Korean Escapade 2010: The Saga of the Ninjas Continues

Still October 21…

We left Nami Island at around 4:00 in the afternoon and took the cab going to Gapyeong Station. Our next stop was Petite France, which was located near Cheongpyeong Station. We were lucky because the train going to Cheongpyeong was arriving in a few minutes. From Gapyeong to Cheongpyeong, the travel time was about 20 minutes. We arrived at Cheongpyeong station around 5 in the afternoon but there was no sign of the shuttle bus which would take us to Petite France. We decided to take the cab…again. The trip to Petite France was like going to Baguio or Antipolo with all those blind curves and zigzag roads. There was a time during the brief ride that we felt that we got lost but we arrived at Petite France after 30 minutes.  Imagine our relief to know that we were finally there!

 

Petite France, South Korea, October 2010

Since we only had 30 minutes to explore the place, we immediately went to the sites that we wanted to visit.

Petite France: Retracing Kim Myung Min’s (Kang Mae’s) steps in Beethoven Virus

Petite France is a French cultural village set in the Korean countryside. Petite France serves as both a French cultural village and a youth training facility (Goseong Youth Training Center), and consists of 16 French-style buildings where visitors can lodge and experience French food, clothing, and household culture. ‘Petit’ means ‘small and pretty’ in French, and this village is located on the hilltop overlooking the beautiful mountain scenery of Homyeongsan (Mt.) and the clear surroundings of Cheongpyeongho (Lake). Building heights were adjusted using natural hills, and every house in the village were arranged to overlook the lake. Such structure disposition and internal decoration of construction materials, rooftop, windows and floor are all French. (From http://www.korean-city.blogspot.com)

 

Petite France, South Korea, October 2010

 

View of the lake, Petite France, South Korea, October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Array of buildings in French style, Petite France, October 2010

 

 

 

 

A portion of the amphitheater, Petite France, October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always wanted to visit Petite France because it was one of the filming sites of Beethoven Virus, one of my all-time favorite Korean dramas. Moreover, it is the location of the study room of Maestro Kang Gun Woo or Kang Mae, played by the brilliant Kim Myung Min.  I may not have met Kim Myung Min himself but it was a great comfort for me to have visited his study room when he portrayed the acerbic tongued Kang Mae.

 

Kang Mae's table and chair, Petite France, October 2010

 

A portion of Kang Mae's office, Petite France, October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did not have the chance to explore the other buildings because it was already 6 in the evening. Our main problem was getting out of Petite France because it was such an isolated place. We asked the receptionist for help and so she contacted two cabs to fetch us. While waiting, we felt the air as it turned colder. Good thing the cabs arrived after 15 minutes or so.

We arrived at Cheongpyeong station in time for the arrival of the train bound for Cheongnyangni. We thought that we missed the train already and we had to wait for an hour for the next.  We were indeed lucky!

Since the ride was one hour, we had time to decide that we had to re-schedule the Lotte World trip for another night as we might not be able to make it. We decided to have dinner first at Dongdaemun and then visit Chonggye Stream which was nearby.

 

Dongdaemun, South Korea, October 2010

Dining at a Korean Restaurant

We were so hungry, we could eat a horse! We picked a fancy Korean resto which was established in 1972. When we got there and looked at the menu, we wanted to go out and look for another place. So expensive! However, we figured that we would eat in small restos the following nights so that we are still on the budget. Hahaha!

Side dishes, Korean restaurant, Dongdaemun, October 2010

And so we ordered pork spare ribs, pajeon, bulgogi. Of course, a Korean meal is not complete without the side dishes or banchan, which could consist of 2-12 kinds. Of course, kimchi is usually included.

 

Pork spare ribs, Dongdaemun, October 2010

I’m a great fan and lover of pajeon. However, I fell in love with bulgogi! This is one dish that I have not had the chance to eat often in Korean restaurants in the Philippines. But the authentic bulgogi was heaven! I. LOVE. IT. SUPER.

 

My new love, BULGOGI! Dongdaemun, October 2010

After dinner, we headed to Chonggye Stream for some picture-taking and some walking. We decided that we would walk back to our hotel for some exercise. However, when we realized that we were walking for a much longer time already and no sight of our hotel still, we decided to  get a cab because we were all dead tired. On our way back to the hotel, we found out that we headed the wrong way – we walked farther from the hotel instead of walking towards it. What an adventure!

Oh well, the most important thing was that we got back safe and sound.

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I love being a fangirl!

I received a pleasant surprise yesterday. A package from Korea! Yes! If it’s from Korea, then it must be about my favorite actor, KIM MYUNG MIN.

Lo and behold! What I saw made me climb to seventh heaven! Below are the photos:

It’s a brochure about the actor from his agency. This is the second time that I got an autographed item from KMM. And of course, through the courtesy of my friend, Michi and MMI (MyungMin International).

Korean series: Revisiting Beethoven Virus

Note:

Since I’m on a Kim Myung Min mode since last night, let me share with you an entry which I wrote in my multiply blog in January 18, 2009. My KMM addiction started when I watched the phenomenal Korean drama series, “Beethoven Virus,” which aired in September –November 2008.

Beethoven Virus: Its Appeal

Kim Myung Min as Maestro Kang (image from MBC.com)

Maestro Kang conducting (image from MBC.com)

I first watched BV online in November 2008, while the drama is currently airing its final episodes. I’ve been meaning to write about this touching drama; I’ve only managed to write about how I can’t get enough of the phenomenal Kang Mae/Maestro Kang (see earlier post). But I felt that I’ve not written enough, that there is so much more to share about how this drama affected me. So, during the Christmas break 0f 2008, I made it a point to watch Beethoven Virus again.  This time, a rewatch of the whole series not just my favorite Kang Mae scenes or Kang-Mi (Kang Mae and Du RuMi) scenes and since I had no work, I was able to pay close attention to some things that I might have missed out.

So, what do I love about BV? Why am I so addicted to it? What was it about the series that I find touching and memorable?

Kang Mae smiling (image from MBC.com)

Kang Mae flirting a little? (image from MBC.com)

My first answer is: I find Kang Mae and his personal journey, his metamorphosis, appealing (Don’t I just love to write about him, LOL!). Kang Mae is one interesting yet complex character that I’d love to probe into. As described, he is a no nonsense conductor and a perfectionist. He is known in the music community as the conductor who interprets the musical score closely to how it was really intended by the composer, or to put it simply, his renditions are seemingly perfect. There is one major observation though, his music is somewhat suppressed as if the emotions coming from his music are stifled. The masterpiece certainly speaks about its creator, as they say. Kang Mae’s music is a reflection of his personality – stern, rigid, upright and incapable of emotions, or at least that what he thinks so or what’s he is attempting to do. Having a harsh childhood and having his share of trials and challenges in life, he has learned to erect walls between himself and the world; having only his music and his dog as companions. He thinks that feeling or facing different kinds of emotions makes one weak and vulnerable so he built up these defenses so that nothing can harm him. He dislikes change. And so, when he meets the orchestra members, especially Du Ru Mi, he in plunged into a world that he has avoided for so long. He is made to feel various kinds of emotions, no matter how hard he tried to deny it. It was touching to see Kang Mae struggle in coming to terms to his being emotional; that he is human after all.  And no matter how hard he convinces himself – that he is invulnerable; that he doesn’t care at all and that he can totally return to his old self; he is in fact a changed man. This is manifested in a change in his music as well as how he views and deals with his orchestra members.

A changed Kang Mae (image from MBC.com)

A pensive Kang Mae (image from MBC.com)

In the end, he acknowledges that he is new at this – that he’ll never know when he’ll waver again but he also knows that he cannot run from his feelings anymore; except that he needs time to get accustomed to this new side of him.



Korean film: The Demolished Man’s poster is out

I’m such a bad fan. I missed this. Grrr. Anyway, better late than never.  I was shocked when I came across the poster of Kim Myung Min’s latest film, The Demolished Man. The poster makes me want to bawl.

image from dramabeans.com

And the official trailer was released today, April 28. Check the trailer at MyungMin International (MMI). The film is set to be released July 2010. I cannot wait!

For more details, check out MyungMin International website.

Film: My Love By My Side/Closer to Heaven (Korean, 2009)

image from allkpop.com

After the long wait, I finally got a copy of “My Love by My Side/Closer to Heaven.” Readers may find my impressions on the film biased as I’m known to be a fan of Kim Myung Min. 🙂

The film is about a heart-wrenching love story between Jong Woo (Kim Myung Min) and Ji Soo (Ha Ji Won).  Jong Woo is afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease but with good humor and strong pride while Ji Soo is a funeral planner who loves him in spite his condition. Both come to terms with Jong Woo’s illness as it slowly takes control of his muscles and eventually his whole body, rendering him paralyzed.

Kim Myung Min and Ha Ji Won gave outstanding performances. Ha Ji Won is one of the best among the Korean actresses. But I would like to sing praises to of course, Kim Myung Min, because of what he did in this film. To be able to realistically portray a man who suffers from a degenerative disease, he lost weight from 72 kg to 52 kg. Kim Myung Min was really brilliant in his performance and was so immersed in his role. I especially love his eye movements when he was paralyzed already from neck down. He conveyed his emotions through his eyes. This is what I love most about Kim Myung Min, every part of the body is so expressive, he is able to communicate even with the subtlest movement.

There is only one thing that bothers me: I just felt that the film focused more on Ha Ji Won than Kim Myung Min. All right, all right, it’s the KMM fanatic in me. But I can’t seem to shake off the feeling that it was more of Ji Won’s film rather than Myung Min’s. Oh well…

4 out of 5 Stars