My Beautiful Girl Mari

In the Korean animated film, My Beautiful Girl Mari, adult Nam-woo remembers his 12 year old self, who struggled with coping with his mom’s new boyfriend who’s awkwardly trying to win him over after his father dies. At school he encounters trouble from a bullying snarky girl. His one friend Jun-ho is even more bungling and awkward than Nam-woo, but Jun-ho is soon to leave for school in Seoul.

While at a stationery store with Jun-ho, Nan-woo discovers a magical marble while enables him to escape to a lyrical, pastel fantasy land inhabited by an ethereal blond girl. Yes, that sounds very non-PC, but it’s cool and Nam-woo does deserve some respite.

The film is quite realistic in portraying issues modern Korea teens face – uncertainty with fragile families, aging grand parents, and school bullies. I think the film’s more suited to adults because of the frame of an adult looking back on his life, but there’s nothing objectionable that’s on screen that would shock a child.

The art is done using Illustrator and has a simple look. It did look like something many people could achieve with a bit of training, but that’s not bad. I liked that the animators made the most of cost-effective tools. The scenery was authentic. I liked that in some instances the setting was an old, dilapidated light house. In American animation, everything seems so new and perfect. In My Beautiful Girl Mari most of the scenes just looked real.

This 2002 can be enjoyed by age 11 and up. Made in 2002, it proved that Korea has a lot to offer the world of animation.

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Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday Theme Images - 428  21 July 2018

Hat’s off to hats. For Sepia Saturday I thought I’d see what hats I could find from different countries. I searched through Flickr Commons for these.

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Korea, Source: Cornell University Library, 1904

 

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Japan. Source: National Library of Denmark, 1925

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USA, Internet Archive, circa 1863

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Australian War Memorial collection, 1913

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Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, n.d.

For more Sepia Saturday photos, click here.

Word of the Week

Jeong (n.) Human warmth and mutual sacrifice.

This word comes from Ask a North Korean, which I’m currently reading. It’s in a section describing the economic conditions. When you’re poor, people value jeong as the way to help others and to have the right attitude to band together and survive.

ESL Watch

ESL Watch is a very useful website for teachers looking for jobs. Like Yelp or Trip Advisor it offers reviews of employers worldwide in the field of English as a Second Language. If you want to avoid a horrible job, checking this site can help you steer clear of the dodgy employers.

Like anything, you have to discern whether the reviewer is a hot head or the employer pretending to be a satisfied teacher. Despite this, it’s a step in the right direction.

The Last Princess

The Last Princess (2016) captivated me with its dramatic history. It’s a film about a Korean Princess named Deok Hye, who lived from 1912 to 1989. Her father was Emperor when Japan was invading most of Asia. The Japanese wanted to control him, but couldn’t so they poisoned him. A few years later when Deok Hye was 13 she was sent to Japan to be educated. Though she didn’t want to go, she did to protect her mother.

As she grew, she realized she would never be allowed to return to Korea. The Japanese feared that this young, determined woman would stir up rebellion. When she was young, her father had hoped she’d marry Jang-Han Kim comes to Japan hoping to find a way to save her. He’s an officer in the Japanese army, but works with a group of underground rebels, who’re plotting to get the princess and her uncle back to Korea and to attack the core leaders of the Japanese army.

Throughout the film, the main villain isn’t a Japanese officer, but rather a Korean turncoat, Han Taek-soo, who was behind the emperor’s poisoning and will stop at nothing to please the Japanese by manipulating and spying on the Korean royals.

It’s decades before Deok Hye has a real chance to return to her home country. Along the way she bravely faces hardship, sorrow and betrayal.

Japanese Ice Cream

Ice cream is a summer delight, but somehow Japan adds its own spins, usually cute ones, to icy treats. I just happened upon Simon and Martin because YouTube thought I’d like them. Maybe because I’ve been watching 2Hearts1Seoul videos by a couple in Korea.

I just read that in a given week more video minutes are uploaded than were produced in the last 30 years of television. I’m not sure whether they’re counting all the television produced worldwide, while counting all worldwide YouTube videos. (Statistical problem there if they are.)

It’d be cool if a couple or family in China had a YouTube channel, but how could they with the sanctions and censorship?

Korean Skin Care

When I went to Seoul a couple weeks ago with my friend Tanis, she really noticed the Koreans’ beautiful, bright and clear skin. She was awfully impressed and made me notice.

Back in Jinan I did some investigating and this article in the Wall St. Journal caught my eye as did an article in Allure. Intrigued, I’ve been scouting around for shops that sell Korean skin care products. It’s something of a challenge and new hobby. So far I’ve found seven. I’ve been to Tony Moly where I started with a purchase of 3 sheet masks. I didn’t think I’d like them, but wow, my skin is so soft after I use them. My new routine is to use them on Saturday and Wednesday mornings.

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After reading the Wall St. Journal article and checking out some blogs like Soko Glam, I figured I ought to try this two-step cleansing. The idea is you need to use an oil-based cleaner to really get your skin clean and follow up with an ordinary cleaner. So I went back to Tony Moly, which is in Parc 66 downtown and got their Lemon Oil cleaner, mainly because I figured it would smell good and it wasn’t too expensive. That’s a great thing about a lot of these Korean products — they’re easy on the wallet. (Though you can get some pricey department store items that cost $159 for a 4 ounce jar.  No, thank you.)

On my second trip to Parc 66 I found banila.co down the way from Tony Moly. There I got Clean it, another kind of cleanser, which I alternate with the lemon cleanser. What’s great about banila co is they give samples. Bravo!

I knew I needed or wanted something to exfoliate so I’m trying Skin Food’s Rice Mask Wash Off. I found Skin Food at Shinmao International Mall.

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I’m not up to a 10-step regimen and doubt I’ll go that far, but I’m sure there will be more. In the mean time I’m educating myself with videos like this one by Joan Kim. I like that she does these in Korean and English. I admire anyone who’s bilingual. Watch with subtitles.