Sunday, June 14, 2015

Drama Review: Misaeng (Incomplete life)



Since he was a child, the board game baduk has been everything to Jang Geu-rae. But when he fails at achieving his dream of becoming a professional baduk player, Geu-rae must leave his isolated existence and enter the real world armed with nothing but a high school equivalent exam on his resume. Through an acquaintance's recommendation, he gets hired as an intern at One International, a large trading company.

There, Geu-rae meets his boss, manager Oh Sang-shik, who's a workaholic and has a warm personality; fellow intern Ahn Young-yi, who attracts her colleagues' ire because of her impressive educational credentials and by being extremely competent at any task; and Jang Baek-gi, a geeky co-worker whose anxious nature masks his inner ambition. Geu-rae learns to navigate and adapt to corporate culture, with baduk as his guide. - Wikipedia

Misaeng OST: Han Hee Jang - 내 일 (Tomorrow)

Webtoon: Misaeng

Introduction to the main characters 

Im Si-wan as Jang Geu-Rae

Character: loner, clueless, smart, resilient 

Strength: brilliant since he learnt about strategies and problem-solving skills since young and he can put that into practice. 

Weaknesses: Clueless about office politics 

Background: He used to play baduk from 7 years old and was training to be a professional player. However, due to financial situations and family issue, he had to quit baduk. Now, he is a 26 years old man that does not have any skills or qualifications. He is naturally a social misfit in many people eyes. People were curious about how he lived his life like this for 26 years. Geu-Rae blamed himself for not making the extra efforts and promised to work with great quality and quantity. He is an underdog to root for as the story progress and we will gradually see his transformation. 

Lee Sung Min as Oh Sang Shik

Character: Stubborn, hardworking, dependable, warm, workaholic 

Strength: Good leader, charismatic and command respect

Weaknesses: drink and smoke too much

Background: He work hard through the proper way but was slow to climb up the cooperate ladder as compared to his other colleagues. A loving family man, but does not treat his family that well. He stick to his own principles and will fight for things that he think is right according to his perspective. Initially, he has doubts about Geu Rae as he dislike "connection" in workplace. However, he gradually changed his mind and mentor Geu Rae along the way. 

Kang Sora as Ahn Young Yi

Character: Competent, smart, independent 

Strength: Strong, resilient, patient, attractive

Weaknesses: Tough cookie, stubbornness 

Background: Young Yi father longed to have a son and was disappointed that Young Yi was born as a girl. As a young girl, Young-Yi proved to be a tough cookie. She always tries her best in everything that she does. There is a mysterious aura about her, since she does not talk about anything personal such as her family. 

Kang Ha Neul as Jung Baek Gi

Character: Arrogant, prideful, Ambitious 

Strength: Good qualification, gentleman 

Weaknesses: Arrogant

Background: He is goal oriented and place his self interest above everything. However, he will lend a helping hand to others if it does not hinder his success. He is a survivor in the office politics and  is considered as an outstanding intern in the company. He thought that he is at a higher league than Geu Rae and was jealous of him. However, he gradually  learn more about Geu Rae after working with him in a project and observe his way of working. In the end, he humbled himself and became closer with the other rookies too. 

Byul Yo Han as Han Seok Yool

Character: Slacker, talkative, obsessed with fabric since his family work at the site.

Strength: High adaptability, smooth talker, cheerful

Weaknesses: impatient

Background: His nickname is a wall dog. Which means that he is not serious about work and knows how to manipulate people and situations to his benefits. He is also good in digging information and uses everything to his advantage. During a presentation, he has stage fright and a flashback to his past enabled us to understand this person better and empathise his situations.  Just like the rest of the rookies, he has his own challenges in work too. 

Kim Dae-Myung as Kim Dong Shik

Character: Loyal, warm, dedicated to work

Strength: A good role model and senior to his hoobaes

Weaknesses: Bluntness 

Background: He is part of sales team 3 and is a great subordinate to Chief Oh and a good senior to Geu Rae. He had followed chief Oh for many years and he enjoyed working with him. 

Drama Queen thoughts 

Comradeship is one of the highlight of this drama. I love the bromance between the rookies too. They went through internship, work through tough times and build their comradeship over time. Their character development were evident as the story progress. This is the only drama that did not emphasize too much about the love line and that is unusual, since most of the Korean drama talks about love as the main topic. It is refreshing and interesting to see something different that they offered in this drama. Nonetheless,  the plot itself is enough to get me engaged in every single minute. Instead of complicated love relationship, we have comrades that support each other.

All of the actresses and actors work very well together and have great chemistry with each other. I like the character development and the screenwriters have successfully make us root for each character in the drama, not only the underdog Geu Rae. Among all the impressive cast, I like Lee Sung Min acting the most. This veteran actor is so good at conveying his emotions using body language and expressions in his eyes. His character as the super salary man mentor is charismatic. Im Shi Wan and Byul Yo Han were both making great impressions in their respective role too.

The storyline is quite depressing and featured the darker side of office politics and the survivor rules in the society. There are many things to learn from this drama. We see the different style of each salaryman and the daily challenges that they face. It is more practical and convincing to unveil the reality of life than some fluffy romance comedy in a office settings. The story illustrates the struggles of a regular salaryman, and the daily situations faced by the four rookies in their team. I am glad that the writers have the courage to offer something different and unique. 

We learnt about the sacrifices that the team leader have to make in order to protect his team, the discrimination towards women in a male dominance workplace, the disappointments in life, adapting to the harsh environment, the long working hour and the hard truth that they suffered so much is just for the sake of their family and the salary that bank into their accounts every month. Amidst the serious and dark tone of the drama, the writers injected some humour along the way and sometimes in unexpected situations too.

The introduction of baduk (Go game) is sometimes too profound for me to understand fully as I am unfamiliar with this game. Despite that, it is a good way to blend in Go game with the daily challenges that Geu Rae faced. It is interesting to analyse the characters and see the way they uses strategies and problem solving skills to solve those problems. I am impressed with the nice pacing of the drama, the camera angle, the sound effects and the suspense in between every exciting moments.

In conclusion, Misaeng portrayed a more realistic view about office politics and the story never have any dull moment. I have learnt that there are many roads in life and it is all about the matter of choice and how we want to cross the road that we choose. At the same time, bearing the consequences of our every action. Misaeng which means incomplete life has a deep meaning behind the title. After watching the drama, I agreed that we all live a incomplete life and it is how we choose to live our life and make the best out of every situation. I would highly recommend this Korean drama if you have not watch it.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Dear sister Japanese drama review


Misaki (Satomi Ishihara) and Hazuki (Nao Matsushita) are sisters. When they were younger, Misaki did not study well, but she had a charming personality which endeared her to others. Older sister Hazuki was meticulous, but she wasn't very good socially. Hazuki was also jealous of her younger sister, believing her mother only loved Misaki. After graduating from high school, Misaki left home and the family has not heard from her since.

Hazuki is now 29-years-old and works at a local government office. Her boyfriend works in the same office and they hope to marry soon. Suddenly, Misaki, who is now 27-years-old, appears in front of Hazuki and they begin to live together. Misaki has a secret that she can't tell anyone.  - Asiawiki 

Introducing the characters

Satomi Ishihara as Misaki Fukazawa

Character: impulsive, stubborn, wilful, strong headed, charming

Nao Matsushita as Hazuki Fukazawa

Character: lack of confidence, meticulous

Takanori Iwata as Eito Sakuraba

Character: Love Misaki so much, attentive, caring, kind

Hiroyuki Hirayama as Yohei Hagiwara

Character: Shy, gentle, silly

Dear Sister OST: Che'Nelle Happiness

Drama Queen thoughts

My first impression of Dear sister was rather poor. Satomi came across as an overbearing spoilt sister that does not spare a thought about other people feelings in the first two episodes. It was a little shocking to me as the previous drama I remembered her as a lovable and smart leading lady in Rich Man, poor woman. However, her character in Dear sister was irritating at first, but slowly as the story developed, we find out that there is a reason behind her every action. She still maintained a mysterious aura till  the middle of the drama, that is when we finally know more about Misaki and understand her better. After watching Dear Sister, I realized that we cannot judge everything based on the surface of things. There could be more than what meets the eyes. Human relationship can be complicated and it can be simple too. At the end of the day, perhaps being honest with each other can avoid many misunderstanding.


My love for this drama grew stronger with every episode, mainly because of the beautiful sisters. They interacted like real sisters, bickering and fighting with each other. Despite the siblings rivalry, they do love each other deeply. They simply used different methods to love and care for one another. The bonding between them makes the whole show engaging and watchable.

Eito is a character that is really adorable to me. The way he cares for Misaki melts my heart and I wondered is there really such a great man in the actual world that we lived in? He allowed Misaki to mistake him as a gay for many years and is always there for her! Eito also does not mind that the baby that Misaki is carrying belongs to his elder brother. Does this type of sweet and loving guy only appears in drama? Almost to the extend of extinction? Although I love Eito in this drama, he is simply too nice to be true. Anyway, I am glad that this cool guy finally achieved happiness in life.

Hiroyuki and Hazuki love line is rather boring to begin with. They really took their time to finally date each other. Their love is like a merry-go-round. They tried to second guess each other thoughts and were passive in love. In fact, they are actually a matchmake in heaven. Their personality and interests complement each other very well. In the end, they finally mustered up the courage to go out on dates like a normal couple. Sometimes, they behaved like teenagers falling in love. To think that they were almost in their thirties, the feeling of pure love is still strong. I ended up rooting for this couple to be together too.


I dislike Eito elder brother Soichiro. He is supposed to be a teacher but he ended up to be entangled in a love triangle with his student Misaki and his wife. Honestly, I personally do not think he is that charming for Misaki and Hazuki to have a crush on him. Misaki even engaged in a sexual relationship with him! This person is a loser and a jerk to me. The way he handles relationship is so bad that I felt that he is so irrelevant here.
In conclusion

Dear Sister is a heartwarming drama that touches my heart. I am not going to give any spoilers for those who have not watch this drama yet. However, all I can comment is that I am impressed with this 10 episodes drama. The way the plot was executed to the character development came across as earnest and sincere in its presentation. There were a mixture of tears and laughter along the way. Mistakes to be forgiven and redeemed towards the end of the drama. Dear Sister does not protray itself as over dramatic, although the drama itself does has it own flaw. In conclusion, Dear sister generally progress at a nice pace and the characters brings a big smile on my face. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Kim Jong Kook appearance in Korean drama: The producers

Kim Jong Kook joined in the cast of The producers and I am glad to see his acting skills. He was casted as a pathetic veteran producer that did not win any favor from the management, despite having worked in reality program for years. His character name is Kim Hong Soon. He is the type of person that has a good personality but his attempt to grab opportunity often fall short on luck. 

I think he is comfortable with the cast members as seen from his interactions with Cha Tae Hyun amd Gong Hye Jin. I love his comedic timing and his adorable expressions. I wondered did Cha Tae Hyun give his good friend some acting advices? I think Kim Jong Kook did well for his first Korean drama. 

Although it is a minor role in the series, Kookie still tried his best to protray a petty, careless and desperate character. He had me rolling with tears of laughter when he became the admin of a group chat, which he intend to bad mouth the secretary.  Surprisingly, nobody respond. Soon, we know the reason behind the unresponsiveness. He accidentally added the secretary to the group chat! Perhaps, the character that he is playing is a little similar to his own personality (nagging non-stop). I think he is pretty natural in his role.

There were serveral nice outfits which Kookie wore starting from episode 3 when his character was first introduced to this drama. I look forward to more of Kookie and was amazed by his talent in acting. Kookie as a rookie actor is very cute and the character suits him very well. 

Later on in the drama, Kookie seem to interact more with the secretary of KBS. Is there some kind of love line going on in this drama? I am keeping my fingers cross. For a rookie actor, Kim Jong kook deserve a pat on the shoulder. 

Drama Queen recap: The producers episode 1-6


The story begins with the protagonist rookie PD Baek Seung Chan first day as a intern in KBS broadcasting company. He is here to learn the rope from the veteran producers. The reason why Baek Seung Chan chose to be an understudy in the variety division is because of his secret crushed on his senior in the same university. However, the senior did not even notice or remember his presence, and she even mixed up the details about him. 

Seung Chan is definitely having a bad day during his first day of internship when his father imported car was accidentally scratched by Tak Ye Ji, the main producer for Music Bank. At first, she tried to escape from responsibility but was unfortunately caught in a film. It happens that the broadcast station is filming a documentary and Ye Ji immediately took down the contact number of the import car and stated that she intend to contact the driver regarding the payment for the damage. 

She did not suspect that the expensive car could actually belong to a intern. Therefore, she called the phone and there is no response. In fact, she had commanded Seung Chun to switch off his phone while doing his internship with the rest of the students. 

Tak Ye Ji soon encountered work problems with popular idol Cindy. She insisted to wear a lacy costume onstage, which was not allowed for broadcasting. No matter how hard she tried to persuade Cindy to put on more clothes, it went on death ears and Ye Ji have to pay the penalty for Cindy's actions. Frustrated, the tough cookie Ye Ji blacklisted her on the namelist and their conflicts begin. At the meantime, she has lost some of the respect from her subordinates due to this incident. 

Ra Joon Mo is the main producer for 2 days 1 night. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, she is living together with Ye Ji and her brother in the same house. The house that Joon Mo lived in previously belongs to Ye Ji family. However, they sold the house to Joon Mo family due to financial difficulties.

Tak Ye Ji wanted to minimize the cost of damage which she had done to Seung Chan father car. However, due to pride she tried to put on a strong front and even asked Seung Chun to state the exact amount to pay. Taking her words by heart, Seung Chun actually demands for a high price for the damage to Ye Ji annoyance. 

On the other hand, Ra Joon Mo is dating Seung Chun senior. However, he does not share the same interest as her. Dating is not his priority at the moment since his reality variety program 2 days 1 night received poor viewership and his production faced the possibility of getting axed by the management. He just reinvented the concept of 2 days 1 night with a group of middle aged ladies as hosts. Due to its poor viewership, he had to dismiss all the cast members to the disappointment of the whole team. Ra Joon Mo instructed Seung Chan to tell one of the most "difficult" to handle cast member about the change of cast which resulted in a hilarious miscommunication.

Cindy the proud idol did not appears to be bothered about her fanbase. She show her displeasure to others for "forcing" her to do things which she dislike. Behind her icy cold image, she actually appreciates people who are genuinely concerned about her. For example, she planned to join 2 days 1 night after Joon Mo bought some foods for her. Cindy encountered Seung Chan outside the KBS station during a rainy day. He sheltered her with an umbrella and insisted that she will return the umbrella at the reception. Soon after, she suggested to her agency to join the variety program 2 days 1 night. 

Seung Chan was assigned to be attached to Joon Mo team to learn the rope. However, he keep making mistakes and received poor reviews from his seniors. The hardworking Seung Chan was instructed to try out all the games that the team thought of before they implement it. On the first day of filming, Cindy proved to be a miscast in 2 days 1 night. She lost the popularity vote among the celebrities. Therefore, she has to follow Seung Chan to film the games. As a result, the proud Cindy became closer to the dorky Seung Chan. It was hilarious that Seung Chan followed all the instructions strictly, thus making life difficult for Cindy unintentionally.

Cindy mentioned to Seung Chan that she has diffculties sleeping due to the stressful tight schedule as an idol. He suggested to her to listen to music and read a book before she sleeps. On the other hand, Seung Chan is learning the rope of an editor. As a rookie, he was assigned the duty to purchase lunch for his seniors which he screwed up initially. It was time to predict the rating for 2 days 1 night. Seung Chan wrote 6.8 which is the lowest prediction and it dampen the spirits of Joon Mo who has high expectation of this program. A flashback to Joon Mo hilariously made bad judgments of various things. 

Seung Chan family were anxious to watch their son debut production and were surprised to see him on television with Cindy. It was another major shock when there was a editor error on the geographic location. The next day, the rating results came out and Seung Chan made the right prediction to the dismay of Joon Mo. To add salt to the wound, Joon Mo was ordered to write a report about this incident to the management too. 

After a drink together at the company gathering, Seung Chan, Joon Mo and Ye Ji were drunk. The next day, Ye Ji remembered that she had confessed her feelings for Joon Mo. Flustered and worried, Ye Ji requested Seung Chan to investigate this matter. Initially, Joon Mo fake ignorance. However, Seung Chan managed to find out the truth eventually. Unknown to Ye Ji, Seung Chan has a crushed on her too. Staying close to Joon Mo house, Seung Chan often looked at Ye Ji lovingly. 

It is a grand anniversary event for KBS station. The producers for all the variety shows were engaged to help out each other. Cindy is a guest star in the show and Ye Ji still have bad impression of her. During a rehearsal, Cindy almost get knocked down by the recording systems that is moving towards her direction. Ye Ji immediately pushed Cindy away, thus she was knocked down. Both of them were send to the hospital. Joon Mo and Seung Chan rushed to the hospital. It was a relief that both Cindy and Ye Ji escaped with minor injuries. However, Cindy mistaken thought that Ye Ji pushed her on stage. Joon Mo reprimanded Ye Ji for being thoughtless. 

Seung Chan comforted Ye Ji outside the hospital. Through the conversation, Ye Ji realized the truth that Joon Mo was the least drunk on that day. He actually paid the all the bills, send the both of the back home and listened to their confessions. However, he pretended that he did not hear anything. Ye Ji was heartbroken that Joon Mo chose to edit that part of the memories. Thinking back to the good old days when they grew up together, Ye Ji cried as Seung Chan drew her closer to him.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Takashi Kashiwabara Weibo update: I am fine

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English translation: 

Hello everyone! Yesterday Japan experienced earthquake, I happened to be at Yokohama. Therefore, I experienced the impact of the earthquake, but thank goodness I am fine. I am thankful for all your concern and to the people who left messages for me at my Weibo to ask about my wellbeing, I am very grateful. Previously, I used a translating device from the Internet, but I realized that it sounds weird after the translation and it does not express my thoughts clearly. Therefore, I specially asked a friend of mine to help me with the translation. This time I mainly want to convey my gratitude to everyone who left messages in my Weibo. I am fine, please do not worry about me. I deeply felt the support from everyone. A simple greetings like are you alright is full of warmth and I felt touched and peaceful. I have uploaded a picture that represents my mood. 

Korean drama: The Producers introduction

Synopsis :

A drama showing behind the scenes of what happens on a variety show! Baek Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun) stars as a variety show PD who needs to make the next big hit. He costars with Cindy (IU), who plays a pop star, Tak Ye Ji (Kong Hye Jin) as a music show PD, and Ra Joon Mo (Cha Tae Hyun) as another veteran variety show PD.

Details of this drama :
Title : 프로듀사 / Producer
Broadcast network : KBS2
Episodes : 12
Genre : Romance, Comedy
Air time : Friday and Saturday 21:15
Broadcast period : 2015-May-15 to 2015-June-20

The producers trailer

Baek Seung Chan is a meek, nerdy and rigid rookie producer at KBS variety division. He follows whatever instructions given to him without second thoughts.  His reason to enter this industry is because of his university crush, who also work in KBS. Later on as the story progress, he realized that he has a secret crush on the veteran producer of Music Bank - Tak Ye Ji. He is protective over her and will be a potential love rival to Ra Joon Mo. 

Ra Joon Mo is a producer for 2 days, 1 night. He is the team leader and Seung Chan work under him. Tak Ye Ji and him are childhood friends. Apparently, he does not show any interest in Ye Ji, however that proved to be untrue as the story progress later on. He is actually a soft-hearted man that cares for Ye Ji and is passionate about his work. However, he is also known for having bad judgment of things, thus his program ratings always within single digit.

Tak Ye Ji is the main producer of KBS Music Bank. She tried to put on a pretense in front of her subordinates and acted tough in order to command respect. However, she has to eat the humble pie behind the scene when she deals with difficult artise and the management. There were some conflicts between her and Cindy during a work assignment. Due to this incident, the both of them became loggerheads, the situation became worse when Cindy discovered that Seung Chan has a crush on Ye Ji, thus making things more difficult for her. It is known that Ye Ji love Joon Mo and is always cautious around him. 

Cindy appears to be an aloof and arrogant singer. She is stubborn and often distant herself away from others. However, she appreciates people that genuinely cares for her. The first encounter with Seung Chan was during a rainy day and he offered her an umbrella. From then onwards, she has labelled him as the umbrella PD. She gradually falls for Seung Chan and slowly reveal her hidden true self. 

Byun Mi Sook is the CEO of Byun Entertainment. She is the "mother" of Cindy. She claimed to be doing many things for Cindy but there were times when she is self-centered and does things for her own benefits. 

Kim Hong Soon (Kim Jong Kook) is a variety PD that has lost favor with his boss, the CEO of KBS. He is eager to please his superior in order to secure more work opportunities. He has a love/hate relationship with the stringent secretary in the company.