Enablers in our midst

Several years ago when I had just embarked on another of my harebrained kdrama-related schemes, I sent an email to a few pals to let them know what I had done. As expected, instead of telling me to rein in my impulses, they read my email and exclaimed in unplanned unison, “Way to go, thundie!”

What my pals should have told me but didn’t was this: “Are you mad? A forum for an OLD drama that most people have not heard of and don’t care two dimes about? It’s not going to last a month, sweet deluded one.”

It turned out my friends were both right and wrong. Hardly anyone posted, but the Eyes of Dawn forum (which subsequently expanded to include Sandglass in a desperate effort to drum up interest) did last a good twelve months or thereabouts before I decided to call it quits. But that’s not the point of this post.

What I’m trying to get at is this: I will not be where I am today as a card-carrying kdrama addict if a bunch of people had not aided (and abetted) my addiction. Thanks (and no thanks) to these enablers, I fully expect to be watching (and hopefully still blogging about) kdramas well into my old age.

Among the few that I told about the EOD forum and who responded with typical “I’m supporting you all the way” encouragement was Totuta. If I must trace my beginnings as a fansubber to one person, it would be him. Totuta was the one who translated and timed the subtitles for the 2003 drama Attic Cat and then shared them on a website he created. A Korean studying in the US at that time, he also subbed Ruler of Your Own World (ROYOW), Sandglass, and Ireland.

Long before the major kdrama fansubs groups were established, Totuta was a one-man show in the fledging kdrama Internet community. Because of our shared love for ROYOW, we became good friends. I still have in my possession a collection of pics that he sent to me which showed the places where the drama was filmed. I also remember vividly the time when Totuta secured for Goose, a fellow addict, seats to a live performance by 3rd Line Butterfly, the Korean indie band that sang some of the tracks for the ROYOW OST. Totuta, who had finished graduate school and returned to Korea by then, even took Goose to see an attic apartment like the one in Attic Cat.

Both Totuta and Goose were my early enablers. Two years after knowing Totuta, I would write to a newly-formed fansubs group called Written in the Heavens Subbing Squad (WITHS2) and ask if I could be part of the team. My reason? It was time to pay back. It was time to follow in my pal’s footsteps.

As for Goose, in those days when I didn’t have a clue about downloading raws and joining them to subs, she downloaded drama after drama for me. Not once did she gripe, “It’s so easy. Why don’t you learn how to do it yourself?” No, she simply gave and gave, dropping Attic Cat and ROYOW and Sandglass and other dramas into my open palms. Nowadays, if I sometimes feel a tad weary about downloading and uploading dramas for people (staying up late or waking up early to catch the links), I just have to remember what Goosie did for me years ago. It’s the quickest way to snap out of any self-centered whining.

Others enabled me by demonstrating how it was possible to blend two loves: writing and kdramas. I was stunned by how eloquently (and passionately) friends like Eloise, Dahee Fanel and X could write; I lapped up and lusted after their reviews. Highly intelligent people all of them, yet their critical discourses were on a seemingly frothy genre, one that wasn’t offered in college? Now you tell me. When Javabeans wrote midway through her Dal Ja’s Spring recaps, “If they sell Kang Tae-bongs, I’ll take two,” I fell off my chair. How could one blogger hit the nail so precisely on the head and sum up in one mere sentence the entire charm of a drama? Take me as your apprentice, JB!

Despite their influence, enablers will never admit that they fed (and fueled) your addiction. “Me? I’m completely innocent” is how they will ward off all accusations, even as they are sending off lengthy instructions on how to set up a kdrama blog or how to take screencaps. Is it any wonder then that there’s no end in sight? Do you understand now why ceasing your Twitter-stalking of k-actors is nigh impossible? Not when your friends are gleefully egging encouraging you to keep plugging away at your new hobby.

To end, who are the kdrama (or k-movie) enablers in your life? Are you one yourself?

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37 thoughts on “Enablers in our midst

  1. Way to go! Thundie 🙂

    YOU, your so called prattling is my current k-crave enabler 🙂

    *now watching JeJoongWon, and loving every minute of it!

    you’d come a long way indeed, keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Javabeans and Girlfriday, ockoala, Thundie and Ender’s Girl, in order of my discovery of your sites. Reading your reviews, thoughts, rants, rhapsodies has kept my love of K, J and T dramas alive even if my eyes are giving out from reading the subs and I have to rest it for a while. I get my fix from reading your recaps and knowing that I have a lot to look forward too once I resume my addiction. I have been a fangirl for almost seven years and still going strong. Watching the characters be brave and seize the moment has given me the impetuous to try something different or maybe its just a midlife crisis moment fueled by watching too much drama. I know that even in an unfamiliar environment I could count on you to make me feel at home.

    • Hah! eggsackly the same I would list as enablers too!

      also wanted to say how EOD and Sandglass really affected me deeply.

  3. Ah, I’ve always wondered about how you could so selflessly give your time and energy to contributing to the kdrama community, and after learning about what Totuta and Goose did for you, it reminded me of the film Pay It Forward. No wonder there are so many great folks in this community.

    As for my own k-drama enabler, I’d have to say my family. The tv was always on in my household growing up, and being Korean, they were k-dramas by default. The addiction level of the rest of my family is so high that it would have actually been strange if I did not grow up to be a k-drama addict myself.

    But I can think of two people who inspired me to start blogging about it. One is thundie, you, of course. Reading your eloquent and witty reviews made me want to attempt it myself as well. And the second is the “Ask a Korean” blog. Reading through threads and fan forums, I noticed many people mix up culture and phrases they find in the dramas, and like what the blogger from AAK did for more general issues, I wanted to start a place to disseminate correct information about the culture and practices often seen in dramas.

    • Oh, and in deciding what to watch, I usually watch the first episode myself and then decide. But I’ve also missed out on many great dramas this way, so I pay special attention to the recommendations of three people whose opinions I trust: my mom, Bella, and thundie, you again. Oh, and I also like to follow/stalk to see what dramaok is watching lately.

    • Hi Blue,
      Started reading yours and Bella’s blog this week, haven’t gone through the whole site but I like what I’ve read so far Chitchat with Mama Blue (Uncensored), love the bonding activity and honest opinion of your mom and how she takes you to task for even implying/hinting however vaguely that a drama sucks he he he… A tribute to Jejoongwon I will get around to watching this drama someday, I have a lot of catchup to do but I will get it done.

  4. I have to say that my very first enabler was my cousin, who went to a school with lots of Asian friends and learned about dramas early on. After listening to her ranting on about something called Goong, I finally caved and made her give me her iPod with the first few episodes on it…and you probably know the rest. I literally went crazy about it, crazy enough to watch it on an itty-bitty 1 x 1.5 inch iPod screen (at that time, I had NO IDEA where to find a streaming site, let alone download and subbing site).
    Then when I had embarked on the great ocean of kdramas, I happened upon Javabeans, when she had only recently opened her site. Then it was on to you, Thundie, and Dahee, GirlFriday and Ender’s Girl, and all the others on your blogroll that I visit daily. Reading your blogs feels like there actually is a group of people as crazy and dedicated as I am to small television dramas of a small, foreign country, lol. I love all you guys!

  5. hello Thundie , it’s always so nice to read from you . I have discovered k-dramas by myself absolutely by chance seeing footage of Heo Jun on Arirang and thinking : oh what wonderful outfits made of silk ! And I tried watching and I began thrilled and now I faithfully watch every drama Arirang shows . I had not Internet at that times .
    When I got Internet I just tried to have some information on a drama I was watching on Arirang and I discovered that it was possible to watch kdramas on Internet . It was Mysoju and I thought that I did not understand english anymore when I read ” fedding your kdrama addiction ” ; I thought it was so stupid to call it an addiction ! But I had put my finger in the jampot and I could not take it off !
    I found javabeans browsing on Internet and then I found You dear Thundie . It was through SKKS that I first send comments .
    So finally I get to the point : I am just watching President through your recommendation and I really enjoy it a lot : what a great drama far from the usual melodramas . Thank you for enabling me to watch a good drama . It’s the first time I follow someoneelse ‘ s advice .
    It’s impossible yet to watch Seoul’s sad song and Shin Don : I can’t find them anywhere online .
    I am very fond of your blog : thank you !

    • Hi alex, thank you; you’re so sweet.

      Since Seoul’s Sad Song (aka Conspiracy in the Court) and Shin Don are both subbed by WITHS2, you might want to check out Crunchyroll to see if the two dramas are being streamed there. Both Crunchyroll and Dramafever are WITHS2’s partners.

  6. Ah the enablers among us. 😎
    I actually started on k-dramas on TV on azn – and then started in with dvds, and then found the on-line k-drama blogging world after azn died (you can blame Thank You for that – azn died mid-series)
    JB – I didn’t unlurk over there for a long long time, but she had the listings of the incidental music from Coffee Prince that started my OST obsession….errrr…collection.
    The aja-aja ladies. Need I say more?
    Semi-fly – bless her heart – continuing the enabling over on soompi
    Thundie – you got me to review. Actually put my name (or at least this version of it. 😎 ) to something on the internet. YIKES!
    dahee – the twitter enabler and head of the church of the shameless.
    mousie – who finally got me to actually USE livejournal.

  7. We say evil enablers, but you just got to love ’em!!!
    I won’t trade anything for the time I’ve known these wonderful people that fed and fueled my addiction! All my OT sisters and twitter friends are my enablers in my KDrama addiction and fangirl needs. They are all just simply awesome. We know what makes us giddy, and happy so we keep on feeding each other with our ILU’s!! (actually I haven’t been an enabler as much myself lately, I will work harder 친구들!! ) Of course Javabeans, thundie, ockoala, girlfriday, cecilia & semi-fly from soompi and WithS2..
    Nute522 – for making me take that jump to blog which I never thought I will in my lifetime.
    Dahee – I bow to The Master, the goddess, the priestess of the Church of Shameless.
    Kender – in more ways than I can count you are THE evil enabler that really spurred my LJH addiction, thanks for the countless times on twitter that you got my back. Translating, linking, composing, cheering me on without complaint. You’re the best!

  8. Since you’ve mentioned Eyes of Dawn and Enablers in the same post:
    There is a certain enabler (you know who you are!) who was able to get me the first few episodes of EoD and a few other rare, hard to find gems. A heartfelt Thank You to that person. *mmmuah!*

    And I agree, Thundie, EoD really is the OMMA of all war epics. Mindblowing. Just it’s very real and disturbing.
    Javabeans’ blog will always have a special place in my heart for being the first blog I stumbled across when I was but a tenderling in the world of k-entertainment. I first delurked circa WISFC and the rest is history.<3
    And cheers Thundie for enabling me further, providing access to Comrades/Giant/Kyungsook's Father/My Sister's March/Amnok River Flows… This truly is a treasure of a site.

  9. Hi Thundie,
    So glad you’re feeling up to not only blogging but redoing your site! Looks great!
    Don’t know how I first stumbled upon your blog, but of course it’s you who actually opened up a whole new side of Kdramas and gave me the confidence to become part of the posters. Reading everyone’s comments is like adding fuel to the fire – I have so many dramas I want to see now, and I’ve already watched some great ones due to your recommendations! (I did NOT care for the ending to Assorted Jewels, though, but that’s a discussion for another day!) Being on here makes me realize I’m not as crazy as I thought……..so thanks, Thundie!

    • Hi Korazy Lady, I’m with you; the Assorted Gems ending truly sucked! Loved the rest of the drama, though.

      I’m finally done tinkering with the blog. Was pulling my hair out trying to learn how to use the new features, but at least I did not crash the blog as I was stumbling along. So proud of myself, haha! 😀

  10. Well, my first enabler is a childhood friend… she just couldn’t stop raving on and on about the magic that is Bi and Song Hye Gyo and Full House and basically recapped the whole story for me over the phone. Then came the internet and the Youtube age that made it possible for me to watch almost anything I want, for free, with English subtitles. But most of all, I owe this to the awesome, dedicated, hardworking, generous k-drama blogger / subber community. People like javabeans, girlfriday, dahee, X, ockoala, kfrenzy, ripgal, michael, countless others… last but definitely not least yourself! I remember, the first time finding your blog I was shocked to find that you actually provide direct download links to some dramas I really, really, really want to watch… So shocked that I had tears streaming down my eyes while whimpering “too kind. You’re too kind.” (ok maybe this is exagerrated) Anyway, the gist is I’m one of the many nameless k-fans who are forever indebted to you kind souls. On a side note, it’s always nice to hear from you, thundie! Hope all these comments help to brighten your day as your blog does to me too.

  11. Hey Thundie!…hope you’ and you’re bloved are keeping well!…..I dont have any real life enablers unfortunately and I dont visit a lot of online forums or community sites so there aren’t too many ppl that I know that aide my drama addiction except for all the wonderful bloggers like you and JB, DF etc that I visit often…..It started with DB and today I know just about every site/blog that is even remotely associated to dramas….question: What drama/movie/CF is featured in that pic above?…I realy miss Yoon Kye Sang and wish he’d pick something good soon enough

    • Hi D, we’re doing well, thanks. Staying positive and doing all we can to win the fight.

      The pic is from the 2004 movie Flying Boys, a lovely coming-of-age story about a group of friends who end up learning ballet together. Do you recognize the guy in the green tee on the right? That’s Lee Jun-ki!

      More on the movie:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Boys

  12. I guess it would be you if I’m visiting your blog at 3:19 am my time & not working (or sleeping) when I should be but lets see, I’ve just visited Ockoala’s, Dahee’s, JB’s blog & all my lovely twitter friends on twitter. So I guess that is pretty much all of you! Oh and I forgot Mr X & WITHS2. I’ve watched more quality kdramas these past two years because of Mr X’s subs & recs than any previous years. Matter of fact just the 3 following dramas: Comrades, CitC & JXF (finally finished) rocked my drama world so much, I’m pretty much ruined for life now. Luckily I have FOA, Duo & Prez on the lineup. If and when I have a life. And not procrastinating. Like right now.

  13. What a touching post, I’m getting goossebumps reading about your enablers and you gratitude to them (my rational side: stop being so dramatic!)

    I think my enablers are: JB when one day I stupidly typed “good korean drama” on google and somehow ended up reading her coffee prince recaps in one sitting; You for making me unlurk and join the kdrama online community, plus a special mention to your BL recaps (everyone kept saying it sucked and so I had to look for another opinion); dangermousie and ockoala and their styles of recapping led me to try doing it, too (for dream high). :> And this soompier, semi-fly who uploads torrent links that fuel my addiction.

  14. I’m really new on the Kdrama Territory… I came here by myself but I’ve found great people to guide me on these unknown lands, you can call them my enablers: Javabeans, Dahee Fanel, Girlfriday, Thundie, Serendipity, and all the bloggers that write daily making me understand not only a Media Product (aka drama, tv program) but a culture, a language, a country… THANKS TO ALL OF YOU…

  15. Come now, unni. Have you forgotten who it was who encouraged me to start writing about dramas in the first place? I am no enabler; YOU are the enabler for me. ^^ (And so were Priscilla, and Eloise, and Peggy, and Jusash, and TC, and Sophia, and all those wonderful JSAs.)

    And of course there’s our Kitteh, X, who’s always inspired me with his writing and passion and knowledge. And the lovely folks of WITH S2 and Aja-Aja, naturally. And the bloggers: The Dramabeans ladies, you, Ockoala, Serendipity, Ender’s Girl, Sevenses, etc. And nowadays there are the Twitter enablers, always there with buckets and goodies to lure me to the dark side.

    • Oh, and I forgot the biggest enablers of all: My parents, who provided me with boxes full of tapes of old K-dramas, and instructed me to watch them all.

  16. I am on my own…..lol….
    Started in the year 2007, searching for drama Lovers in Paris, because Han Ki Joo is just my dream-man, smart but tough, say yes when it’s yes-say no when it’s no, plus……glasses….. He wears glasses (glasses is my fetish….lol_.
    I watched it in our local station television in 2005. But even after 2 years, that one drama still gives me deep impression. I started looking for any wallpapers, and hunting the soundtracks. Then I landed on d-addicts. I downloaded their srt files. Wondering why the size is so small, are they really the video files….LOL…silly me, I know. Finish downloading, and I still couldn’t open them….I cried a lot, I felt like I was cheated. But I was a student at that time, and Internet was one expensive entity and it wasn’t my parent’s priority. Of course, my parent’s priority was my tuition money, books, etc, etc.
    So, silently I declared my oath, that one day I would have that drama in my hand. Somehow, I believe that they must be somewhere in the Internet, waiting for me to download them, and have our nostalgia moments.
    Entering 2007, I graduated, and started my life as a productive person, working for monthly payment, one of my colleague friends introduced me to Veoh where she downloaded japanese dorama. Soon, I followed her path, and looked for my kdrama crack. Damn, I just couldn’t find them. And not long after that, Veoh is banned……….Again, I cried me a river. I landed again on d-addicts. I see the torrent thing, but I still didn’t understand how it worked. Finally, in 2008, I braced myself and learned how to use torrent. After I knew how to download with torrent, I thought to myself, dang, using torrent is sooooo easy….why I didn’t do it sooner…..
    So…..I downloaded the torrent for my Lovers in Paris….but there are no seeders……..Cried again for the third time…… I even started to save money to buy the DVDs from YA. I was so desperate.
    I also landed alot on Soompi, but I don’t know why I didn’t register until 2008, and stumbled on DramaBeans….etc…etc
    Then one day, I found a treasure, called CryptLoad, FreeRapid, JDownloader…etc..etc.. and I finally gave up and registered to Soompi. From Soompi, I landed on am-addiction. And there I finally found my Lovers in Paris……. The search is over, and the new journey begun. I graduated from a novice into an expert, one sick-k-drama-addict. Learn how to sub the trailer from english to my native language, cutting videos, editing wallpapers, uploading the trailers to youtube, writing fanfiction, hunting soundtracks, start to learn hanguk-mal, writing songs lyrics to my practice book, even remembering facts and names about the actor/actress, etc, etc. Gosh….2005-2008…such a long journey….and now 2011, I am still an addict…LOL…
    Thanks for this Thundie….It’s really fun, remembering this…

  17. Dearest Thundie:

    There would be no me, if there is no you encouraging me, teaching me, supporting me, and always, always, sharing your love and knowledge of K-dramas with me.

    You are not my enabler – you are simply my dedication. Like page 1 of a writer’s first book, that is where I would put you in my drama blogging journey.

  18. Wonderful post, Thundie! And love your updated look, gorgeous layout. I love the the colors the most, it cheered me up, and I’m sure it’s a safe haven for you to keep showering us with great post after great post. Aja aja fighting!

    My enabler is still first and foremost my Mom, being the exact opposite offspring, I’m the math nerd, without her nurturing, I’ll still be dyslexic. She’s enabled me on a lot of my passions in my life that’s kept me going in rough times on my own and many times able to commiserate with her in her own battles. She’s the one who bought me my CandyxCandy mangas and made me very cool in the school playground when comic books r like evil reincarnations in shared minds of many strict Asian parents.

    I left her nest for college, and I grew my own wings, or so I thought. There were times when her daily calls at my dorm feel tedious and unnecessary, but it must mean a world to her. She remembers many silly ramblings I poured on her, like a recorder of my mundane life. I lacked the foresight of any kid, flipping through the best time of my life without the care.

    She is an avid movie/drama-watcher ever since I know her. And now I can pinpoint my life according to her addictions. I used to scoff at her kdrama obsession but mama knows it best, she keeps casually throwing recommendations my way. She’s the first one who mentioned MNIKSS, knowing I had a nasty breakup but not wanting to talk more on it. My bff then shipped me a pirated dvd that laid and gathered dust for months with my shackled mood. The drama caught me at a very vulnerable state and I did not turn back. I turned into an annoying twatter before the days of Twitter, started my habit of chain calling her with my OMGs spazzing. I met some of surely my life long friends randomly online sharing our passion for the drama. Mom told me years later, it’s good to have me back over a drama.

    She’s having a hard time watching subbed dramas these days and I’m hording out all the great recommendations fr the OT sisterhood, keeping a list, and relaying every one of them to her. She promised me we’ll watch them one by one together. The list is getting longer, I’m missing my kdramas in part a slump of tolerance towards the fluffy dramadrug, but a larger part is I’ve never wanted to do so many things in life with her as this moment, and watching, enjoying, snapping at a drama is one of them.

    When I start posting, I’m right underneath the sweet Ockoala. I need to thank you, my friend, which I’m not good at. Lately for the delightful Sunny Happiness, but more often in the last year for just randomly picking me up with some book recommendation here, or other escapes in fangirling that put a smile on my face.

  19. I love the new layout, especially the colors. And yay for Park Hae-il being the actor of the week ❤ !

    Since I started off w/Jdoramas and Twdramas first it was definitely the d-addicts community that first enabled my drama watching from the uploaders to the fansubbers, they were amazing with their dedication. It was also through some awesome people there that led to my introduction to Kdramas and then finally stumbling on JB's site back in '06. I guess the rest is history from learning about WithS2 and finding yours and Dahee's blogs as well as X and my OT tweeter group 🙂 Like others have said, if I didn't have you all then my Kdrama experience wouldn't be as interesting and wonderful. And I swear my to-watch list has been getting longer since knowing y'all 😛 So thank you for being such an awesome enabler!

  20. Oh thundie, you have snapped me right back to reminiscing about the good ole days! just as I am struggling to get out of one induced by 2 Park Shin Yang dramas in a row!

    But honestly, you gave me way too much credit I am due for. What I did was what any k-fren would do for her buddies, sharing the good stuff around! But what I will take credit for is I think (I am quite sure) I gave you the moniker thundie! hahaha!

    Keep up the great writing!

    and dottie! I missed you so much! How have you been? and omo! you are still watching k dramas! Remember our early-morning-mrt-station-meet-and-exchange-kdramas-and-dash escapades? It feels just like yesterday!

    • Oh boy, my very first k-enabler is here! *cartwheels* Been ages, Goosie dear! I had no idea you were even reading the blog.

      Ah, so “thundie” originated from you? You know, I always used to refer to myself as “thunder” (because “thunderbolt” is such a mouthful), but somehow pals started calling me thundie. 😀

      Thanks for commenting. Made my day!

  21. I don’t really have any enablers myself because somehow I stumbled into this addiction alone, but I did contribute to getting an online friend into watching the darn things and he has now surpassed me by far. He even joined withs2 as a timer not too long ago.

  22. Pingback: Meet Totuta | thundie's prattle

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