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?