Hello to our lovely MDL friends. We ajummas are here again to share our responses to questions asked by you. If you have some wonderful words of advice to share please comment below. Unfortunately, we cannot watch every single drama (as much as we'd like to) so there may be some dramas that we may have missed in our answers. Please let's hear your input! :)
Enjoy this month's Ask-an-Ajumma column!
"Hello Ajummas, since you asked for more questions here's mine^^ Do you have any dramas that you completely loved, but that didn't receive that much attention? The underrated ones, that you want to make all of your friends watch? I always like hearing about these hidden gems from others, so if you have any like that, please share your choices :)" - risingsun
Dear fellow addict,
Sometimes I think my type of dramas don’t actually appeal to the majority of the audience. I am a big fan of melodramas and slice of life so I have plenty of titles to list but if I have to talk about the most underrated ones, I would mention:
Tonbi: I was so impressed with this drama that it took me a week to get out of the post-effects it had on me. This drama was a wonderful take on a captivating relationship between a father and his son. Tonbi was a very heartwarming plot with realistic characters and life lessons to die for. Japanese dramas have this way of delivering interesting life-related themes that make you completely connected to the plot. It’s an inspiring story about the concept of family and feelings that cannot be described. I got so teary because of this drama and its precious lessons.
Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake: This drama is one of those hidden gems; it’s definitely a tragic melo but if you get past that barrier then you would enjoy one of the most captivating dramas ever made. Being a Japanese drama – and therefore comparatively short - it’s notable to mention that Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake can take you through an emotional ride and without noticing, you will get caught in no time. Just prepare your state of mind before watching it. It was absolutely one of the better melodramatic romantic dramas I’ve ever seen.
Mother: Just another incomparable masterpiece. This drama is a touch of brilliance. It was one of the better-written dramas I’ve ever seen; the interactions between leads never leave you the chance to doubt their fight and struggles. It’s another punch of realism that makes you connect with its characters and learn from them. I was especially impressed with the acting especially the child actress Ashida Mana. God, the little girl can teach grown-up actors some precious lessons.
I just noticed that all my choices were Japanese dramas. It’s not that I don’t watch other countries’; it’s that I believe Japanese dramas of my favorite genres are the most underrated and even overlooked. I know my tastes don’t actually appeal to a large part of the audience, but if I have to state my hidden gems then these three would be on the top of my list.
-- Romantic A
"So, I don't know how to say this but I'm about to tie the knot with a man I'm not in love with .. I had my share of heartache and unrequited love and eventually decided to embrace my bachelorette life style .. then this chance came by .. a 10 years older male with hefty paycheck whose mainly interested in my family's social status .. for someone who seems unemployable like I'm and whose sick of living off of their parents money it kinda sorta mighta thought seemed like a good idea .. I know that you think I'm making a huge mistake, can you recommend a drama that may talk me out of it?" - colorful_smile
Oh sweetie, this is a really tough question to answer. I can share a few dramas I've seen. But no matter what choice you make, please don't regret whatever decision you make. Marriage (whether for love or by arrangement) is a very serious commitment and does require very serious thought. If you're going to choose a life partner, you need to make sure that person is compatible with you. Think carefully before making such a big commitment. It's a decision that will affect the rest of your life.
That said, here are some dramas where the question of marriage shows up (some in a not-so-obvious way): Mary Stayed Out All Night, Marriage, Not Dating, Hana Yori Dango/Meteor Garden/Boys Over Flowers. Then there are dramas where matchmaking services are used to one degree or another - whether individually or as a group - like: Love Marriage, 101st Marriage Proposal, and My Pig Lady. And finally, marriage and/or relationships should not define your personal happiness. In Around 40 and Last Cinderella, both female leads don't rely on marriage to make themselves happy. Even though both characters do want love (and find it) and even though they are both concerned with getting older, they are comfortably happy in their life and pleased with their chosen careers.
I hope these dramas are enough to get you started. Though I'm sure there are quite a few other dramas that may inspire you (any romance drama might be suitable). So have fun watching and I truly wish you the best - no matter what decision you make.
-- Introspective A
Why do Japanese dramas always look so cheaply made? I assume the Japanese networks aren't that poor so why don't they make better quality productions? I mean, what exactly are they spending thier money on if on their product?
Sincerely, A Fan With High Standards"
Dear Fan with High Standards, thanks for this interesting question. Indeed I was lucky enough to be able to watch quite a few Japanese dramas so far and I can see why they could seem cheap compared to other nationality's dramas.
However, I would prefer to use the word ‘simple’ rather than the word ‘cheap’ because it better represents the fact that they focus more on feelings and interpersonal relationships rather than on cinematography, photography, luxurious sceneries or clothing. It could very well be a cultural aspect of their society. As far as I am concerned I appreciate Japanese dramas especially because of their dry and direct representation of their stories without too many distractions.
Another aspect to consider is that lately the viewership ratings of Japanese dramas have gone down a lot therefore producers probably prefer to invest their money in other types of entertainment for their public
-- Chatty A
"Hi! How can I handle watching all the dramas I want? I still haven't even finished watching drama's that have aired in 2014, so how are people able to watch everything on time for the next drama released? Thank you!" - otakusk
Really good question!! I wish I had a half decent answer… LOL! Honestly, I feel the same way, I know a few people who are watching so many dramas all at once and they’re all caught up and everything and I’m overwhelmed with like 8-12 airing shows. I don’t know how people who have jobs and families do it. I can tell you that it takes up too much of my time. I don’t regret it, but I spend X amount of time sitting in front of a TV. My suggestion to you is find the ones that you REALLY like and just watch them. Worry about the ones that you didn’t get to later when you can marathon them. <— I tell myself that all the time, but I haven’t been able to marathon a show in FOREVER because I’m too busy with my currently airing ones. *sigh* The drama world is hard to keep up with no matter what you do. Just make sure that the shows that you’re watching are worth your time. It’s a lesson I’m still trying to learn. I have a hard time quitting a show. Hahahahahaha! FIGHTING!!
Side note: Some people watch some episodes and then skip some and read the recaps. That’s a tip to help you out as well, if that’s something that interests you at all.
-- Obsessive A
"Dear Ajumma :)
When I started to watch dramas, there was one thing that immediately caught my attention - the food. Of course we all know drama food looks delicious and leaves you craving. However, what caught my attention was not the food itself, but the fact that they are actually eating it! All the time!
I'm from Germany and in our TV shows people don't eat. They might sit in front of a table overflowing with food and butter their bun or cut their meat, but they seldomly actually take a bite. It ends at this "preparation" to eat. In Korean (and basically all other Asian) dramas people eat - a lot and constantly. They even make dramas about eating ("Let's eat") :D
Is this a cultural thing? Talking with food in your mouth is considered very ill-mannered here, maybe that's different in Asia - therefore the actual eating isn't interfering with the dialog? And aren't the actors/actresses having a hard time re-shooting scenes (might mess up their daily calorie intake^^)? How is this handled in ajumma's respective country?
Your over-analyzing Valier"
Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.
Interesting query “Valier,” where to begin… Food along with eating styles is very cultural as you mentioned in your question. Korean, Indian, German, Japanese, British, Thai et al are all guilty of having nuances which are culturally acceptable for one yet culturally odd for another. Neither are wrong it depends on your perspective. Even the simple task of “good” food is subjective depending on your cultural culinary norms. For many dramas, food is an expression of the human emotions. A book & movie that sublimely connects the two is "Like Water for Chocolate" by Laura Esquivel this is a deeply emotional love story told through food, demonstrating the connection of human emotions & food. The book & movie are magical! Eating manners are also tied cultural norms thus many distracting scenes of mouth gushing - mushing food offers a glimpse into the emotional & cultural state of characters portrayed. Check-out the movie Soul Kitchen. It’s a delicious, free-spirited story of food, friends, and rock & roll set in Germany - great fun times watching. As for actors' consumption and calories, I can only guess they chew & drink onscreen NEVER to digest, they are way too thin to do anything else. If you are looking for something to engage all your senses & emotions try Babette’s Feast - book & movie is a story of two women and their relationship with their maid with major themes of the work include references to food and contrast. Finally darling Valier, in my country food has lost its focal point for the family, shared moments with friends & quality bodily nourishment resulting in a “take-away/fast food” nation mentality. The art of sharing a meal, breaking bread, drinking wine/tea is not done with regularity due to our busy & distracting countless activities. So, the next time you are invited to eat - share a meal with others you’re starring in your own drama - have fun!
Consider this darlings, “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
-- Bookish A