought about the drama the whole time I was gone. Its been almost five years now and my tastes have matured. I watch a lot more dramas than I used too and I enjoy different genres as well. Now, the shine has kind of worn off Goong for me. But I will always have a place in my heart for Goong :)

    I can’t imagine my life without Kdrama. Where else would I meet such complicated heroines and heroes? What would I do without the ballads that are drilled into your head in every episode, yet still I end up loving anyway? And how am I supposed to go without the romance only Kdramas produce? Most importantly, what else would I be doing with all my time?

    Once you’ve been trainwrecked there is no going back!

    • I can totally relate to your post! I am from Kenya and whenever I tell people I love Korean dramas there is always this look of confusion, as if they didn’t hear me correctly. I suppose it is never to late to get into them. As you said, once your hooked, it’s over :)

      • It makes me wish there was some Union of Kdrama International-Lovers with conferences, websites, magazines, their own ‘uniform”, so that we would all recognize each other walking down the street or in an airport, and give each other the UKIL salute.

        • bwahahaha! That image made me laugh out loud. And we could have medals for kdrama achievements! Thanks for the laugh :D

        • omg! best idea ever! i can’t tell you how much i wish we could all meet like a book club and discuss our frustration, tears and joy!! we should do this!

    • I’ve been the same way with my Asian drama obsessions too. Living in America, besides Mom and Dad, I really have no one else to discuss drama series with outside of blogging about it just so I can get my thoughts out. But it’s not like I can discuss Lee Min Ho’s hot shower brooding scene with the parents or even any of my new fangirl obsessions with a lot of the cute and pretty Korean men in the entertainment industry — talk about awkward. My friends don’t quite care about anything that’s not American T.V. or movies, and those who HAVE familiarity with the Asian drama series seem to have this misconception that everything Asian drama is like Boys Over Flowers or silly cartoon-ish manga adaptations or melodramatic Winter Sonata. So I hide my drama viewing obsessions from them because they always give me this confused look or a blank “I don’t know what to say to you” expression, which abruptly leads me into changing the subject and feeling kind of silly. Although I don’t know why I must hide my obsession — K-drama is so awesome!

      • Because of this exact reason, I am the administrator of a secret k-drama for girls group on FB. These teens had no one to talk to in school, no friends who understood, while everyone was screaming for Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift, these girls were fan-girling over City Hunter and anguishing over LMHot dating rumours all summer, texting girls from other states “Did you see that Rain is going in the army October 11th?”, and looking for shirtless Kibum pics online.

        Their moms shake their heads (one girl’s mother deleted her account with us since we were “suspicious” despite me offering character references) or are unaware, their dads usually even less so (one father wanted to know if his daughter needed to see a counselor about all those strange creatures she was sketching — manga characters — and worried that her PC wallpapers were stalkers — the F4– who had contacted her), and then some of them are looking forward to a winter break meet-up here in Texas. It’s a strange world, this Kdrama hobby.

        Since I work with teens all the time, I am always sensitive to them feeling misunderstood or awkward, and in their own little private group, they can squee to their hearts content, post 100 pics of Joo Won without anyone thinking they are odd, and argue who is hotter, JGS or LMH. I do not regret making the group, and if anyone knows a teenage girl who needs a Kdrama support group, I have one and you can email me about it.

        • LW: that’s kinda sad..i mean the parents’ distrust over their child’s new found fascination :( I mean I ‘get it’ but isn’t adolescence such a difficult phase and the parents being bewildered about their child’s tastes run to strange may lead to alienation for the child.

          Oh, and Joo Won==squeee!!

    • PinkBerry, I have to say, I do not think there is any going back, either, and I totally agree with the “romance that only Kdramas produce”. That is the perfect way to describe it, and nothing compares!

  6. I won’t say that I am train wrecked – I can leave the stuff alone. But I keep an eye out for Korean dramas and check out the first eps to see if I should keep watching them.

    When my Chinese friends first told me about Korean dramas a few years ago and that they were learning Korean because of the dramas, quite frankly, I sneered at them: “You’re joking!”

    Of course, I was not going to watch any kdramas which mainly seemed to be silly love stories. And I saw the actor for Winter sonata, and I thought, Yuck! On the other hand, I watched movies like Sympathy for Lady Vengence and Oldboy .

    Then I heard that Lee Young Ae was in some drama, and I thought, Just to check it out. ‘Jewel in the palace’ was on a rerun and I didn’t mind it: it was educational with all that stuff about food and medicine, though a bit long. And Jang Geum’s refusal to give up was inspirational: I was going through a hard time then and I thought, she’s going through worse; I can survive my shit too.

    And so I watch the dramas once in a while. I find some of them odd. Like in Shining Inheritance, the nice, hardworking girl falls for a surly and ugly (in my opinion) guy while a perfectly decent guy who is easy on the eye is in love with her, and she rejects him. I didn’t get it and got bored with it. Plus the acting wasn’t that great.

    I liked Slingshot, an atmoshperic drama with an autistic and creepy villain who was obsessed with his sister.

    My current like is Ojakgyo Brothers: it’s funny, tragic, and has bounce. I like Ryu Soo Young’s acting in this drama – he’s a natural in the funny and serious parts. And there is great chemistry between him and Choi Jung Yoon, acting as his boss and wife. I also like Park Joon Geum, who acts as his mother-in-law – some of the stuff she says about women and their relationship to marriage and men is so true.

  7. first of all welcome leonardswench to the blog!! i will look forward to your posts :D
    now onto the heavy stuff :p

    instead of writing long paragraphs of how i came to love kdramas, i will just make a simple flow chart :p

    got introduced to animes (naruto) (>_ started watching more animes (^__^) –> started reading mangas (^3^) –> came to know of a wonderful thing called a live version (^o^) –> googly eyed over the jap version (o.o) –> watched random dramas from japan/korea/taiwan (-__-) –> got introduced to goong (GONER!) \(^_^)/ –> watched boys before flowers! (game. set. match) (*_*) –> DIE HARD KDRAMA FAN!! <3

  8. My first K-drama was Playful Kiss – and I was so sucked in, that I watched it over 15 times over the course of a month. This was last year – around October. My second was Goong, and since then I have watched over 160 k-dramas. I dont know what it is – I also watched a number of other Asian dramas, but k-dramas somehow hit the trifecta for me : storyline, acting and the hot actors ;)

  9. Mine was MNIKSS ! I marathoned it untill I can’t move without pain from my sofa! OMG! Thought was pathetic by that time bec of the time I lost , but hey I loved it! Now, I’m so in love with anything Korean that I’m planning having a baby from a Korean guy( with out marriage) ! , just want the baby!( psst don’t tell my parents)

  10. Mine was MNIKSS! I marathoned it untill I can’t move without pain from my sofa! Thought it was pathetic but I was hooked! Now I’m in love with everything Korean , I’m planning to have a baby by a Korean guy( with out marriage) ! (don’t tell my parents)LOL!!

  11. Where do I begin…… Just as appropo – it started with the haunting soundtrack. I cannot listen to WS OST without imagining BYJ and CJW cavorting in snow in slo-mo!!! Ah……young love, tragedy, drama. orange hair and all!!

    Then came Beautiful Days – My I Lub You – Lee Byung Hun!!!! To this Day!

    To feed the hunger and the thirst – Tomato, Glass Slippers, Autmn In my heart, All about Eve, one about handbag design, another about clothe (too many seen too little titles remembered! LOL!!)

    Can I just say – I love L/Prague!! I thought I was the only one – cos everyone – well most – only talk about L/Paris – but I adored L/Prague cos the Cop (Kim Joo Hyuk) was just soooooo adorable. And of course there was Ha Jung Woo!!

    Which do I love? Nostagically – WS, Rewatched to Death-ly – Beautiful Days. Actually I love them all to bits and have rewatched them all – I am not fussy. Although I do have my WTH! moments and “You Kidding me!” Face palm moments and so on – I don’t see an end to this obsession. Most ridiculous act – stayed up 24 hours and finished Truth (needed 24 hours cos of toilet breaks).

    To list all I have watched – maybe I should sit down with Thundie and get a load off my feet cos is would be a long list. I even watched the one where Jang Dong Gun was a toyboy – where he rejected CJW!!! – what’s the name of that again?

    New Motivation – need to go back and identify ALL I’ve seen. Better get started now!!!!

    • Oh, Madkdr, it does my heart VERY GOOD to hear that anyone loved Lovers in Prague, since I almost never hear anything about it for the last 4-1/2 years. :)

  12. Well the first k-drama that I watched was Temptation of an Angel. I watched it every week and even when to the internet to find out how it was going to end. And watched it and found myself rooting for the wife that wanted to get her revenge. My family does not understand and ask me what I watch k-dramas. I explain to them and even try to convince them to watch but no luck jeje.

  13. Hey Leonardswench! I already commented above but I wanted to tell you that I am excited about you joining the crew. It seems like we have similar taste in dramas and I look forward to your recommendations!

    • Thanks so much! I have a list of dramas I love, dramas that I am very loyal too, and as time goes by, I hope to talk about them here! :)

      And if we have similar tastes, then you must share right back, so I get the benefit of what you’ve watched and loved! :)

  14. My first taste, or should I say tease, with K-Dramas was Freshman year college. My roommate’s computer stopped working so she used mine to stream Autumn Fairtytale. There we laid in my bed, watching Autumn Fairytale in Korean with her translating through tears and screams for me. We watched late into the night for a few nights straight until one night she didn’t come back and I assume finished the drama without me and I quickly was distracted by other things. After the year was up, we all moved out and that was the end of K-Dramas for now. Years later, I was in a cabin with my ginormous family, snowed in due to a huge snow storm and my cousin brought Stairway to Heaven. I never knew I had so much passion over a T.V. show. I didn’t know my entire family would sit and watch for hours on end, yelling, screaming, and crying together until the power outage finally made us have to give up. That left me hanging, thinking about K-Dramas in general, then remembering that I was really into Autumn Fairytale. Not knowing anything and not remembering anyone’s faces EXCEPT for the second female lead in 1 scene, I literally googled: “Korean Drama, switched at birth, cancer.” LMAO!!!! But it worked! I found them on Mysoju.com. So there I was 5 years + later, finally finishing the drama, but this time, it had subtitles.

    A few months later, I went to visit a friend who happened to be watching Stairway to Heaven and I finally finished that one. While I loved both they didn’t completely suck me in. Ok, I take back what I may have said in one of the above comments, now that I’m reacounting my history, it was My Girl that did me in. It was a recommendation from my sister in law. At first Lee Dae Hee annoyed the crap out of me, but before i knew it, I was done for. Obsessively marathoning until I was done and then having complete withdrawal symptoms. Then I found Coffee Prince and Dramabeans and the rest is history.

  15. My first kdrama was waaaay back in 2001. I was in grade school and it was a lazy afternoon, so me and my younger cousins cable surfed until we happened upon this Korean channel called Arirang. Back then I have never watched an Asian drama in my life, and was more anime otaku really, but the younger guy in the drama was super cute, so I stuck around and watched another episode the next day… And the next. And the next. What can I say, even at 12, tropes like parents opposing marriage, divorced couples getting back together, bickering parents etc. were SO addicting, and which I belatedly realized, was what kdramas do best. I also later on learned that that young man who would fight to the death for his lady love was none other than Ji Sung in one of his very first dramas, the Law of Marriage (also starring a young Oh Yeon Soo and Son Hyun Joo as the divorced couple who still loved each other). That was one long ass drama, and it took me another 3 years of intermittent watching of kdrama dailies before I was completely weaned off anime and finally transferring my “addiction” to kdramas (blame FullHouse, that evil crack). So yeah I have a soft spot for JiSung oppa. He will forever be my kdrama first love. The moment that smile flashed onscreen- bam! I was a goner.

  16. My first kdrama was Endless Love a.k.a Autumn Tale it was the first kdrama shown in Filipino Television after the invasion of the Taiwanese F4 Meteor Garden and Filipino got crazy over the Taiwanese dramas but I really didn`t get hooked…So there I was watching together w/ my Mother and I fell inlove with the OST and ofcourse the plot of the story was very unusual for us filipinos coz we don`t have dramas that have the main characters dying it was such a surprised…

    Autumn Tale got me started but the one kdrama that really got hooked was MY GIRL I fell inlove w/ LDW and he went to the Philippines to promote its released he was sooo gorgeous and I never looked back I kept on watching it over and over again..I thought at first it was just a phase for me but up until now I`m still a train wrecked everytime a new kdrama is released I get excited and anxious…

    Kdrama Land for me is my solace and happiness…it makes me forget all my troubles and its my stress reliever….

    • I think Kdramas lower my blood pressure, and I’m pretty sure LDW raises it right back up through the roof (especially every time he touches his lips!), and then it gets lower again. It’s great to love something you love, isn’t it, Tonks Perez? It’s the best remedy for life’s frustrations.

  17. I WANT to say my bait into dramaland was something sophisticated or embraced by the masses but in the cloak of relative anonymity I will confess: My first kdrama was Personal Taste in August of 2010. I was living 1000 miles away from “home” (friends, family, where I grew up), recently divorced and unemployed . . . nothing but raw emotions and time on my hands I was practically a target for these shows. Since it was August and the fall tv season had not started yet, I was out of “new” programming on Hulu so I started poking around at random shows. Based on the description, Personal Taste sounded like a modern day Three’s Company . . . Boy pretends to be gay to secure living situation, hi-jinx ensue! It was, but it was so much more. It wasn’t long before I was rambling on my Facebook about “who plans a wedding with her BEST FRIEND/ROOMIE’s boyfriend right under their nose?”. This caught the eye of my cousin’s Korean girlfriend, who I had only met once. She started speaking of the beauty of Lee Min Ho to me. I was floored . . . and discovered I was not alone. She set me up with links to mysoju and dramabeans and said I must watch Boys Over Flowers and Full House, and we got into a daily ritual of rehashing episodes. It was a quick downward spiral, I was going to job interviews secretly lamenting the fact that I did not know if Eun Jo was alright or if Chul Soo would EVER get Byung Hee to realize he is the perfect man for her. Actually, I did make a second interview with one employer because one of the interviewers was Korean and did the little arm raise to which I said “fighting!” without thinking about it. She was elated. My sister and my parents have begun to sigh when I start a story and they say “is this about the Koreans . . .again?” My friends tease me about my obsession (I have a few listening to kpop, and I even marathoned 17 eps of Secret Garden with my mother . . . she has not watched anything else but yes, the continued string was at her insistence), I have picked up quite a vocabulary in one year, I go to Koreatown about once a month to watch movies and snack on bacon garlic kimbap,I’ve finished over 40 shows (and abandoned countless more) and even though I do not have contact with my cousin’s (now ex) girlfriend anymore I have made friends who are dearer to me than words can express.(and who know full well I DON’T do mushy!).So maybe falling into dramaland is a train wreck, but these girls were the paramedics who came to my rescue. Thanks for all of your support Leonardswench, and thanks for starting with such a great topic.

    • This is SOOOOO true:
      I was going to job interviews secretly lamenting the fact that I did not know if Eun Jo was alright or if Chul Soo would EVER get Byung Hee to realize he is the perfect man for her.

      I don’t know when I started to be sincerely concerned about these fictional characters as if they were family.

      Mushy LOL!

    • Oh, the DuchessofDelight! I do MUSHY, so you do not have to, HUGS HUGS HUGS

      I love that we are the paramedics for each other, and Personal Taste is a glorious train wreck, with Lee Min Hot at the center of it all!!

  18. Actually, I did make a second interview with one employer because one of the interviewers was Korean and did the little arm raise to which I said “fighting!” without thinking about it. She was elated.

    OMG, that is hysterical! :lol: Here’s a present for you!

  19. Train wreck?
    Hmm, I grew up watching all sort of Asian dramas, but my first encounter with Korean dramas was back in late 90s. But the train wreck of all was All About Eve. I fell in love with Jang Donggun, and after that I started my obsession with Kdramas.
    11years and counting, now I probably had watched more than 100++ titles ( finished at least 70% of them ), and now I’m watching less because work is taking over my life.
    I never regret this, and I don’t want to be cured from this addiction.

  20. This is a confession of a k-drama addict. One day I was on Youtube, surfing idly and I searched for ‘sweet kiss’. Episode 10 Coffee Prince. In Korean natch, no subs. So I hunted around a bit and got the back story of this boyish girl and her kissing man. Gong Yoo. Gong Yooooo. Eun Hye. How do you pronounce that? More hunting around Youtube. Ah innocence. I had no idea there were streaming sites and download links. Begging for more uploads for the rest of the Coffee Prince story… then DRAMABEANS. JB – you’re to blame. 16 recaps of Coffee Prince later, I was consuming kdrama recaps left and right. Eun Hye led to Goong.
    Then I learnt ‘crack’ and ‘oppa’ and ‘hyung’. I read the DB Boys over Flowers Recap a year after it was written and I fell right down the rabbit hole. I learnt Lee Min Hot was new and Kim Hyun Joong could be forgiven because he was a kpop idol. I remember telling my husband – kdramas are so appealing because they have all the romance and tension of Soap Operas (I’m a child of the Dallas and Dynasty era) but none of the overdone kissy kissy we see nowadays.

    Then Personal Taste happened, and it was LMH! In a new drama! That I could count the hours till it was recapped and subbed, feverishly refreshing DB! My Soju! EPDrama, Dramacrazy! When DH was not in town, they would keep me company. When DH is in, I quietly put it away, but wonder what happened next till the next time I get to open the laptop.
    This is a confession of a kdrama addict.

  21. My husband and daughters refer to my obsession as “Mom is with her other family right now”. I somehow was directed to the movie “A Moment to Remember” on Youtube and never looked back. I couldn’t understand the strange need to run home from work and spend hours on my laptop watching anything and everything Korean. I was totally draw into a world I knew absolutely nothing about. I really thought that I had lost touch with reality because for sure kdrama land was 10 times better than anything happening in my world!

    And then as all of us addicts can attest to we get caught up in the wonderful world of Dramabeans. My day is not complete until I visit that site. Dramabeans is like my very own fantastic encylopedia to all the things I love most. I LOVE YOU!!!! I stalk that site and any others I can find that blog about asian dramas.

    I am so glad I am not alone. I really thought I was because no one I spoke to understood why I was so immersed in these dramas. Thanks to all the rest of my fellow addicts who take the time to write about their experiences. I feel like I have found a support group to help guide me through my obsession!

    • I do the same thing…refreshing dramabeans several times per day. A check soompi and other site too, but to be honest I am not a fan of kpop. Kdramas and movies only:)

  22. It started when I moved back to my alma-mater to get my Master’s. I moved into an apartment and set up my cable and internet, and one day, I was flipping through and found a cooking show called Indian Made Easy. Watched every airing I could, then stumbled upon a show. It was odd but interesting but not enough to keep me watching… Then, I saw a CM for another show. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure if it was a movie or a series or what, but in the preview, the girl, rather boyish looking, was running and crying and the narrator said no one knew she was a girl… I was concerned. She’s on a moped, she’s giggling, her hair is short but she’s definitely female! There’s coffee, there’s tears and oh…Did they almost kiss? Oh… is he yelling at her? Oh… did “guy with tie” find out? Wait he didn’t?! Wait, HE COULDN’T TELL?!
    I was hooked. Who doesn’t love “dressed like a boy” stories? I’d seen (and loved) “One of the Guys” as a kid and “Twelfth Night” was my favorite Shakespeare… It was inevitable. I had to see this!

    Unfortunately, for weeks, every CM, I missed the title and the airdate! But finally on my day off, cleaning, I turned on AZN TV and caught the notice… it was coming on in a couple days! I cleared my schedule and rushed home that day, no grocery shopping, no hanging out with friends, no phone calls from Mom. I was anxious but tried to keep my expectations low because all I knew was, it was Asian. Had no clue what language or it there’d be subtitles. When I tuned in, I was instantly annoyed… A BHS SPECIAL! AW HECK NAW! But I watched off and on anyway, till the end hoping the show would premiere afterward but no chance. I did find out the title, however and realized the actual show was airing the following week! I was pissed! I’d been waiting FOREVER! They promised I’d get to see it!
    So what’d I do? I got to searching on the internet. Now don’t get me wrong, I had no intention of “finding the series” I just wanted more info. I NEEDED more info. And I found it. Tons of sites, videos, articles and recaps and comments! I loved it but I was overwhelmed. Should I wait for the air date? Should I just trust AZN and wait? Perhaps, I’m being impatient, it was only a few days. I should wait, right?
    That night I began my Coffee Prince marathon– watched the show in 2 days (10 eps night one, 6 eps next day), barely coherent for classes. Homework? Not even attempted. When it was over, I still couldn’t get enough and began reading blogs and watched the drama numerous times a day or week (only my fav parts of course), then fell into other dramas currently airing, started and finished several older dramas with the same and different actors. I was downloading and live streaming within a two week period and life has never been the same again! Seriously, I’m surprised I finished school on time… I don’t ever remember using my comp for actually, you know, work…

    Kdrama is a great world that opened me up to the genre of drama in other cultures that I’d never really given a chance. I was always more into film and novels but drama is a beast all it’s own. I will always be grateful to AZNTV (I miss you guys) for my introduction!

    Oh and yes, I watched the AZN airing the next week as well :)

  23. Christmas Day, 2005.

    We’ve eaten, exchanged gifts, played some board games and now it is late in the evening; I’m bored. I’ve always watched foreign films and somehow when searching for something new to watch I discover D-addicts. After browsing a bit, I choose “Full House” and there begins the frenzied downloading and watching that is familiar to drama addicts.
    A few hours later, at episode 6 or so, having not slept at all the night before I remember objectively thinking “this is isn’t even that good!”. How did her friends manage that kind of betrayal? Why was she still friends with them? Was I supposed to think this actor dude was hot? And, most egregious, what the heck was he wearing? But still, I kept on and finished all the episodes by Boxing Day. A scant 24 hours later.
    From then on, I was hooked. I was watching airing dramas such as My Girl and ISWAK while devouring the classics. Its been a wonderful 6 years since that first drama spent squeeing at the cute, other times raging at the inanity, and a few times marvelling at the brilliance. My mum has even joined the fold.

    • It is so familiar, rainey, that so many of the train wrecked got hooked by a drama they thought wasn’t very good, but became hooked somehow all the same. I remember thinking the same thing, time and time again, in the early days of my addictions. Congrats on 6 years!

  24. 2006, Dae Jang Geum aka Jewel in the Palace :D is my first venture in Kdramaland. Living overseas is not easy, luckily there was internet so I always wait for my friends to go online every night. I always chat with one of my bff in the Philippines, but when it’s 10 o’clock she’s asking me to wait coz she needed to watch a Kdrama, and I’m like, ugh! who wants to watch a dubbed video, my mind goes bonkers if the mouth movement and the words i hear doesn’t match. And when I went home for a vacation even my family were talking about Jang Geum, and I keep hearing the drama’s OST!!! When I came back here in Sg, I saw the DVD set was on sale, and decided to give it a try and if it’s not good I’ll just give the DVD set to my bff as a gift. Thinking back, it was one hell of a crazy week! being a zombie for a week, watching almost non-stop….. Jang Geum lead to Full House to Song of Prince…. and several years after, I’m even into variety shows like 2d1n, running man, we got married. And yes, I lurk at DB, thundie’s, soompi, dramacrazy, mysoju and many more. I’m doomed!

  25. I hasn’t going to leave a message, but I felt like I owed one.

    I knew a couple of friends who were hooked to K-drama; one even tried to get me to watch with her. I never obliged. Drama? Who watches a drama? Having had exposure to only Indian tele-series before, I had the impression that dramas were only for bored housewives. No way was I gonna watch them.

    And then during winter break of my junior year, I walk in to a kitchenette/lounge area of my dorm to fill a bottle of water, and I see a friend watching something and giggling away all by herself. I have packing to do. Winter holidays just started, and I have an early morning flight to catch, but I really just want to sit back and relax after a stressful semester. I figure I can just join her for an hour or two and go back to finish packing and sleep early. I should’ve known. She was watching Boys Over Flowers, and before I knew it, we started marathoning the show, cursing at Ji Hoo to get the f**k off Jan Di and swooning over Gu Jun Pyo. We ended up watching 10 episodes that night. I packed my bag in 15 mins and took an hour nap before catching an early morning bus to go to the airport.

    It didn’t end there. Of course it didn’t. Next thing I know, I am home after four months and all I can think of is BOF. I eat dinner quickly, tell everyone I am tired and will go to bed early, but go into my room to watch BOF instead. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I couldn’t. Not until I finished the whole damn thing, and finish I did. At 8am in the morning, and then I finally went to bed. But the addiction had only started. Unfortunately for me, my first drama wasn’t any regular crack, it was straight cocaine, and so my hunt began, to get that feeling of high again. I started watching dramas left and right. Next thing you know, I was following on-air dramas, many times so impatient to wait for the subs that I devoured them raw. Oh the bliss. How could I deny myself that. Waiting eight or nine episodes to get to that kiss. oh the kiss. and most of the times (if not always), the kiss is nothing but touching of lips, but oh now anxiously you wait for that kiss. You get butterflies in your stomach from the simplest of physical contact. And omo omo when the guy first leans in towards the girl, bringing his lips unbearably close to hers, teasing her, but leaving her(and us) flustered and slightly disappointed. Oh K-drama, the emotional roller coaster you take me through. The second lead syndrome. Oh how many times have I shipped for the nice guy, wanting the girl to see the light, but swinging right back when the “jerk” does something good. K-dramas you complete me. You’ve made me laugh out loud, cry like anything, giggle like a teenager, wish for the feeling of spring again, wait for the mister right to walk into my life. Hell you’ve even gotten in interested in Korean men (and I am not talking just about celebs. I mean who wouldn’t love Lee Min Hot. Oh their whole friend circle really. Real world F-3). Late at night I have started carving for Kimchi and Ramen. South Korea has shot up as my top dream destinations. Hah I have even imagined a dream sequel of how I will meet the love of my life while working in Seoul, drinking sou in one of those outdoor bars and going to norebang. It’s barely been a year since our affair began, but I have finished perhaps more than 50 of your variations. In twenty days it will be our anniversary. Wonder what I should do for the day?

    • lol…I thought I was the only one dreaming like this :) sometimes I start to imagine my own drama. I get really frustrated from profession-related dramas, where the plot (except love line) just doesn’t make sense. Lawyers fighting, doctors spilling their patients’ secrets, and so on. So I just wanna write my own drama. The main hero will be an architect like me (as much as I love Lee Min Ho, his personal taste’ architect just was so out of blue, no relation to real specialist).

    • Happy Anniversay, Swye, I am sure you will spend the day doing something awesome …

      like watching more Kdrama! :)

  26. My then bf asked me to watch a movie with him for his Asian Film Viewing Class (yes, he had that as a subject! So.Cool.). I thought it would be a good way to pass time so I joined him, not knowing that this would lead to my never-ending addiction of all things Korean. That movie was My Sassy Girl. It got me hook, line and sinker. I never watched anything like it. It was fresh, funny and poignant and the female lead was cute and sassy (ha!) as hell! Like any other addict, I HAD to find my next fix. So i went down the rabbit hole and got introduced to kdramas. I wrestled my family into watching My Girl on VCD (i know!) and marathoned the sucker for 2 days. We spent our vacation that year just lying around and watching drama after drama after drama. My dad tried to stop us but after our run has ended, he commented that he enjoyed Sweet18 the most and asked when will i buy some more (cute!).
    There’s no looking back since then. Dramabeans, mysoju, soompi, d-addicts, TP, you name it. I’m now trying to go back to older dramas and I’ve recently been wrecked by WHIB. Two weeks after watching it, I’m still haunted by it. I’m now trying to wash it off my memory with lighter and fluffier dramas. That’s the beauty of kdramas, isn’t it? There’s always something to suit your needs, whether you’re looking for some serious fare, gut-wrenching melos, swoon-worthy romance and lighthearted comedy. You always find what you need.
    *i’m delurking for this post, btw. thanks for the great topic!*

    • Thanks for de-lurking, meia, WHIB left me a wreck, too, for quite a while. But, like you, if I am wrecked by one drama, there’s a lighthearted comedy or swoon-worthy romance right around the corner to take the edge off! :)

  27. Oh, I am such a kdrama addict! I honestly don’t wanna do anything except watching dramas. I watched my first drama 5 years ago, but I became true addict since I got my first lap-top and fast internet. Over the years, I found that I can’t not watch any other films anymore. After watching American movie for an hour, I get bored/ Although, moss kdramas have also predictable script, I like them for being so humanly (?).
    I believe that if you love somebody you should be faithful to your love. Kdramas give me this hope of not only true love, but true loyalty and friendship. We should respect our elders, be faithful and loyal to our friends and partners!

    • I know what you mean. I can’t watch American shows anymore because I find myself getting bored after just a few minutes. I also find it frustrating that couples change all the time. They’ll be dating this guy/girl then in the next episode they like someone else? I cant stand it! lol.

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