So much for that!

It was a big deal last year when G-Dragon released his solo album. And then, while enjoying his success he was accused of plagiarism saying that his song Heartbreaker was a rip-off of Flo-Ridas’ Right Round.  Well, on G-Dragons’  new live album release there is a new re-mix of Heartbreaker featuring; guess who?  Flo-Rida.  Take that folks!  Sometimes I think that people get a little too quick to accuse others of copying and plagiarism.  The mind is a sponge and it keeps things that it likes and if an artist happens to use a similar beat or if it even remotely sounds the same they are up in arms.  I think that the songs very barely resemble one another and to have Flo-Rida collaborate with GD is proof that they respect one another.  Score one for the Koreans! 🙂

I can has shoes too?

P.S. – on March 16th G-Dragon paid a fine and was cleared of all charges of plagiarism. 😉

Korean Drama Review: Jumong

Makes me want to learn archery…

Well, after 81 episodes, 6 months, and oodles of melodrama Jumong is finally done

!  (This drama originally aired in Korea in 2006.) I have been borrowing this from the local library and had to wait between discs a lot, sometimes even forgetting what was going on in the show.  As one of the most watched and most loved shows in Korea I had to watch it.  I’m glad I did too, even  if I fell asleep a lot and fast forwarded quite a bit.  Haha…  I didn’t know what I was in for when I first started.  I only knew that it was a historical drama and was very popular.  I didn’t even know how LONG it was!  Aigoo!  It’s actually a relief to be done.  It’s a challenge to really summarize this series – so I’ll make it pretty brief. (SPOILER ALERT.  Of course, if you don’t plan to watch this, or you have any knowledge of Korean history it probably doesn’t matter.)

Continue reading

Korean Movie Review: Thirst

ThirstAnother great film by directer Park Chan-Wook.  If you haven’t seen any of his stuff, this is probably not the best introduction.  It features heavy nudity/sex scenes and also a brilliant violent streak pretty typical of his stuff.

Starring Song Kang-Ho (surprise, surprise!) as a priest who becomes part of a study to cure a disease that has been plaguing his followers.  When the study goes horribly wrong he finds himself driven by a thirst for blood and more earthly desires.  As he begins to fall deeper under the spell of the vampire urges Sang-Hyun gives in to his thirst for blood and his sexual desire for the wife of a childhood friend(Kim Ok-Bin as Tae-Ju).  I’ll leave the rest up to the film, because there are so many twists and turns in this film that I’d give away a lot if I said much more.

I’m glad that Park Chan-Wook directed this film.  It’s something that only he can do, and it’s almost a given that he will draw the best performance possible of his actors.  I know Song Kang-Ho can act up a storm after his performances in Chan-Wooks previous works, but I was absolutely blown away by Kim Ok-Bin.   She started the film with such vulnerability and innocence and worked through such rage, madness and tenderness that I was just simply left in awe of her.  If you watch the film for no other reason than her acting you will be very impressed.  The violence of the film was necessary and when things seemed to be almost too graphic they always cut away very tastefully.  I highly recommend this movie.  9/10 (Down 1 point because of the violence, which isn’t my favorite thing, but the acting and plot made up for it in a big way!)

Minneapolis Asian Arts Club?

I am contemplating creating a Asian Arts Club in the Minneapolis area – I wonder if there is anyone who would be interested in joining.  I would like to meet once or twice a month, to enjoy various movies/television shows and music or just about anything to do with South Asian culture (As discussed here on Daydreaming Lotus. ie: Korea, Japan, China, India) I’d be open to other cultures too.  I think it would be interesting.  I wonder if I can drum up some interest?

Photo Spam #1

Rain.  Digging through some recent photos I acquired of Rain and thought I would share:

Oh, but to be a fly on the wall in the room here:

Two of my favs!

Two of my favs!

Here is promoting his new clothing line Six to Five:

Rain? Honey? PLZ stop wearing those.

Rain? Honey? PLZ stop wearing those glasses.

Ugh! I hate those glasses he wears.

Promo for the Rainism tour in Japan:

Yummy.  . .

Yummy. . .

Here’s a random shot from a soccer event he was involved in. (I just liked the colors in it.)

Goal! (?)

Goal! (?)

I told you he was all bloody!

Dark and broody - my kind of man.  Wait? What?

Dark and broody - my kind of man. Wait? What?

Great performance shot.

Nice shoes!

Nice shoes!

Here he is bringing me flowers at the end of a long day at work. I know you’re jealous, try to hold it in:



And last, but not least: Rockin’ the Hanbok:



Ok, got that out of my system.

Let’s all look like Geum Jan Di!

I was looking at winter jackets on YesStyle today and found this:

Add the Shinwha High badge and you're all set!

Add the Shinwha High badge and you're all set!

There are a few small differences, but I find it interesting and funny that anyone would really want to wear this around Seoul anytime soon. . .

Comparison Shot:



It might be ok here in the US where you wouldn’t be seen as a trend follower or a giant Boys Over Flowers fan, but it’s silly either way.   Just thought I had to share!

I was re-born last night.

Into an On Joo-Wan fan.  I watched My Mighty Princess and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was overwhelmingly taken in by On Joo-Wan.  I adore him.  (I also love the fact that I’m lucky enough to fall for someone older than me for once; even if it is only 20 days older…)  I was mostly struck by his versatility.  He was vulnerable, adorable, charming and tormented all in a short period of time.  I know that the movie was supposed to be about So-Hui and her struggle to be normal, but in all that struggling I fell head over heals with the show stealer that is On Joo-Wan.  Why isn’t he in a lot of dramas and getting tons of attention?  I don’t understand this.  My next post will be an actual review of this movie.  But, for now, here is lot’s of Joo-Wan! 🙂

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

The many faces of On Joo-Wan (Ilyeong)

They’re coming.

One of the most exciting things for me is when Asian artists get exposure in the United States.  This year is looking to be very big for lots of people.  First of all, one of my first Asian musicians I ever listened to is finally getting her “US debut.”  BoA is releasing an English-language album in March.  The album is supposed to be called Look Who’s Talking and will contain 11 tracks.  The best part is that they are all new songs, not just translated versions of her old songs.  If pre-release track listings are to be believed there will be only one of those and it’s Girls On Top.  I find that simply translating a song into English is nice, but doesn’t always work well and they have problems sounding well blended.  One example is the recent release of Rain’s single Rainism into several languages.  It sounds like he is struggling instead of singing effortlessly like he does in Korean.  Even his Japanese version’s of Rainism and Love Story sound forced where his full-length Japanese album sounds great.  The first single to be released off of BoA’s album is Eat You Up, which takes BoA away from her previous “sweet” image.  In the Korean version of the video (which marketed better than the one produced for US release) she is seen wearing hip-hop style clothing and dancing with a lot of force in a harder hip-hop style than a lot of her pop routines.  The lyrics are more suggesttive than a most of her other songs too, “I’ll eat you up boy, so yum, yu-uum..” I like it, and I think that the majority of people that are in the demographic she will be trying to reach will like it too.  I look forward to the release and it’s going to the first actual CD I will buy in the store this year.  (I don’t know how many I actually purchased in a store last year, maybe a few?) The album releases in several versions in Japan (Best&USA is the Japanese title) on March 18, with an expected United States release of the 17th.

BoA - Best&USA (Japanese release)

BoA - Best&USA (Japanese release)

Second on the block, (or actually first if you consider the expected Japanese release date of this one is March 14th) is Utada.  One of the other pop princesses of Japan, is trying her hand in the US market again.  After her second US release of Exodus (which had mediocre results in the US, but was a hit in Japan) she’s coming back with a new album titled This Is The One.  I’m hoping it’s better than Exodus. (I hope no die-hard Utada fans throw things at me for saying this.)  I think Exodus was a bad album.  There were a few songs on it that I thought were catchy, but the lyrics and style were so different from her normal songs that it was hard for me to get into the album.  I didn’t listen to it nearly as often as her other albums.  The lyrics from Easy Breezy always make me giggle, and I’m never sure why. “You’re easy breezy, and I’m Japan-ezy” was kind of ridiculous to me.  I guess the album and I just never clicked.  I think that Utada takes chances and puts herself into her music, which I respect tremendously, (especially considering the mass over-production of most Asian acts.) so I try not to judge too much.  In fact, I’ll have to take another listen to refresh my memory.  I’m excited to hear what she comes up with on This Is The One.

Single #1 - Come Back To Me

Single #1 - Come Back To Me

Third on my list of exciting people to see this year is Daniel Henny.  Daniel is a US citizen of Korean decent who was born in Michigin and is working in Korea. (we were practically neighbors! j/k – I lived in Minnesota.) He has his first United States movie releasing (again, it’s an expected release date, lots of things change!) on May 1st.  He is playing David North aka: Agent Zero in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I’m excited to see him on the big screen and look forward to seeing him play opposite of Hugh Jackman.  If you haven’t seen him in anything check him out in My Father, Seducing Mr. Perfect, and My Name is Kim Sam-Soon. While he doesn’t have the greatest command over the Korean language, the populous loves him anyway and they have been writing most of his dialogue in English.  His official website is easy to navigate and has regular updates in English too!


Daniel! Yay, sexy cop-man. 🙂

Last, but most absolutely not least (he’s my favorite celebrity!) is Rain.  He has been busy with his most recent album release Rainism. With concerts, fan meetings, tv performances and video shootings it’s always a surprise to me that he doesn’t collapse from exaustion.  Coming up sometime this spring is the release of Ninja Assassin. His second Hollywood movie with the Wachowski brothers (the other was Speed Racer in case you were living under a rock.)  is slated for a release the first quarter of 2009.  It’s been pushed around – probably in part of Rain’s busy schedule – originally slated for a January release and then last I heard, a release due sometime in March.  No new news on the date of the movie, but from production stills it looks to be pretty action packed.  I’m also assuming that it’s pretty graphic heavy (it can’t be nearly as much as Speed Racer!)since it wrapped up filming earlier last year and still doesn’t have a preview.  There hasn’t been much mention of his English language album releasing in the US lately.  I’ll bet he has his plate full for now and is probably strengthening his English before he makes the big leap.

Training for the film in Berlin.

Training for the film in Berlin.

Don’t think I forgot to mention Se7en debuting in the US, but his album has no tentative date despite the leak of several songs onto the internet already. There was a lot of hype and promotion done last year, but there has been a lack of news on his release.

Xi Nian Kuai Le!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!  Although I didn’t have the money to truly celebrate the holiday this year, I made sure to check my horoscope and wish everyone a happy new year.

(My Zodia = The Pig)

(My Zodiac = The Pig)

In Chinese culture, the lunar new year is much more prominent.  In fact, the calendar new year is hardly noted and only some people actually celebrate it.  During new years the elders hand out lai see (red envelopes) of money to the youngsters in their family. Traditionally they also light fireworks in order to scare of bad spirits, and to welcome in good luck.  There are numerous traditions and different symbols that are followed and observed in the biggest holiday of the year.  It’s bigger than Christmas is here.


In Korean culture it is called Seollal (설날.)  One of the most time-honored traditions of lunar new year is dressing up in a hanbok and performing Sebae; a bow of respect to their elders.  It’s rather specific, and is sometimes hard to figure out if you aren’t used to it.

Here is a clip of Rain/Bi (비) trying it out. 🙂 Hooray for silly commercials. 🙂

The Japanese celebrate with the U.S. during the calendar New Year, and one big tradition for them is to dress up in kimono and visit the local temple to pray for luck in the new year and to draw their horoscopes for the new year.  Oshogatsu is a fun time, and I’ve spent a couple of them at Morikami feeding the fish, making mochi and eating yakisoba.


Hanetsuki at Morikami

I hope no matter where you are or what your beliefs are, you can enjoy the start of this new year – if you celebrate with the moon, or follow the calendar a bright new year is upon us.