Note 1. When I was bitten by the Kdrama bug, Soompi was one of the first websites I started visiting regularly. It’s huge and frequently updated, and the scope of its coverage is amazing: from dramas to Kpop to celebrity gossip, Soompi’s got it all. So I’m tickled pink to report that I’ve been invited to contribute commentary and reviews to the site—the first installment of which has already gone up, as shown in the fangirl screen grab above. I’ll be posting there once a week (although the material will probably all go here, too).
The thing I find most amazing about Soompi is how long its been around: It was founded in 1998 by an American fan of H.O.T. (How Answer Me 1997, eh?) Back then I had only the dimmest awareness of Korean entertainment, largely gleaned from a friend who was attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. Although she was always reporting things like “The Korean Britney Spears is in my composition class!,” the concept of Kpop was mostly a curiosity to us. We were too busy following our favorite American boy band around the country to really care, and I was in fact founding my own website devoted to them. That website—and the whole fandom, really—is long gone now, so I appreciate how special it is to create something lasting on the Internet. When its age is calibrated to Internet fandom, Soompi is probably the equivalent of a thousand years old. (For fun times, check out the old versions of the site archived on The Wayback Machine. Note, in particular, the first item in the list of updates on the left.)
As a newcomer to Kdramas, I’ve found Soompi’s amazingly active forums to be an endless source of fascination. They’re the place to go for behind-the-scenes photos and news updates for current shows, but even more interesting are the threads devoted to old shows. During the depths of my obsession, I swear I read every single post in the 650-page Coffee Prince thread, which made me feel as if I had traveled back in time to experience the show’s original fan reception. It’s bizarre yet wonderful to read post after post debating whether this mysterious Gong Yoo guy would be a good actor or not—looking back five years later, I think it’s safe to say he was a success in the show.
Someday I’m bound to run out of things to say about Kdrama, but that day has yet to come. So in the meanwhile... Onwards!
Note 2. The next time I say something like ”Oh, Korea’s not that different from America,” I would like someone to remind me of the below photo. It’s from a prayer ceremony held earlier this month for the upcoming drama Alice in Cheongdam-dong. Most notable in the image? The head of a decapitated pig, all blue-tinged and...decapitated. Also, the fact that it appears have something into its mouth. What is this, the silence of the hams?
Note 3. There’s a fox in my neighborhood, and I can see why the real animals may have inspired the gumiho myth. I kept being woken up in the middle of the night by an unholy wailing that sounds thisclose to human. I’m not sure who’s more freaked out—me or my cat.