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[Drama 2001] Beautiful Days 아름다운 날들

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November 12, 2010

Founder of largest English K-pop site 'Soompi'

Korean-American web developer creates first global online community devoted to K-pop, Asian entertainment

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia cathy@koreatimes.co.kr

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Main page of the ultimate K-pop site “Soompi”

If you’re looking for news about a SuperJunior concert, reviews for a 2NE1 album, recaps of Korean drama "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" or simply anything about Korean entertainment, chances are you’ll find it on Soompi.com.

Soompi.com is the oldest and currently the largest English-language online community devoted to Korean and Asian entertainment, with a million unique visitors every month.

Soompi has come a long way from its early days as a personal online shrine devoted to K-pop started by Korean-American Susan Kang in 1998.

"I had recently graduated from college with nothing much to do. As a recent fan of both K-pop and the Internet (AOL was all the rage), I noticed that there weren't any English-language sites devoted to Korean pop music or TV dramas, so I purchased a book called `Make Your Own Website with Microsoft Word '97’, and the rest, as they say, is history," Kang said, now a 35-year-old mother living in Irvine, Calif., in an email interview with The Korea Times.

Kang’s original site, Soompitown, was fairly simple. She would just upload photos of her favorite K-pop acts like H.O.T., S.E.S., Shinhwa and FinKL and English translations of Korean magazine articles, as well as post CD audio samples and her own album reviews. Basically, Kang ran the website out of "love" for K-pop.

(If you’re wondering about the meaning of Soompi, it simply refers to a nickname that a roommate’s family gave Kang in college.)

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In the early 2000s, hallyu or the Korean wave began spreading around Asia and international fans discovered Soompi, the first website that actually provided English-language information about their favorite Korean stars.

Soon Soompi became more and more popular, requiring more servers and more technical expertise. A team of volunteers helped moderate the forums and post content on the website, but Kang, who also worked full-time as a web developer, was running the website on her own as a hobby and it was starting to feel burdensome.

For one, it was getting expensive to pay for the server fees out of her own pocket, although it was partially funded by member donations and small ad buys.

Then came the fateful day, Oct. 5, 2005, when the entire Soompi website crashed. Its entire database of 80,000 members and millions of forum posts was gone. "I seriously thought of just making that the end of Soompi, as I'd been running the site as a hobby for seven years at that point, and was paying for the servers completely out of my own pocket," she said.

"The turning point was when we re-opened an empty forum with 0 members and 0 posts, and within 5 days, we already had 40,000 members. That's when I knew that Soompi was bigger and more important than just one person's hobby."

Soon, it became apparent that a more serious, business-oriented approach to Soompi was needed.

In 2006, Joyce Lan Kim, a lawyer then working for technology firms in Silicon Valley, joined Soompi to handle the business side, albeit on a part-time basis.

"I joined the company, working on advertising and thinking of ways the company can break even. Susan never started this with business in mind. It was always just about fun. It was about bringing K-pop to the people. But how we make this sustainable is our job," Kim told The Korea Times at a coffee shop in downtown Seoul, last week.

Last year, Kang and Kim both decided to leave their full-time jobs and focus on Soompi.

The 33 year old Kim, who studied at Cornell and Harvard universities and received a law degree from Columbia University, had no second thoughts giving up a law career. She sees Soompi as a good business opportunity with K-pop’s potential to expand around the world.

Soompi is may not yet be profitable, but there is no doubt it is an Internet success with 500,000 registered members, and attracts over one million unique visitors every month ("That's like a small city," Kim quipped.) Revenues are currently generated from ads, premium membership and affiliate programs, but not enough for the company to break even.

There may be other K-pop websites that attract more hits, but Soompi has the most activity among community members, such as posting content and comments on the site. "Our success comes from covering such a wide variety of topics - not only the latest K-pop news, but Korean dramas and variety shows, original fan fiction, our own member-run shops, beauty & fashion, among so much more," Kang said.

Aside from sections on entertainment news, fan clubs and beauty & fashion, Soompi also has its own weekly music chart and annual contests, such as Soompi Idol, Soompi Dance Idol, Soompi Ulzzang, fan fiction writing and graphics contests.

All contests were originally started by Soompi members themselves. This year, Soompi Ulzzang Contest, a modeling competition for Soompi members, has become an official event and sponsored by Korean entertainment company Sidus HQ.

Member feedback is invaluable to keeping Soompi relevant. Whenever new features are launched, Soompi looks at the comments from members and makes the appropriate tweaks. Members can also vote for which Soompi fan clubs should be created next, as well as recommend new forums and sub-forums.

Soompi is working to make the site more user-friendly. "It's not a hobby anymore. We have to do it for real. Functionality is very important for us. We are definitely working on making it easier to use, and on getting great content," Kim said.

In terms of technical innovations, the Soompi Street Teams Twitter application is being launched. This will make it easier for fans to get their favorite K-pop idols on Twitter’s top trending topics.

"We wanted to make it easier for everybody to join together and tweet in support of their celebs. Twitter is not just for K-pop, because it's for everyone... Each time a K-pop celebrity ends up as a Twitter topic, people go, `who is this guy?’ Like when (SuperJunior member) Kim Hee-chul was trending on Twitter, everyone was talking about him... We can expose more people to the world of K-pop," Kim said.

An Asian website

Soompi is no longer just devoted to Korean pop music, but Asian pop and entertainment in general. It is also very much a global community, with most members from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia.

The majority or 81 percent of Soompi members are Asian, while 8 percent are white, 5 percent are multi-ethnic and the rest are African-American, Hispanic and other ethnicities. The most surprising fact was 60 to 80 percent of the non-Asian groups said they "know some Korean."

"It’s mostly non-Koreans, as opposed to 7 or 8 years ago when majority were Korean-Americans. Now Korean Americans are a minority on the site. We have ever growing number of people who are not even Asian. We have Caucasians, African-Americans, Middle East, Latin American, South East Asians," Kim said.

Soompi stands out because of its tight-knit community and its members. "Soompi is very community-focused, not just information or gossip-focused. It feels like home to many, and there are many members who have literally grown up on the site ― from Junior High to High School to College to getting married and having children," Kang said.

Noticeably, the Soompi forums are relatively free from the anti-fans and trolls who frequent K-pop websites to post vitriolic comments that rile up fans.

"I think our biggest defining feature is our members. Our members are the ones who do the subtitles, episode recaps and organize fan meetings," Kim said. "We have good members."

Future of Kpop & Soompi

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that Soompi has helped give a boost to K-pop and Korean entertainment’s popularity among English speakers.

But while K-pop is undeniably big in Asia, there is yet to be a real K-pop breakthrough in the U.S., despite attempts by Rain, Wonder Girls and Se7en. "Honestly, I'm not sure if the U.S. is ready to accept Asians as idols, as Asians are still widely portrayed as awkward geeks or kung fu masters on TV and film, but I do believe it's just a matter of 'when', not 'if'. I hope it's sooner than later," Kang said.

Looking back, Kang admitted being constantly amazed and inspired by the level of commitment and amount of time people will willingly volunteer to support their favorite idols. "Passion will drive people to do crazy and wonderful things," she said.

In the future, Soompi hopes to leverage its brand value as the oldest K-pop online resource, and to continue fanning the flames of K-pop and Asian pop fever around the world.

"In 10 years, I'll be 45 years old. I hope by then, the Soompi community will still be going strong, with the love for Korean and Asian pop being passed to a much wider audience. We'll still be providing the best place for people to express their fandom and meet others who share their passion," Kang said.

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January 2, 2011

Soompi.com shows Hallyu where to go

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com) koreaherald.com

Soompi.com is the world’s biggest English-language online community dedicated to Korean pop culture. It boasts some 1.4 million visitors daily. More importantly, 90 percent of its members are non-Koreans.

The website is widely regarded as a promising social network venture that has secured a solid user base on the strength of Korean cultural content. Softbank of Japan has already invested in Soompi.com and other investors are lining up amid the outlook that the website will emerge as a key gateway to Asian pop culture for English-speaking audiences.

Soompi.com CEO Joyce Kim, who lives in San Francisco, said in an interview that Hallyu is still in the early stages of growth internationally and the website would help foster its development online as “the central online activity hub for all fans of Hallyu and Asian pop.”

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Joyce Kim

As for Hallyu, Kim noted that the near absence of a legitimate distribution of Korean pop content is a serious problem that is often neglected by Koreans.

The following are excerpts from the e-mail interview with Kim.

Korea Herald: How did Soompi.com start, and how did you get involved in the site?

Joyce Kim: Soompi was started by my co-founder Susan Kang in 1998 as her own personal website dedicated to her interest in Korean dramas and music. During the initial first few years, Susan would scan Korean entertainment magazine articles, translate them into English and post them on the site. Slowly, a community began to grow around the site and Susan soon had people volunteering to help with the site. As the first Hallyu wave began to grow, the site also began to grow. Soon, there were hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.

I met Susan because she is the older sister of my best friend from law school. We initially started to work together on Soompi in 2006 when the site growth was really taking off which meant server expenses were also taking off. I was helping Susan set up the advertising system on the site and eventually we decided to officially create a company and work on Soompi together. At first, we both kept our full-time jobs (Susan as a coder and me as a lawyer) and worked on Soompi during our nights and weekends. But by the end of 2008, the site was so active that it was obvious that the site needed more support. We made the decision to leave our jobs in 2009 and work on Soompi full-time.

KH: If you define Soompi.com, what is it?

Kim: Soompi is an online fan community for Hallyu. Soompi’s greatest strength lies in our members. Ninety-nine percent of the content on Soompi is user-generated content so our members are the ones who find the information to share and discuss. They spend a great deal of time online answering each other’s questions. No amount of money or marketing can create the organic community that sites like Soompi have.

KH: Who are Soompi members?

Kim: Soompi members are mostly young Americans of many different backgrounds (Asian, Caucasian, black and Latino) followed by people in their teens and 20s in South East Asia (Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, etc). They are typically very fashionable and up on the latest trends since they follow entertainment so closely. When they come to Soompi, they are often looking for the latest news about Hallyu and to meet other passionate fans. Hallyu fans love to work together to do events and share their love for their idols.

KH: What aspect of Hallyu appeals to Soompi members?

Kim: Soompi members love the celebrities ― their personalities, their visuals, their songs ― all of it. In fact, many of our members (90 percent of whom are not Korean) have started to learn Korean to better understand the music and dramas. Hallyu has definitely started to grow beyond its typical Asian boundaries. I think we will see Hallyu spread to the U.S., Latin America and Europe in 2011. However, for Hallyu to be truly successful abroad, Korean entertainment companies need to better understand international fans better ― this is important for creating new fans and reaching out to new markets.

KH: What can Korean websites and firms interested in Hallyu learn from Soompi?

Kim: I would say two differences between Soompi and Korean sites are 1) we really take into consideration the community’s desires when we build new products ― meaning oftentimes we look at community feedback first when thinking about new features and 2) we push out features before they are 100 percent perfect ― sometimes it means it has bugs, but it also means we can get our full community reaction quickly and fix or change things as needed.

For entertainment firms working in the Hallyu industry, it is important to make the music and drama content easily available for international fans. People in Korea do not realize how hard it is for international fans to buy the music and dramas legally ― there are not good options available. If entertainment firms made their content for easily available for international purchase, then more international fans would buy the content. But at the moment, we cannot even easily register on Korean websites.

KH: To create new and successful services based on social network service, what should and shouldn’t Korean venture startups do?

Kim: I see many Korean startups that are testing or half-heartedly targeting the global market. The decision whether to go global should be made early as it significantly impacts the kind of team that needs to be built and the product. If you are building an SNS service targeting the international market, then you should create your team abroad.

KH: What was the purpose of your latest visit to Seoul, and what did you feel when you were in Seoul?

Kim: I visit Seoul at least once a year to meet with Korean entertainment companies and Korean Internet startups. On the entertainment front, there is strong interest in online and social media strategy from the entertainment companies. This is one of the big growth opportunities for Hallyu. But I think Korean entertainment companies will need to hire people with international Internet experience to really open that opportunity.

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December 31, 2010

As part of the SBS drama celebrations, Lee Byung Hun's Beautiful Days (2001) and All In (2003) were mentioned & featured at the recent SBS Awards 2010.

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January 30, 2011

Ryu Si-won now father of baby girl

Source: swchun@heraldm.com koreaherald.com

Hallyu star Ryu Si-won, 39, is now the father of a baby girl.

The birth comes three months after his marriage to Jo Soo-in, 33, on Oct. 26.

Jo gave birth to a healthy baby girl around 5:40 p.m. on Jan. 27, his management agency said.

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Weeks before their wedding, he surprised his fans by saying that he would be a father next year.

Ryu debuted in 1994 as a KBS actor and has gained popularity for acting in a variety of dramas. In 2004, he went to Japan and earned the status of hallyu star along with Bae Yong-joon.

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Our thanks to jOy / Bangkok , Thailand for sharing with us via EverythingLBH.com

Beautiful Days aired on Channel 3 Thailand between January 6 – March 30, 2007

Lee Byung Hun's TV drama “Beautiful Days” has been on aired at TV (Channel 3) in Thailand between between January 6 – March 30, 2007 every Friday and Saturday (10:30 – 12:00 pm).

Attached are pictures (designed by Internet TV3 in Thailand) for 'Beautiful Days' on Channel 3 in Thailand.

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Ref: http://www.thaitv3.com/ch3/วอลล์เปเปอร์ซีรีส์ช่อง3/

Remark: 'Beautiful Days' tagline in Thai Language --> We love each other. (เพียงแค่ใจเรารักกัน : Pieng-Kae-Jai-Rao-Rak-Gun)

The cover (front & back) of DVD (Beautiful Days) and DVD's Disc 1-2 in Thailand. Ref: be2hand.com

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Guest Hyc-ching

Beautiful Days 10th Anniversary

14.03.2001 - 14.03.2011

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Thanks to ylin for the beautiful card :wub:

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Guest Hyc-ching

Shared by bhjw at bhjwlove.com

Left - Actual place  Right - Captures from the drama

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  OMG , I cant believe am watching this for the first time in 2011

   I didnt feel like that since winter sonata and I thought I will never feel that aura again , but here we are

     this drama is absolutely amazing , LBH & CJW , are both awesome , their chemistry is to die for,

   I sooooooooooooo liked minchul relationship with his sister , and yoonsoo relationship with her bestfriend and sister , it was very passionate

   Ryu shi won was so lovable and cute , not the usual mean second lead

   I was totally absorbed and hooked that I  watched the drama nonstop for 3 days although having an exam ,

  oh , and that song of zero , goodbye , I cant stop replaying it over and over , his voice is angelic , but I cant find the eng subs anywhere , if anybody can help me find the subs , it will be heaven , pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase

  enough saying , this drama is my second top after winter sonata

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December 27, 2011

Choi Ji Woo Takes off her Veil of Secrecy

CJ E&M enewsWorld Ko Hong Ju enewsworld.com l Nate

The veil of secrecy surrounding Choi Ji Woo has finally been lifted.

She first attracted attention by appearing in KBS2’s 1 Night, 2 Days in June where she showed her easygoing and down-to-earth side, a stark contrast from her usual image.

After the broadcast, she drew empathy from viewers not as actress Choi Ji Woo but with her human side, revealing her comic timing and affectionate and friendly attitude. But there was not enough time for her to share her life story. She appeared along with famous actresses, including Kim Ha Neul, Yeom Jeong Ah, and Lee Hye Young, and was busy fulfilling her mission. Therefore, viewers had to be satisfied with just a glimpse of her real side.

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The fans have finally gotten to see more of that side, as Choi appeared on a variety show for the first time in six months.

Through KBS′ Healing Camp, Choi ultimatly cleared the feeling that there was something missing since her appearance on 1 Night, 2 Days

After opening her remarks with, “I wanted to appear on this kind of program,” she opened up on the difficulty of being close to the public while keeping her personal life shrouded in mystery.

She confessed she wanted to shake off her mystifying image that she earned from the role in the drama, Winter Sonata and always accompanied her popularity as a hallyu star. She said she wanted people to know her bright side too.

Choi said, “I was wrapped up in mystery, which didn′t even make sense. And I′d been living this way for so long, that not many programs even invite me on anymore."

On the day, she opened up on her mind and confessed things that′d she′d hardly ever had the chance to share before. She shed tears while talking about the controversy over her pronunciation, and candidly shared the fact that she was cut from the film The Gate of Destiny due to her acting abilities.

After the airing of the show, viewers reacted positively by saying, “It was so nice to see her candid side.”

All in all, Choi’s two variety appearances this year were highly successful - fans warmly welcomed Choi, who stepped forward and reached out to the masses after shedding off her previous unreachable ′queen′ image.

Photo credit: KBS, SBS

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Hi all,

I've caught bit and pieces of this drama way back then and wasn't really interested because I don't really like korean mellow drama. Recently I decided to watch it because I've seen pretty much all of LBH works and decided to start watching his earlier drama. Boy now I'm regretting not watching this earlier. Although the story is simple, the characters are extremely well develop and CJW and LBH has such amazing chemistry. I can totally see them together as a real life couple. I really hope they can work together again in the future now that LBH is back in Korea.

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December 27, 2011

Byunghun's BD co-star, actress Choi Ji Woo who was featured in SBS variety show 'Healing Heart' recently.. mentioned about BH in her interview. Missing our Ching at this particular moment. She'd be instantly sharing/talking about this..

Chinese fans might be able to understand the clip better, thanks to cynkdf for the highlight at BSB thread

Source: Nate

Thanks to Barbara at EverythingLBH.com for the translated gist ~

Lee Byung Hun's message to Choi Ji Woo:

"Jiwoo appears like a miser but is actually a very supportive friend. Although we have not seen each other for 4 years, she is still a trusted younger brother."

CJW says that she and BH can talk up to 3 to 4 hours, discussing topics such as "how is the Director? How are the partners?" (please note the message says younger brother and not sister?")

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I think BH considers CJW like a very close friend or buddy-like.. that's why he calls her "younger brother" (if that's the case).. some Kdramas even highlighted such relationships.

coffee5.gifEverythingLBH.com

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Guest kma_mydaisy

can someone help me to find the title of song that sena singing in karaoke box in episode 2???.... please help me~~~~

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image
November 28, 2012
Lee set for CineAsia honour
By Patrick Frater FilmBiz Asia
South Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun is to be named as Star of the Year at the CineAsia convention next month in Hong Kong.
"Lee is a wonderful actor who has delighted television audiences and movie-goers not only in Asia, but internationally as well," said Robert H Sunshine, CineAsia MD. The prize will be presented at an awards luncheon on 13 Dec.
Lee recently earned honours as the lead in Korean blockbuster hit Masquerade, in which he played an ancient king and his body double. Having made a Hollywood debut in GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, Lee will next be seen in GI Joe 2: Retaliation and the upcoming Red 2, which is now shooting in the UK.
Lee is also the star of hits I Saw The Devil and The Good The Bad The Weird and previously had an extensive TV career with series including Beautiful Days, All In, and IRIS.

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March 1, 2013
A multiple-answers poll but voting can be done once every month with no time limit. It's probably better for fans who had finally catch up with the dramas or movies listed and can choose their favourite pairings again. 
If interested, please check out the fan poll to vote for the best Lee Byung Hun on-screen pairing at EverythingLBH.com, any discrepancies is purely our own shortcoming.
Choose one or more that you felt the best and most memorable. wub2.gif
Fun Fan Poll: Best BH On-Screen Chemistry (click here)

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March 12, 2013
Lee Byung Hun reveals he used to suffer from depression
by jennywill AllKpop.com Nate
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With a beautiful girlfriend and an incredibly successful career in Korea and Hollywood, Lee Byung Hun seems like the last candidate for depression.
However, on ‘Healing Camp‘, he revealed that he still suffered from symptoms of depression and anxiety. Lee Byung Hun said, “Even now when I’m somewhere unfamiliar, I have a panic attack.” He revealed that after his father passed away, he paid off his family’s debts himself.
He stated, “After I paid off the debts, the drama ‘Beautiful Days‘ wrapped up. It was a very popular drama. I paid off all the debts and my drama was loved, but suddenly I felt like I was locked in a place as small as a bathroom by myself. I was told [later on] it was depression. Depression apparently comes after the hardest point passes. I didn’t know what it was back then, so I thought I was deathly sick. I felt like I was dying each moment.”
“For two months, it was really hard. People who haven’t gone through it don’t know. As soon as you wake up, you think, ‘Why did I open my eyes?’, because you are the happiest when you are asleep. I used to wonder if I could go on for one more minute. I was so tired that I kept counting the seconds. After my depression, I developed a panic disorder.”
Lee Byung Hun confessed that he was still suffering from anxiety, saying, “I took medication, but sometimes it comes when I’m in front of a lot of people. When I’m acting, it’s fine, but when I go to [award] ceremonies or fan meetings, I’m terrified.”
Still, the hosts noticed that the actor smiles through all of his press conferences and always has a bright grin for his fans.
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April 14, 2013
Psy sweeps stage with 'Gentleman'
The Korea Herald
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Psy at his concert "Happening" on Saturday <YONHAP>
South Korean rapper Psy swept his home-turf stage Saturday, unveiling the dance and music video of his new single "Gentleman" for the first time, a day after he released the much-anticipated song.   About 45,000 fans enthusiastically danced along, shouting "Psy", during a two-hour concert at World Cup Stadium in western Seoul. The concert, dubbed "HAPPENING," was streamed live on YouTube.   The strong-beat "Gentleman," a follow-up to his previous global smash hit "Gangnam Style," satirizes a tacky man who calls himself a gentleman. The new single is similar to Gangnam Style in its fast tempo and the use of electronic sound as well as its more addictive chorus led by the would-be catchphrase, "I'm a mother, father, gentleman."  Gentleman uses more English words and tones down the Korean-language elements compared with Gangnam Style in an apparent bid to draw more foreign audiences. 
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The audience, which included South Korean celebrities Lee Byung-hun and Choi Ji-woo as well as Psy's U.S. agent Scooter Braun, jumped and shouted as the singer dressed in a black-and-white suit performed the best of his hits that included Gangnam Style.  More than 130,000 fans also watched the concert streamed live at YouTube and local media outlets Naver.com and Mnet, according to his management agency, YG Entertainment.
At a press conference ahead of the concert, Psy said he was under intense pressure when writing the lyrics of the new single. "I made up my mind to find something that is very 'Psy style," said the rapper, whose real name is Park Jae-sang. "This is the best song and the best choice for me. I'm happy that it is getting good results."   Meanwhile, Gentleman entered top 10 iTunes Single Chart in many Asian, European and South American countries, YG Entertainment said, adding that it topped the Vietnamese chart.   The agency also said Psy's music video, along with the rapper's new dance moves, will help the song climb up the charts around the world.   The rapper is scheduled to stay in his home country for around a week before heading to the United States for an international promotional tour, according to his agency.  Psy became a global household name last year after Gangnam Style became the most watched video on YouTube, drawing over one billion views.  (Yonhap News)

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Sharing my post at the discussion thread
What was you first Korean drama and would it have the same appeal now? 
http://forums.soompi.com/discussion/2019006/what-was-you-first-korean-drama-and-would-it-have-the-same-appeal-now/p1

The first ever Korean drama I watched was "Love & Ambition" (Park Jung Chul, Kim Ji Soo, Kim Tae Woo) but the Kdrama that got me deep into Korean entertainment (movies, dramas) and particularly actor Lee Byung Hun was Beautiful Days (SBS 2001). Saw the drama in 2002, got totally immersed in it, hooked on LBH and never turned back.
It's probably hard to start watching the drama again but I've seen it countless times to remember the scenes, so many good ones. Of course, these days Kdramas are so much trendier, production qualities have improved, etc but a good memorable performance of the actors will stand the test of time.

I'm way biased when it comes to Beautiful Days and LBH.. but this blogger have reviewed the drama just recently and her reasons reminded me why I love this drama. A classic.
Review: Beautiful Days
http://thefangirlverdict.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/review-beautiful-days/

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July 26, 2013
Thanks to the fan-sharing via twitter :)
Source: CJWupdates
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^ Looks like a photo-feature included in the August ELLE.. both of them were at the Louis Vuitton Grand Opening on July 5.

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