Category: ART & LEISURE

Red Sun @ 3PM

Red Sun, Photo by PH Morton

Red Sun @ 3PM

It was a strange day today.  At around 3oClock in the afternoon, the sky turned dirty yellow and then red.  The atmosphere was just like the film or television science fiction came to life.

Apparently this phenomenon was due to Hurricane Ophelia, which sadly battered the Republic of Ireland leaving at least three people dead

The MetOffice has said that the red colouring of the sky is due to the dust being pulled by the strong gust of wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.

The photo, by the way, was taken by Peter from our back garden here in North London.  The sky was red and Peter just managed to take a small sunspot & flare coming off sun’s limb at 3 o’clock position (on the sun).

It’s beautiful but rather disconcerting as it reminded me of apocalyptic films often seen of films and television.

Go Back Couple (Korean Drama Review)

Go Back Couple (Korean Drama Review)

I first heard about this drama a couple of months ago.  I heard it was going to be a Jang Na-ra starrer and I looked forward to it.  Jang Na-ra has a delicate expressive face, which never ages.  I love her, there is always vulnerability to her acting that gets or speaks to you.

Go Back Couple is a time travel drama, shown on Fridays and Saturdays with 16 episodes.

Choi Ban-Do (played by Son Ho-Jun) and Ma Jin-Joo (played by Jang Na-Ra) are both 38-years-old and a married couple who got together when they were both in university.

Fast-forward 14 years on, Choi Ban-Do works as a medical sales rep, not sure what happened as I thought he was studying civil engineering (civil construction), and Ma Jin-Joo is a housewife with a toddler to look after.

Ban-Do is a hardworking man, who does everything for his clients, almost  24/7, that he has neglected his wife and their child.

Due to misunderstanding and hardship of fulfilling their responsibilities, they began to take each other for granted and only ended up bickering when they are together .  They realised that they had married too young and wished they could go back and restart their respective lives.

During an anniversary that they could not celebrate, in the heat of the moment, due to utter frustration, Jin-Joo announced to her husband that she wanted a divorce.  Do Ban-do was at first surprised, but agreed to it.  Within a month, they were divorced.

On the day of the divorce, they both took their wedding rings off.  Jin-Joo dropped hers while aboard a bus and Ban-do threw his outside his bedroom window.  Both rings seemed to undergo something supernatural. Jin-joo and Ban-do experienced an earthquake-like shaking and rattling.

The next morning they both woke up in the bodies of their 20 year old selves.

Jin-Joo’s first scene as a 20 years old was really poignant that it brought tears to my eyes.  She was crying out for her dead mother in her sleep.  But she was being woken up by her mother.  She was so happy to see her.  Throughout the morning she hugged and followed her mother, who said she was beginning to creep out with Jin-Joo’s clinginess.

I love this drama, so much so that I first watched it raw, I just can’t wait for the subtitles. And then watched it this morning with the English sub.  The mother scene still got to me.

I am putting a lot of faith in this drama.  There have been so many Korean dramas that I could only watch 2-3 episodes and I tend to give up fairly early on.

I supposed the storyline of this drama is more appropriate to me, being married.  Don’t I wish sometimes that I can go back in time?  Hell, yeah!!!

Episode 2 is also very watchable. Jin-Joo tried to restart her life but her ex seemed to be everywhere.  On a blind-date where they first met, Ban-do ended up still choosing her but said he did it so he can dumped her.  She followed him out of the restaurant only to find him chasing after his first love.  Jin-Joo was heartbroken.  She comforted herself that at least it is a closure but she heard a little voice and saw the figure of their toddler following her.

She ended up in a flood of tears and mistakenly got into the back seat of Jung Nam Gil’s (second male lead) car, thinking it was a taxi.  I actually want these two to get together.

Again her scene sleeping next to her mother made me cry. huhuhu

I can’t went for next week.

Kakiemon Elephant

Kakiemon Elephant

This Kakiemon elephant is on display at the British Museum.

This is apparently made between 1660-1690 in the Kakiemon style.  Kakiemon is the first to create the enamel porcelain.  What is interesting about this sculpture is that the artist has never seen an elephant.

You might have noticed that the elephant trunk in the photo is pointing downward.  There is a superstition in the east that pointing downward is for good luck.  In the west, it is the opposite.  It should be upward.  Another case of east and west not meeting.  LOL

What do we know about elephants?

  • Their gestation period is 22 months, 2 months short of 2 years pregnancy.  Ouch
  • Their life span is between 50 – 70 years but their was a recorded one of 82 years of age.
  • There are two types of elephants:

Asian (Indian) Elephants which smaller in stature, smaller ears and only the male have tusks.

African Elephants are larger with larger ears.  Both male and female have tusks.  They are               also  less hairy than the Asian elephants.

 

 

 

Ashi Girl (Japanese Drama Review)

Ashi Girl

Ashi Girl (Japanese Drama Review)

After Overprotected Kohoko, Ashi Girl is my new Japanese drama to follow.

I have just watch the first 2 episodes with English subtitles and the 3 one in a ‘raw’ form.  Well it was that good that I had to watch it even if I only barely understand it.  🙂

Hayakawa Yui is  a 16 year old girl, who lacks motivation in her studies.  She is a bit of a tomboy, the one thing that she excels in was PE (Physical Education) more specifically, running.  She can run so fast that  everyone comments that the only fast thing about Yui are her feet.

Yui lives with her house-husband father, a doctor mother and a brainiac younger brother.

One day, Yui went into her brother’s ‘boy cave’ to call him for dinner but found him looking like he was about to commit seppuku, which is better known, I think, as harakiri (belly cutting/suicide).

The brother told her immediately that that was not the case but he has invented a way of going back into the past.  He wanted to send all the bullies from his school to the warring era of the Senguko period.

Her brother showed her the device, which was the knife he was holding, that would send anyone to the past.  Before the brother could warn her to be careful, Yui unsheathed the knife, which catapulted her into the Senguko period.

She was so hungry that she was about to eat fungi growing in the forest.  But warned by a rather handsome young man that the mushrooms were poisonous.  Yui fell in love.

The young man happens to be the crown prince.  He was Hagi Tadakiyo.

Despite her school uniform, the men thought she was a boy and she got recruited to be one of them as a foot soldier.  They thought she was Yuinisuke, the son of one of the villagers.

When she got to the village, Yuinisuke’s mom pretended that she was her long lost son.  The mother knew immediately that she was a girl and she sort of protected her.

From then on, she met a lot of adventure but her raison d’etre was to be closed to the crown prince.

She was back into the present by the second episode.  She found that she was missing the crown prince.  She dreams about him all the time.

So in the third episode, she opted to go back to the past and save the crown prince, who was said to have only 6 months to live according to history books.

Ashi Girl is apparently a manga story.  I have to admit that it is really quite endearing to watch.  Yui and the crown prince are so cute.

So looking forward to more adventures of these two.

I think this drama is composed of 12 episodes.

 

 

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

I have to admit that I was not really into historical action dramas but after watching Yang yang’s Once Upon A time, I thought I should give it a go.

Here are my first choices and both dramas featured Zanilia Zhao, also sometimes called Zhao Liying.

Princess Agents & Legend of Lu Zhen

Princess Agents

Princess Agents

This is a historical drama which currently hold the top rating as the most watched Chinese drama of all time.

As I previously mentioned, the leading lady is played by Zanilia Zhao (Chu Qiao / Jin Xiaoliu / Xing’er)  and the two male leads vying for her affection were Lin Gengxin as Yuwan Yue and Shawn Dou as Yan Xun.

Zanilia was cute and slightly chubby in her previous dramas like in Boss & Me but she lost a lot of weight for this drama.  Probably from intentional dieting or the rigorous training for the kungfu scenes.

I have to admit (I am admitting a lot of things here 🙂 lol) that I am not one for prolong fights like boxing, punching & kicking but in this drama it was done in another level.  It was so beautiful.  I could actually watch just the fighting scenes all day if I have to.  The fight scenes between Ying’er and Yuwan Yue were rather erotic.  Lots of flying into the air, lots of swishing of beautiful and colourful garments and both of them looking bloody gorgeous.

The story was quite memorable (or just probably the leads gave such good performance) that it was so disappointing when it finally ended after 58 episodes.

The earlier episodes grabbed you so tightly that you can’t help yourself but be hooked.

Princess Agents was during the time when Northern Wei was in chaos.  Factions were sprouting against the emperor all the time, due to the state of the region.  Ordinary citizens where captured and turned into slaves.  And this what exactly happened to Jin Xiaoliu.  She was kidnapped to be one of the running maidens to be hunted by ferocious wolves as well as the kingdom’s royalty.  This scene was gloriously well composed and the cinematography was a sensory delight.

Jin Xiaoliu survived the perilous hunt and ended up as a slave in Yuwan Yue’s manor.  He renamed her as Xing’er and started training her in Kungfu.

She found out later (she has amnesia 🙂 ) that she is the daughter of Luo He, the master of Feng Yun order and that she could find all the answers to her question at Yibai, which coincidentally is the principality of Yan Xun’s family.  At this time his family were all slaughtered by the Wei emperor.

The ending is so sad and a tad annoying as it was left hanging.  The gorgeous Yuwan Yue dies while Xing’er who has now reverted back to her original name of Chu Qiao dove into the freezing water to save him.  But with his last remaining straining he pushed her away to survive.

There are so many beautiful scene and a full use of CGI was used.  Some hated it but I just love it.

Highly recommended for good viewing even for just the fight scenes!  Enjoy!

Legend of Lu Zhen aka Female Prime Minister

Legend of Lu Zhen

This is an earlier Zanilia Zhao drama, where she constantly reminded me of Jang Na ra.

Anyway Zanilia played Lu Zhen, a young girl who was very capable, patient and methodical and with a good heart.

She saved a young man from a near death occurrence, not knowing that he was the Prince of Northern Qi dynasty.

Anyway the story is more straight forward that the Princess Agents.  It tells the rise to power from a mere palace maid to the first female Prime Minister of the kingdom.

She also got her man in the end, however she did not get the title of his Empress because of circumstances that foist upon her.

The drama is very watchable and the gorgeous actor Chen Xiao played Gao Zhan so affectingly.

Again, lovely drama of 59 episodes.

I know I have not had a good or enough night sleep for ages.

Single Rider (Korean Film Review)

Single Rider poster

Single Rider (Korean Film Review)

As soon as I’d seen this film was available to see and it had been subbed in English, I  just can’t wait. I had to watch it pronto and I had! 🙂

I have looked forward to this film, I think, as early as late last year when I saw a very brief trailer.

It starts two of Korea’s best actors. Lee Byung-hun and Gong Hye-jin.

Anyway, I am an old romantic.  As I watched the film I thought it would be about the husband turning into a psycho as he finds his wife having it off with her Downunder neighbour. 🙂 A cliche but I do love a bit of a gut-wrenching scenes. 🙂

I wanted them to meet and have a good emotional, heartbreaking confrontation.  Instead it meandered from scene to scene.

The husband just continued tailing people connected to his wife and young son.

At the back of my mind I was still hoping for the big confrontation.

There was a scene, where the wife and the guy next-door engaging in a bit of hanky-panky.  Lee Byung-hun’s character stood immobile just outside the door.  I was so irritated.  I wanted him to knock and disturb his wife dalliance with the beefy neighbour, but no such thing.

Instead there was a surprise, which I am not going to tell as it might spoil your appetite to see a good film.

Anyway Lee Byung-hun plays Kang Jae-hoon, who was a fund asset manager.  Unfortunately his company declared themselves bankrupt after buying bad loans.  He lost his clients tonnes of money, his family as well and his own.   He then had to take responsibilities to his clients.

Kudos to him, he did feel bad for his clients.  So bad that he was on  anti-suppressant drugs.

One night while talking his medication which was washed down by a neat whiskey or brandy, he decided to book himself an e-ticket to Australia.

There he went to see his wife and son.  His wife is Soo-jin played by Gong Hyo-jin.

He sent his wife and son to Australia for education.  He believed in the necessity of learning the English language.

Anyway in Australia, he found that his wife and son were happy.  Soo-jin has taken the violin again and went as far as to audition for the Sydney Opera House.  He felt that he lost them and he was redundant family member.

It was a very sad ending and if you have not taken stock of everything, you will be surprised with the sad ending.

Lee Byung-hun once again gave a very powerful performance which is ably supported by Gong Hyo-jin

It is a ‘lovely’ date night movie.

 

Here Comes October!

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Clematis, Photo by JMorton

Here Comes October!

The month of October is harvest time.  It is Harvest Festival.

I can see glorious amounts of pumpkins and squashes rolling into the supermarkets ready for end of the month’s Halloween.

October also is the penultimate month for pay-days before Christmas!

October is when Christmas shopping starts to really rev up,.

The above photo shows a beautiful clematis, which will soon stop flowering and will be hibernating for the autumn and winter and will come to life again in the spring.  Blooming its mighty flowers, ready to delight the senses once again.

October heralds the last of the summer days into autumn.  The orange days of the year are upon us.

The Eternal Love (Chinese Drama Review)

The Eternal Love poster

 

The Eternal Love (Chinese Drama Review)

I am watching this drama this weekend.

I have just finished episode 1 and I must say, I enjoyed it.

It is a time travelling drama.

A girl from the present time, travels to the past and possessing the body of the Second Daughter, Qu Tan Er of the Qu Family.

Qu Tan Er, poor girl has developed a rather schizophrenic personality.  One minute she is the demure, introverted and shy Qu Tan Er and then she is possessed by the girl from the 21st century who is feisty, modern and self-confident, Xiao Tan.

The back story was that Qu Tan Er tried committing suicide as she was being forced to marry the 8th Prince when she was already in love with the King’s oldest son.

When she recovered enough from her suicide attempt, she became a different person.

I must say this drama is so entertaining that I have just finished watching episode 2.  I was surprised how quick it went.

Episode 2, Qu Tan Er has now become the consort of the 8th Prince.

Episode 24:  Yup it is 12:58am and finally finished last episode of this interesting and enjoyable drama.  It is full of action, and beautiful sceneries.  There are also yards upon yards of beautiful free-flowing Hanfu costume.

And the actors are so flawlessly gorgeous.

Most importantly, if you wanted romance, this sure is big, I mean huge in romance.  The kissing scenes are so sweetly erotic.

Love this drama. It is not flawless because some of the dialogues (or probably the English translation) would leave you feeling mehhhh!  Like when ‘Old Weirdo” said that the Demon king has grown really powerful and became an expert in Martial arts.  That was funny.

If you are feeling nostalgic in living in the past, wearing all those beautiful flowy hanfu, think again, apparently your family can be your own worst enemy.

So much so that I shall be watching Princess Agents or is it Agent Princess. 🙂

And last but not the least to mention is that it has  beautifully haunting original soundstracks (OST)

77 Heartbreaks – Film Review

77 Heartbreaks – Film Review

I watched this film late last night and I quite enjoyed it.  It was very interesting concept, pity the script was not well written. But there a very good germ of idea in there.  🙂

The story would have been more believable and would have appealed more to lovers and those who had broken up if the writer did not try to make the story a makjang or a series of circumstances.

The story is about a woman and a man who have been together for the last 10 years.  Over time, the woman started to feel as if she was taken for granted by her boyfriend.  She was not his priority anymore.

And just to elaborate on this, they were supposed to be going out for a movie, which the girl had bought tickets for two weeks ago.  She was waiting for the man, who said that he was in the middle of traffic, but really in a wine bar.

As she can’t wait any longer, the girl wandered into a shop, where she saw beautiful colourful notebooks, which has 77 written on the cover.  She got talking to the owner of the shop and apparently the notebook is some sort of diary.  To diarise transgression of a love one 🙂 ( I think, I was so tired I can’t cope with the subtitles).  Apparently 77 is the magic number or the maximum you can forgive faults of those you are in a relationship with.

Eva, the leading lady, bought a pink one and the first entry to her diary was the non-show of her boyfriend, Adam, to their movie date.

Before long, Eva had her 77 instances why she was falling out of love with Adam.  He was self-centred, immature, in with the ladies and lack common sense.  Who would buy a white chesterfield sofa, so huge there was nowhere really to put it?  Yes Adam.  Who in their right mind would say they quit their job while in the middle of foreplay?!!!  Adam! He was a lawyer but quit his job to become a mentor in kick-boxing.  Oh Adam! 🙁  Who would go on a holiday without finding out how to get to the destination?  Adam. Who would give a ring box without the ring but a pink paper folded in small heart shape, saying she has his heart.  Adam! 🙁  Who would go drinking and come home, half dead and sick.  Adam!  Who would comfort you when you have a family emergency, like when your father died?  Not Adam!

After so many of these unlovable moments, Eva had had enough and packed her bags.

Before Eva’s scent can fully evaporate around their flat, Adam brought home another girl and even promised to marry her.

The film is rather one sided.  Adam had so many faults but Eva have as well but the script did not show this.  I supposed the script was concentrating on getting the 77 heartbreaks 🙂 🙂 🙂

Anyway, Adam got hold of the diary and realised why Eve left him.  He was curious to know what was on the 77th?!!!  He told the current girl he was living with the he still loves Eve.

During a wedding party of Eve’s friend, Adam sabotaged the wedding presentation to proclaim that he wanted Eve back.  It was strange that the married couple did not scream and shout when their wedding day was hijacked?!!!

Anyway Eve had a change of heart when Adam said that Eve did not give up on Adam immediately because she knew that without her Adam is lost.

Awww

Next scene, Adam and Even went back to their flat.  While in the bathroom, Eve found a pick contact lenses case.  She then knew that Adam had had another girl staying in their flat.

She left again and this time for good, when it was the end of the film.

By the way the 77th reason was that Adam did not use protection with her, so she got pregnant.  Adam said that if she gets pregnant, there is no problem, as he will marry her.  Seeing that he was so immature and untrustworthy, Eve had an abortion without telling Adam.  She is a bit of hypocrite, how can she have an abortion without telling Adam.

I think the film is quite good, if only the script was written better.  In any case, it is worth a watch!

 

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