Wednesday, March 09, 2005

partners in mime


You say peanut butter, I say jelly. Green eggs go hand in yolky over easy hand with ham. Tequila runs around with limes. And salt comes tumbling after. But to my surprise, I must add a new pair to my shopping list. Korea and Qatar. I can sense your quizzical looks, my friends, and let me glare at you superciliously, though in truth, superficially .. cuz I had to look it up. Geography Bee, I am not, despite the buzz.

Do not fear, as you might have when you looked at that cloudy, romantic image and thought I turned into a xanga girl with many cellphone accessories. I stumbled upon this article from the Korea Times - "Korean Soap Opera Boosts Relations With Qatar." I admit, you could tell from the wildness of my eyes that I was a little bewildered, a little lost.

Apparently, a Korean soap opera, "Hotelier," will be shown in Qatar, and help "enhance relations" between the two countries. S. Korean satellite channel also has begun Arabic programming. Cultural exchange. Student exchanges. And... it's the economy, stupid.

Still, this all rung a bell. A tinny one, that sounded like a particular Korean soap opera very popular in the Philippines, according to my sources. Am I Daniel Okrent? I don't need no public editor! My source knows who she is. So I did some sleuthing, otherwise known as googling and my gumshoe fingers report: This soap opera must star a certain Bae Yong Joon. I like the quotes in this article reporting on his visit to Japan.

"I’m so happy—I could die now with no regrets!" sobbed Noriko Fukawa, 48, after catching a glimpse of the star.

“He is so handsome,” she said, wearing a T-shirt with Bae’s photo printed on her chest, holding his poster cut in the shape of a heart. “He looks so pure, graceful and gentle. No Japanese men are like him.”

Ouch! Right now, I would want a photo of Gumby printed on my chest. His rubbery image makes me sleep more secure at night.

Despite being of the Korean roots, I have no knowledge whatsover about this Asian phenomenon. No, I'm not talking about Michelle Kwan. (Oooh. I had to struggle to think of one. Isn't that bad news??? Errr. Lucy Liu? I mean, she does get a lot of cameos...) So I turned to this google find, which I felt would answer all my lingering questions, entitled: Why is Winter Sonata a Big Hit in Asia?. Looked promising but then I got lost at the plot twisty description with all those names and because the author writes without the least bit of self-loathing or dark humor. Instead it's all about "puppy love" and "love story" and all that, though I did perk up at "drinking stupor."
So my questions remain unanswered. Luckily, I can watch episodes and work on my mother tongue. Probably while being yelled at by my mother.
The stills actually do look quite nice and perhaps the series is good, despite my ribbing. When I saw the title, I thought for a fleeting moment that there might be some connection to Bergman's Autumn Sonata, which I think is a better season-title match. There just is not as much to sonata about in the winter. Perhaps the connection between Korea and Sweden will be made clearer another day. Probably in a short news report about how people are tragically trampled during the opening of a new IKEA store.

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