Kimchi Family Episode 3

Welcome back to Kimchi Family. In episode three we meet the final two cast regulars and important characters of the over arching arc of the story. More characters come and go like the daily specials of Heaven, Earth and Man but these two have special significance to the Lee family. I forgot to show last week’s recipe, Japanese Apricot Kimchi so here it is:
Japanese Apricot Kimchi
That looks so beautiful and tasty! We here in the United States tend to think of cabbage kimchi as ‘kimchi’ and don’t realize there is a huge array of varieties. It’s like thinking that all sandwiches are ham and cheese because that is the only kind of sandwich you’ve had.

First we find that Woo Joo is dragging Kang San with her to check on Eun Bi. Woo Joo has noticed that Eun Bi was eating instant ramen and her restaurateur’s heart is outraged. They arrive at the dingy building only to discover Ho Tae has also arrived and is lurking outdoors. Ho Tae can not admit to being worried about the child, but neither sister is fooled. Woo Joo, whose kind heart and simplicity of nature moves her forward into the unlocked apartment door, and finds an unconscious and unresponsive Eun Bi.

When I first watched this show, I was VERY worried for Eun Bi even though she was in the credits as a regular cast member. I had just watched my first ever K Drama, where in they killed a child, and I did not trust anyone to ever live in any K drama.

Ho Tae and the sisters rush her to the hospital, where the doctor, mistaking Ho Tae for the Eun Bi’s negligent father scold him for neglect. As the doctor chides Ho Tae for Eun Bi’s malnurishment you can see each word as a hammer blow into Ho Tae, spurring a deep seated hurt and rage.

Eun Bi returns with Ho Tae and the sisters to Heaven, Earth and Man and Woo Joo declares her intention to keep and care for Eun Bi. Do Sik is the one to put Eun Bi to bed in the sister’s room. His tenderness in doing so belying his impassive face. Kang San is worried that they will be prosecuting for kidnapping .

The next morning the sisters are consternated as Eun Bi refuses to eat.  They sit and try to comfort and coax her to no avail.  Ho Tae, just outside the room, seethes and fidgets until he can no longer contain himself  and barrels into the room yelling, “Do you think crying will make her come back?! You have to learn to live on!” As the sisters sit horrified, Ho Tae’s own hard learned truths come spilling out from him.  He leaves and to the astonishment of the Lee sisters Eun Bi begins eating.  Recognizing the truth in Ho Tae’s words does more than all the best intended comfort.

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Ho Tae tracks down Eun Bi’s father.  He discovers that he is a woman beating, gambling addict who does not care if Eun Bi goes to an orphanage.  Further, we discover that Eun Bi’s mother was a hostess bar woman. Clearly Eun Bi has no advocate other than the denizens of Heaven, Earth and Man. Already we see the beginnings of Ho Tae’s reformation.  Although he dearly would love to beat Eun Bi’s father, he restrains himself on the off chance that Eun Bi might be unhappy over it later in life.

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Ho Tae discovers that Eun Bi has been pretending her mom is around to keep from going to the orphanage.  She discovers that Ho Tae is also an orphan, and a bond is formed between them.  Ho Tae tells Eun Bi that she will live with the Lee Sisters.

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Kang San corners Ho Tae about Eun Bi’s absent father. As Do Sik quietly listens in the kitchen, Ho Tae tells Kang San and Woo Joo about the man’s lack of character and his promise to Eun Bi.  Although Kang San is worried about finding Eun Bi’s extended family, neither is she willing to ship Eun Bi to an orphanage.

Kang San sits by her mother’s grave and sing the Wine Song.  She begins to understand that a child’s happiness is paid for by a parent’s weariness and worry.  As she is considering, Woo Joo calls her.  Their father has sent a shipment of seaweed to the restaurant.

We discover that as Mr. Lee has been gone he has become roaming the countryside trying to trace the boy we know as Ho Tae. As he does he serves others by cooking for them.  As he provides them a meal he is relieving them of their burdens for a short while.  The small kindnesses having an outsize effect upon their lives, the interventions a ribbon of goodness. Mr. Lee has started a new diary, letters to his late wife, chronicling his journey to find “the Boy”.

Back at Heaven, Earth and Man.  Kang San understands that the seaweed is a message, homework of a sort.  As if the work “homework” conjures her, at the restaurant arrives Eun Bi’s homeroom teacher.

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Eun Bi’s homeroom teacher is there to collect Eun Bi and take her to the orphanage.  Before they could even enter the house, a man arrives asking for Mr. Lee.  Informed that Mr. Lee is gone, the man asks for whomever is in charge of Heaven, Earth and Man.  Ho Tae responds by asking who he is.  The man ignores Ho Tae, increasingly demanding request before snapping out, “Who are you?”

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Ho Tae’s thin skinned response to a perceived deficit in manners, sets the tone of rivalry with the new man and does nothing to smooth the ruffled feathers of the teacher. The new man is a chef who heard there was an opening. Kang San upbraids both men for their childishness and Do Sik brings and end to the squabbling with a short authoritative word.  He bades the chef to wait as the teacher is brought down to the house to settle the business of Eun Bi.

The family learns that no one meets the qualifications to officially adopt Eun Bi, none of them married and experienced with children – even when Do Sik speaks up to volunteer.  Furthermore, they do not have any explicit or implicit permission from a parent to keep her.  Eun Bi’s father not listed on Eun Bi’s birth certificate. As usual, even though Kang San expresses reservations within the family about the wisdom of keeping Eun Bi, she is united in front of strangers to the family consensus that Eun Bi must live at Heaven, Earth and Man.  When Eun Bi pitifully comes out to stop the escalation of voices by offering to go to the orphanage, the teacher relents that Eun Bi may stay the weekend.

The chef, Oh Hae Joon, creates a sample meal for them.

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He studied at CIA in New York and says he wishes to practice more traditional Korean food. Kang San is suspicious.  Woo Joo is welcoming.  Do Sik says they need more hands, but the sisters should still prepare the kimchi and set the menus.

Kang San confides privately to Do Sik that she is not ready to take on Heaven, Earth and Man.  Kang San understands that that Heaven, Earth and Man is more than just a restaurant, it is a ministry to people.  Like anyone asked to assume a mantle of import, Kang San knows that it will become her life’s work and she is afraid to assume it.  Do Sik tells her to not worry, to follow her heart and the kitchen will be waiting for her to take it when she is ready.

Kang San also finds time to sit with Eun Bi, telling her that she should run and play and not only work hard. Eun Bi says that she has to work hard because she has been abandoned.  Kang San tells her that the abandonment was a mistake her mother will regret. She tells Eun Bi that she should forgive her mother, as Eun Bi is forgiven for making mistakes. She promises Eun Bi that she can stay with the Lees again, that they will find a way. Kang San has continued the relationship begun by her father, already beginning to do the work he did from the kitchen of Heaven, Earth and Man.kimchi 3.8

Mr. Lee asks at an orphanage if they remember seeing the child, holding a photo of Ho Tae.  The orphanage workers deny knowing him, but one runs to make a frantic phone call in private.

During the dinner rush, Woo Joo walks over to the teacher’s apartment with a bundle of food. While not entirely guileless, Woo Joo hopes to change the teacher’s mind about Eun Bi, Woo Joo’s main aim is to show caring to the teacher and draw her into the circle of community that Heaven, Earth and Man fosters.kimchi 3.9

As Eun Bi and the sisters set the table for the evening meal Ho Tae tries to remember more about the day he lost his father.  As he searches his memory he remembers a yellow truck and someone telling him to forget it all.

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Fated To Love You: K Episode 8

Gun has been slowly falling in love with Mi Young and when we left them last, Gun looked like he was about to take things in a whole new direction.  Come join Firnlambe and I as we discuss just how brave Gun is willing to be even when his world turns upside down….again.

Continue reading Fated To Love You: K Episode 8

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Fated to Love You: K Episode 7

Last episode left us with unexplained emotions starting to well up in our leading couple as well as  an intense staring contest between our leading men. Well brace yourselves dear readers, because this episode will have you *Squeeeing* your way through most, if not all, of it. Join Wendilynn and myself (firnlambe), as we watch Gun start to finally recognize the budding feelings that have started to grow deep down inside his heart and attempt to cope in the best way he knows how….

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FATED TO LOVE YOU: K Episode 6

Gun’s warm feelings for Mi Young start to really develop in this episode, leaving us the viewer with some fun moments of jealousy.  Gun, split between the woman he’s supposed to love and the woman he’s supposed to hate, finds himself struggling to keep boundaries in place. When he sees Daniel bringing Mi Young  home, he bristles.  Join Firnlambe and I as we  talk about how we felt watching Gun start to fall in love.

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Fated To Love You: K Episode 5

Finally!! Emotions have finally started to shift, even though the involved parties have yet to notice their respective change. Join Wendilynn and myself (firnlambe), as we watch episode 5 put our newlywed couple to the ultimate test. Keeping up the illusion that they’re your typical happy couple. Can they successfully fool the Lee family all while trying to continuously keep each other at arms length whenever they’re alone?

Continue reading Fated To Love You: K Episode 5

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Fated To Love You: K Episode 4

Gun is in shock and locked in a room. A decision needs to be made and thanks to Mom, Mi Young and Gun have to talk it out.  I only wish people would stop making unilateral decisions.  Come join Firnlambe and I as we discuss developments in episode 4.

Continue reading Fated To Love You: K Episode 4

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Kimchi Family Episode 2

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Welcome back to Kimchi Family episode two –  a day late despite my best intentions. We pick up the episode as Ki Ho Tae returns to Heaven, Earth and Man and declares his intention to help out at the restaurant until Papa Lee returns.

Ho Tae is given a chance to prove his kitchen chops, and the result illustrates the dynamic that rules the familial relationship. Woo Joo, big hearted and always looking for the bright side of things, is immediately impressed with the result and votes to keep Ho Tae on. Kang San, suspicious and self confident, points out all the flaws in the dish and votes against Ho Tae.  The sisters appeal to “Uncle” Do Sik, who while quiet on his opinion of the food’s taste, points out that they really need the help at the restaurant.  Kang San overruled, Ho Tae stays.

Kang San and Ho Tae exchange words, Ho Tae accusing her of running away in her determination to sell the restaurant while Kang San defends that he doesn’t understand the family.  She walks off to the kitchen and tries to understand what motivated her father to leave. As she looks at the pile of ingredients to be prepped for the next day, she thinks she knows the next day’s dish.

Ho Tae asks questions of Woo Joo, trying to ferret out information to confirm or deny whether or not the father he can’t quite remember is Mr. Lee. Woo Joo, on whom guile and subtext are wasted, answers Ho Tae but sheds no light on the situation.  She goes back to care for the baby that had been abandoned at the restaurant, and while pondering her own mother has an epiphany. Finding Kang San, the sisters confirm their conclusions about the next day’s dish and set about making it.

As they cook, Ho Tae looks though Mr. Lee’s room.  He finds a journal detailing Mr. Lee’s returning customers, not only their favorite foods but family history, health needs and well being.  He also finds a picture of Mr. Lee and himself at age 8.  He remembers more of the day he was lost the memory expanding to include an amusement park and being taken to an orphanage where he is given the name Ki Ho Tae after Don Quixote.

The sisters meanwhile, remember their mother teaching them to prepare the Japanese Apricot Kimchi. As little girls she taught them, likening the ingredients to family members, all different but working harmoniously together.

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Ho Tae sits by the kimchi pots in the dark contemplating the picture, and Kang San, finished with the next day’s kimchi comes out.  Before they can talk, she sees someone lurking in the dark behind Ho Tae. Kang San and Ho Tae chase the intruder who gets away.  As the whole house calms from the uproar, Kang San returns Ho Tae’s earlier insight with a little of her own.  She accurately deduces the circumstances of Ho Tae’s exile from the gang and tells him that her father will come back when he needs to. His questions prompt Kang San to wonder long into the night about what could be so important as to pull Mr. Lee away from his whole life at Heaven, Earth and Man.

The next morning Ho Tae’s ignorance is exposed as he can’t even correctly wash cucumbers. Disgusted, Do Sik rescinds his support of Ho Tae’s presence. Kang San reveals the depth of the financial emergency to Dr. Han and Grandpa, the two regulars of such long standing that they insinuate themselves at the family breakfast table. Ho Tae pleads with Do Sik to give him a chance saying he’ll work at anything to stay.

Kang San intercedes with Do Sik unbeknownst to Ho Tae, explaining she is brought Ho Tae home because of his great hunger and it seemed she was following her father’s ideal of feeding the hungry. To make a difference one person at a time. Do Sik stops Ho Tae from leaving and puts him to work doing every grunt job around the restaurant.

Kang San returns to the French restaurant to get her job back and in the course of her conversation with the new boss, realizes how important Heaven, Earth and Man is. She loses her temper and walks out after telling the boss that a Korean chef who doesn’t value Korean cuisine will never be successful. Before she leaves, her subordinate gives her the contact info for the head French chef in France.  Kang San returns to Heaven, Earth and man to work.

Kang San finds her father’s customer notebook.  As she begins to look through it.  Woo Joo calls her agitatedly.  The mother of the abandoned baby reappears.  She is a young high school student.  Regretting the abandonment of her child, she returns for her, having seen the notice on the menu board that the baby had called Woo Joo “mom”. The family feeds her and encourages her to return home to her parents with the baby to make a fresh start.  Woo Joo is stricken at the loss, and the normally taciturn Do Sik is angry. The turmoil drives Ho Tae to contemplate a broken watch – the only link to his missing father.

We meet the first of two persons interested in buying Heaven, Earth and Man: Jung Hyun Suk, owner of a large corporation, she seems to know Mr. Lee quite well. A bit later we meet a man directing things to be taken care of without fuss.

Kang San, after contemplating her father’s customer journal decides to not sell, but hang onto Heaven, Earth and Man as long as she can. Kang San reclaims the apron her mother made for her as a child.

Ho Tae’s gangster boss is trying to find Ho Tae.

Ho Tae and Woo Joo run across Eun Bi, the small girl who used to come to Heaven, Earth and Man.  Eun Bi says that her mother tells her to eat at home these days.  Woo Joo accepts this, but Ho Tae is more skeptical, although he says nothing. They leave but we see that Eun Bi is living alone in a dirty, water damaged room, living on instant ramen.

Kang San, happy with her decision to stay enjoys makgeolli at the family dinner table. Uncle tell the sisters that they must create the daily menus, all they have to do is remember the food they ate growing up. In high spirits Kang San, with Woo Joo, remembers a song taught to them about tasting wine from their parents.

Have some, have some
Have a cup of this wine
This wine is not wine
This wine is our mother’s tears
This wine is our father’s sweat
Don’t say it’s bitter or sweet
Have a taste with your heart
Don’t be sad
The myeongsasibri rose buds fall
When spring arrives next year
you will bloom once again Our pitiful life
is like a floating rootless weed

 Have some, have some  – Have a cup of this wine

The paulownia tree
in the bright fall moon
reminds me of my wife
and saddens me
Does my wife think of me?
Or am I alone in this thought?
In the morning’s cold frost,
the wild goose cries and leaves

I hope for news of my wife
The overflowing clouds
are empty of noise

Ho Tae sees Do Sik fall quietly into the warmth of the song and shared memories, and realizes that he is part of the family now.

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Fall in Love with Me Drama Club updates

The angst and love amp up in these two episodes of Fall In Love With Me.   Poor Tian Xing and Le Si are being torn in two by very selfish family members.   Firnlambe, Aunnie and I  give our two cents worth.

Episode 13

Episode 14

 

 

 

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Drama Club: Trot Lovers Episode 5-8

Our Dramafever Drama Club has been having a lot of fun together.  Here’s the recaps for episodes 5 – 8

 

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

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Fated to Love You: K Episode 3

All hell breaks loose for Episode 3 as Gun and Mi Young discover that his Grandmother’s prayers have been answered.  All Gun wanted to do was marry his Se Ra.  It seemed enough, right?  Some (dragon?) juice later and he’s made love to the wrong woman.  Se Ra has run off to New York to follow her first love and Mi Young is now stuck facing the hardest decision she’s ever run into.

It all starts with Gun showing up at the law offices that Mi Young works at.  Mi Young was hoping to never run into her handsome stranger and low and behold, he’s a client.  Only…. he’s not so happy about the lawyer recommendation they are giving him.

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Firnlambe: Priceless . . . just priceless. And Gun’s laugh, very appropriately placed.  Side note–I remember where I’ve heard it before. It sounds very similar to Doko Jin’s laugh in The Greatest Love.
Wendilynn:  I couldn’t stand Greatest Love because the male lead was so smarmy.  I never did understand the appeal of that character.  I just cracked up at this.  The opportunity of a lifetime just slipped through his fingers.  Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow.

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The heads of the Lee family, feeling insecure because Se Ra has run off are now hedging their bets against the fear that Gun will die an early death and leave them childless.  They bring in the illegitimate younger son (played by Choi Woo Sik of Rooftop Prince) and his mother to live and work with Gun and their Grandmother.

Firnlambe: This mother/son duo seems more conniving than the originals . . .
Wendilynn:  I’m surprised they decided to make a family council that they have to accountable to. There are all sorts of issues this story deals with that would be much more difficult to smooth out if you have a bunch of “reputation to be protected” family watching over your shoulder.

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Our sleazy lawyer still has not learned his lesson.  He approaches Mi Young to try and force her to help him get on Gun’s good side.  Word to the wise, don’t let the new boss hear you threatening the girl he’s championed. Your job prospects go downhill really fast.  (cameo note, can anyone verify that it is Choi Woo Sik, who plays the younger brother, who comes rushing in as an observer as a no name office worker with two female office workers?  He makes the neck slit motion after he says to fire the trash)

Firnlambe: This scene made me wholeheartedly ship this couple. I adore that Gun stands up for Mi Young in her work place while conveniently firing the man who’s been troubling her. Mwahahahaha!!! Let the subconscious attraction begin!
Wendilynn:  The look on his face seems to say, “Thank you for giving me a reason to get you fired”.   Gun was awesome in this moment as gallant knights usually are.

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Good advice is hard to find, unless you have someone gentle and sensible in the next booth over.

Firnlambe: Damn you Choi Jin Hyuk!!!! I had no problems–none–in ignoring Dylan as a SLS catalyst . . . but you–you are portraying Daniel so gentle and sweet, that it’s difficult to not go “awww”
Wendilynn: Daniel is quickly becoming a favorite.  I’m more attracted to the softer gentle types over the brash and manly types, so his portrayal is right up my alley.

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Gun finds out that the Island President was successful in keeping his scandalous video.  A trip to the lawyer informs him that while he has the right legally to sue them, all it would do is make him look like the big bad wolf. Looks like compromise with the islanders is necessary. Too bad the shiftless young brother finds the USB and makes a copy.

Firnlambe: See . . . didn’t I say they were conniving. Correct me if I’m wrong Wendilynn, but weren’t the originals not nearly so quick on the evil plot points? or am I mixing up my information.

Wendilynn: No, you are correct,  the hapless pair were more relaxed in the first one.  Mind you, they only had Grandma to deal with and she loved her younger grandson. There was no family council that had to be appeased. In this one, they’ve made them far more conniving to fit the situation.

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How much more can this woman make his heart break?

Firnlambe: I adamantly hate characters like Se Ra, who believe their “loved” ones will never leave them no matter how terrible they treat the opposite party.

Wendilynn:  Gun has patiently waited for her for six years. This is not her first time ditching him.   She has every reason to believe that she can step on him over and over again and he’ll never leave her.

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Mi Young is the youngest daughter of a very fierce Mama Bear. Its easy to take this woman has big and brash, but she is always looking out for her girls. Whether they want to or not.  Having to tell such a woman that you’ve gotten yourself knocked up…. not the easiest or safest proposition.

Firnlambe: I found this scene to be very realistic. That was refreshing. Not often do we get to see such a real reaction from a drama. But I still preferred how she found out in Taiwanese version more.
Wendilynn:  The T version uses a lot more campy humor, but I’ve noticed that seems to be a trend in Tdramas.  This version is trying to make it seem more realistic and I’m not sure if I really like it or not.  It loses a measure of its adorableness.  However, I do like that the sisters aren’t as dumb as they are in the first one, even if they aren’t as silly and fun to watch.

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Mama Bear is fit to be tied, Gun is in her sights and he has no clue which way is up.  When Mi Young finally clues him in, he can’t hardly believe that its real.  Mama Bear is sure he’s nothing but a weasel who has used her meek daughter but Gun is not that sort of guy.

Firnlambe: I disliked how Gun’s character was introduced to the family. I really liked how he eavesdropped in the original version, I felt that gave him an excuse to become more emotionally attached to our Post-it girl.
Wendilynn: I have to agree with you completely here.

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Daniel is on the hunt for his sister and gets a tip.  A girl matching his sisters background and description has been found.  Could it be his lost sister?

Firnlambe:  Have I mentioned how much I love hate Daniel? Seriously…

Wendilynn:  I don’t think so…. I mean… not in the last few sentences. 😉

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The best news of all just reached Grandma’s ears.  She needs an heir as soon as possible and Se Ra was not going to be accommodating.  This is probably one of the few times you actually are happy to hear that not only did your grandson sleep with someone not his fiancee but that he knocked her up as well.

Firnlambe: I was worried I wouldn’t like this actress as our grandmother . . . but this scene changed my opinion. She’s just as excited in this version.
Wendilynn:  At first I think this was his mom.  I’m glad she is the grandmother though.  I also like Daniel’s reactions with her.

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A long conversation needs to take place and Mama Bear knows exactly how to make that happen.  Gun is out of his depth and Mi Young would like nothing better than for it to be all over.

Firnlambe: I liked this scene just as much as the original . . . but I would have preferred the wishing box to include the wish of having someone love her. I know they connected them via their dead parents, but the same wish to be loved was much more meaningful.

Wendilynn: I missed that as well.  That particular wish also connects the audience to their story because we all carry that wish in our hearts as well.

So  Grandma is happy.  Gun is in shock.  Mi Young is scared and feeling desperately alone.   Mama Bear is fit to be tied.    What is in store for our fated lovers?   We’ll have to check out episode 4 and see.

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