by AskAnAhjumma, July 1, 2015
36

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It’s that time of the month again! 

We'd love to get a big variety of questions from you! Feel free to send questions about tropes and foibles, how dramas (and movies) relate to our lives, frustrating - and not so frustrating - aspects of being a drama fan, weird character quirks, and whatever else you can think of... Please send a message to askanajumma with your questions!

Disclaimer: We love answering your questions, but we're by no means experts. Like you, we are big fans of drama. We truly appreciate your queries & hope that we are able to answer your questions to your satisfaction. 


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"Hello Ajummas!

I've loved watching dramas since I was introduced to them in college by my roommate, and have been hooked ever since. I'm not particularly picky about which country it comes from: South Korea, Japan, China, etc, as long as there is great romantic chemistry and a decent plot I'm game. But recently I've gotten hooked on Chinese dramas, especially ones set during a different time period. Currently I'm waiting for the English subs so I can FINALLY finish Cruel Romance. (What's cruel is how long I have to wait for the subs -_-) But I've also seen Cuo Dian Yuan YangSound of the Desert and just finished crying my eyes out over season 1 of Scarlet Heart. Do you have any other suggestions for what I should watch next. It can be anything from a romantic comedy to the heaviest of melodramas. Honestly I try to stay away from the heavy stuff, but I get sucked in easily and,if the drama is great, I don't mind.

Thanks Ajumma!"

~Annalisse

--

Dear Annalisse,

Like you, I am new to watching Chinese dramas. I did spend this past month exploring assorted dramas from mainland China. Of course, I haven’t finished all of them, but I managed to start a few to get a feel for them. Unfortunately, I haven’t watched any Wuxia dramas yet… at least not the ancient history ones. The only historical one I’ve seen is Love at First Fight and that takes place in the 1930s. It’s a martial arts/gender bender/romantic comedy (more slapstick and screwball comedy – not sure if that’s your thing) which I liked. If you like American dramas like Gossip Girl, consider watching V Love. I only watched the first episode, but it looks promising and I plan to finish it if all goes well. If you’re a fan of the Hana Kimi franchise, you could try Runaway Sweetheart which is China’s version of  Hana Kimi (I’m not necessarily recommending it, but am including it just to give you more options to pick from - honestly Japan's and Taiwan's are so much better). I finished Good Morning Shanghai: it's a rom-com starring Jang Na Ra (whose dramas I'm slowly stalking) which I thought was cute. And, for a quick watch, try the mini (and intense) drama Le Jun Kai. I also finished the light romance drama Boss & Me, which I absolutely love (though I see you’ve already watched it).

I asked our Ajummas, and it seems most of us are like you with limited experience with Chinese drama, but Romantic Ajumma does recommend these Chinese melodramas: Tears of Happiness (a remake of 1 Litre of Tears)Sealed With A Kiss (actually, I did watch the first episode, thanks to Romantic's recommendation here, and will continue watching it), and Love Story in Shanghai.

One last thing I would recommend doing - which you probably already do anyway – is to go through MDL’s database and other sites where you watch the dramas and see which ones are most popular among other viewers. Usually, the more popular ones are better quality and have better stories. Sometimes, I even watch dramas that aren’t as popular because that’s how I roll :), but you know what you like and I’m sure you’ll find the dramas that suit your taste.  

And yes, waiting for subs definitely tests one’s patience. Hang in there!

 -- Introspective A


(image source:  SpotlightKorea.org)

"Hi Ajumma,

I know that age difference and social standing is an important part of Korean society. However, what exactly are the ranges of this? After all, not everyone works with or dates people of exactly the same age. Also, I've heard of celebrities being friends with groups of other celebrities based on their ages or birth years. This all seems so convoluted to me! I need an ajumma to have a long talk about ages with me over some Goguma Juk."

Humbledaisy

--

Dear Humbledaisy,

thanks for your interesting question. I wanted to start by admitting that I had no idea of what a Goguma Juk was, so I googled it and found out it is a sweet potato porridge which looks (and probably tastes) delicious therefore I will happily virtually sit with you and discuss the Korean age factor whilst imagining to savour this dish.

When watching our beloved Korean dramas I also always wonder why so much emphasis is given to age difference in Korea which results in extreme (which sometimes might seem exaggerated in our foreign views) respect towards people who are older or of a higher social status. Unfortunately I still haven’t had the pleasure to go to Korea myself or meet any Koreans in the flesh in order to ask them directly therefore I had to use the web to research more about this subject and I came across this very short and interesting page where the issue is explained very clearly:

Why is One's age Relative to Others Important in Korean Culture

To summarize what is stated here, it is all related to Confucian culture which is still very strongly rooted in Korean society. Apparently there are 5 types of relationships described in Confucianism which define how everyone has to behave towards either elder members of the family or society. The most relevant one to our discussion is Rule N. 4 which states: "old and young (siblings) have an order/sequence" which implies that whoever is born earlier deserves respect because they are supposedly wiser.

This kind of belief therefore is strongly reflected in all kinds of aspects of the behaviour of Koreans in society starting from the language which is being used towards elders, to the bowing, to the eating formalities  and apparently it also includes the age range of friends which could be the explanation of why celebrity groups prefer to socialize with other groups born in the same years.

It is all quite mindboggling for me but fascinating at the same time as it seems that younger generations are still keeping up with these traditions. Thankfully I understood that this type of attitude is not expected from foreigners (phew!!).

I hope I have answered your question however I will be very interested to read any further comments from anyone who might have had a direct experience on this matter.

 -- Chatty A


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"Hi ajumma. I was trying to watch some old dramas and sometimes I feel that they can be a little draggy as compared to the dramas that I am currently watching. I also have re watched some old favorites and after re-watching, I sometimes feel that the earlier love for this favorite dramas have dimmed a little as compared to the love and excitement I felt when i first saw them.

My question to you and your readers is if you have any dramas that have stood the test of time and stood the test of re-watch. Do you have dramas that you still love as much as the first time you have watched it?

Also, do you know of other dramas like In Time With You and 9 Ends 2 Outs?"

couchpotato_md

--

Dearest couch potato_md,

Most of the shows that I watch are current, but when I first started watching dramas, I wasn’t aware of airing shows. I thought that all I was able to do was watch dramas on Netflix & Hulu. I didn’t even know about DramaFever and Viki and the plethora of other sites where you can watch airing shows. 

That being said, I feel the same way as you do about the older shows feeling a bit draggy… I think that it has to do with formulas that writers follow. And with anything, things change and the same can be said of how things are done in our shows. Things that weren’t acceptable a few years ago are now… Even in the US. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when I heard curse words on basic cable channels. 

As for a show that holds up, I know that I’m probably biased, but the show that sucked me into the world of kdramas is still one of my favorites. I think that it does still hold up, but simply for the fact that it was over-the-top cheesy and predictable. I absolutely LOVE You’re Beautiful. It’s still my go to drama when I’m feeling down and don’t want to start anything new. Or if I want to listen to something when I’m cleaning and music isn’t doing it. 

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As for shows similar to the two you mentioned, I had to ask around as I haven’t watched either. I’ve been told that they are a bit more indie and about best friends falling in love. The suggestions for best friends falling in love would be: PinocchioReply 1997, and Reply 1994. For the more feels type: Last CinderellaHeart to HeartLast Scandal, and My Love Eun Dong

 -- Obsessive A


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"I recently joined this my drama list app and I really don't get how to use it now but the main reason I joined was because I wanted to ask you so badly any dramas like (My Girl) where the actor and the actress think they are related like siblings or cousins but they are actually not, I hope u got what I mean and thanks a lot ??"

Kushina Brown

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Darling K,

This is really challenging for me to answer since I am not a fan of “teen or right above teen 20-ish” dramas.  As for MDL doing a list of “if you like - you MIGHT like” it can be found on the main page or sometimes an article pops up that might highlight a couple compare-contrast dramas. 

I did find on Dramabeans, a 2009 article that did a great job of ‘if you like…’ I’m including here: Romantic Comedy Drama Recommendations

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Our fellow MDL’ers are always adding and providing news, queries and discussions that might peek your interest. Have you checked-out the RECENT DISCUSSIONS on the feeds page? Or jump over to the FORUMS link to see the recent discussions?  Explore MDL links, lots of good talk and friends to meet online. Thanks!

What can you add fellow drama lovers?

~Bookish A


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"Dear Ajumma~

Lately I've been obsessed with dramas with twins or doppelgangers. Right now I am mesmerized by Who Are You: School 2015 and Mask.

Other ones I've seen are Perseverance Goo Hae Ra (Which I didn't like because she definitely did NOT persevere.), and Rooftop Prince, which sort of had the doppelganger going on.

But I'm looking for more dramas that are centered around twins or doppelgangers, can you think of any good ones to recommend me? ^^ <3 Thanks so much! *throws hearts*

~Sony"

--

Dear fellow addict,

I had to wreck my mind about the theme you mentioned and it seems that the doppleganger theme is 100% absent from my list. However, I came out with a Taiwanese drama about twins titled MARS. In this drama's case, the twins set up is more like a psychological take of the relationship between the two boys. It also outlines the male lead's character from start to finish. Even the romantic development can be strictly related to the main character's attachment to his twin.

I personally believe it's an interesting take on the relationship between identically looking twins. Especially when tragedy strike them in the face. I had such a great time analyzing where the drama was going basing on glimpses from their twisted relationship.

(Introspective A came up with a few doppelganger dramas though: Bride of the CenturyPrince WilliamThe Crossing Hero, and W no Higeki)

That's about everything I can come up with. I hope you would enjoy (:

--Romantic A

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