Sharing Secrets

Tempting title, right?  But really what I want to share is a simple indulgence in my life, similar to Twin PeaksKorean TV!  I wonder whether one audience can fathom the other, but it is fun sometimes, to nurture cross-overs.

It began simply enough. I wasn’t feeling well and had time on my hands, but not ‘clear time’.  My eyes had trouble focusing when reading, which distanced me from personal writing for longish stretches, especially at night, and in such a state, I was beginning to feel sort of numb and emotionless. Concerns were practical, worries many. I found myself dwelling on memories from a trip to Japan, remembering the deep relaxation I’d experienced there.

People romanticize vacation places and dream of returning because they were able to ‘be’, out of context from their ordinary lives; upon returning from Kyoto I felt confused and disoriented. Such had been my level of appreciation and ease there. I do love Florida, but there was a taste of being thrust from Paradise when back, due to the general way of the people there, the manners which even objects and architecture have.


However, I’d felt self-conscious about my inability to master even a few phrases in Japanese, so thought watching Japanese TV might be a bridge. In that inquiry, I was continually redirected toward sites that had far more subtitled Korean dramas (realizing later that this had to do with commercial contracts and emphasis in the US: Japan = Anime, Korea = dramas).

I’m a fan of anime films, have some level of appreciation and a level of *worship* for Hayao Miyazaki, but was looking for human interactions. 🙂

A puzzle I worked on with my daughter recently, of the famous bath house in Spirited Away. As a bit of trivia, the bath house this one was based on, is actually in Taiwan:  Jiufen.

By the way, people refer to Korean dramas as “soap operas”, but they’re almost always limited to 16 episodes or less, and have definite endings. So a better comparison is with something like a Masterpiece miniseries on PBS, although Masterpiece is less concerned with stirring emotional empathy than acquainting one with a few enduring characters.

I like both.

To get involved with Korean television is to go back in time. If you enjoyed romantic comedies in the US and UK during the 80’s and 90’s, watching Korean TV will hit those buttons for sure, but go deeper. Korean dramas are often incredibly emotional, full of han, confrontational about class and tragedy, and in love, are restrained. There is a strong emphasis on honor and ethics, responsibilities and roles in society.

Screen capture from Cheese in the Trap

If you remember, one of the descriptions of myself I shared at the beginning was of feeling emotionless. For so many reasons, but also just the discouragement that hits any creative person halted by illness, I often felt blank then, as though observing my life rather than ‘being there’ in a situation. Yes, some of this was spiritual exploration, which for me took quite a disconnected and intellectual tone for a while; maybe I didn’t really want to feel deep emotions.

However, human life is emotion!


I thought I might immerse in Korean culture just a little, before focusing on learning Japanese, but my daughter’s friend gave me a list of just 10 shows, as well as websites I could stream from and… >zip<, there disappeared two years of my life. 😉

I’m exaggerating a little, but honestly, I became entranced, enchanted. Even now should I find myself awake in the middle of the night, I’m likely to reach for a show. Not to mention the food that came into my life, and the music!

dear my friends
                                         Screen capture from Dear My Friends.

If you’ve gotten this far, you may enjoy a recommendations, although whatever I’m currently watching is my favorite thing!

I’d safely recommend a show called Misaeng (Incomplete Life), which I think you can find on Netflix now, depending on your country, and then, suggestions have more to do with preference.  For historical drama, Six Flying Dragons; for ridiculous romantic humor, Greatest Love.

Don’t let the promo pictures scare you, and give any show at least 3 episodes.

There are a few Japanese dramas I’d like to note, because I did eventually find more ways to access these too.  A quirky favorite is the show Date, but I’d suggest watching, although heart wrenching, The Hours of My Life first.


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