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Joo Won 주원- Welcome Back !

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I know some folks still have some catching up to do re: reading posts on this forum, so I'll hold off on longer replies, fic-related updates, etc. for the time being.

 

In the meantime, though, a few new Instagram posts:

 

 

 

 

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If anyone is interested they can watch whole season of Yong-pal with subs :grin:

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10 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

If anyone is interested they can watch whole season of Yong-pal with subs :grin:

 

Not to mention My Sassy Girl as well.

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3 hours ago, kittyna said:

Not to mention My Sassy Girl as well.

Yeah, it gets better every time you re-watch it,but the story should have sticked with ROM-COM, instead of political, it made the drama very boring and predictable. :anguished:

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First of all: @yukinen, I understand that you're probably busy and I know I'm leaving you a ton to catch up on. But I hope to hear from you soon, especially for Round Two of my poll. :heart:

 

On 4/5/2020 at 9:14 AM, kireeti2 said:

You are right about "Catch me", his agency was the producer of this movie, JW was at his peaks at that time with the success of  "Good doctor". So, they probably made him do it. I don't think JW wants to be a Hallyu star, he is more like a guy who wants to improve his acting for every drama/movie he acts. You can clearly see it the way he chooses his dramas/movies. He wants be an actor whom people will remember for long time, not a star who'll be forgotten after a short period. :smile:

 

On 4/7/2020 at 3:33 AM, kireeti2 said:

To be Hallyu star you need to satisfy parameter like taking  cliché  roles and not push their boundaries, Joo won would never like to limit his acting options for sake of a tag and he always mentions this in his interview that he likes to take roles which are challenging, and not comfortable roles. :)

 

I know JW is the sort of actor who's in it simply because he loves it. He's been acting for years (if you include his school experiences) before he was ever scouted by his agency, and that's something I take a lot of pride in.

 

On 4/7/2020 at 3:33 AM, kireeti2 said:

I think this Hallyu star tag comes because of the looks and not due to acting or performance. I know this is very unpopular opinion, but our Joo won  kind of have avg looks(not in terms of acting, he surpasses them all in terms of acting) when we compare to other stars of  his age; like Lee mi- ho, Ji chang- wook, Lee Jong- suk and Kim Soo- Hyun(Again I think he is most adorable person of them all, but other might not think so).

 

lol - Don't worry about what I think, then, because I'm the same. :P I always describe JW's looks as being more striking than handsome - he may not be absolutely 100% drop-dead gorgeous all the time (nor, from what I've seen, does he try to be), but there is something about his appearance that just makes you unable to look away either...? I don't really know how to put it, so I hope you get what I mean.

 

14 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Yeah, it gets better every time you re-watch it,but the story should have sticked with ROM-COM, instead of political, it made the drama very boring and predictable. :anguished:

 

And...this is where I actually think the opposite :P Maybe it's because rom-com doesn't really do it for me as a genre. *shrugs* So when I see one, I find myself needing something more in order to stay interested in the story and the characters. It's true that all the court intrigue in My Sassy Girl is really cliché, but I did like the whole bit about Gyun Woo and Hye Myung's pasts because, for me, that really highlighted the drama's critique of mass media, celebrity culture, netizen culture, etc. (Like, I know it's a period drama, but the role rumours and gossip played in it was very, very modern.)

 

Speaking of rom-coms, maybe that's why I really liked Nae Il's Cantabile as well - I liked it mostly as a coming-of-age story. :) 

 

Finally, a quick fic-writing update: I'm working towards posting a preview sometime this Easter weekend, but until it actually happens, I also can't promise anything. Still, I do want to let you all know that I am working on it - so stay tuned!

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 Joo won is  gentle when he speaks to his fans and also cheerful:grin:

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Too cute!!!!!! Saying thank you in different languages, even though fan were little aggressive and demanding(because of excitement), Joo won was more than happy to oblige, such a down to earth guy. :love:

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Awww, and here joo won asking how to say 'Hi' in Spanish for a Spanish fan:grin:

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Thanks for the clips, @kireeti2! However, I do want to make a quick tech-related suggestion: going from the time you posted, my guess is that you were working through this fan's Instagram account and kept stumbling across goodies you wanted to share :) And that's fine.

 

But remember the 1-hour rule. ;)  Instead of posting three times just a few minutes apart, it's better to click "Edit" on your first post and keep adding things in that way.

 

That being said, here I am with Preview 4 of my upcoming installment of Seolleim in Salzburg - which also doubles as my Easter Special for this year.

 

(I know I don't normally post this many previews for any one fic, but we are not under normal circumstances - I want to do what I can to keep all those of you who are stuck at home entertained ;) That's also why this preview is also longer than most: a whole scene rather than an excerpt of one.)

 

Spoiler

As soon as I step into the foyer, I’m met with a brisk chill emanating out from the living room. Shivering and crossing my arms in front of my chest, I head inside to investigate, only to find the sliding door thrown wide open, Nae Il just barely visible behind a large bunch of greenery.

 

“Ya, Seollebal,” I call out, quickly crossing over to join her. “What on earth are you doing?”

 

She peers behind the foliage and offers me a grateful smile. “Ever since our neighbours gave us this Easter palm last week, I’ve wanted to put it outside today,” she explains, passing the large decoration – a bunch of evergreen branches lashed to a pole and festooned with colourful ribbons – to me. “But I didn’t think Easter would turn out this cold.”

 

As Nae Il hurriedly closes the door behind her, I prop the palm back against its original spot by the wall. “At least you had the sense to hold off until the rain started to let up. It wouldn’t do for you to get soaked right now.”

 

“Gwenchana,” she quips back, coming up beside me. “If anything happens, I have you to take care of me.”

 

I dart her a skeptical sideways glance. “Are we seriously going to have this conversation again?” I let out a short laugh. “You never win this one.”

 

“Says the guy who is probably already planning to make a warm comforting soup for dinner tonight.”

 

When my jaw drops open in surprise, she simply smiles up at me with her best mock-innocent expression. We stare at each other like this for a long moment before I finally relent, turning away with my hands thrown up in defeat. “Alright then, Seollebal – you’ve won this one once.”

 

Nae Il trails after me as I head for the kitchen. “More than that.”

 

“Twice.”

 

“More.”

 

I shake my head as I grab a rag from the cupboard under the sink. “Three times?”

 

“Ani,” she chirps, still following me as I return to the living room and crouch down to wipe up the rainwater that’s dripped from the palm onto the hardwood floor. “How about every single time?”

 

I gape up at her, incredulous; but when Nae Il only bursts into giggles in response, I stand back up with a huff. “Fine. If that’s how you want to do it….”

 

This time, she doesn’t chase after me when I go back to the kitchen to return the towel. Instead, after washing my hands, I come back to find her snapping photos of the palm with her phone. She takes a good number of them: trying to capture the palm from multiple angles, including some closeup shots….

 

Chuckling softly at her antics, I sidle up beside her, crouching down so my head hovers just over her shoulder. “Is it really that fascinating?”

 

“Mm.” She nods, then opens her picture gallery to show me what she’s taken so far. “It’s not something we see back in Korea, so I want to show the others.”

 

When I stare wordlessly at her, her mouth drops open in incredulous surprise. “You really are clueless, Orabang. Don’t you remember that Elise said we’d have to be in charge of our own publicity online? So of course we have to post an Easter greeting!”

 

“Oh,” I answer softly, looking on as Nae Il swipes through her photos a second time. She asks for my opinion on which two shots are the best, deleting all the rest before making a beeline for our dining table.

 

“I gotta get the eggs as well.”

 

Like the palm, these also came courtesy of our neighbours from across the hall. Neither Nae Il nor I are religious; but they, like many Austrians, are practicing Catholics. And while we’d never join them for Mass – they do ask, but I always decline with an explanation that attending without any actual belief would only give the congregants false hope – they include us in their Easter celebrations every single year.

 

This year, it had started last Sunday with the palm; the two young daughters of the family had made one to be blessed by a priest and then decided to include a second one for us. Yesterday, though, on the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, they took it a step further: asking us to come across the hall to join them in a mass egg-decorating session. Nae Il took to the task immediately; but despite my initial reluctance, I soon found myself roped in as well when the little girls, one holding each of my hands, dragged me over to their kitchen table.

 

It’s our handiwork, then, that’s displayed on our dining table today: nestled together in our fruit basket, which Nae Il has lined with scraps of the green, pink-flowered fabric she’d used for her dirndl last year. Looking over the eggs now, it’s immediately noticeable which ones are Nae Il’s and which ones are mine: hers decorated with intricately detailed flowers and scroll-work while mine stick to simple multicoloured patterns.

 

Nae Il takes some pictures of the eggs in their basket, humming contentedly to herself as she logs onto Instagram to post them. Although I can’t see her screen from where I am, I can see the moment when, once the app has opened, she goes completely still and her smile dims and fades away.

 

“Gwenchana?”

 

She looks up, startled at my question. “N-ne.” Her eyes drift back down to the phone. “I just forgot that it’s today.”

 

My brow furrows. “What’s today?”

 

Rather than answer me directly, however, Nae Il hurriedly excuses herself, slipping past me out of the room, her phone held tightly to her chest. Confused, I follow after her, but she waves for me to stay outside as she ducks into her room and shuts the door.

 

I wait patiently for her at first, but after thirty seconds or so, I knock softly on the door. “Ya, Seol Nae Il – gwenchana? Is something the matter?”

 

“Just a minute, Orabang,” she calls back, the brighter tone of her voice flooding me with a rush of relief. “I’ll be out soon.”

 

Through the door, I hear her rummaging through her drawers. “Do you need help with anything?”

 

“Ani.” A pause. “Actually, Orabang…if you have something else you need to do, maybe you should go and work on that now.”

 

Clearly, Seol Nae Il has yet to learn about reverse psychology. Rather than driving me away, her comment makes me even more determined to stay where I am, curious about what is happening inside. Thus it is that I am greeted, a moment later, by the sight of Nae Il standing in her open doorway, both rabbit dolls tucked under one arm. Nothing unusual in and of itself, it’s what she’s pinned to their chests that makes me slowly tense up in dread:

 

Two identical loops of yellow ribbon.

 

Nae Il blinks in surprise at the sight of me still in the hallway, but her lips soon press together into a determined line.

 

“See, Orabang? What’d I tell you?”

 

She steps resolutely past me, bunnies in tow, towards the foyer. Meanwhile, as my pulse starts to pound loudly in my ears, I make a hasty retreat into our music room. Grabbing my score for Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on my desk, I flip rapidly through the pages – attempting to get some work done but really registering nothing – until, at last, I hear Nae Il’s call for me to return to the living room.

 

The dolls are conspicuously missing when I step back inside, and Nae Il, who was waiting for me just inside of the doorway, now holds out her hand, palm facing up.

 

“You know the drill, Orabang.”

 

Smiling, I pull out my phone and place it firmly down in her hand. She takes it back to the dining table; as I claim my usual seat across from her, she copies the photos from her phone onto it before logging onto my Instagram account. Nae Il shows me each picture as she uploads it to the slideshow she’s creating – identical, I presume, to the one on her own account – including the last one featuring our basket of eggs with the rabbit dolls on either side, ears drooping down to affect a somber expression. Then, once I have nodded my approval, she moves on to the text box.

 

“I already wrote up something for my own post,” she says, “but you tell me what you want to say.”

 

Slowly, giving her time to catch every word, I dictate my message: a simple one wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter with their friends and families. If Nae Il notices that I omit any discussion of the rabbits and their yellow ribbons, she doesn’t comment on it, electing to just focus on typing. I relay the message twice, once in Korean and once in German; then, after looking over Nae Il’s draft to ensure there aren’t any typos, I nod for her to post it.

 

Once the post is complete, Nae Il moves back to my home page, scrolling casually through the feed. For the most part, she simply looks, turning the screen towards me to show the occasional particularly appealing post; but every so often, she consults with me about any “likes” or comments I might want to give.

 

When she finishes, Nae Il closes the app, then re-locks my phone before returning it to me. As I shove it back into my pocket, I flash her a grateful smile. “Komawo, Nae Il-ah. This is the third year in a row that you’ve done this for me, and I’ve never even had to say anything.”

 

She accepts my thanks with a casual shrug. “It’s only right for our friends to take part in the Yellow Ribbon campaign – and you and I both care, so we should join in, too – but I can also imagine how it’d make you uncomfortable.” She trails off into silence for a moment, then looks warily into my eyes.

 

“Actually, Orabang – I hate to ask this, but….”

 

Seeing her hesitate, nervously chewing her bottom lip, I offer her an encouraging nod. “Go on.”

 

“What was it like for you three years ago, when the Sewol sinking happened?” She makes a face. “I can’t imagine it would have been good.”

 

It wasn’t. In fact, even calling it “bad” would be an understatement. When the Sewol, a ferry filled with high school students, sank en route to Jeju-do from Incheon, it was the only thing anyone at Haneum could talk about. And rightfully so: many of my classmates were incensed at the captain’s cowardice and the government’s mismanagement of the disaster; some of them even lost younger siblings, cousins, or family friends.

 

It was the perfect cause for good-hearted and passionate university students to rally around…but it was pure excruciating torture for me.

 

Thirteen years after my own accident, I was finally starting to make some progress, fueled by a burning desire to overcome my trauma in time to pursue graduate studies in Europe. Under Dr. Kim’s guidance, I was finally transitioning from talk therapy into meditation and hypnotherapy: things that would supposedly keep me grounded even if I should suffer an attack on my own.

 

But then the Sewol sank, throwing me headlong into the worst relapse I’d suffered in years.

 

I couldn’t eat. I drank far more than I should. Every night, I would try to get some rest, hoping that sleep would drive the dark thoughts away, only to jolt awake from horrific nightmares instead of my childhood self lost and trapped on that sinking ship.

 

I tried to fix it the best I could. I avoided the news. I stopped checking my phone, terrified of the social media posts I would find. I threw myself into my work, staying up at the piano for as long as I dared. But it was all to no avail. Even if I didn’t watch the news, all my friends and classmates did – and they’d talk about it. Day and night, their lurid imaginings – gleaned from news reports and eyewitness accounts – of what it would be like to drown or freeze to death shoved their way into my own thoughts. It eventually got to the point where even music, my one and only refuge, began to fail me: the hushed words and comments seeping into my mind even as I practiced.

 

Then one day, whether from the intrusive thoughts or from hunger after days of no appetite, I collapsed. Only after I came to sprawled on my living room floor did I realize just how close I had come to striking my head against the side of the piano on my way down. Just a few inches, just a little bit more to the side, and I could have been seriously injured or even killed, with no-one among my family or friends the wiser.

 

Slowly, painfully, in the weeks following the disaster, I crawled my way back out again, helped in no small part by life and school and work simply continuing on, drawing Haneum’s attention to other things. But what little progress I had gained with Dr. Kim was now irrevocably lost. Never after that point was I able to enter a meditative or hypnotic trance, nor could I even think about studying abroad without triggering another attack.

 

That’s how it was until I met Nae Il. And it’s only with her help that I’m where I am now.

 

Of course, as Nae Il looks expectantly at me across the table, I don’t say any of this. What happened three years ago is all in the past; there’s no need to give her all the graphic details. So, instead, I answer simply, my lips curling up into a tiny ghost of a smile:

 

“It was rough.”

 

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Joo won is considering to star in a movie with title "FIREFIGHTERS", I hope he accepts it. Last movie of joo won was Fatal intuition which was 5 years back, can't wait to watch him on big screen.

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Some more behind-the-scenes pics from Alice:

 

 

And a recent promo video for SBS - including some shots from Alice in the montage:

 

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Joo won is considering to star in a movie with title "FIREFIGHTERS", I hope he accepts it. Last movie of joo won was Fatal intuition which was 5 years back, can't wait to watch him on big screen.

 

I personally don't follow Korea's film/movie scene all that much (lol - probably one of a tiny handful of people who hasn't watched Parasite by now :P) but if he ends up taking it, I think playing a firefighter would be interesting. He would have run the complete gamut of first responders by then: police officer, doctor, and firefighter ;) 

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59 minutes ago, kittyna said:

And a recent promo video for SBS - including some shots from Alice in the montage:

I guess SBS is saving best drama for last. ;)

 

 

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It's official Joo won's drama "Alice" is going to air in AUGUST:):). I know it is coincidence, but joo won's every hit drama of past aired in AUGUST month, like "Yong pal, Good Doctor, Ojakgyo Family".:thumbsup::thumbsup:

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So, I had originally wanted to hold off on moving to the Final Round of my JW-drama-character-isolation-poll, but I think if I do, it's just gonna die <_<

 

Therefore, although I know it's not entirely fair to just base this off two votes, I'm gonna proceed with giving my own responses - since, this time, it's actually unanimous.

 

Spoiler

Round Two

 

1. Who do you think will do best in self-isolation?

a - Lee Kang To

b - Hwang Tae Hui

 

To be fair, both Kang To (in his Sato Hiroshi persona, assuming that that's still ongoing) and Tae Hui are cops, so they'd likely still be out and about on the job, even in the midst of a lockdown situation. And both of them are loose cannons - which means someone's going to end up taking the brunt of the inevitable stress-induced outbursts these two would go through. However, generally speaking, I think Tae Hui would still manage better. If nothing else, he's got a more stable support network, and he has more people to care about, which I hope will keep him more on track. But Tae Hui would handle the at-home aspect of self-isolation a bit better. In fact, I just got the mental image just now of Tae Hui taking on the role as the essential errands-runner for his family - I mean, he's always been the responsible one out of the four brothers, and if he's gotta be out anyway, he might as well be the one to go and pick up groceries and whatnot.

 

2. Who do you think will do best in self-isolation?

a - Gu Ma Jun

b - Cha Yoo Jin

 

Again, as @kireeti2 has already pointed out, Yoo Jin would not only do better at this than Ma Jun, but he'd also take on that same caregiver role that I've just visualized for Tae Hui. Yes, I know that conflicts with a number of the points I'd made about Yoo Jin so far (e.g. his tendency to get cautious/careful to the point of being just a tad obsessive or neurotic); but at the same time, if it comes down to him or Nae Il going out for food...he's doing it - and then dousing all the supplies in disinfectant and running into the shower while throwing all his clothes in the washing machine. But more than that, I honestly think Yoo Jin's temperament suits a quiet stay-at-home lifestyle far more than Ma Jun's - even though Ma Jun is an introvert, I do think he craves social company (even though his own insecurities prevent him from taking part, he still likes being invited).

 

In short, here are the two winners from Round Two!

 

Spoiler

1. Hwang Tae Hui

2. Cha Yoo Jin

 

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yep, this FINAL ROUND is a "battle of the introverts"!

 

Spoiler

Who will do best in self-isolation? You decide!

 

Rules/Parameters for self-isolation (since everyone's context is different, this needs a standard):

1. The character can either live alone, OR with family, a partner, or roommate(s) - use your own drama knowledge and imagination.

2.  The character is only allowed to go outside for essential purposes (e.g. getting supplies, going to work if you deem his profession to be an "essential service", etc.). If he does go out, he does so ALONE.

3. Any other communication/socialization with people outside of the character's residence (e.g. with friends, colleagues, etc.) can only be done remotely (e.g. via telephone, online, letter-writing, etc.)

4. There is limitless access to in-home recreation and entertainment (e.g. books, TV, streaming movies or music, crafts/hobbies, musical instruments, etc.), but assume ALL public recreational facilities (e.g. malls, restaurants, entertainment venues, sports facilities, etc.) are CLOSED.

 

FINAL ROUND

 

1. Who do you think will do best in self-isolation?

a - Hwang Tae Hui

b - Cha Yoo Jin

 

Again, feel free to cast your vote in a public response or a DM to me. Also, even if you haven't joined in before, or missed any of the previous rounds, please feel free to jump in! It's more fun to have more people's takes on these characters.

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3 hours ago, kittyna said:

FINAL ROUND

 

1. Who do you think will do best in self-isolation?

a - Hwang Tae Hui

b - Cha Yoo Jin

I think I'll go wit  Yoo jin, although Tae Hui has family to support him in coping with isolation, but he is kind of guy who'll delivery the groceries to his family and leave as soon as possible to his duty as a detective. But there are two scenarios in case of Tae Hui, the one where he marries Ja-eun and goes to USA for further studies and scenario where he thinks he doesn't fit in the family and tries to avoid them as much as possible, if I consider the latter part then he'll have hard time in isolation with his family because he has some kind of guilty feeling towards his family. If he is in USA with Ja-un then he might happily enjoy isolation with her. But in case of Yoo Jin before Nae-il he was living an isolated life so he'll do fine. Even living with Nae-il he won't be facing issues like Tae Hui does because all he has to do is feed Nae-il and put her to sleep or he will practice music with her, in either case Yoo jin will do better in self-isolation :smiley:

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12 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

But there are two scenarios in case of Tae Hui, the one where he marries Ja-eun and goes to USA for further studies and scenario where he thinks he doesn't fit in the family and tries to avoid them as much as possible, if I consider the latter part then he'll have hard time in isolation with his family because he has some kind of guilty feeling towards his family. If he is in USA with Ja-un then he might happily enjoy isolation with her.

 

I personally see Tae Hui in Korea - things are so much of a mess right now in the US that I'd rather not think about that :unsure: 

 

But, yes, Tae Hui would need to grapple with his own complicated feelings towards his family and his place in it. Realistically, I know they'll always be there to support him, but now it's up to him to accept that help.

 

12 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

But in case of Yoo Jin before Nae-il he was living an isolated life so he'll do fine. Even living with Nae-il he won't be facing issues like Tae Hui does because all he has to do is feed Nae-il and put her to sleep or he will practice music with her, in either case Yoo jin will do better in self-isolation :smiley:

 

lol - You make Nae Il sound like a pet puppy! Which, actually, might not be too far from the mark :lol:

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26 minutes ago, kittyna said:

lol - You make Nae Il sound like a pet puppy! Which, actually, might not be too far from the mark

HAHAHA, he actually compares her to a puppy in the drama, anyway I think he got use to her real quick and will have no issues in isolation with her, on contrary they'll lean on each other during self-isolation, with Nae-il's bright personality and Yoo Jin's hygiene practice,they'll be fine. :smiley:

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So, I've been a bit quiet lately, working up ideas for another character themed list (i.e. what I used to call rating/ranking lists, except the actual ranking thing has gone out the window by this point :P) inspired by some of the things I've been chatting about with you folks lately.

 

In the meantime, though, some more goodies!

 

1. More behind-the-scenes pics from Alice (JW seems to like taking these monitor photos a lot)

 

 

2. A short video message in support of frontline workers/first responders (at least I think that's what the translator meant by "first runner" - if I'm wrong, please let me know)

 

 

3. More love from fans

 

 

4. The Final Preview for my upcoming Seolleim in Salzburg fic! I wasn't planning on posting this at first, but it wound up so cute and fluffy that I figured anyone who wanted a pick-me-up in these trying times might want to see it:

 

Spoiler

Finally, after more than a month, Eomma’s package arrives.

 

Nae Il takes the cardboard box from me the minute I return from the post office. Holding it up at eye level, she looks skeptically at it, her brows knitted together in thought.

 

I let out a short laugh at her comical expression. “I know,” I quip wryly as I take off my shoes and set them aside. “I was thrown off by the size, too.”

 

She steps back to let me pass and gives the parcel a careful shake. “There’s gotta be more than just a video in here. I just know it.”

 

“Well,” I answer, gesturing towards the living room, “why don’t we go and find out?”

 

Nodding, Nae Il hurries to set down the box on our dining table before dashing past me a second time into her room. As the crafter between us, she is the one with a pocketknife and not me; and that is exactly what she is holding when she returns.

 

My eyes flicker down at the box. “Do you want to do the honours?”

 

She doesn’t need to be told twice, kneeling on her chair in order to get a better angle as she cuts through the thick layer of packaging tape. The flaps on the box have also been glued down for greater stability; they give way with a satisfying tearing sound when Nae Il levers them open with her fingers.

 

Immediately, her eyes widen.

 

“Omo, omo, omo….” Gasping in delight, she reaches inside the package and pulls out a thin box of orange-flavoured chocolates. “I haven’t had these in ages!” As I look on in amusement, she immediately tears off the plastic film and helps herself to one of the individually-wrapped candies, handing me a piece as well. “Try it, Orabang; you can only get these on Jeju-do.”

 

I take the candy, shoving it in my pocket to enjoy later. “Jeju-do?”

 

Nae Il nods, unable to speak with her square of chocolate already in her mouth. “Mm.”

 

Shaking my head in bewilderment, I check the return address on our package, wondering if I’d somehow managed to confuse a care package from Nae Il’s family for the thing I was expecting from Eomma. But it’s definitely Eomma’s address in Seoul that’s written on the label, so just what exactly is going on?

 

Before I could say anything, though, a folded sheet of paper breaks into my line of sight, Nae Il waving it just inches from my face. Realizing it is probably a message from Eomma, I take it from her, borrowing the pocketknife to break the seal.

 

Dear Yoo Jin-ah, Nae Il-ah,

 

Mianhae. It took me ages to track down the copy of Fantasia you asked me to find, and once I found it – as I’d guessed, it was shoved away in a storeroom at your uncle’s place – it turned out to be a VHS. I doubt you kids would have the right player for that, though, so too bad on that one.

 

“Aish….” I smack myself mentally for my own stupidity. Of course that would be a problem – why hadn’t I guessed?

 

But you know me: I’m not the sort of person who’d just give up without a fight. So I asked around for a bit – and guess what? Nae Il’s family has the DVD.

 

Nae Il, who’d come around to read the letter over my shoulder, now dives into the box, yanking out the disc in a flurry of excitement.

 

So that’s the copy that I’m sending you, along with some other things that Nae Il’s parents threw in as well. I think you two will like the scrapbook in particular; funny what sorts of things turn up when you start to look.

 

The rest of Eomma’s letter consists of the miscellaneous updates and bits of gossip that are characteristic to all her messages. I hold off on reading those for the time being, instead choosing to watch Nae Il as, gasping audibly, she now pulls out a large spiral-bound book nestled at the bottom of the parcel.

 

I push the box of chocolates and the DVD off to one side, giving Nae Il the space to place the book reverently on the table.

 

“This was the scrapbook I made in my first year of primary school,” she explains, opening the book to its title page, where her name, age, class, and school have been written in by her teacher. “I had no idea Eomeong still held on to it, though.”

 

I answer with a nod. “Eomma said that there’s something here that we’d like, so” – I wave one hand at the page in invitation – “shall we?”

 

Turning the book so that I could see it right-side-up while she sees it upside-down, Nae Il slowly flips through the pages.

 

This scrapbook appears to have originally been a photo album: the kind without pockets, where each large page is coated with a mild adhesive and covered with a thin plastic film to protect its contents. Inside, Nae Il had lovingly placed mementoes from the first few years of her life, most likely in accordance to certain assigned themes: baby picture; family portraits; photos of her parents, grandmother, and childhood pet dog; pictures she’d drawn in kindergarten along with her graduation certificate; newspaper and magazine clippings about current events. However, what catches my eye the most are the short notes – written on pink patterened paper in Nae Il’s clumsy childish hand – interspersed throughout: captions and responses to the images featured on each page.

 

We work slowly through the scrapbook, both of us so fascinated that even the display on our phones showing us it’s time to start preparing dinner fails to rouse us from our seats. As with any collection of old memories, this book conjures up story after story in Nae Il’s mind; she regales me with them, peering eagerly up at me through her eyelashes with each one to see whether it elicits the smile or laugh she wants.

 

By now, we have reached the halfway point in the book, when Nae Il has finally started her piano lessons. Here, we find photos of her at the studio, her stern-faced teacher at her side, as well as ticket stubs and programmes from small local recitals in which she’d performed.

 

I offer her a fond smile. “You must have had dreams, then.”

 

“I did,” Nae Il answers, the easy manner in her voice reassuring to my ears. “Back then, other than Abang’s ranch, the studio was my favourite place to be; I used to love just sitting there before my lesson, picking out what I could remember from the pieces I’d heard on the radio.” A pause. “I didn’t know anything about ‘stardom’ or ‘prodigies’ yet – to me, it was just fun, and I had no idea that the things I thought were easy were so…out of the ordinary.

 

“But that’s all old times,” she says with a dismissive shrug. “I’m glad that I can come back to just playing for fun again now.”

 

The page after this clearly marks it as the end of the school project: a sheet of paper stuck inside shows her grades along with her teacher’s comments. However, Nae Il continues to turn the pages, revealing that even after finishing the assignment, she had kept adding to the scrapbook on her own: for the remainder of the term and then into the summer. There are pictures she drew, school quizzes in which she got perfect marks, photos documenting her various craft projects and a family trip to Disneyland in Japan.

 

And then, something that makes both of us stop in our tracks.

 

“Ya, Seollebal,” I burst out, staring wide-eyed down at the page that’s just been revealed. “That’s – that’s me.”

 

The picture is printed on a page cut out from a magazine about fifteen years ago. In it, I am standing on an auditorium stage along with two other children, each of us juggling a framed certificate and a small plastic trophy in our arms, mine evidently the largest of the three. A black concert grand piano looms behind us, hinting at the occasion for the photograph.

 

“How did you come by this?” I gesture down at the attached article describing the competition. “You weren’t one of the winners here, so….” One corner of my mouth twitches up in a teasing smirk. “Ya, have you been stalking me all this time, Seollebal?”

 

“Ani,” Nae Il quips back at me, just as good-naturedly. “I’d completely forgotten about this until now, so us living next door and meeting each other at Haneum is still pure coincidence. Or Fate – whichever you prefer.”

 

I make a face. “Let’s just keep it at ‘coincidence.’”

 

“Geu rae. Arasseo.” Trying to think back to the past, her brow furrows, and she scratches her head. “If anything, I guess that I saw it at the studio – they used to have issues of this magazine out by the entrance for parents to take.”

 

“Well,” I answer, pointing out a closed envelope that has been slipped in beside the clipping, “let’s see if that tells us anything.”

 

Carefully, Nae Il pulls back the plastic film and takes out the envelope. She opens it up and empties its contents on the table beside the scrapbook: a series of hand-written notes, each one folded into a rudimentary heart with a date written on it.

 

I bite back a sudden urge to laugh as I pick up the earliest-dated heart. “So what was this about ‘pure coincidence,’ Seollebal?”

 

Pouting, she snatches it out of my hand. “It’s not what you think, Orabang,” she whines back at me. “I used to fold all my notes like that.”

 

“Ara, ara – if you say so.”

 

Satisfied that I’m not about to push this any further, Nae Il finally unfolds the note and starts to read aloud: “Dear Orabang–”

 

She stops abruptly, and the two of us gape at each other across the table in slack-jawed astonishment. Then, at the exact same moment, both of us burst out laughing.

 

“Ya, Seollebal,” I blurt out, just barely audible over her peals of laughter. “Jinjja?!”

 

She shakes her head, waving her head to signal that she still can’t talk. Once she does settle, however, she brushes away the laughter-induced tears with her finger and resumes reading:

 

Dear Orabang,

 

Is that OK? Can I call you that? You are older than me and you are a boy. Eomeong says that having a penpal this summer will help my writing. Even if it’s pretend. I saw that you play piano like me. You won a contest. You must be really good.

 

I steal a careful glance at Nae Il, but she doesn’t notice and keeps going:

 

I play piano too. It’s a lot of fun. Seonsaengnim says that I’m getting a lot better. She says that one day I can win a contest, too. Just watch, Orabang. I’m coming to kick your butt.

 

I let out yet another snort of laughter at the ending, while Nae Il averts her eyes, her cheeks turning red. “Well, Seollebal,” I point out wryly, “you certainly had a way of putting things.”

 

“Geu rae,” she says sheepishly. “I guess so.”

 

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While brainstorming continues for my next character themed list, I decided to try something different this time around. This time, rather than just giving my take on things, I want to precede that by asking what you guys think.

 

So, this time, my inspiration comes from this exchange with @kireeti2:

 

On 4/15/2020 at 11:11 PM, kireeti2 said:

But in case of Yoo Jin before Nae-il he was living an isolated life so he'll do fine. Even living with Nae-il he won't be facing issues like Tae Hui does because all he has to do is feed Nae-il and put her to sleep or he will practice music with her, in either case Yoo jin will do better in self-isolation :smiley:

 

On 4/16/2020 at 11:21 AM, kittyna said:

lol - You make Nae Il sound like a pet puppy! Which, actually, might not be too far from the mark :lol:

 

On 4/16/2020 at 11:55 AM, kireeti2 said:

HAHAHA, he actually compares her to a puppy in the drama, anyway I think he got use to her real quick and will have no issues in isolation with her, on contrary they'll lean on each other during self-isolation, with Nae-il's bright personality and Yoo Jin's hygiene practice,they'll be fine. :smiley:

 

Since we were already comparing Nae Il to puppies, I figured we could take this a step further. So, I want to hear your answers to this question:

 

If any of JW's drama characters were animals, what would they be and why?

 

I'm personally challenging myself to cover all eight, but you don't need to - even if you just have an idea for one, please share!

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15 hours ago, kittyna said:

If any of JW's drama characters were animals, what would they be and why?

I hope you were referring to all types of animals, not just the domesticated one's like Dogs, Cats and Hampster

Gu Ma-Jun - Jackal, due to his cunning and shrewd behavior in the drama(A typical villain)

Han Gil-ro - Bear, because he is carefree and bears tend to  enjoy their life without  any responsibilities and care in the world

Lee Kang-to - Black panther or  Leopard, given his speed and ability to jump

Kim Tae-hyun & Hwang Tae-hee- Wolf, given that his nature is to protect anyone who he thinks belongs to his wolf pact.

Park Si-on - Bunny, Because his timid nature and bunny's tend to be friendly with children just like Si-on.

Cha Yoo-jin- German Shepherd, due to its calm and caring nature, and also they are very resourceful and take care of themselves even if they live on they on just like Yoon-jin.

Gyeon Woo- Labrador Retriever, because just like him Labradors likes to socialize and are known to be ladies man like Gyeon Woo

15 hours ago, kittyna said:

So, this time, my inspiration comes from this exchange with @kireeti2:

I am happy that I was able to inspire someone, especially a creative writer like you, its truly a honor to me:thumbsup:

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