Dramas with Lee Seo Jin

Marriage Contract [결혼계약] – 2016

Lee Seo Jin and Uee share a romantic moment on a moonlit beach in episode 10 of the Korean drama Marriage ContractOther Titles:100 Days Wife, Wife of 100 Days
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Kim Yu Jin (Uee), Kim Yoo Ri

Marriage Contract Poll Redux
KDrama Word of the Day: Bison (Hand Rubbing)
Marriage Contract – I Do
Marriage Contract Off to a Strong Start
Lee Seo Jin to Star in Upcoming Drama – Poll

Wonderful Days [참 좋은 시절] – (2014)

Leo Seo Jin looks into a steamy mirror, tortured by his feelings for Hae WonOther Titles: Wonderful Times, Very Good Times, Wonderful Season, Good Times Indeed
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Kim Hee Sun, Yoon Yeo Jung, Taec Yeon

Wonderful Days, Korean Numbers App, and Happy Birthday to Mi
Watch Wonderful Days on Viki
Wonderful Days, episodes 1-3
Passion Distraction Poll – Move Over, Colin Firth (Episode 10)
Wonderful Days music (Episodes 11 & 12)

Hon [혼] – (2009)

Leo Seo Jin as Shin Ryu in the drama Hon;Other Titles: Soul, Possessed, Spirit, Ghost
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Kim Gap Soo, Lee Jin

Review for Episodes 1-5
Review for Episodes 6-10

Lovers [연인] – (2006)

Leo Seo Jin as Kang Jae in the Korean drama series Lovers;Other Titles: Lover
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Kim Jung Eun, Jeong Chan


Freeze [프리즈] – (2006)

Leo Seo Jin and Park Han Byul on the poster for the Korean drama series Freeze;Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Park Han Byul,
Son Tae Young


The Shadowless Sword [무영검] – (2005)

Lee Seo Jin in the film The Shadowless Sword;Other Titles:
Legend of the Shadowless Sword
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Yoon Soy Yi

Film Review

Damo [다모/조선 여형사 다모] – (2003)

Other Titles: The Undercover Lady Detective; The Detective in Chosun; The Legendary Police Woman
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Ha Ji Won, Kim Min Joon
Lee Seo Jin looks into the face of the title character

Terror Taxi [공포택시] – (2000)

Cabbie Gilnam talks to a passenger about his future plansOther Titles: Ghost Taxi, Taxi of Terror
Cast: Lee Seo Jin, Im Ho, Hwa Chae Lin, Choi Yoojung, Jung Jae Young, Jung Hae Kyun

Film Review

118 comments to Dramas with Lee Seo Jin

  • Sara

    Don’t forget Yi San!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Thanks for mentioning Terror Taxi. I usually only look at historical dramas but as it’s LSJ, i’ll watch it.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    For the LSJ-addicted (and i freely confess that I am an addict) he’s in a current Korean reality show. “Grampas over Flowers” is available at mineememe.blogspot.com with English subtitles. He isn’t acting. Just being the prince that he is.

    • Mihansa

      Good to see you again, and MANY thanks for posting the link. I have been quite curious about this show!

      • Kim in Gran Couva

        I haven’t heard from you and trust (and pray) that all is well with you.
        Well, LSJinssi has had 2 trips with the elder actors and the reviews are great (ok, very good) but for the LSJ starved such as myself, any mention of him and an opportunity to see him in almost real time is like manna from heaven. He was duped into travelling with senior actors, on the promise that he would be travelling in France/ Switzerland with a girl band (though I don’t know why he’d go for that when there are real women who would happily travel to the south pole or anywhere else with him), and he was made their travel cordinator and porter. He’s done amazingly well; we get to see how he handles pressure and unexpected situations, and what he does to reward himself in the rare moments off. He can’t drive a stick shift (but then I can, so no worries there for the future) and he doesnt cook really well (but then neither can I so i won’t judge). He is really just a regular, somewhat introspective, well brought-up, intelligent guy, doing his best in any situation and concerned about aging alone (though i’ve offered enough times- “Seo Jin, aein, call me”). The show is terrific! The dynamics and relationships among the seniors are very interesting and their treatment of each other is a real education in how Koreans value age differentials. It’s also very insightful the things and experiences that they value in the course of their long lives and careers, and how they relate to their absent spouses and families. It tells a bit about how far Korea has come in the life-times of these seniors. My only sadness is that they are determined to get LSJ married off and since they dont know me, my name is not in the pot.
        The series after episode 3 of 7 is not yet available to stream with English subtitles (another good reason for learning Korean) but dramabeans has a recap. Needless to say, I love the show and hope that you do too!!!

        • Mihansa

          Hi Kim – many thanks for the review! Other aspects of life have been cutting into my blog time lately, so I’m very behind on viewing and posts – haven’t even started on Grandpas Over Flowers yet (up side: maybe it will be fully subtitled by the time I get to it).

          I was intrigued by what you said about the elders. The one program I manage to watch each week is Immortal Song 2. Since it showcases current stars singing past hits of a particular star, group, or songwriter each week, it has been a fascinating glimpse into earlier Korean eras through popular music, which can be very emotional and revealing. I have often commented that Korean today reminds me in many ways of the U.S. in the 60s & 70s. What I may not have mentioned is that the comparison gives me some perspective on how much the U.S. has changed, which is easy to overlook when you are too close to it.

          I’ve finally found a substantive Korean daily news broadcast in English (Arirang Prime Time). Like KBS, Arirang is government-funded, so I’m still getting a somewhat spun view of Korea, no doubt, but this broadcast doesn’t shy away from controversial issues, or those that might be perceived as shameful. It’s available online here. It’s astonishing how much more quickly the Korean government responds to public concerns and feedback than does the U.S. How effective those responses are, I have no way to judge, but it’s a reminder that multiple layers of governance and bureaucracy are a function of size, and not a universal impediment.

          I have the impression that LSJ doesn’t really want to get married (sorry). That’s fairly radical in Korean culture, but Aquarians are often more comfortable breaking conformity than others. I think Koreans are discovering solitude. I read about a survey which placed half of Seoul’s residents alone or living with one other person, a marked divergence from Korean traditional culture.

          I think this is a big psychological step forward for Korean culture. I’m of the firm belief that everyone should live alone at some point in their life so they can hear themselves think, and discover their preferences when there is no one else to consider. It’s really hard to know who you are when you live with others (and without privacy) for your entire life. That can result in high rates of suicide, alcoholism, divorce, domestic abuse, and other stress-related health and social problems. So LSJ may be role-modeling a developing Korean concept of privacy and healthy individualism (yes, I see the irony). I’m not suggesting Korea should become the U.S. American individualism has gone too far, undermining a crucial sense of community identity and responsibility. A balance is needed by both cultures.

          I will do the final Damo recap, I swear. Although it ended tragically, it wasn’t quite as depressing as I had feared. You really should watch it. Transformation is very common in Korean lead roles, especially for men, but it is too often not very deep. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of transformation in most of LSJ’s roles, at least not in the dramas and films I’ve seen so far. However, his Damo character transforms in a pretty major way by the end of the drama, which no fan should miss. At one time, he said it was his favorite role. Not sure if that’s still true, but I can see why.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Happy to hear from you and to know that you are well. I did see the end of Damo :(

    When you see Grampas you will change your mind about LSJ wishing to remain single. For one thing, the elder actors won’t have it! At least two of them are actively searching out potential partners (and neither knows me, dammit). LSJ himself seems to be having some anxiety on this issue (and i would REALLY like to help him out) but he also seems a bit naive about how to get out of his rut. In GOF he says that Han Ji Min (who he thinks is “kind”- how’s that work for you in a potential mate?) follows directions (or being bossed) but then she doesnt show up when he is late at a planned roundezvous; he subsequently says that his fav Girls Generation is Sunny because she is always smiling – she’s the aegyo queen and everyone but him knows that and even the other girls are sickened by it! He needs some work and fortunately I have the time and interest/devotion (so call me LSJ!).

    Seriously, the elder actors are so entertaining- i am certain that i can watch and understand without subtitles for the younger two because their faces and actions are so expressive but the older two are more cerebral/ verbal and i hate missing the subtleties of their dialogue, especially when they talk about their relationships and how things were for them (and Korea) in the past. That country has changed so rapidly in a short time and still has so many distinctive cultural aspects that make it so very interesting to learn about through kdrama and reality shows.

    Incidentally, Lee Seungi Gi, close friend and agency mate of LSJ, will be in a similar backpacking reality show with actresses. I thank God for small mercies that the roles weren’t switched and that LSJ got the old guys. Seojinssi is so funny when he’s frustrated and musses up his hair, and when he gets time to “inhale” a burger and shop, and when he refers to his “former” agency for tricking him into the show. He’s a doll and my favorite celebrity.

    Stay good

    • Mihansa

      >I did see the end of Damo :(

      Even though the story was tragic and the ending was sad, I didn’t feel as disheartened (or flat out shredded) as I expected. Compared to Emperor of the Sea, for example, which left me in alternating states of shock, grief, rage, and fatalistic learned helplessness for days. There was a certain sense of completion about Damo – did you feel that also? What did you think of Hwangbo?

      Did you see the LSJ episode of Moonlight Prince? If not, check it out. It’ll make his lack of insight into what makes a healthy marriage a lot more clear (though having a kind and happy mate is not a bad call for an introvert). Plus, I think many Korean men are a bit slow to mature. When Korean women have better opportunities in the workplace so that they can live their own lives instead of their sons’, this will probably change.

      GOF sounds interesting. One of the reasons Korea reminds me of the US in the 60s and 70s is because both countries have a major generation gap with a similar chronology. Several generations experienced major psychic shock with the Depression and WWII (and the Japaneses occupation in Korea), while it’s all just stories to younger people growing up in far more stable and prosperous environment. In reaction to their parents’ risk aversion, they are pushing traditional cultural boundaries (and in some cases, throwing the baby out with the bath water). This generates a very dynamic, creative, unsettled cultural psychology. It’s most intriguing.

      Re: marriage, it wasn’t so long ago that a single American gal or guy got substantial family pressure to marry if they weren’t coupled up by their mid-twenties. That’s still very much a part of certain American ethnic and religious subcultures. And while remaining single is tolerated in the U.S., there’s a tendency to assume there’s “something wrong” with someone who has never had a long-term romantic relationship, or chooses not to date.

      The age of marriage has risen and risen in Korea, at least partially due to their bizarre rental system that requires a deposit of tens of thousands of dollars, large enough to generate the rent in interest. Since the husband is expected to bring a home to the marriage, that’s a real deal-breaker for many young couples, even if the wife and both families can navigate the minefield of marriage gift customs and expectations to work together.

      Not surprisingly, the birth rate is dropping a little, and apparently the government is alarmed, and is contemplating incentives (in the form of subsidized housing, with lease extension rewards for the birth of each additional child) to encourage more births. Given the housing and job shortages, not to mention pollution issues, a reduction in population would not be a bad thing for Korea. And it’s sad that new births are being promoted when thousands of orphans will come to maturity in orphanages because of the negative attitude towards adoption. Those are Korean children, too.

      But I digress. Again :)

      Did LSJ really part company with Hook Entertainment? If so, that might be good news for those of us who’d like to see him act in a drama again. It never seemed like a very good match. In fact, Hook seems to use him mostly as a foil for Seung Gi, which annoys me. I’m indifferent to his family credentials, egalitarian American that I am, but as an actor, he deserves far more respect for his accomplishments and talent than to play sidekick to a kid, albeit a charming and popular kid.

      I can’t sympathize too much about this latest trick, however. First of all, he’s too grown up (or should be) to be drooling after girl groups, and secondly, you would think his previous experience with the 2days/1 night director would’ve taught him more caution. But I should probably confess here that I’ve never been a reality TV fan. I watch genres on Korean TV that I’d never touch in the U.S.

      Is the subtitling proceeding, or is it still stuck at episode 3?

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    I totally agree with you on That Emperor of the Sea ending. Gye Baek also has a devastating ending which i knew was coming but I was still gutted when it played out. QSD too. Much of the storyline is made up so why not choose a less tragic ending while keeping true to the historical fact? I liked Hwangbo and saw in him some of that immaturity /nievity about women that you mentioned in the actor (I really should watch Lovers).
    Anyway, i havent found any new episodes of GOF with subtitles and the show is on hiatus until Feb 2014. I too am not a reality show fan and yet I enjoyed the few 1N2D that I saw subtitled and now GOF. Go figure!
    About the girl group fascination, it’s seems to be such a big part of Korean culture! LSJ said in a talk show that he wanted to have a meal at the Girls Generation house- euphemisms aside, does he not know that would be grilled chicken breast and broccoli – and he’s a guy that loves his food. I hope that 2 days with Sunny taught him something to break that predisposition.
    He really needs a new vehicle for his considerable talent (I’m re-watching Yi San) but Korea’s youth obsession, cute obsession and love of androgynous looking flowers boys are stacked against him. And he’s too young to play a father figure. There seems to be a dirth of suitable parts being written for someone like him in Korea and in the west he’d probably only be offered gangster parts. I saw that Ji Jin Hee got a role in a Chinese movie and view him as a LSJ peer. Maybe that’s a direction to take (but new language skills needed). Failing that, he could just opt to be my sweetie and we’d live happily ever after. I swear that i’d be filial to his mom and that I’ll learn to cook korean (already found a website). Call me LSJ.
    I’ll look for that Rooftop Prince that you mentioned. Thanks

    • Mihansa

      I didn’t like Hwangbo very much. He was so self-centered, and stuck in his anger, violent, impulsive, yet arrogantly righteous. He may have rescued Chae Ohk as a child, but he put her through hell as an adult, because he couldn’t see past his own nose. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing LSJ killed off. One reason the ending was more tolerable than I expected was that Hwangbo finally transcended his self-absorption in a last act of selfless love for Chae Ohk.

      QSD was my very first Korean drama. I joined it mid-stream (dubbed in Chinese) and watched it intermittently. I didn’t actually see the end, which was not an accident. I saw probably the second-to-last episode and although I’d missed most of the episodes leading up to it (was there a time slip?), I understood enough about what was about to happen to skip it.

      That left me totally unprepared for my next sageuk, Emperor of the Sea. They did have to kill off Jang Bogo (his death, and who killed him, are among the very few facts of his life that are actually on record), and of course, the villain had to die, but all the other deaths? I think some sageuk writers may be moderating the everybody-dies-in-the-end convention these days. You can only break your audience’s hearts so many times before they find something else to do!

      If you are driven to re-watching LSJ dramas, and haven’t watched Lovers yet, you definitely should. Honestly, it’s not a particularly well-written drama. If you think of it as well-lighted noir, that helps. But even so, it’s on the melodramatic side, riddled with plot twists that make no sense and characters you want to slap. However, LSJ’s performance (and his chemistry with KJE) raises it to a much higher level than it otherwise merits.

      I know I should give KJE (still not mentioning her name, out of respect for your feelings) credit too, especially for her comedic acting, but her manufactured face and her equally manufactured innocent cuteness disturb the heck out of me. It’s like seeing someone who’s been in a disfiguring accident – I’m constantly distracted by images of the emotional pain that would drive someone to do that to herself. I realize that’s a cultural bias, but I just can’t get past it. It baffles me that such obvious artifice is embraced as reality (or good-as) by the Korean viewing audience.

      You’ll like Kang Jae. He’s a man of few words, and in the beginning, it seems, of few thoughts, but he is challenged to grow in unexpected directions in the drama. His transformations are touching, and often cute. I appreciate (to a point) that adults in Korean culture, even adult men, are allowed to have a childlike side. One of my favorite scenes is gangster-meets-laptop.

      While LSJ may be over the hill to the youth market in Korea, I don’t agree that roles for an actor in his early 40s are limited. I see 40-something men in romantic and character roles all the time. Remember A Gentleman’s Dignity? Ajummas in the 30-55 age range are a major viewing market. Look at Lee Byung Hun, for example. He’s older than LSJ, and has crossed over into the international market, working with A-list American actors, despite ongoing messy professional disputes with another actor.

      LSJ has said he wasn’t interested in Hollywood, but since he then remarked he’d only been offered small roles, that may be a case of sour grapes. It seems that he’s pretty selective about his drama roles, which he can apparently afford to be. That’s been a smart career move for him. Variety shows aside, he has either good instincts or good advice about film and drama roles in which he can excel.

      However, if he’s open to working in the U.S., I think he could break out to American audiences in a non-lead but significant character or romantic role, either in a mainstream Hollywood film, or a well-chosen indie project. I believe he has only to be seen to be appreciated. Unlike a lot of Korean actors, he not only understands English (which directors like), but speaks clearly enough to be understandable to a lazy mainstream audience. That’s a huge asset, especially combined with the superior ability to project emotion that is so common in Korean actors and so absent in the U.S., especially among men. And American female audiences know that men in their 40s are ripened to perfection :)

      I enjoyed the old 2 days/1 night, but it lost something for me when they changed directors and Lee Seung Gi left. Not sure if it was the changes in the show, or if the novelty of affectionate male bonding just wore off. Men are seriously over-represented in variety shows and as emcees, on KBS at least. Immortal Song 2 is an example – they not only have multiple male emcees, the male singers often grossly outnumber the women. Which is annoying, because there are some really fabulous solo female singers (IVY, ALi and Youme come to mind). I don’t have as much access to other networks, so it’s hard to tell whether that’s an across-the-board situation. You would expect it, given the pre-feminist economic status of women in Korea, but the small sampling of unsubtitled variety shows I see from other networks seem to be more evenly balanced.

      Note that the show I mentioned was Moonlight Prince (short-lived KBS book review/game show, on which LSJ was first guest), not the drama Rooftop Prince. But I think that’s where he made the remark about Girl’s Generation, so you may already have seen it. I caught it totally by accident on local broadcast TV – don’t know if there’s a subtitled video available. If you find one, please share – I missed the beginning.

      Unless you are ethnically Korean, oma (and much of Korea) probably would not accept you as a proper spouse for a popular Korean star, no matter how good your Korean cooking. Korean men are notorious for dumping non-Korean girlfriends in favor of a Korean woman when it comes time to marry. Sorry to bear bad news, but I wouldn’t want you to get hurt :)

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Can I at least audition for the concubine role?

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    He hasn’t had much success with his own ethnic and nationality group; seem like time to branch out, that’s all I’m saying. His years in the USA (some sites say high school AND college) may have shaped more than his English.

    • Mihansa

      He’s still considered to be a major star in Korea, despite the fact that he doesn’t entirely match the rather narrow Korean beauty standard, and is not considered as handsome as some other actors (!). It’s only been two years since his last drama role, which isn’t an unusual gap if you look at his history. He’s insanely popular in southeastern Asia, especially in the Philippines. I think he has an enthusiastic following in Japan as well.

      Constantly pairing him with Lee Seung Gi in public appearances geared towards teen and twenty-somethings has been a real disservice to him, distorting the impression of his popularity with a mismatched audience. I was happy to hear he was appearing with older actors. If you want to emphasize your youth, hang out with older people, not younger ones!

      Yes, he did get his business degree in the US. I too have wondered how spending those formative years here may have shaped him. Certainly the fact that he defied his father in his career choice suggests some American influence. The practice of dumping Korean kids into a radically different cultural context at the most socially sensitive period of their youth seems a little brutal to me, though I know parents have the best of intentions, and work multiple jobs to pay for the advantages this supposedly confers. Hopefully, LSJ was better prepared, linguistically speaking at least, than less affluent students, but I don’t know if it’s really possible to prepare someone psychologically for that degree of culture shock.

      I get the feeling he likes spending time in Japan, but Japanese ties can be a delicate balancing act for Korean celebrities. I suspect part of his reluctance to work in the U.S. has to do with his lack of celebrity status here, but I may be doing him an injustice. His mom has to be getting on, and maybe that’s why he sticks close to home.

    • Mihansa

      I watched the first episode of Grandpas Over Flowers. I take it back about having no sympathy for LSJ. He took the initial news about the switch pretty well. I think he was a lot more comfortable with the elders than he would’ve been with the girls. It was fascinating to see him kick into polite subordinate mode. His whole posture changed, along with his facial expression and voice, like a sudden window into the child he used to be. He looked a lot more pissed when he realized he was going to be the gofer.

      I’m curious about the Lee/Na dynamic. As with the 2 days/1 night episode, the setup places LSJ in a relatively demeaning position. What’s that about? Director Na doesn’t come across as a mean or competitive person in the shots where he is shown, and yet.. In any event, I think LSJ’s sincere concern for the elders helps him accept his role with good grace. I liked his English when he was getting directions at the airport. Just enough accent to make the language way more interesting, but not enough to get in the way.

      I’m grateful to the fan subber, but there are a lot of gaps. I need to get more systematic about my Korean language studies!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    It gets better! a few slow/ low points on the trip but LSJ’s personality positively shines throughout – he’s just so normal – concerned, frustrated, gleeful, worried, mentally exhausted, unsure of himself, bossy when he can be, thinking out-of-the-box when needed. I too was concerned about the Na PD dynamic and thought that for some perverted reason he was testing LSJ, even mocking him for his background and public persona. But his respect for LSJ shows in later episodes so i dont know what’s up with Na PD.

    • Mihansa

      > I too was concerned about the Na PD dynamic and thought that for some perverted reason he was testing LSJ, even mocking him for his background and public persona.

      That’s just what I was thinking, but I bring my own cultural mindset to it, so I’m not confident I’m interpreting it correctly. It’s not unusual for groups to become uneasy and challenging in the presence of an enviable newcomer – no one quite knows how to act. If the enviable person is an extravert with the ability to immediately project a “just one of the crowd” persona, or comfortably assume a leadership role, all is well. But if not…

      That group dynamic occurs cross-culturally, but I’m not sure how the paramount importance of group harmony in Korean culture impacts expectations. It was interesting to see the group resolve LSJ’s apart-ness in 1N2D by finding a label (art school student) to explain his behavior and give him an identifiable role, though when the moniker was initially introduced, it seemed to walk a fine line between affection and bullying.

      I’m reading a recently released book about introverts called Quiet, by Susan Cain. It became an overnight bestseller in the U.S., and it’s not hard to understand why – it is reframing how I see everything, including myself. Some characteristics of introverts she mentions are: likes to think things over before acting or deciding, not comfortable with light chitchat, prefers one-on-one to crowds, easily overstimulated, finds interaction with other people tiring, needs a lot of private alone time to recuperate.

      If you assume this describes LSJ, the GOF situation is seriously cruel. First he was forced to make a quick and very public decision about a radical change in plans without time to process. If I understand Korean culture at all, saying no was not a socially acceptable option.

      Then there’s the 12 hour flight in an enclosed space with a ton of people. Finally, a lengthy trip on public transit in an unfamiliar country at rush hour (that alone would do me in). With luggage! And why were all the grandpas standing? Don’t they give up seats to the elderly in France?? Plus, he’s shepherding a group which is not doing much to make the job easier, and whom he can’t openly direct or reproach.

      Oh, and just to top things off, there are cameras rolling the whole time. No wonder he wanted a few minutes alone when they finally arrived at the hotel (and quickly downed quite a lot of soju when he couldn’t get it). Maybe I should send Director Na a copy of the book.

      Cain actually devotes a chapter to introversion in an Asian-influenced cultural context, to contrast it to American idolization of extraversion. That was of particular interest to me, obviously. Introversion is apparently more common, and more socially accepted in Asia, where standing out in a group is not desirable. I can’t quite reconcile this with the 2D1N group (or with a video of ajumma Jeju pearl-divers having a hammer-and-tongs debate about whether or not to take a holiday that I recently watched), but of course, a group of celebrities is probably not representative.

      I’ll try and make time for episode 2 later today.

    • Mihansa

      I watched the second episode, and you’re right, everyone seems to be having a better time. Except Ilseob, who is kind of a sourpuss, isn’t he? I was glad to see the other grandpas step in and deal with him. He should be happy he doesn’t have to do all the maknae stuff – can you imagine? Good thing this isn’t really a “backpacking” trip in the usual sense of the term.

      The very eclectic selection of background music was amusing, and the reaction of the Korean woman in the subway when she recognized LSJ was hilarious. Can’t you imagine reacting exactly the same way if you encountered him unexpectedly in your own city? Complete loss of direction in a tunnel is also something I can relate to. I have a great sense of direction above ground, but I get totally disoriented in an underground train station, even one I’m familiar with. My internal compass must be solar-powered.

      The bicycle cab was a good solution to the Ilseob situation, but I felt sorry for the poor cabbie – carrying a heavy load, and doing it slowly, to boot, so he could never work up any momentum and rest for a second. I hope LSJ gave him a good tip.

      If I went to another country, would I eat American food on my second day there? I think not. Of course I don’t really eat American food when I’m at home, either.

      Maybe Na PD is taking his revenge for LSJ’s denial of any resemblance between them.

      I saw some references to a season 2, where LSJ finally gets to meet Sunny, but she “couldn’t finish filming the episode because of her schedule.” I wonder what that means??

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    In 1N2D another reviewer noted that LSJ seemed shy in front of the cameras and said “hyung, you’re an actor!”. Please, what is the connotation / implication of the tag “art school hyung”? I didnt understand it then and would appreciate the explanation.

    • Mihansa

      I took it to mean something like emo. Aloof, moody, even a touch arrogant, because of being a sensitive, creative type.

      Not all actors are extraverts! Introverts, being perceptive and deep, can be great actors, but that doesn’t make them good celebrities, at least not in contexts that require spontaneity. I would remind the reviewer that in a formal acting context, the actors get to rehearse first and they know exactly what’s coming and what to do.

      My theory is that LSJ has a substantial natural gift for acting, but it was activated and driven by his dysfunctional childhood, which was so unsupportive of him being himself that he could only experience the relief of un-self-conscious expression by being other people.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    In season2 they go to Taiwan and Sunny joins them for 2 days. Haven’t seen it as yet but in the ads LSJ looks like a dog that caught a cat he’s been chasing and then doesn’t know what to do with it – major awkward.

  • Mihansa

    I watched the 3rd episode of Grandpas Over Flowers. Poor LSJ – the stress is starting to show. I hope he gets a chance soon to kick back and enjoy (and/or have a few hours of down time all to himself)!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    The health check where Lee Seo Jin’s blood pressure was 144 – much higher than the elder actors – was really worrysome. poor baby.

    • Mihansa

      Yes, if it’s true that his bp is usually low rather than high, it’s a measure of how much the situation was stressing him out! Can you imagine driving some of the best known stars of your country, in a stickshift car, when you haven’t driven stick in years, in a foreign country whose driving laws you don’t even know? Yikes. My usually low bp would skyrocket too.

      He should take up a meditation practice, so he has an excuse to withdraw for half an hour twice a day and just breathe quietly without thinking about anything. I hear Korean drama shooting schedules are pretty intense, so the intensity of this is not entirely a new thing, but then at least you get to go home at night.

      I have to give him a lot of credit for the way he has handled it so far. I hope they are paying him very, very well.

      • Kim in Gran Couva

        i read one article where conditions on Korean sets were disscussed and they mentioned that it can be not only spartan but brutal so that even in indoor scenes the actors are freezing and exhaling steam. They need to bargain for minimum standards.

        • Mihansa

          Yeah, I’ve read the same thing, though I suspect the star leads are treated somewhat better. There are a lot of injuries, too, and forget about any compensation for that, even if there are life-long after effects.

          Collective bargaining is in its infancy in Korea. Samsung workers took a couple of half day strikes recently, and the company proceeded to blame them for massive losses. The workers did eventually win some gains over Samsung’s original offer, but I was struck by the difference in the things they were asking for, compared to US workers – a lump sum of education money for their kids, for example.

          There are a lot of highly educated people out of work in the Korean economy, and even more starstruck would-be entertainers, so I don’t think employees have much leverage. The chaebol ruling economic elite, the longtime class stratification of the Confucian system, and remnants of the nationalistic take-one-for-the-team, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps mentality that was promoted by the current President’s father during the industrialization era have resulted in low expectations of basic worker protections among working people. There’s a reason there are so many slave characters in sageuks, and so many struggling working class characters driven to desperate measures in modern dramas!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    alternatively he could take up with an adoring woman (me) and we could sooth his worries away (LSJ- call me).

    Seriously though, how do you think their remuneration would rank given the celebrity of the Grampas? who’s the highest paid of the 5 and who’s the lowest?

    • Mihansa

      Not sure that would relieve stress for him, even with a companion as devoted as you :) When he was asked whether he’d rather be taking the trip with a GF, he said they’d have broken up by now. And when a matchmaking grandpa asked if he didn’t feel sad and lonely sitting alone at home, he took a long moment to formulate his answer, which was that he was “past that phase.” I stand by my perception that he’s not really interested in marriage.

      As far as pay goes, I haven’t a clue. That’s one of those things that isn’t discussed in Korean entertainment. Even articles on highest paid celebs of the year are admittedly based primarily on rumor, as is LSJ’s supposed family wealth. I’d like him better poor, myself, but his shock over the budget rooms suggests he has limited experience seeing how the other 99% live. At least he is carrying his own wallet this time.

      How did you like the grandpas’ reaction to the PDAs (public displays of affection)? I’d heard that Koreans are a lot more conservative about that, but wasn’t sure how current my info was. Pretty current, apparently, at least where the onlookers are seniors.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Anachronistic but as you sad, expected for Koreans from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Did you also notice how Park Geun-hyung (acting all suave in his dark shades) motioned two women to take a photo cosying up to Lee Seo Jin? But i guess thats OK for celebrity actors. The bromances too are so part of the Korean culture. I almost wept when Shin Gu held LSJ’s face and kissed him – so cute.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Probably thinking “not quite what I’m looking for”

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    (And here’s me, sitting comfortably and offering to be a love slave)

    • Mihansa

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news again, but on Moonlight Prince, he said he wasn’t really into a lot of touching. I don’t know whether love slaves were exempted, but I suspect a few hopes were dashed by the remark.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Poor puppy. But I have the cure for that.

    Seriously though, that there’s the problem for us non Korean-speaking fans – very few sites to view shows of interest and fewer still with English subs. I feel so lame not having learnt enough of the language to follow a conversation. I just know pleasantries and some get by phrases and questions; I can sound out signs and titles in hangul but unless they are names or words that I recognize, it’s not helpful. Something for LSJ to help me out with?

    • Mihansa

      Kudos for learning Hangul enough to sound it out – a lot of fans never even get that far. I haven’t gotten much farther than that either.

      Although my speaking vocabulary is small, I’ve somehow picked up enough Spanish to understand it pretty well. I was puzzled why this might be, after only one year of high school Spanish, and why the same thing wasn’t happening through regular exposure to Korean. I turned to a Spanish TV station (of which there are many where I live), and paid attention to what I understood and why. My brief Spanish studies gave me a basic understanding of sentence structure, along with prepositions and conjunctions. Most of the rest of what I picked up was from cognates, both nouns and verbs. Having a native language that’s from the same root is a huge advantage, and this is true in Asia too – I have met native Chinese speakers who understood most of what was happening in unsubtitled Kdrama for exactly the same reason.

      So, now I’m taking a Hanja class. Hanja are the Chinese letters that were used to write Korean before Hangul was created (and for hundreds of years afterwards, by the educated classes). I initially had no intention of learning Hanja, since it isn’t used much anymore except in contexts I am unlikely to encounter (formal and legal settings), and it looked scary complicated. However, something like 60% of Korean words share roots with Chinese words, so learning basic Hanja could give me the same advantage that I get from recognizing Latin and Greek roots in other European languages. In the first class, I already encountered some examples of Hanja roots translating into Korean words (in the days of the week).

      Also, there are contexts where a Hanja character (representing a Chinese word) has been translated phonetically into Hangul, and words like that can be really hard to look up (see “River-Drug-Enemy – real life applications of learned Korean“).

      I’m not sure the teacher’s style is going to work for me, but I’ll give it a few more lessons and see how it goes. One thing I’m psyched about is that he’s provided handouts of the Hangul spelling of the Hanja that show the stroke order of making the Hangul letters. Have you noticed how completely indecipherable handwritten Hangul is? I’m hoping that knowing the stroke order will help with that.

      I was thinking I should focus on verbs and conjugations, and I still think learning the regular conjugations makes sense, since it at least tells you what tense someone is speaking in, and also the formality level. However, now I’m thinking I should pay more attention to prepositions.

      Prepositions between English and Korean are challenging, from either side, since they do not directly translate. However, the Talk to Me in Korean website has good lessons on both prepositions and verb conjugations. Want to be my study buddy?

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Nothing personal. The more he reveals about himself (and we infer) the more attractive he seems (to me). I can’t understand why someone hasn’t intruded on his self imposed protective shell and rocked his world. Unlike you I think that he is really lonely for someone

    • Mihansa

      Hmm, I’m curious why you think that? Not arguing, just wondering what we are seeing differently.

      Some people become less and less interested in being partnered as they get older. Also, for all we know, someone IS rocking his world, but he has learned his lesson about keeping his private life private. Korean stars, especially heartthrobs, have been known to hide spouses, and even offspring, for years. I don’t think he’d go that far, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t dating.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    I didn’t think that you were Irish descendant. Was thinking Asian, maybe Chinese American.

    • Mihansa

      Really? Nope, I’m a northern European mutt, heavy on the Irish :)

      Dashing off to class now (visual arts this time – sometimes I just need a break from all those words).

      More later.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    With fireworks

    • Mihansa

      Amen :) Although I have to admit I’m one of those less interested in sharing my life than I used to be. Seems like more trouble than it’s worth in the end. Drama in a box is better, since you can turn it off. But I’m a Virgo, and we’re a little different that way.

      In the Vogue interview in Japan last year, LSJ said a good wife would be someone who “can be a friend.” Of course, he also said in that interview “I guess it is not possible not to get married” (which sounds like he wishes it was).

      I have often wondered what it is that particularly intrigues me about LSJ. Korea is bursting at the seams with handsome, talented actors – why him, more than others? I think it’s the roles he chooses. The characters are often pretty dysfunctional, and not people you’d necessarily want to meet in life, but he always brings humanity to them, even when they are violent, scary, deeply conflicted people. Presenting characters as fully rounded people and exploring their histories and motivations is common in Korean drama (one of the reasons it seems so much deeper than American TV), but he is especially good at it. I think he is less inclined to choose roles where the character changes dramatically, although he can make that believable when he does. But he seems more drawn to scripts where viewers, and sometimes the character himself, grow to better understand the motivations of the character in the course of the drama, rather than the character changing to become more the person the viewer would wish to see. I find that really interesting.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Interesting and smoking hot!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    No but your comments on it should sooth my ragged nerves when I do.

    • Mihansa

      I live but to serve :)

      I caught it midstream, in reruns on an Arirang broadcast station. I initially thought KJE was a colorful secondary character thrown in for comic relief. When I went online to watch it from the beginning, I was astonished to realize she was the female lead. If you like bad boys, you’ll love Kang Jae.

      Lovers was based on a play (Turn Around and Leave), which was made into a film (A Promise) years before the drama version. It would be interesting to see that someday and compare. It’s hard to imagine how they could could cram all of that plot into two hours, but I’m curious how other actors interpreted the leading lovers. Jeon Do Yeon, the actress who played the lead in the film version, was later in Shoot for the Stars with LSJ.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    And she was so good in that role. i loved it.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    Prepare to be moved. At least she got to play LSJ’s girlfriend of 6 years, though his character was a jerk

    • Mihansa

      Did you see this? Nothing about LSJ after the first minute.

      According to Google Translator (always good for a giggle), the Korean text below the video windows says this:

      Lee Seo Jin conglomerate sheds set, royal families are apart!

      Good to know, right?

      Re: our conversation about whether LSJ is still appreciated in Korea, see this (warning, your speakers will be commandeered for audio ads, so turn down the volume):


      • Kim in Gran Couva

        Royal family or not, he’s a prince in my book. Did he out the real royals or was that info already public?

        • Mihansa

          I don’t think he meant it literally, I suspect that was not an optimal translation. I think he meant they were way richer than he is. Ergo, “plutocracy.” As far as I can tell, neither of them is connected to the surviving remnants of the Korean royal family.

          • Mihansa

            Here’s another LSJ link [sorry, link is no more] for you – his annual Habitat for Humanity outing is coming up on Oct. 2nd, if you happen to be in Korea then :) The page is all in Korean, but the words in his little dialogue bubble are actually English, spelled in Hangeul, if you sound them out.

            He is looking a lot more comfortable in the trailers and photos for GOF Season 2 in Taiwan. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve seen Europe (on TV) a million times already, whereas Taiwan is something new. Apparently Japanese fans are also looking forward to his appearance close to home.

            I couldn’t understand much of this video, but it looks like he appeared on a variety show called Taxi Ride with PD Na a couple of weeks ago, and asked him “why did you do that to me?” It sounds like they are at least proposing a Season 3, and he can’t be totally opposed to the idea, since he posted the video to his Facebook page. I wonder whether that’s the same unnamed variety show where he protested that he was only slightly rich.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    THANKS! WIth my usual devotion and recklessness I added a comment

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    He wrote that the next season will be Feb 2014

    • Mihansa

      That’s Season 2, right? Which is filming now (or was filmed recently)?

    • Mihansa

      I was looking for PD Na’s response to LSJ’s question, “why did you do that to me,” and I found this quote from the Taxi interview instead. Why LSJ likes Sunny the best.

      All I can say is “oh dear.” He is young. Do you think we should tell him that if a woman suddenly gets depressed in his company, it’s probably something he did (or didn’t do)? Or even if it isn’t, a good boyfriend encourages her to talk about what’s upsetting her, so he can comfort her? How did he get to be 42 without that occurring to him??

      I couldn’t find a subtitled video of the Taxi Ride episode. I did find this recap with photos, however.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    I mentioned that to you – that he likes the Aegyo Queen. He does sound naive. From being alone a lot? You’ve got to wonder who his friends are. He really needs a well adjusted optimistic persistent normal (and loving) girlfriend and I’ve got oddles of time to devote to his education.

    • Mihansa

      I cannot fault your loyalty :)

      What did you think of the Taxi interview recap? LSJ and PD Na were going at it hammer and tongs, which seems to address our puzzlement over what was up with Na PD. Sometimes things sound harsher in writing, without modifying tones, chuckles, and facial expressions. Then again, sometimes stripping away those things gets you closer to what people are really thinking and feeling. My take was that they really dislike each other, but are too good for each others’ careers to avoid working together. But mutual animosity doesn’t seem to prevent people from calling each other “friend” in Korea. When Na PD mentions Season 3, LSJ responds not with “are you kidding me?,” but with “where are we going?”

      And where ARE they going? The Americas, perhaps? I think it would be really interesting to see LSJ do reality TV in the US. And not just because I live here :)

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    If its east coast I coils seriously consider stalking the show

  • Mihansa

    I see *5* more episodes of GOF 1 have been subtitled. I am suddenly feeling much more psyched about my Sunday :)

    I should be studying professional enhancement stuff, but it’s soooo boring, and I deserve a break! Besides, it’s fall, when beautiful days are overshadowed by the hint of harsher times ahead. I need to coddle myself to maintain my morale.

    Alright, enough with the justifications, and on with the marathon…

    • Kim in gran Couva

      Plz send link to new episodes of GOF. LSJ’s new magazine and ad work is really good – even Scotch Brite. He looks so very good all round. BUT I absolutely don’t like the advert with Seungi Gi – kungfu fighters. How could his agency sanction this crap?

      • Mihansa

        Hulu has 1-7 – hope you can access that. Episodes 4, 5, 8 & 9 are on the fan site you posted earlier in these comments. I’m in the middle of episode 8 now. I went back to re-watch 1 & 2 on Hulu for dialog that the fan subber had missed, and I’m glad I did, because it reminded me of the round tortoiseshell glasses that LSJ wore to the airport, which were never seen again. And then there was the spendy trip to Moulin Rouge that staff agreed to pay for on the first night at the the suburban Paris guesthouse which apparently never materialized.

        Switzerland was beautiful, but I was horrified by the mountain incident. Abrupt and extreme changes of weather are common at high elevations, and unprepared hikers and tourists die from them all the time. The Swiss Tourism Board that provided their very nice guesthouse should have made the production staff aware of that, though you’d think they’d know. Korea is quite mountainous, though not on the scale of the Matterhorn.

        At least LSJ immediately grasped the urgency of the situation, but still. Why was he carrying only a sweatshirt and a windbreaker above the timberline?! Hypothermia sets in very rapidly, and if the helicopter had not been able to land again until the next day, the outcome could’ve been grim indeed. Luckily, the grandpas were more appropriately dressed for the unexpected.

        I was also a little taken aback by the production company’s personal video drone. Admittedly, the aerial scenery it was able to photograph was beautiful, but I really hope the trend doesn’t catch on. How annoying and intrusive to other tourists!

        LSJ is looking a lot better than he did last year. We saw him preparing for 1N2D with a pre-dawn facial, and I’m sure he prepared just as professionally (and with a lot more enthusiasm) for the trip he thought he was taking with much younger women. I must say, he has beautifully cared-for feet :)

        I haven’t seen the ads, but feel free to post links. Sounds like he’s still with Hook Entertainment if he’s still doing ads with LSG :(

        Did you see this? [sorry, link is no more, but it was an advance article about LSJ being cast in Wonderful Days, I believe]. Apparently LSJ is under consideration for one of KBS’s something-for-everyone family dramas. They have been very popular, so it would certainly boost his visibility. Not that he needs that where fans are concerned, but it might expand his opportunities with directors, who tend to have short memories when casting.

        And there’s the added benefit that it would probably be subtitled and distributed internationally with only a couple of weeks delay from the Korean broadcast date, which would be great for me. I’d be able to watch it on a local broadcast station.

        Still, I’d hope he could ride the success of the GOF series to something a bit more unique. Variety shows and realty TV are less the mark of a has-been in Korea than they are in the U.S. Korean performers tend to have much less compartmentalized careers. But dramas and film are where he really shines, and this seems like a moment to apply whatever wisdom guided him in his pre-Hook days and make careful choices with an eye towards what he’d like to be doing in the future.

        There’s another discussion about suitable qualities in a wife which you will doubtless find interesting – in Ep. 7, I believe. You never can tell how much things like that are pre-packaged. K-Pop stars, for example, are asked about marriage so often, they all have obviously rehearsed responses ready and waiting. I take it with a grain of salt when he says an ordinary (i.e., not a star) woman would be good for him. That sounds like the kind of thing a publicist would write to stoke fandom, and does not reflect Korean marriage values, which are to marry someone similar to you in age and social class.

        Still, it’s interesting that he assumes a woman he would marry would have a career of her own, and he hopes she would be passionate about something (no, silly, besides him), which is rather insightful. The bizarre life of a celebrity mate would be challenging to handle under any circumstances, and the more so if you didn’t understand from personal experience what motivated your partner to tolerate it.

        I don’t agree with you about his cooking skills – anyone who can prepare an edible stew in an electric water heating pot using only a chopstick and a plastic spoon has at least a dash of culinary talent! His skepticism about the leeks was hilarious. Seriously, he had never seen or heard of a leek before? Maybe he just didn’t want to have to tear them up with his bare hands.

        The rifling of staff luggage for food (and then lying shamelessly about it) was less impressive, but I can’t entirely blame him for fighting back in an unreasonable situation. And he seems to be trying to make it up to them later by offering chocolates and other treats all around.

        As for the Na/Lee dynamic, there is a moment during the first cooking episode where they seem to be working together in a comradely way, but a couple of episodes later, PD Na is riding LSJ hard about being overly servile. LSJ didn’t seem much bothered by it, which made me ponder whether that’s somehow not as insulting in Korea as it would be elsewhere. But no, I’m sure there are pronounced vestiges of the Confucian caste system alive and well. Status is very, very important in Korea.

        It’s hard to criticize PD Na for class warfare when I’ve taken a jibe or two myself (that thing about the wallet. I do understand that a well-trained model wants to keep the lower body lines smooth. And I’m in favor of that. But I’ve never had the luxury of that kind of insulation from the world while traveling in public, so I resent it a little that anybody does).

        The thing is, I’m not at all sure PD Na’s needling is really about class. As a very obvious introvert, LSJ is something of an easy target for bullying, though he seems to be catching on and not rising to the bait. The interesting thing is what a negative framing that was of a very positive attribute. Being conscious of, and proactively caring for, the needs of others, is otherwise known as nurturing. How is that a bad thing?? It is a desirable quality in a friend, co-worker, family member, or mate, and is a primary component of courtship for Korean men. It was also totally appropriate to the role in which Na himself had cast LSJ (make up your mind, PD). When I thought about it, it seemed like PD Na was really angry (and jealous?) that LSJ did this so well.

        I left them in Taiwan, LSJ not having yet joined them. I’m looking forward to the Taiwan tour, as it seems like a very beautiful place, but am saving the remaining episodes as a reward for necessary but unexciting chores. Looking forward to hearing your impressions.

      • Mihansa

        Found the Scotch Brite ad. They know their market. I think it’s highly unlikely that LSJ mops his own floors, but thinking about him instead of the dirt could definitely enliven the experience for those of us who do. I’m not a fan of disposable cleaning products, but that’s OK, I can imagine them, too :)

        Found the fight video also, with and without the gangster fight scene. Insofar as that is related in any way to actual martial arts, it is probably supposed to be Taekwondo (kick-focused Korean martial art), not (Chinese) Kung Fu. Koreans have a lot of national pride and can be rather touchy about these distinctions.

        I don’t hate it as much as you do. I could’ve sworn the forehead + eyes closeup in the middle of the longer version was Yun Jung Hoon, but that can’t be right – must’ve been LSJ, whose forehead I am less acquainted with, since it is usually covered. I didn’t immediately recognize him in gangster garb with slicked back hair, but he smolders the 1940s look, don’t you think? I was glad to see more of it in the Officiel Hommes shoot. I have no clue what the video was advertising, even after reading the translation, but then, I don’t really care :)

        Actually, I thought the Scotch Bright ad was more off-track for LSJ than the fight video. A lot of his ad work has been for luxury items, and while I’m not sorry to see him step away from that, I’m not sure quite so large a step was necessary. Korean directors (who are overwhelmingly male) are obsessed with the notion that all women secretly dream of seeing the man they love in a ruffled apron doing housework. That Korean women want Korean men to participate in housework I don’t doubt, but the apron is an unfortunate embellishment of the male mind that can’t conceive of cleaning up after oneself (much less others!) as a manly activity. Korea has a looooong way to go in its understanding of feminism!

        Did you ever see the 1980s coffee commercials with British actor Anthony Head (who later became known in the U.S. as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer)? Coffee was never before (or since) so sensual! Domesticity probably doesn’t hurt LSJ’s image, but he should rock his sexiness in ads like that while he can. There will be time for cleaning product ads later in life.

        Last but not least, he’s looking good in the Elle photoshoot (again, they know their audience). And no photoshopping needed this time, except perhaps in the inflatable whale shot.

        Keeping my fingers crossed that a really great drama or film role comes out of all this attention.

      • Mihansa

        More LSJ news – titled “Lee Seo-jin mentions his ideal type.” When I have time, I’ll see if I can find a video of that interview. I’m very curious about what Korean word he actually used. I’ve noticed variations in translation can give radically different impressions of a celebrity’s personality. Which is one of many reasons I try to avoid celebrity news on Mihansa. Not very successfully in LSJ’s case, I admit :)

        He also says he has no plans for next year. I’d love to see him in one of those rare films which actually manages to give character development its due in the two-hour format. The Recipe or Spellbound come to mind. Then again, maybe characterizations succeed in films like that because the characters aren’t as complex.

        Come to think of it, his new retro look reminds me that I’ve wished I could see him in a remake of “In a Lonely Place,” one of Humphrey Bogart’s less known, but (in my opinion) best roles. Bogart has long been one of my favorite American actors, and his most memorable roles tend to be his most intense ones, much like LSJ. I can see I’m going to have to catch up on the LSJ sageuks. I’m assuming you’ve seen both Gye Baek and Yi San. Which one did you like best?

  • Kim in gran Couva

    I’m bright! (And willing). Both Yi San and Gyebek are great and LSJ is good in both. The latter has a gut wrenching ending so be prepared. I’d have to say that although he leads and totally makes Yi San his star vehicle, his role in Gyebek is more complex and I prefer it.

    • Mihansa

      He said about one of them (I forget which) that it took too long to get to the romance. Gyebaek is a more manageable length, which is in its favor. Damo handled the traditional sageuk ending pretty well, I think. I felt like there was karmic closure, instead of just senseless tragedy. Dare I hope for that with Gyebaek? I’ve read the Wikipedia entry on the historical Gyebaek, so I see where the wrenching part comes in. Hard to imagine that being made sympathetic, but if anyone can do it, it’s the actor who made me understand Shin Ryu from the inside out.

      So let’s review LSJ’s marriage requirements: someone who can be a friend (from an interview with LSG last year), someone happy, someone kind, someone who is passionate about something, and someone bright. I might go for that myself, if I came across it. It seems to me, though, that the older and more unique you grow, the more unlikely it becomes that you will encounter someone who you have enough in common with to “get” each other. Of course, you can grow out of similarities within a marriage too, so marrying young is not necessarily a solution.

      I’ll stick with singleness. It works. I’m so relieved I live in a culture where people aren’t trying to marry me off all the time. That could get really annoying after awhile. I know they probably mean well, wishing for other people the thing that makes them happy, but everyone is not the same, nor made happy in the same way. It’s amazing how many people apparently never register that basic and obvious truth.

        • Mihansa

          As luck would have it, that very episode of Entertainment Weekly was on TV right after I posted the link. The interview was a little longer than in the article (and differently translated). We have a snack food commercial to look forward to. Apparently kids on the street have been much friendlier to LSJ since 1N2D.

          It’s great to see him so happy. Last year he looked anxious and unwell. When you see that in an American celebrity, the next stop is all too often rehab (or jail). Distant stranger though I may be, I was concerned.

          I see the actress line-up has been announced for Season 3 (though not the title, since the youngest is 43, and can’t really be called a “grandma.” “Ahjummas Over Flowers,” perhaps?) I confess I like to see LSJ setting the trend for LSG for once.

          I think I’ll watch that, if I can get my hands on it. I haven’t seen any of the other actresses, but Yoon Yeo Jung blew me away in In Another Country. It would be really interesting to see what she’s like in daily life. She speaks fluent English, among other things. And she seems to have little or no down time between dramas, so they must’ve worked hard to schedule her. The Season 3 location hasn’t been announced yet, but that makes me wonder if they’re heading our way.

  • Kim in gran Couva

    I hadn’t seen this clip so thank you. GOF seems to have really had an impact for LSJ. I rather doubt that he has lightened up so much since his appearance on 1N2D and the whole ‘art school hyung’ thing though. A more approachable biscuit-eating, housekeeping LSJ? Yeah, that could keep my fantasies alive.

    • Mihansa

      He really does seem to be a lot happier. I know he’s an actor, but the interview wasn’t scripted, and he’s not that good at spontaneously hiding his feelings. The interviewer kept trying to bond with him, which put him off a little, but he was a lot less edgy about it than in 1N2D. Seems like he’s shedding his previous image of haughty dignity with a certain relief.

      What I didn’t buy, though, is that he is just another pretty face. Spacey, I would believe. But unthinking? Hmm. Why would he need a bright partner, then?

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Maybe the big apple, which he reportedly loves and knows well

  • Kim In gran Couva

    LeeSeo Jin and the Grampas in New York. I could totally stalk that

  • Mihansa

    Alas, it’s a whole new cast for Season 3 – Seung Gi and the Noonas. And when filming in public with major Hallyu stars like LSJ & LSG, I suspect they don’t release the location until shooting is over – it would just be too disruptive. I noticed the fans who recognized LSJ in Europe all appeared to be Asian, though the Grandpas were recognized by the occasional European (or Euro-Australian).

    Were you able to find a video of the Entertainment Weekly interview with subtitles anywhere? Only a small part of it was reported in the article I linked. I managed to record it when I watched on TV. If you are very good (and bribe me with chocolate), I will post the full subtitle transcript for you. Semi-sweet, please :)

    Interview intros are now including more sympathetic shots (i.e., LSJ laughing) from 1D2N, along with the inevitable falling-in-snow clip, which we will probably see for the rest of his life.

    I also noticed that LSJ is asking people “why are you doing that?,” when they do something that makes him uncomfortable. This occurred in the “Taxi” episode, as well as in the Entertainment Weekly interview. I think it’s a good thing, if he really doesn’t know. Still haven’t been able to find the full Taxi ep with subtitles – do let me know if you happen across it, because I want to know how Na PD answered that question.

    I’ve been pondering how kibun might figure in to the LSJ/PD Na relationship. I probably don’t have a complete grasp of kibun, which has to do both with group mood and personal dignity. It’s a hugely important aspect of Korean daily life, and is often referred to in drama dialog. Since English doesn’t have a corresponding concept, it is always subtitled as something else, which really masks its importance in Korean culture. It’s a little bizarre the way it flies completely under the radar of English-speaking audiences who rely on subtitles.

    I would imagine that LSJ felt his kibun was damaged in 1N2D, since he was treated “worse than when he was in the army”, but perhaps PD Na’s kibun was also damaged, since LSJ didn’t play along (didn’t he also say in the post-filming interviews that it was “not a good show”)? And the group kibun (I think there’s another word for that) was also damaged by that – there’s a strong social expectation that everyone in a group will mutually attempt to keep things harmonious.

    I see LSJ’s behavior in 1D2N differently now, not so much because of GOF, but because I have a better understanding of personality types, and realize how intensely stressful and challenging that situation may have been for him.

    So, when your kibun is damaged, you’re entitled to take revenge, or blow up and scream, to restore it. The thing I’m curious about is what, if anything, that happened in GOF was about restoring (anyone’s) kibun from 1D2N?

    It also crossed my mind that the whole GOF bait-and-switch scenario could’ve been collaboratively staged with LSJ’s full consent and foreknowledge to create a new image for him. He’s been reinventing himself visually throughout his career, so this could just be another form of self-reinvention. If that’s the case, he’s an even better actor than I thought! I don’t really think that happened, but TV is fantasy (especially “reality” TV), and it’s wise to never lose sight of that.

    • Kim In gran Couva

      IN my humble opinion the bait and switch for GOF was a ruse and LSJ is one crafty and terrific actor. You have to admit the series has done good things for his public image to the point where man in the street actually cares about his singleness. This is a far cry from the vilification that he took over the break up with you know who. Na PD is the wild card here. I don’t know what their connection is based on (it may be no more than a business transaction) but it’s working for them both (and Lee Seungi). LSJ has upped his nunchi and is reshaping his image to make himself more accessible and palatable to fans. I like it a lot but I’m not buying that he’s any less ‘stiff’ and remote personally. He’s still my fantasy guy- if I could only get him to call me instead of Seungi in those rare moments when he’s looking for company.
      PS. I would send Gran Couva 2012 chocolate by Valrhona for a link up to interview. Just saying.

      • Mihansa

        I had to look Valrhona up, but I could tell right away it was special, cuz the first Google hit was in French.

        10/18/13 Entertainment Weekly ep with English subs (posted by KBS World, so it’s even legal)

        Shall I send you my address? :)

        LSJ interview starts at 48:30 – they kept him until almost last. After, it might be worth going back. At least one male star on the red carpet at the Busan Film Fest in the opening segment had copied the gelled back retro hairstyle. And there’s a lengthy segment about 20 minutes in with Kim Min Jun, forever the charismatic and fiercely idealistic visionary of Damo in my heart. I’m not sure I ever want to see him in anything else!

        But returning to our man of the moment, you could be right. He doesn’t seem that calculating to me, and could his reaction in the airport really be an act? Plus, there was no guarantee audiences would be sympathetic. Yet, do I really know anything about him? Not much. Imagination loves a vacuum, and mine can riff extensively on the tiniest inspiration :)

        I buy him as a daydreamer, though. There’s a photo I like where he’s sitting alone in a bank of empty chairs at an outdoor event, staring into space. And have you ever seen the video of the European magazine shoot he did about 10 years ago – in the Alps, maybe? He has the biggest bedroom hair ever (except maybe in Shadowless Sword, and upon being released from prison in Damo), and is agreeably being rearranged and touched up like a floppy puppy.

        Re: the stiffness, it seemed both unprofessional and bad-humored to me when I first saw 1N2D, and I confess I was disappointed in him. But I see it a little differently now, for two reasons. One, I’ve since read that Korea comes out ahead of every other country in its tendency to relate to others according to whether they are, or are not, a member of your group. For group members (family, schoolmates, co-workers, whatever), you go to the last mile, but for outsiders, you don’t even have to offer the time of day, and no one will fault you.

        Unless you are an entertainer. LSJ just now seems to be grasping that when you are in the public eye, you are in everyone’s group, and they want to be in yours. It may not be fair to conflate the art with the artist, but when the medium you work in is yourself, it’s inevitable. He’s showing more sense of humor, but his nunchi (towards interviewers and fans, at least) still needs some work.

        The other reason I’m re-evaluating my impression of the 1N2D appearance is that he’s so clearly an introvert. Being in aggressively group-identified, hyper-social Korea must be really tough on Korean introverts, and adding a bunch of other stresses (hunger, cold, sleeplessness, mockery) didn’t bring out his best. Plus, I think he had already lost track of his happy place before 1N2D.

        He seemed so surprised, I had to wonder, hadn’t he ever seen the show? Hadn’t he & Seung Gi talked about what it was like? Obviously they were not as close as most of the other “best friends,” but it seemed like LSJ hadn’t asked LSG about it at all (or did LSG sugarcoat it?).

        I haven’t watched the GOF Taiwan episodes yet. The show got popular pretty quickly, while Season 1 was still being filmed, and I got the feeling LSJ started renegotiating terms while they were still in Europe (did you notice that he got the single room and the grandpas had to share at the hotel?). It’ll be interesting to see if he’s recognized more often in Taiwan.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    THANK YOU. I absolutely loved the entire show but especially LSJ’s interview. Did wonders for my disposition on this grey Monday morning. I would love to send you a token just because of your kindness, the many hours of great blogging and an opportunity to discuss my (strange) obsession with LSJ. If you think of a way to send an address (PO Box?) i will use only once and delete.

    Anyway, he’s still my favorite personality and a great actor and heartthrob.

    • Mihansa

      Wait, it isn’t always sunny in T&T? I just saw Affair in Trinidad with Rita Hayworth, and it was sunny in every scene. Except the night scenes. Which was most of them, come to think of it.

      And what do you call your country, anyway? “Trinidad and Tobago” is a mouthful!

      Glad you enjoyed the show. Me, too. I tried to look down my nose at a whole hour of entertainment news, but my eyes kept wandering to the screen, which was much more interesting than my nose :)

      Wish I’d realized it was already recorded before I struggled with aging and recalcitrant technology in the middle of the night. KBS’s SEO is terrible. The video didn’t come up in any of the logical searches (LSJ, GOF, etc.). Luckily, I knew that about KBS, so I went straight to Youtube and searched on the show date, once I had it from the scratchy video I made myself. My local station is re-airing it a lot. I turned on the TV yesterday, and there was LSJ again.

      As for strange obsessions, there are always reasons, sooner or later. I have learned a lot about myself through my interest in LSJ.

      I found that old video shoot (2003) I mentioned, BTW. Maybe you know it. Turns out it was also at the Matterhorn. Too funny that I remembered LSJ’s hairdo and forgot the most distinctive mountain in the world :) Did they mention that he’d been there before in GOF? I didn’t catch it if they did.

      You don’t have to send me anything, but if you really want to, check your email.

      • Mihansa

        Now here’s a coat that’s suited for an alpine picnic (although I hope that fur is synthetic). The Google translation was practically intelligible – I gather he just got an exclusive sportswear modeling contract. 축하 해요, 배우님!

        • Kim in Gran Couva

          despite that he didn’t win the online style icon award, although i love his style-usually well groomed, clean lines, sharp, appropriate and with understated accessories (he’s just missing me on his arm). His photoshoot makeup too is usually flawless and not garish. I’m even learning to like “big’ hair because of his floppy top piece which he seems to favour (just learning but not quite there yet). The baseball throw photos were awesome (but i gush!).

          So we’re off to Croatia next. Still havent seen Taiwan (network problems).Is LSJ going or LSG? No Korean restaurants there so he should brush up on easy recipes for hotel meal prep.

          A recent study suggests that men with deep voices are more attractive to women but that they are percieved as being more fickle. Maybe LSJ needs to put that “trained” voice on hold in one-on-one situations and lighten up. But then if he has to change to attract someone it wont be a good thing. Hey I’ll take him, warts and all, that’s all im saying. 내게 전화, 이서진

          • Mihansa

            Gush, you? :) I like the big hair – kinda resembles the Shin Ryu hair, though a little shorter. The current cut sets off his square jaw, which probably gives the desirable rugged look for outdoor wear. I preferred the long version, but good things come to those who wait, right?

            Speaking of which, all this modeling work is great exposure, and I agree that he pulls it off well, but what I really want is to see him act again. Ideally, in something longer than 60 seconds!

            For the Croatia trip, it’s LSG and the noonas (ahjummas, really, but when they’re marketing younger guys to older women, they flatter).

            I’m trying to think whether I am most attracted to deep voices. A lot of men who speak in a deep voice are forcing it, so there’s a sense of strain that is subliminally uncomfortable to hear. Also, a suggestion that the guy has something to prove – avoid those like the plague! What I like about LSJ’s voice is not so much the depth as the richness. His singing voice is surprisingly higher than his speaking voice.

            I suspect voice is not his major issue in relationships. If he’s really looking to marry, and not just tickling fan-tasies, he’ll need to find someone perceptive, wise, patient, and grounded enough in her own skin not to feel hurt when he takes his space. He might find that in a younger woman with the right personality, but I’d think odds were better in his own age group.

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    “perceptive, wise, patient, and grounded”- sounds like you’ve read my profile. LSJ’s not a singer admittedly but with my headphones plugged in he can make all the noise or have all the quiet he wants while i listen to Bruno Mars and read a good book or write poetry (new affliction).

    I wonder if LSJ would go for an older woman (to add to all the other (superficial?) incompatibilities)? Being a woman of a certain age, a younger man is certainly of interest but the LSGs and his peers, even with all their talent, no, not even as eye candy.

    Yes we really need a new LSJ movie or drama (preferrably) to make 2014 worth waiting for. Until then only ads, interviews and postings.sigh.

    • Mihansa

      I suspect an older woman would be a better fit for him than a younger one. I have seen some relaxation about that in Korea, but seems like it’s mostly with women in their 30s (i.e., still pretty) and men in their 20s. Then there’s oma’s approval to consider. Nothing much has made it into English about her, but he’s the baby of the family. Moms anywhere aren’t known to give up their last born lightly. His hyeong maybe be responsible for supporting oma financially, but past experience has shown LSJ holds himself responsible for respecting her wishes.

      I’m still not convinced he’s really looking. For a GF maybe, but a wife is another matter. The longer you live alone, the harder it becomes to give up having your home all your own way. Not sure Korea would allow him to have a long term dating relationship that didn’t lead to marriage within a year or two, however! SO glad I am neither Korean, nor famous :)

      I hesitate to say it, lest it fuel the berserker rumor maelstrom, and also because I’m not convinced she’s right for him, but it has crossed my mind that he may be waiting for KJE. Once oma’s wishes are no longer a factor, that is. She hasn’t married either, and we haven’t heard any dating rumors. Then again, she’s done an about-face on publicizing her relationships, so she could be engaged for all we know. And I’m not at all sure that death reduces the influence of a parent’s preferences in Korea.

      What is wrong with those Korean directors, anyway? Why aren’t they swarming all over him while he’s hot?? Didn’t they read the article about who viewers want to take home for 주석?

        • Mihansa

          And TEEN style icon, no less! I’ll bet there are a lot of annoyed younger guys in Korea tonight. Is it just me, or are he and Sunny flirting via the media? Have his past experiences taught him nothing?

          Haven’t seen Taiwan GOF eps with Sunny yet, so my internal jury is still sitting, but 18 years seems like a really big gap, even here in the U.S. See Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford.

          In any event, this has got to give him a boost with any directors that were doubtful of his appeal to the youth market. Tried to find a video, but all I found was one of Sunny’s award speech, right up until she announced his name, then it ended! Uploaded by jealous male Sunny fan, no doubt.

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Needless to say I am NOT pleased with this development and I hope that he’ll soon get over this infatuation. But as you pointed out he seems to be so ‘young’ in his outlook on relationships and women. A couple of dates with her crowd and friends should wise him up to the fact that a college educated socially conscious real man (with a concubine-in-waiting) has too little in common with a pop princess for a successful long term relationship.

    • Mihansa

      I think Koreans are heavily inclined to go into relationships emotions first. This is rather similar to his pattern with KJE – was thinking about her before he met her and said so publicly, etc. From the fan info that’s available, Sunny sounds very young for a 24 year old, and has a history of easily slipping into admiration of any male star she works with (or at least, of saying that she has). From her point of view, LSJ probably looks like a major catch. She doesn’t sound like someone with the maturity to consider the implications of the age difference, or things like long-term compatibility.

      He needs to be careful. She has family connections with the largest of the “Big 3” Kpop agencies. If things go wrong, he could find himself out of favor again, not only with the public, but with the entertainment industry.

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Have you read ‘Blink’? Many times we make what appear to be snap decisions that are actually quite calculating because the heart and head are actually in sync and can sus out the salient information in the blink of an eye. Or so I tell myself or I might just be ‘Korean’ in relationships.
    Sunny is not the most talented GG member and at 24 she may hitch her wagon to a new star. He on the other hand has a lot to lose if it goes wrong. Older man- younger woman: could be made to work for a while (ask Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-jones) but when he’s 50 and she’s 32, Problems with a capital S. But the heart wants what the heart wants and us saying that now will not deter anyone.
    I don’t wish either of them ill so it had better burn out ASAP so I can breath easy.

    • Mihansa

      I haven’t read Blink, though I’ve heard at least one lengthy interview with Gladwell (for Outliers and Tipping Point, probably). He knows how to pick an interesting topic, for sure, but coloring inside the lines of actual scientific evidence is not his strong suit. He lack of scientific background (and the ethical training that goes with it) prompts me to take his conclusions with a very large grain of salt. See also Winifred Gallagher.

      That said, I’m a great believer in intuition, but there are a lot of things that can impair or distort it, especially where passions are concerned. Reactions aren’t perceptions. There’s a very good reason for the expression “love is blind.”

      But maybe it’s just a publicity stunt, widening the audience for both of them. We can hope.

  • Kim in gran Couva

    LSJ looked awkward with Sunny in promos for GOF Taiwan but since then it’s all smiles and blushing, so I don’t know. I could snack him (and not in the good way)

    • Mihansa

      Snack him? :)

      He doesn’t look very comfortable in the still shots of the award ceremony. Wonder what that was about. Unease with the fluttering of jailbait hearts?

      Or was it shock at finding Sunny a brunette again? I was relieved. Blonde really didn’t work for her.

      Still giggling at “snack him.” Me and Freud’s ghost.

  • Kim in gran Couva

    He’d be more like a main course

    • Mihansa

      You know I’m never going to let you forget that, right? :)

      Here’s a video of Sunny’s 2013 SIA Teen Idol Award presentation with simultaneously translated voiceover in English, including Lee Seo Jin’s acceptance speech [alas, this video is no longer available]. It’s a hand held video of a TV screen, so visuals are small, tilted, and in motion, but pretty high res, considering, if you full-screen it. He barely makes it to the stage, there are so many hands reaching out to touch and be touched. It’s hard to imagine what that must be like – I’d hate that.

      I’m afraid the way he and Sunny look at each other as they leave the stage together is not reassuring. Caution, LSJ! If a woman says she likes you because you were whining, trust me, she’ll get over that. Soon.

      She also refers to his roles as a “high person.” Sounds like she’s only seen the sageuks. I don’t think he’s a “high person” in any of the modern dramas, is he?

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Well in Phoenix he was a CEO and in Freeze he was a successful wine bar owner and in Soul a psycologist so those would be considered ‘high’ persons. The ‘look’ wasn’t all that but they are korean celebs so PDAs are out if the question. I hope that she’s smart enough to see the ‘work’ that he would bring (not only the fun) and would think long and hard.
    He shook hands like a pro but always briefly and with his body held back like the good introvert he is. Someone warm and outgoing would have to work on those touchy-freely issues (and you know I’m volunteering).
    His skin and Face are looking amazing – good for the skin care line he’s advertising.
    Did I say main course, more like a whole meal with dessert!

    • Mihansa

      “Touchy freely issues”? You’re on a roll :) Freud’s ghost is now taking laps around the house, whooping.

      I doubt very, very much that Sunny has the maturity (or perhaps even the personality) to think about it that way.

      He looked more like a 42-year old in the Entertainment Weekly interview than in GOF. In a good way, IMO. I’m sure that’s not all natural. He’s had his eyes done, I think, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was botoxing, or getting collagen injections, not to mention milder procedures like peels and such. All of which is not only acceptable but a given for anyone who can afford it in Korean society in general (where it is not only legal, but typical, for employers to require a photo with a C.V., and hire the best looking person), especially in the entertainment industry.

      The negative effect all this “perfection” modeling has on teens is well-documented. But there’s another problem that hasn’t been addressed as much. Where are the role models for healthy, natural, self-accepting aging? Middle-aged people can have self-image issues too!

  • Kim in gran Couva

    Beautiful photos on Facebook of him and his nephew and niece at baseball today

    • Mihansa

      Nice – thanks for the link. I’m glad he’s able to get out and do normal things. I hope his team won. I appreciate that they kept the kids out of the photos (mostly), though I’d have been curious to see whether there was a family resemblance. American paparazzi tend to crash through such boundaries.

      Wonder who he’s talking to on the phone. He looks serious.

    • Mihansa

      Did you see this one already (5 min interview with LSJ and LSG, eng subtitles)? More discussion of LSJ’s “type.” He says he likes short women. Hmm.

      I’m about to marathon GOF 8 – 10, which seems to be as far as the English subs currently go.

      Oh, and before I forget, let me plug the fabulous Valrhona Gran Couva chocolate you sent me. Far and away the best chocolate ever – sweet, dark, intense and complex, just like our favorite Korean actors :)

    • Mihansa

      Episode 8 down — I watched part of it before with fan subs, interesting to watch the somewhat different Hulu subs, especially in the opening gang-up-on-LSJ scenes. I don’t think the Hulu subber is a native English speaker, however. Just started episode 9, and LSJ’s sulkiness is characterized as “quarky.” That’ll keep me giggling for awhile. I wonder whether it really was Na PD’s idea to have him come a day later, or if LSJ simply refused to do the initial navigation again.

      Back to ep 8 for a minute. I so totally sympathize with the difficulty of finding your way in an unfamiliar city, especially when you can’t read the street signs. One more reason to make sure I can actually read and understand Korean enough to navigate before visiting there. Especially if Koreans are as unhelpful as the grandpas seem to think, compared to Taiwanese (which I doubt, but it is a good point for a country that’s eager to promote tourism). Surprising how many Taiwanese speak pretty good English.

      Also interesting how the grandpas’ knowledge of Hanja is helpful in Taiwan. Na PD has to be in his 30s, so apparently they stopped teaching Hanja in elementary school some years back, if he didn’t learn it. It’s still used a little in US Korean newspapers (not for the content, but sometimes a character or two is used in the article titles). A visiting Korean student who saw this disapproved – a moment of Korean nationalism, I suspect. And the two elders have more English than the maknae, as well as more knowledge of Chinese.

      I get the feeling that now that Na PD knows the grandpas better (or maybe it’s just that LSJ is out of range), he’s a little bolder about putting them in uncomfortable positions.

    • Mihansa

      Episode 9 – I can’t make up my mind whether LSJ knew or not. Right up until she surprised him, I thought he did. He obviously sensed something was up. And then there were the round-framed glasses, which we haven’t seen since the first time he thought he was going to meet her in an airport. If he had acted surprised, I’d have thought for sure he knew. But confused and suspicious, well, that’s credible. Plus, would he have believed them if they had told him in advance? Or then again, did he make it a condition of his second appearance (which would explain him joining the group late), but distrust their promise?

      I wish they’d subbed the fake interview he was having when they sprung her on him. His remark about interviews being difficult without prepared questions confirmed a suspicion I’d always had about him.

      It’s interesting that he insisted on speaking with her without cameras first thing. On the whole, I’d say her social skills are way better than his (natural born cheerleader, yes?), but in that he was more assertive about taking care of her than he has been on his own behalf. She’s so bouncy. The grandpas’ rather extreme hookup jokes were a little much for her, I think, and her spartan room must’ve been a disappointment. The staff were booked into a much classier and more modern hotel. The guesthouse is interesting, though – did you notice people taking off their shoes as they enter the lobby? It’s the kind of place I’d stay while traveling.

      So far she seems fairly bright, with technology at least. But I’ll bet Na PD told her about the correct subway exit. I can’t see her opposing LSJ unless she was sure. One thing they have in common is being unable to walk down a street in their own country without being recognized and mobbed.

      On to episode 10…

    • Mihansa

      Episode 10 – only 1/3 subbed so far, as it turns out. Which means I may actually get something productive done with my weekend :)

      What’s up with styling LSJ as of the pre-tech generation? He was glued to his phone in Season 1. The people-over-30-can’t-do-technology stereotype annoys me. Of course 20-somethings think they’re better at it. They think they’re better at everything (as we did at that age). That doesn’t mean it’s true.

      I’m about ready for some scenery more interesting than yet another overseas Korean restaurant. And I’d like to see LSJ a little more concerned about Sunny having a good time, instead of just sitting back to enjoy having passed the load on to the new 막내. I think Il Seob’s grumpiness rubbed off on me!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    i have only read of the Taiwan trip in reviews and blogs and it’s not encouraging – a Sunny fest and two of the seniors leave so even more so. I cannot for the life of me understand why people travel and want to eat the same stuff as at home (dietary restirctions and health concerns aside). What’s there in Taiwan for a visitor to enjoy (expect for a LSJ siting- the man is looking great!).

    Unrelated, senior Lee Soon Jae is in Late Blosson which is such a well crafted film that it should be mandatory that all Korean Embassies have it shown on local cable stations as part of a Korean themed film festival. The acting and stories are excellent and the senior actors shine – so its not all Kpop princesses and androgenous, muscled 20-somethings. Also saw 200 Pound Beauty (self image issues leads singer to plactic surgery and new life sort of) , Take Off (great story about Korean Olympic ski-jumping team) and Architecture 101 (trying to recapture a first love story). Take off was also excellent – a 2nd story line about one guy trying to find his Korean birth Mom, really brought out the many issues around that whole adopt-a-korean-kid drive. But there are several stories within this story that make it rich and complax and totally enjoyable. My 18 year old (never given to reading his movies) was enthralled – that’s seriously good for a Game of Thrones addict.
    I couldnt open the interview with LSJ elaborating on his preferences in women, but i’m a fit and healthy 5’2″ and adore taller men. One question- how do korean women who are my height and taller weigh <100 pounds and have any energy at all?

    • Mihansa

      Re: GOF Taiwan, it opens with just 3 grandpas (Soon Jae is delayed a couple of days due to other obligations). Shin Goo is in charge of getting them to their guesthouse and Learns a Valuable Lesson about what a tough row to hoe Seo Jin has had. Meanwhile, LSJ is packing sulkily. Grandpas go on trip to not very interesting Chiang Kai Shek Memorial (though I was inspired to brush up on the 9th grade history lesson which was the last time I read anything about him), and Il Seob sits in the shade, refusing a long walk across an open square in very hot weather, and a climb up many steps. Same old, same old.

      We don’t get back to LSJ and Sunny until Episode 9. They are very cute together, and he is certainly energized and pleased by her presence. The grandpas tell him to stay out all night with her since she has to leave the next day, but he doesn’t really feel he can take them at their word.

      Which is too bad, because once all 5 are together, grandpas push them together rather too vigorously, inquiring, among other things, whether they will be sleeping together the first night. Seriously?! Are these the same grandpas that were scandalized by a couple kissing in public in France? Shouldn’t they be chaperoning her, not hooking her up?

      The next day, LSJ becomes rather passive, as she navigates them to and from a temple (some interesting roof decor in comparison to a Korean temple, but again, not as interesting as it could’ve been with, for example, a little more information about Taiwanese religious history). I think they’re all feeling the heat and humidity, and LSJ outright says he’s feeling his age, and wishes he’d met her when he was younger. Maybe he’s also wishing he packed sexier clothes.

      Taipei is a clean, well-organized, modern city, and therefore, unremarkable. I was waiting for the trip into the dramatic countryside that’s shown in the trailer (over and over again, before, during and after each episode. HELLO. WE’RE ALREADY WATCHING IT!). And still waiting.

      We do get a couple of glimpses-by-proxy of LSJ’s mother. She clearly watched Season 1, as she told him to take blood pressure medication, and supplied him with a whole second suitcase of Korean food. What a Korean mom thing to do, though I suspect the food was bought rather than home made. How do they keep that cold, I wonder?

      Anyway, sounds like you had quite a marathon of your own – thanks for the mini-reviews. I ran across a reference to Late Blossom somewhere else just yesterday – middle-aged romance, right? I’ll keep an eye out for it.

      I read up on 200 Pounds Beauty when it was under discussion for a local Asian series, and though I’m glad Korea’s making some attempt to grapple with its intense looksist obsession, wasn’t inspired to run out and see it. I saw instead “Relation of Face, Mind and Love,” which was seriously awful, with unlikable characters, an absurd plot, and a moral in total opposition to what it was supposedly about. It opens with a close up view of a badly plucked male eyebrow, and it’s all downhill from there.

      I usually skip sports movies, so I’m glad you mentioned the adoption storyline in Take Off. That does sound interesting. The number of Korean orphans who’ve been adopted overseas is truly staggering.

      So your recruitment of resistant family members into the Kdrama path is now complete, no? :) I’m curious who else was at the screenings, since you mentioned there were so few Koreans in T&T?

      Are you unable to get Hulu in T&T? I never know what the international restrictions are on Hulu and DF links. I’ll send you a different link for the interview – you definitely have to see it.

    • Mihansa

      I presume you’ve seen the video ad for the sportswear company. Almost makes me wish I lived in a colder place. I used to, but I certainly never thought of winter coats as sexy in those days!

      I ran across an alternate translation of the Entertainment Weekly interview today – rather than bright, it was “bright personality.” Which makes more sense.

      Shooting in Croatia is over, and Na PD says Seung Gi was not nearly as useful as LSJ. That almost sounds like a compliment (albeit a backhanded one) for LSJ!

  • Kim in Gran Couva

    LSJ can make most things look sexy (eg Scotch brite!)and the voice- woah! I would love to hear it on the other end of a phone call (Lee Seo Jin, oppa, call me!) About the “bright personality”, why do i feel like the goalposts are being moved? However I’ve got a few compliments along those lines in my time so I’m not worried (if only he’d call).

    The Korean film festival here was attended by about 350 (all 100 Koreans in Trinidad, invited guests and members of the public (me)for the opening show- Late Blosson) and then about 250 for the other shows. All free tickets were given out (so i couldn’t get an extra on the last day and had to sneak a 5’11” son into the cinema by buying a ticket for another show- but that’s the limit of my criminality). He loved Take Off and there’s more than 1 back story (attitudes to national service, grandma raising orphans, treatment of Chinese servants, support or lack thereof for the handicapped, kids dropping out of formal economy) so i think that you will too. There was a small reception for the invited guests on the 1st day and it was noticeable how stylish and stand-off-ish the asians were compared to the regular Trini pre-film gathering. I did think to just walk over and make conversation but those tight smiles made even me pause and walk away.

    Hulu doesnt show in T&T and Dailymotion is spotty. i.e. i have never seen anything that i wanted to see by linking to Dailymotion and its on my iphone. So its mainly Viki and Dramafever and the occasional ytube and other links from this amazing blogger (Mihansa).

    I’ve been distracted recently, reading voluminously- lots of Paulo Coelho (Alchemist etc), two thin korea-based books- drat the ease of kindle-readers on phones, and really itching for a new drama to watch since Goddess of Fire is finished. I started Queen Insoo some time ago but cant find episodes after 21 with Englisg subs so no go there. Am open to suggestion, evan a trendy one (but not Lovers ok). I cant forgive her having gotten to love him and your suggestion that they may be waiting for each other- oh the pain!!!

    LSJ really should do a drama or movie soon to feed my addiction/ affliction. The ad work and apprearances are great (mostly) and i like the sophisticated look. But i need more meaty fare. Who can we petition to help with this?

    • Mihansa

      Good question. I’d sign that. But we’d have to write it in Korean, and I’m afraid we’d end up saying something wildly different from what we intended. I did see more recent rumors about that drama he was being considered for a couple of weeks back. Nothing definite yet, though.

      So you are reading, how retro. Though I suppose it is sufficiently modern if you are reading it via kindle on a cell phone :) Especially if you are reading, as Wikipedia says, one of the most widely read authors in the world today. Where have I been? I’ve heard Paulo Coelho’s name, but have read nothing by him. I’m mostly reading 19th century British and American novels that are no longer remembered, but should be. Am I still cool if I “read” them via mp3 player?

      Wikipedia also characterizes Coelho as an introvert. I think you have a tender spot for introverts.

      Too bad you can’t get Hulu, since they have really expanded their Korean offerings, but I’ll bear it in mind when I post links. Have you seen Arang and the Magistrate? Joseon/supernatural fusion sageuk, not too long, creative visuals, and a fabulous heroine who starts out dead (ghost), so you don’t have to worry about them killing her off. On the down side, the male leads aren’t that exciting, the quality of the series plummets after about episode 5, and the Big Bad is laughable, but it’s still worth watching. Sungkyunkwan Scandal also comes to mind (another Joseon sageuk), if you want something with a bit more juicy (but young) maleness. And Kim Gap Soo with green eyes, dashing my dream that my Irish eyes would be a standout if I went to ROK :(

      Maybe I should introduce you (virtually) to Yeon Jun Hoon. He’s pretty snackable :) And if you watch him in Vampire Prosecutor, why he might snack you right back! I just started Season 2, though I probably won’t have time to progress through it very quickly. There are some significant writing and directing flaws in the series, but the ambiance, visual sensibility and acting go a long way towards offsetting them.

      Interesting to hear about the festival. The more you tell me about Take Off, the more I want to see it. Did a cursory search, but no luck so far. Viki has it, but not for U.S. viewers :(

      If T&T Koreans were smiling at all, that is supposedly more than you could expect to see on the streets of Seoul. I think it’s the weather. It’s either too hot or too cold most of the time, not to mention cloudy. That, a hangover, and long hours with a really reprehensible lack of employment protections would make anyone crabby. Times two for women.

      I have found Korean Americans to be friendly and inclusive, if perhaps slightly stiff. In fact, that’s true of most of the Asian Americans I have encountered, especially Indonesians. People may group up by race/nationality in the lunchroom, but if you are sitting alone, the Indonesians will come over, take you to their table, and shower you with food and attention. Eating together is very important, and is often a daily thing in small companies with a large Asian American contingent. I have met people from so many different countries in the last 15 years – it’s really quite amazing when I stop and think about it.

      I’ll keep you posted if I hear any casting news about LSJ.

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