I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

The Host and the BBQ March 24, 2007

Filed under: movies & film,restaurants — Raven @ 11:56 pm
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Those should actually be in the opposite order since we ate the BBQ before seeing The Host (no, we did not eat the host). I went into The Host expecting a suspense-heavy thriller with some comedic moments. That wasn’t exactly what I got. There’s one brilliant moment near the end that involves a clumsy guy and a firebomb (for those of you who haven’t seen it and are planning to, I won’t say more), but overall I came out of it thinking they could have done better. C’mon, Korea, if you’re planning to conquer the US with your movies, you’re going to have to give it better than that. And I know you’ve got better than that because I’ve seen you do better than that. Please.

So anyway. Now back to the BBQ, which really should’ve come first, since that’s where it belongs chronologically. The BBQ is called 잠숮골 and is located on Olympic a little east of Crenshaw. If you want to know what it’s called in English, you’re out of luck because it isn’t called anything in English. There’s no English sign. I had mixed feelings about the restaurant. The food was fresh and tasty (the place is a charcoal BBQ and I now smell like smoke, especially my hair). The staff was friendly, and they were pleased with Bon V.’s attempts to speak Korean (I chickened out). The ambience was pleasant and they actually have a lot to park in. But (there’s always a but) the prices were on the steep side and, worst of all, I wasn’t full when I left. If I had been full, I could’ve forgiven the prices. But I wasn’t. So I can’t.

So that was today’s stop: Korea (unusual for this blog, I know). Tomorrow’s stop: India with The Namesake. But I will be skipping the Indian food. Just not my thing.

잠숮골
3700 W. Olympic Blvd
(about 4 blocks east of Crenshaw)
Los Angeles, CA 90019

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The best place on earth March 12, 2007

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 1:43 am
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So I exaggerate a little now and then. But I have to say the Koreatown Plaza is my new favorite place. And to think it was pure chance that I ended up here after lunch with an out-of-town friend and some in-town friends. I will definitely be going back, I don’t know when, but I have a feeling there’s some kpop with my name on it somewhere in the record store.

For today, I scored a HUGE bowl of green tea ice cream. Okay, so it wasn’t as huge as what you get at Coldstone if you order their bigger sizes. But what I was expecting based on the size of the bowl and the price ($2.50) was a pitiful scoop like you’d get at most L.A. independent ice cream shops. But no. The man kept piling on ice cream. I’d say he gave me two large scoops. He was also the recipient of my first communication in Korean with a Korean. When I said thank you in Korean, he broke into a smile.

I also picked up a book at the bookstore. My original plan was to buy a book I’d read in English so I would already know the story as I was trying to get through it in Korean. And maybe I should have done that. I almost bought The Little Prince, which I’ve read in French (I can’t remember if I’ve read it in English), and my mom has it in Russian (I can’t remember if I’ve read that one either). I figured if I bought it in Korean we could make it a tradition: for every new language, The Little Prince. But I didn’t end up buying it. I hesitated over some classics I hadn’t read in English, much less Korean, although I sort of semi knew the stories. But finally I bought Momo, a book I’d heard of in, of all places, a Korean TV drama. So I have now purchased my first Korean book.

I was one of maybe four or five non-Koreans in the plaza, and one of them was with me. Actually I only saw one other non-Korean there besides the one with me, but I’m allowing for one or two extras who may have been lurking around unnoticed. But I didn’t feel out-of-place particularly. Well, maybe a little. But I loved it there. I’ll never pass for Korean the way I do for Russian, but that obviously isn’t stopping me from developing a love for the language and culture.

P.S. According to a site I found, the Koreatown Plaza was the only shopping center in Koreatown to be untouched by the L.A. riots (since it’s entirely enclosed). I had no idea the riots went that far north. I thought they were all down in south central… Kind of scary. It’s not all that far from me.

 

I made myself cry March 8, 2007

Filed under: kdramas — Raven @ 6:55 pm
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Last night was a first for me. It was the first time something I was writing made me cry.

Okay, that’s a lie. But it was the first time I’ve cried because what I was writing was GOOD. And that’s true. Granted, I was in an emotional mood already, having been crying off and on for the past four hours or so as I finished up the final four episodes of the Korean TV drama My Girl (see photo). The Korean letters, in case anyone is wondering, read: ma-i geol (I don’t think my transliteration is standard, but just try pronouncing it and you’ll see it’s Koreanized English for the series title).

So anyway, after finishing the drama, I opened up my novel to remind myself where I was. I usually do that last thing before I sign off the computer every night, because if I want to write at lunch the next day at work, it helps if I remember where I left off the night before. But this time I ended up writing a bit more. And while I was writing I started thinking about the relationships between my characters and how sad their lives were, and before I knew it I was crying a little. Not a lot, but still. It was a first for me. A good first. I wonder how many more times I’ll make myself cry now that I’ve started. I have a feeling this novel could get very cry-worthy as I keep going with it. There’s going to be some pretty emotional stuff coming to the fore for my characters. And I love these characters. So we’ll see.