Saturday, August 25, 2012

The King 2 Hearts

Nowadays it's pretty rare that I get the urge to write on my blog. I admit I have been lazy. But I strongly feel I have to write a review on this particular drama before it fades away from my memories, which could only mean that it's powerful enough to impact my current state of living.

The drama that I just finished watching recently is called The King 2 Hearts. It's a fictional k-drama about South Korean prince (or king later on) falling in love with a North Korean military soldier. The genre is a mixture of action and romance. Hearing the title being mentioned over and over again among some k-drama lovers, I tried watching the trailer and decided to watch it because it seemed interesting.

The start of the drama didn't go so well for me. It was kind of boring. The lead male character (Jae Ha - the South Korean king) was acted by Lee Seunggi, and I've seen him before in My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox with a pretty similar characteristics: immature and acting like a jerk. Similarly Ha Ji Won, who played the lead female character (Hang Ah - the North Korean lady), always acts as that strong girl like in Secret Garden or Sector 7. One thing that I've learnt from watching so many k-dramas is if I can finish the first episode, no matter how boring it is, it's probably not gonna be that bad. For some reason the first 2-3 episodes of k-dramas (with the exception of The Greatest Love) always make me bored. With that kind of mentality I decided to continue watching it, and I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a really good one.

The number one reason I feel is the perfect choice of cast. Every single one of them can really act, even down to the minor supporting roles. As I stated earlier, I'm not that fond of Lee Seunggi and Ha Ji Won (I don't hate them either, I'm just neutral) because they keep having similar characters, but still they are good at acting those roles. I feel more content with Ha Ji Won especially, because she displays more range of emotions (and for some reason prettier haha..) than in Secret Garden. Lee Yoon Ji, who acted as princess Jae Shin - Jae Ha's sister, is as good as usual (she was that teacher from Dream High season 1), or I should say even better. Jo Jung Suk was already good in What's Up?, but I only became his fan after watching this drama. He had the same awkward character like in What's Up? as Eun Shi Kyung - Jae Ha's right hand man and Jae Shin's bodyguard, but Eun Shi Kyung is 100% stronger physically and mentally. Jo Jung Suk is simply a fabulous actor, his portrayal of his character is just perfect. It's impossible not to fall in love with Eun Shi Kyung, he's such a sweet guy. In fact, I'm actually more of a supporter of Shi Kyung - Jae Shin couple than the main Jae Ha - Hang Ah couple. Yoon Je Moon played as the bad guy, John Mayer/Bong Gu. I've seen him before playing as the bad guy too in Midas, but here he's even better. Same with that foreigner lady who played Bong Bong (or Bon Bon?) - John Mayer's sadistic underling. The fact that they both creeped me out throughout the entire drama just proves that they are really good actor/actress. As I stated earlier, even minor roles like the WOC team members, the head of the palace maids, John Mayer's secretary, and those nasty politicians were acted really well too.

As far as the storyline goes, it kept me in suspense. Except the first two episodes, it was interesting and made me want to keep watching. The last one and a half episodes were unnecessary though. The idea of the problem is good and it could have warranted another arc in the story, but it wasn't developed long enough. For me it felt like they put it there just to make the drama longer. There is also one part where I felt so so so disappointed with the writers, but I guess that's more of my preference and has nothing to do with the quality of the storyline. I won't spoil it here in case you want to watch the drama, once you watch it though I'm sure you can tell which part exactly I'm talking about. The ending is good. My criteria of a good ending is it doesn't make you feel you just wasted your entire time watching the drama/movie. You know, there are those films where the story was actually good but just because the ending sucks (whether it was done abruptly, didn't really tell the conclusion, or just sucks in general) you feel that you just wasted your time (yep, I'm talking about you, Flames of Desire and Introduction to Architecture). But yeah, this drama didn't make me feel like that, so it's a good watch.

The King 2 Hearts passed my criteria of highly recommended dramas: I couldn't stop thinking about it even after it ended, which made me search for behind the scenes videos and cast interview articles online. So yeah, if you're looking for something to watch, try this one :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Lasik Experience part 1

Yesterday my eyes went through a now-common procedure called Lasik. This is something I had wanted to do ever since I got engaged and started to plan my wedding. I'd been living with my glasses since I was in middle school and I had no complaints. It's just that only for this one day, my wedding day, I didn't want to wear my glasses. Contacts were not an option since I wasn't comfortable touching my eyes and putting on eye drops. Anyways, as much as Lasik had been so common nowadays and I'd known so many people around me that got it done, I was still super scared. I'm not gonna go into that much details so that I won't scare people who are gonna go through it soon, but you probably have heard how Lasik procedure is done (if you're still waiting for your appointment time, I suggest not to watch any Lasik videos because it might freak you out). Really, the procedure is quite invasive. All this time my biggest worry was, what if something went wrong and I went blind? Thank God everything went well and I'm perfectly back to normal now. I have a pretty good experience, I thought I should write about it while it's still fresh in my mind.

I started with going online and find places with good reviews. Generally it's really hard to find reviews for medical related stuff, but I managed to find two clinics with several good reviews. After narrowing it down to one, I immediately called and scheduled my free exam. I was already nervous by the time I went through the exam. I repeatedly told the nurse and doctor that there were three different things that made me think twice about getting Lasik: getting my eyes touched, having to use eye drops, and becoming blind if something went wrong. They assured me that so far there had never been cases where someone went blind (even if there were, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't say that lol, but I don't care as long as it calmed me down). With eye drops, they asked me to buy lubricating drops and started practicing with it. As far as getting the eye touched, they also said they had been touching my eyes this whole time. I just didn't feel it because they used the numbing drops. Well, the clinic managed to assure me and I booked my procedure time immediately.

The appointment was still a month ahead, but I decided to google and find out more about people's Lasik experience. That was a bad move. Reading those made me freak out and I was so tempted to cancel my appointment. Luckily I remember people raving about some funny TV show called Shinhwa Broadcast so I decided to not think about Lasik at all and started watching the show instead. Boy, that show was super funny. My days were filled with Shinhwa Broadcast until I reached the week before the appointment day (while practicing my eye drop technique of course). The week before, I started preparing for my days after Lasik. From cleaning my dirty apartment, paying all my bills in advance, until buying food ready to eat for the next few weeks. I felt like I was ready to go to war!!! Hahahaha... Right then, my colleagues started asking me if I already made an arrangement to go home after the procedure. I told them I would go home by taxi. They said that wasn't a good idea since the eyes would hurt so bad ('burning hot' is the term they used), and what if the taxi driver took advantages of it. What got imprinted in my mind was the word 'burn' and I started freaking out again. I told my colleagues to help by stop talking about it, and I went online to read the good reviews for the clinic again. That calmed me back again, and to top it off I started watching other funny TV shows by Shinhwa since I finished the Shinhwa Broadcast.

The day of the procedure finally came. I got off work early, had lunch at home and took a shower, and went to the clinic by taxi (at the last minute I found a friend to pick me up when it's done). Surprisingly I was doing really good. Even until that morning I didn't feel nervous at all. I was still able to sleep, eat, and do everything normally. But as I was waiting for my turn to come, I started feeling the nervousness creeping up on me. Oh shoot... I felt like running away. I took out my phone and started looking for Shinhwa videos again when my name got called. The staff brought me to a 'personal waiting room' where I could do anything while waiting. They asked if I would like to take a mild sedative (calming meds), which I said "please". To my horror, the medicine came in the form of capsule >_< I was the kind of person who couldn't swallow medicines. Tablets were okay before I could chew it (it's bitter but I get used to it). I asked them to get me a spoon so I could take the medicines inside, but what's worse the capsule couldn't be opened!!! Oh fine, I put it in my mouth and tried to swallow it but it just wouldn't come in. I was forced to chew the capsule until I tasted the bitterness of it then I spit out the capsule container. Whew, first obstacle conquered. Next, the staff gave me a briefing on post-procedure care, what I should do and shouldn't do. She then gave me an ipad to play with while waiting for my procedure. Well then I should watch more funny Shinhwa videos!!! Apparently I became a fan ever since I watched Shinhwa Broadcast lol.

In the middle of watching and laughing, the doctor knocked. He said he would do one last exam before performing the procedure. I sat on the chair thinking of all the exams they had done a month before, but the only thing he did was looking at my eyes with bright light. Suddenly the staff started putting hairnet and asked me to lay down on the procedure bed. Before I could think of anything else, the bed moved and I was under this bright light. They put numbing eye drops, covered one of my eyes, taped my eyelashes of the other eye, put the eye ring (something to prevent you from blinking), and the light started blinking. Mannn it started before I even got a chance to think about anything! There were red light, green light, and some moment of darkness. I couldn't really remember much because I was just too nervous to pay attention to anything. I just remembered the machine sound making a countdown '30 seconds', '15 seconds', etc., which made me do my own countdown with my fingers xD The procedure itself was painless, it just felt like someone push or put a pressure on your eye. Things happened pretty fast and suddenly they moved to my second eye. I couldn't feel anything earlier but for some reasons, I was able to feel what happened on my second eye. Either the numbing drops had slightly worn off, or it didn't get enough of the drops. But since they already started and it didn't really hurt (I just felt my eye was being touched here and there) I stayed quiet and just sucked it up. Within a few minutes everything was done. Oh wow that was lightning fast!!! Immediately I was able to see! Thank God I didn't go blind! I started smiling and laughing with the staff, but I think I had been piling up the stress, worries, and nervousness. Because it was finally done, those feelings were released and my body started shaking/trembling by itself.

The doctor gave me a protector sunglasses which I should wear even to sleep for the next 24 hours. He reminded me to do all the post-procedure care instructions before he let me go. My eyes were able to see clearly when I was in the procedure room but when I got to the car, I felt like I was seeing through an old scratchy plastic/glasses. Contrary to what my colleagues had said, my eyes didn't feel burned at all. Throughout the ride home, my eyes produced excessive tears, which changed my voice too as if I had been crying. At that time I probably would be able to act in a sad movie and win the crying awards xD Because of the excessive tears though, my vision was blurred. It was like trying to see underwater. As soon as I got home, I took the recommended 4-6 hour nap. I couldn't really sleep because of the sticking sunglasses frame under my eyes, but even with only 3 hours of sleep, my eyes were back to normal. Hooray!!! By the next day, I was even able to drive myself to the clinic again for the 1-day checkup.

All in all, I'm quite satisfied with my Lasik experience. It's uncomfortable, but painless (I'm really bad with pain so if I say it's painless, it's really really painless :D). Still, it's a scary procedure. So unless you really have to, I wouldn't recommend it hahahaha... But if you really want to, I will confidently say, "You'll be fine. It's gonna be alright." I would like to say thanks to the staff and doctors at the clinic for performing my Lasik successfully; to my friend Mr. EI for agreeing right away to pick me up even at the last minute; to my husband for assuring me that everything's gonna be okay; and of course to Shinhwa for the laughs which kept me from running away xD

I'll continue with my post-procedure stories in the next post. For now thanks for reading :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

L'Arc~en~Ciel Concert 2012

Last week at this exact hour, I was at the Madison Square Garden in New York to watch one of my favorite bands: L'Arc~en~Ciel. I feel really nostalgic so I thought this might be the best time to relieve my memories and write about my experience.

I had always wanted to attend Laruku's concert so when they announced that they were coming to the US, I decided that I had to go no matter what. I went to Ticketmaster as soon as the presale started, but the front section ran out in about 8 minutes. I was too late and could only get the further ones.

As the concert date drew near, I kept having a mixed feeling. I was very excited to see Laruku but I also worried a lot about it (blame my worrywart personality). Seeing them live had been my number one wish for more than eleven years so I had a very high expectation. But their recent songs were not doing it for me. What if the songs that they sang were those newer ones which I didn't like at all? To be honest, I had been into K-Pop so I had not been listening to Laruku at all. I didn't remember any lyrics of their old hit songs. What if I couldn't sing along and enjoy the concert at all? It all came down to: what if they failed to meet my expectation? But this is Laruku we are talking about. They were so awesome and delivered a stunning performance. To my surprise, as soon as they played the intro, all the lyrics came back to my mind and I was able to sing along, dance, and jump around. I enjoyed it each and every second I was there.

Anyway, before going to the concert, I had checked online the concert goods they were going to sell. I was only interested in the hooded towel, but I think $70 for a towel is just too much. Since I didn't want to buy anything and every ticket is a fixed numbered seat, I decided not to go there early. The concert started at 8, but my fiancé and I arrived around 6 pm. Laruku concert wouldn't be complete without a glow stick, so I purchased one. I had always wanted to wave a glow stick like those fans in Laruku DVDs ^^ I thought I could do some people watching, but there weren't that many people with weird or flashy clothing. There were some, but not as many as during VAMPS concert a few years ago. The door finally opened maybe sometime around 7:30. As I had expected, my seat was soooo far away from the stage. Practically I won't be able to see anything on stage and could only rely on the big screens. I was glad that I asked my fiancé to bring his binocular, which helped a lot later on to see everything up close, to the point that each member's facial expressions were visible.

While waiting for the concert to start, I opened my glow stick packaging and was totally disappointed that I got the yellow color. I wanted blue the most, but everything else was fine as long as it wasn't yellow. I kept complaining and complaining, when suddenly the lights went out and everyone started to cheer. I stood up spontaneously and turned on my glow stick. Apparently it wasn't yellow but green! Cool!!! I couldn't believe that my dream to see Laruku was going to come true. I was way too excited that I was dazed and unable to grasp what was going on, so the opening was a little bit too hazy for me. With the help of Youtube videos, now I remember what the opening was like xD The screen displayed each member's name, then there was a movie of four people being encapsulated (reminds me of the Final Fantasy movie), with hyde opening his eyes, punching the screen, and the screen broke into pieces (in the movie, not real). The stage went dark again and suddenly the real hyde appeared under a spot light, singing solo for a little bit before finally joined by the entire band.

This is how the concert goes.
  • Ibara no Namida (いばらの涙)
    This is the first song in the concert. As written above, hyde sang the first verse alone without any musical accompaniment (the stage was dark and only hyde was visible), then the stage light up and tetsu, ken, and yukihiro appeared. Forgive my inner fangirl, but hyde is soooo gorgeous ♥
  • Chase

  • Good Luck My Way
  • hyde MC
    What's up New York!!!!
    Where are we?
    Yeahhh... *Or something like that. I just heard he made some grumbling noise* xD
    L'Arc~en~Ciel Madison Square Garden!!!
    We are the first Japanese band on this stage.
    *He said something but I couldn't hear it properly*
    We'll show you the best time tonight, alright? Alright!
    Are you ready???
  • Honey
    One of the songs I voted for! Like usual, hyde played his guitar here.

    hyde playing guitar
  • Drink It Down
    Another favorite song of mine :)
  • Revelation
    I had always wanted to see this song performed live, and my dream came true. There was so much energy during this song. Of course I did the yelling part while jumping together with the other fans. At the beginning of the song, both Laruku and the fans (me included) did the yelling part for such a long time. So much fun!!!
  • Jojoushi (叙情詩)
    They played the long intro first. As soon as I heard the intro, I kept telling my fiancé quietly, "My cell phone song! My cell phone song!" LOL. Throughout the entire song, hyde, ken, and tetsu were all sitting down in front of yukkie and his drums.

  • XXX
  • Fate
    Old time favorite. Whenever he sang the chorus I would start jumping like crazy xD
  • Forbidden Lover
    Another old time favorite. But in order to match the sadness of the song, I decided to refrain myself from jumping and just wave serenely.
  • My Heart Draws a Dream


    I was enchanted by hyde's smile *o*
  • ken MC
    ken did the MC in English. He looked so cute reading it from a piece of paper. While it was a little difficult to understand because of his accent, I really appreciated that he tried speaking in English. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to understand him at all.
    Welcome to ### *I couldn't catch what he said*
    I came to new york a few days ago and I went to American Museum of Natural History because i love the movie "Night at The Museum".
    I asked the taxi driver, "Is American Museum of Natural History the museum in the movie?"
    He smiled and said, "Yessss!"
    I saw ### *didn't know what he said* and the American Indian and king by the entrance and I got very excited.
    At box office I asked again, "Is this museum in the movie?"
    He said, "Million people have asked me that."
    One of them *indicating himself*
    I didn't see ### *didn't hear it again* inside but do you know where he is?
    Where? Ha??? Haaaa??? Oh oh oh oh oh.
    *He said something here but I couldn't catch it again*
    I saw a lot of naked mannequins, almost naked so i took a lot of pictures *so typical of ken. LOL*
    The museum was so big. I got tired so I went back to hotel.
    By the way I bought a souvenir for yukkie.
    *He walked to the drum and give a bag of souvenirs to yukkie*
    *yukkie took out a box of monopoly from the bag*
    American monopoly!
    All four members of L'Arc~en~Ciel will play monopoly together at the hotel tonight.
    I bought a mug for myself too because it was very cute *laughing to himself, which made the audience laugh at him*
    *yukkie took out a mug and put it in front of his drum*
    Very cute. ### *didn't get what he said again*
    Enough of my talking
    Are you excited???
    Do you enjoy us?
    Do you enjoy us? *he said us, but he actually pat his butt*
    Ass? *pat his butt again*
    Not ass *pat his butt again*
    Us *pointed to himself*
    Sorry, I'm stranger here *I think he said stranger, but I might be wrong*
    Let's do next song, Caress of Venus
  • Caress of Venus
    At the beginning of the song, there were black ribbons/confetti falling from the top. I loved how hyde danced. Sway here and sway there xD
  • Driver's High
    Another song where I could join the yelling part "Clash!" and "Flash!" while jumping around ^^
  • Stay Away
    Laruku didn't dance like in the music video, but the big screen was showing a bunch of human graphic dancing along to the song.

  • Ready Steady Go
    The big screen was showing the text Ready Steady Go in giant green font. At the beginning there was some fireworks/pyrotechnics which shocked the heck out of me xD

  • Intermission
    The big screen showed a graphic of people making a wave, so all the fans followed and made their own wave (me included).
  • Anata (あなた)
    Before the band appeared, the big screen showed the chorus lyrics in romaji and the fans were singing along to it. In the middle of the song, hyde made a hand motion asking the fans to sing the chorus, so we sang again. This is another song where I just waved to match the mood of the song.
  • Winterfall
  • Blurry Eyes
    As usual, they stopped in the middle after the part "Why do you stare at the sky with your blurry eyes?" tetsu came out carrying a basket and asked, "Do you wanna eat my f**king bananas? Who??? Do you wanna lick my lollipops?" and started throwing bananas and lollipops to the screaming audience xD He asked again, "Do you wanna hear more?" then the song continued.

    L'Arc~en~Ciel: yukihiro, tetsu, hyde, ken
  • hyde MC
    Did you have fun?
    Thank you so much.
    Thank you so much America.
    We're so excited to be here.
    You are the best.
    Thank you, thank you.
    It took us twenty years to get here.
    Will we meet again?
    Thank you so much America.
    Tonight the last song is Niji.
  • Niji (虹)
    During the song, feathers were falling down to the audience.

  • hyde closing
    Thank you New York.
    Thank you New Yorkkk!!!
    *hyde blew kisses. I almost died from it. LOL*
    Thank you.
    Hope you have a good night.
  • Tetsu closing
    After hyde left the stage, tetsu came and started throwing bananas and lollipops again. He also brought a gold banana (some kind of decoration?) and banana water gun. He squirted some water to the audience before throwing it. He tried to throw the last banana far away, but it fell into the staff area. The staff tried to threw the banana to the audience at the back, but it fell into a different staff area again. One fan ran there right away and asked for it so the staff just gave it to her. tetsu then said "Mata ne. See you again!" and left.


For clothing, tetsu wore grey vest with somewhat red/pink over shirt, black skirt and black pants. His hair is like the usual length but shaved on one side, the color is mixed brown and red/pink. hyde wore black sleeveless shirt, black cardigan, and black baggy pants. His hair is long dreadlock, mostly blonde, but I saw a mixed of black color too (it was not that noticeable though). In the middle of the concert, I think starting at Jojoushi, he wore a somewhat girly somewhat elegant black hat, but still looked good no matter what xD After the intermission, the cardigan changed into white. ken wore all black clothing and the usual hairstyle. yukkie wore long sleeved shirt, skin color with black ornaments, his hair was short. I almost thought that yukkie didn't wear anything on top but just tattooed all over his body. LOL

At the end, after tetsu left the stage I was sooo ready to chant encore but surprisingly everyone just got up and left. I was like, wth? yukkie and ken didn't even come to say goodbye! How can this be?! Oh well, there was nothing I could do, so I was forced to leave the concert hall too. I think the concert took around 2.5-3 hours, but it sure didn't feel like it. I was having so much fun. I wish I could go see Laruku again!!! I can't wait until the DVD to come out so I could recall my memories more vividly.

About cameras, the staff didn't check the bags at all when we entered the concert hall. During the concert, the security kept walking around and "catching" people, telling them not to take any videos or pictures. But in such a large concert hall, it's impossible to catch every person, so you could sneak around and take pictures or videos. Just make sure when the security walk closer, stop taking and hide your camera. I didn't bring any digital camera so I could only take pictures with my cell phone. If you go to YouTube though, there are plenty of nice videos of the concert so go and watch them while waiting for the DVD to come out ^^