Sunday, August 31, 2014

King of Korean Musicals.... none other than Kim Jun Su.

The Musical Dracula has hit the musical theatres in Seoul. It's a sort of mixture of The Phantom of the Opera and Jekyll and Hyde. And the main cast lead for Count Dracula are Ryu Jung Han and Kim Jun Su

For those who aren't familiar with the Dracula movie- it's a Bram Stoker novel about Count Dracula and his love for the beautiful Mina Murray. Dracula is searching for new victims and prey. So happens Jonathan Harker has been trying to help Dracula with the real estate. Mina is Jonathan's fiance whereby Dracula immediately falls deeply in love with her. Mina reminds him of his long lost love, Elisabeth. The story has a tragic ending when Dracula asks a now mutually in love Mina to help him die, giving him "back to darkness" in order to keep her in the light. does that sound? Did I give the spoilers? Hahaha....

JYJ's Kim Jun Su was casted as Count Dracula- he is a perfect choice for his angelic voice brings out the character along with his passion of acting on stage. Doubted as one of the most powerful Korean musical actors, whenever his schedule of performances- no doubt fully booked within minutes and it's so difficult to secure tickets to see him! I wouldn't mind seeing him performing again and AGAIN! The Original Soundtrack OST is superb! The main song sung by Jun Su and Jung Sun Ah- entitled "Loving You Keeps Me Alive"

The lyrics in Korean is touching and it tells about Count Dracula struggling to stay afloat because of his undying love for Mina. Another thing to spot is Jun Su's bright red color hair! He looks like a beetroot with his fair complexion. Personally I like him in his dark/brown colored hair but red is something to show blood related to Count Dracula. I really hope he turns back black once his musical ends. From far you could spot him even at the airport with his red beetroot head.

Well for those who had the opportunity to watch Jun Su's previous musicals in Seoul- another wonderful performance he has delivered is called 'December'. The OST of December has Jun Su's collaboration with some female singers such as Lyn and Gummy. The songs produced in this album reminds me of Disney productions, it sounds so beautiful yet harmonious... The duet with Gummy - 사랑이라는 이유로 is a chirpy happy song, I personally like this track in the OST. The encore part is always wonderful where all the whole casts come out to bow to the audience and sing for the last time. Love the song where Jun Su sings so well with the rest and his big smile. How can you not adore this singer? Oh...the last time when I saw him in variety program and concerts, he was just a baby and now he's already turned late 20s. 

Nevertheless, another powerful musical that brought fame and drove musical fans frenzy is 'Tears In Heaven'. A heartwrenching story about a Korean soldier who falls in love with a Vietnamese girl. The song 'Can You Hear Me?' sung by Jun Su and Davichi's Lee Hye Ri is melodious and sad at the same time when they were parting for good. 

Jun Su has done his first 2 musicals- Mozart and Elisabeth as 'Tod/Death' gaining great
reputation from the audience and public. 

Fans who had the opportunity to see him in musicals- you will understand what I mean here. It's a wonderful experience. Musicals are a different part of audience and no shouting/screaming with glow sticks.
Yes, do pay for the VIP Seat or Reserved Seat - KRW$130,000 so you are right in the front row to see the entire cast. 

Comes year 2015, I hope to see him do a more musicals and concerts before he gets enlisted to army. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lee Jun Ki...a versatile action star in Korea

He is tall, slim, eyes like a Japanese and a bright smiley face. He's none other than Lee Jun Ki- the actor who became a Hallyu star after the drama 'MY GIRL' and the movie The King & the Clown. For those who do not know him, he is a very versatile actor and down to earth. He started his career with small roles and landed as second male lead in My Girl drama playing opposite actor Lee Dong Wook & actress Lee Da Hae. The famed director Lee Jun Ik picked him to play Gong Gil in 'King & the Clown' as a more feminine jester alongside with Gam Woo Sung. He did so well in the role earning recognition from fellow actors and directors.

Jun Ki tried hard to shake off his pretty boy image and took more action roles in MBC's Time of Dog and Wolf with Nam Sang Mi and SBS's Iljimae. Iljimae shot Jun Ki in further stardom where he plays a Joseon style Robin Hood- rob the rich and distribute to the poor. He won many awards for the drama. With his fame, he had to forego all when he entered the mandatory military. Even in army, he gained many fame from fellow girl groups and actors. He hosted some army programs with actor Kim Ji Suk and comedian Boom.

After military, Lee Jun Ki was sought out to play the role as a Sato in Arang & the Magistrate with Shin Min Ah. Somehow Sageuk dramas are most suitable for Jun Ki. He fits the character well with his looks and suave fighting skills. He has proven all right and won a Best Couple Award with Shin Min Ah. Moving on, he took the drama Two Weeks with Park Ha Sun and Ryu Shi Young- another nerve wrecking drama as a fugitive running around to prove his innocence for a framed murder.

In 2014, Jun Ki was scouted to play Park Yoon Kang/Hanjo in another Sageuk/fusion drama called Joseon Gunman. It was his 2nd time collaborating with actress Nam Sang Mi after they acted together in Time of Dog & Wolf. Joseon Gunman was a good start for Jun Ki as he is playing double characters.

So far Jun Ki has been faring well in mostly his dramas... now what's left for him is to venture more into variety programs. I'd love to see him in more variety programs which he has only done once - Family Outing with Yoo Jae Suk, Yoon Jong Shin and Lee Hyori. Perhaps we should get him into Running Man or Infinity Challenge. Pretty please.............. Lee Jun Ki, fighting !!!

Lee Dong Wook....My Girl, Scent of a Woman, Hotel King...what's next?

As soon as I heard that one of the Korean big broadcasting station is filming a new drama with Lee Dong Wook, my eyes lit up. Wow! Another drama by one of my favorite K-actors. I must say Lee Dong Wook is one of the most handsome & visually attractive actors in South Korea. From the first time I saw him in the drama 'Loving You' where he played as the late Park Yong Ha's younger brother alongside with Eugene, he has somehow caught my attention. Then he blew into high fame as a main lead in 'My Girl' as the Hotel's CEO, Seol Kong Chan when he meets Yu Rin (Lee Da Hae) and his playboy childhood friend, Seo Jung Woo (Lee Jun Ki). My Girl drama was one of the dramas where I've watched several times without boredom. Lee Da Hae portrays the bubbly Yu Rin so well and cracks everyone into laughter and tears.
Though some of Lee Dong Wook's dramas were kind of a flop, nevertheless he proved everyone wrong when he took up the variety host 'Strong Heart' with veteran comedian Shin Dong Yup. Fresh from military service, he was funny as ever and started filming the drama 'Scent of a Woman' with lead actress Kim Sun Ah. He plays Kang Ji Wook- a CEO's son of a Tour Agency, has the looks, drives a Ferrari, lives in Pyeongchang-dong (one of the elite areas)- what more can we ask? Ah.... *Swoons*
In 2014, Lee Dong Wook picked the drama 'Hotel King' and it was the 2nd time he collaborated with actress, Lee Da Hae. A very dark and moving story of a young boy, Hyun Woo who was deserted by his parents and brought up in the slums of US. Then his biological father seek him out and raised him to be a revengeful person to take over a Hotel in Korea. Lee Dong Wook did his best to play as a painful character and wow viewers with his acting abilities. Meanwhile he was selected to in another variety program "Room Mate" alongside with some actors, singers and models living together in a big house. In fact he did his first ever Sageuk drama 'Mandate of Heaven' with actress Song Ji Hyo and it was a moving drama as well. Lately Lee Dong Wook has taken up another drama called 'Iron Man' the Marvel Comics hero. First thing that came to my though- Robert Downing Jr as IRON Man? Ha ha! No...No! It's just another title. However the main actress is the poorly deflated acting skills Shin Se Kyung. Of all actresses, I don't understand how she was picked as a main lead. This young lady indeed has no acting skills and no expression. All the dramas she has done apart from Deep Tree Roots (with Jang Hyuk & Han Suk Kyu), she was a total disaster. She has dragged down almost all her main actors in the dramas such as Fashion King with Yoo Ah In and When a Man Loves with Song Seung Hun. I gave up on Fashion King and stopped watching When a Man Loves when she was such a failure. I hope Lee Dong Wook will pull through this drama with such a lifeless actress... otherwise it will be a disaster to his career. Keeping fingers crossed and good luck to him...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Counting down the days to 5th Korea trip...

대한민국!!! Yeah, baby! Like anyone else who is a K-drama or K-Pop fan, I have been several times to South Korea. Many would question what is so interesting and fascinating about this country. It used to be a Hermit Kingdom where nobody would visit the country. However when the drama Winter Sonata and Autumn's Tale started screening in Asian countries, it broke record. These dramas brought fame to Hallyu stars Bae Yong Jun, Choi Ji Woo, Song Hye Gyo, Won Bin and Song Seung Hun. Now everyone knows them. Bae is famous within his Japanese fans, Choi is still popular with her looks and fame, Song Hae Gyo has endorsed in the cosmetics Laneige, Won Bin keeping a low profile but still dashing as he is and last but not least the ever young looking Song Seung Hun still going with dramas and movies. I am so looking forward to my 5th trip to South Korea in October 2014. This time I will be heading with my parents and elder brother to Seoul, Busan and Gyeongju. Our tickets were all booked, paid and we have sorted out the accomodation, transportation and itinerary within the 3 cities.
Week after week, days after days I am indeed counting down the days at work to my long awaited trip. It has been 2 years since I visited the country. It brings back lots of memories when I am there. Looking forward to visit Seoul again during Fall! CHEERS!

SBS Room Mate (룸메이트) craze continues...

First season of Roommate.
The new variety program of SBS Roommate (룸메이트) hits the TV screens in South Korea and also online streaming media. To me it seems like a friendly Big-Brother program reality show but a more close knitted and no sexual contents in this program. The program PD invites a range of people to stay together in a big house in Seoul.

Dong Wook, Min Woo, Kang Jun, Shin, Chan Yeol & Se Ho

The room mates consists of the handsome actor Lee Dong Wook and comedian Jo Se Ho in room 5, singer EXO group member Park Chan Yeol and singer/actor Shin Sung Woo in Room 4, actress Hong Soo Hyun and After School member Nana in Room 3, supermodel/radio DJ Lee So Ra, martial artist Song Ga Yeon and group 2NE1 member Park Bom in Room 1 and lastly the pretty boy actors Seo Kang Jun and Park Min Woo in downstairs Room 2. 

This mix of singers, actors, comedians, radio DJ, MMA fighter who have little reality and variety program experience is expected to create new undiscovered characters and laughter. 

On July 24 2014, it was said Park Bom has not participated in recordings due to her amphetamine scandal and has officially left the program, with her final episode airing on July 27. Bye Boomie...will miss her a lot. I am sorry, I am not a girl group fans so I won't be adding much of the ladies group photos in this blog. I can't help but to see how Shin Sung Woo turns into a Chef Shin or Mama Shin as he cooks well and looks after the group. The baby room mate Ga Yeon is only 21 and tries hard to help out as she never appeared in variety program. With his recent hit drama Sly & Single, new actor Kang Jun is cute as he is with his big eyes and looks attracting the ladies in the house. And as usual Lee Dong Wook the most handsome room mate of all is the 2nd big brother in the house even though half of the program he's missing due to his busy drama schedules. EXO Chan Yeol is the teddy bear of the group very polite and Mama Shin feeds him whenever he's back from his music programs. 

There have been numerous guests who turned up at the house including Se Ho's parents, Kang Jun's Suprise members, actor Lee Duk Hwa and EXO member Baek Hyun. Ever since the 100th day Roommate, they went on separate group trips to Taiwand & Japan. We wish them good luck and stay tune for more updates!

Roommate Season 2 has started with the departure of previous members. New roommate members include G.O.D leader Park Jun Hyung, GOT7 member Jackson, Girl's Generation Sunny, KARA's Young Ji, Japanese actor Otani Ryohei, and 2 other elder ladies whom I don't know at all. They are either gag women or some elder artists. Remaining members of first season are Dong Wook, Se Ho, Kang Jun, Min Woo and Nana. The first episode was funny with Jun Hyung being loud and talkative as usual conversing non stop in English with Jackson since they are from the same JYP Group. Ryohei the only Jap is adorable as he shares the same room with Jun Hyung who snores a lot in his sleep. Poor guy! Jackson's new roommate is Kang Jun meanwhile Dong Wook, Se Ho and Min Woo shares the same room. 

JYJ's Xiah Junsu has turned into new 'Hotel King'

After completing the drama 'Hotel King' by Lee Dong Wook & Lee Da Hae, I was rather surprised to read the news seeing JYJ's Kim Jun Su is building a big hotel in Jeju island. It seems Junsu and his father has invested billions into the resort in Jeju. The new Jeju Toscana Hotel is due to open in early September 2014. Since last year Jun Su has been semi-opened the resort with his family, friends and tons of fans supporting him.

It was a long awaited dream for Jun Su to open this resort. News in South Korea mentioned Jun Su is a keen sports car collector- it appears he has owned several luxurious sports cars. 

On top of that, he bought a luxurious penthouse situated in Samcheong-dong (JYJ's Kim Jae Joong is his neighbour too) and even bought a big villa for his parents in Gyeongi-do. I'd like to take this chance to congratulate Jun Su for his new hotel opening in September 2014. 

The boys in a red Ferrari for their Asian Incheon Games 2014 ad. This is not their real owned cars.

For fans who do love to support Jun Su, you can start booking your rooms in September. Not long ago, Jun Su was there with his twin brother, Junho to officiate the fan meeting in front of his hotel.

What do you think of Junsu's family? I reckon he and Junho has the pretty features from their mother who was a former Miss Korea. * swoons *

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The long journey of TVXQ to JYJ...happiness at last?

JYJ? Who? Who are they? This is often been asked by some of my friends who are big K-Drama fans but they do not know who is JYJ Group? Believe it or not, even though they have split up from their ever popular boy band TVXQ (original members Chang Min and Yunho) but still JYJ remains strong among their fans.

 For those who do not know who TVXQ or shall I call them DBSK (Dong Bang Shin Ki)- they were the biggest boy band in South Korea attracting millions of fans hitting the Guiness Record. It started out when SM Entertainment scouted these 5 young talented boys- leader/rapper U-Know Yunho, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, Xiah Junsu and Max Changmin. Yunho and Junsu were the best dancers in the group. Yoochun was the only member who could speak English as he was in USA for a while, Jaejoong has the pretty boy look yet with a nice raspy voice, Changmin is witty as ever being the youngest yet he is pretty good at acting. They came out with their hit albums from Rising Sun to O-Jung Ban Hap and Mirotic selling well in the charts of Asia. 

They ventured out to Japan and hit the Oricon chart gathering more Japanese fans labelling them as Tohoshinki or better known as Gods of Asia. Then come the shattering news when members Jaejoong, Junsu and Yoochun filed a law suit against SM Entertainment arguing that the lengthy contract and unequal profits distribution which was proving disadvantage to the members. 

The Seoul Central District Court in October 2009 ruled in their favor affirming their right to independently engage in entertainment activities and granted them injunction suspending the SM contracts; its ruling emphatically pointed out it was a "subjugating contract" with terms that are grossly incompatible with Korean labor and contract law. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

The trio formed a group JYJ under C-Jes Entertainment but were given limited chances from performing in 3 major broadcasting stations. Partly blamed on SM! There on, JYJ launched their global album The Beginning collaborating with international artists and performing in worldwide. Later they released their Korean album titled 'In Heaven' with actress Song Ji Hyo(who is also the same C-Jes Ent.) as the main lead in the Music Video alongside with Junsu.

This hasn't stopped them from going further. JYJ became the Lotte Duty Free shopping mall ambassadors joining with Hallyu goddess, Choi Ji Woo, Song Seung Hun, Jang Geun Suk, Big Bang, 2PM, Hyun Bin and the late singer Park Yong Ha in the main advertisement. JYJ were on big CFs and adverts for skincare Nature Republic, Naver LINE, clothesline NII and appointed as honorary ambassadors for the 2014 Asian Games. Looking at their career wise- JYJ were better off in their own terms. Jaejoong has finished 3 dramas- Protect the Boss with Ji Sung, Dr.Jㅑn with Song Seung Hun and Triangle with Lee Bum Soo & Im Si Wan. Yoo Chun was the first ever to star in dramas such as Sungkyunkwan Scandal that hit huge fame along with Park Min Yeung, Rooftop Prince with Han Ji Min, I Miss You with Yoon Eun Hye and 3 Days with Park Ha Sun. Junsu being the only one who hasn't done any dramas except appearing as a cameo famous singer in Scent of a Woman with Kim Sun Ah & Lee Dong Wook. 

Junsu's popularity has sky-rocketed with his hit musicals such as Mozart, Elizabeth, December, Tears of Heaven and Dracula. He has continuously won awards for Best Musical Actor and Popularity Award as well. We wish them all the best in their career and good health to them. JYJ Fighting! 화이띵!!!

35th Birthday at Gold Leaf Restaurant Burwood

Another year has arrived...means another year older and wiser. A-Hem! A day before my birthday, I spring cleaned the house and made sure it's tidy and neat. An old school friend of mine, Ann is arriving from Traralgon to stay with me for a night. We decided to have dinner at Gangnam Station Restaurant at Box Hill. Then we drove home to rest.
Comes Sunday, we met up with Katrine at Gold Leaf Restaurant at Burwood for the 12.30 noon session. It was packed with people to get a car spot. We took a spin and finally parked behind the restaurant. Quickly we sat down and started ordering dim sum and steamed dishes. The restaurant's waiter and staff can't wait to get rid of us when we were trying to finish up our bean curd pudding and mango sago dessert. I guess they are putting the next round of guests in for the 1.30pm session Anyway after lunch, we headed to Box Hill market for grocery shopping.
A happy lunch with 2 buddies and filling stomach. LOL! A good one!