the walking writer

Note: This review was originally posted on my other (now closed) blog.  I’ve decided to post some of those old entries over here.

Korean dramas are one of my favorite things to watch on Netflix. Most of the ones I’ve watched are only a season or two long, so you know ahead of time how much time you’ll need to invest to complete the series. To date, my favorite series is “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.” The show is currently available on both DVD and Netflix instant streaming and is an entertaining and funny series about a gumiho, a mystical creature from Korean folklore.

The Story

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Screenshot

Miho and Dae-woong have a chat about cows.

The series opens with our lead, Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung Gi), trying to escape his clingy girlfriend, Miho (Shin Min Ah). Through their discussion, we learned that Miho is a gumiho, a mythical nine-tailed fox from ancient legends. The series then jumps back to Dae-woong’s life before he met the pleasant and happy Miho. After a string of disasters, Dae-woong ends up at a temple where Miho is trapped inside of a painting. Miho has been waiting to leave for 500 years and finally gets her chance with a little bit of trickery. After Dae-woong frees her, Miho begins to follow him and must quickly learn how to adapt to the human world.

Miho and Dae-woong’s relationship grows, although it’s hardly without obstacles. Some of the other minor characters provide a few challenges, including the snotty Eun Hae In (Park Soo Jin) and the enigmatic Park Dong Ju (No Min-woo). In addition, Dae-woong must balance his dreams of becoming an action star and maintain harmony in the home of his grandfather and aunt.

Initial Impression

After not having watched a Korean drama for years, I was eager to try a new one. The title of “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” drew me in initially, but I didn’t read anything beyond the summary before starting the show. For me, this show didn’t require a few episodes to draw me in; during the initial scene of Miho causing young men to fall over as they watch her run by, I was hooked. The humor and the charm of those first scenes only improved from there.

The Main Characters

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Screenshot

Miho and Dae-woong meet in the forest.

It’s true that the fish out of water plotline isn’t very new. However, I think the show gave a fresh spin on it due to Miho just being so likable. It’s fun to watch her experience new things, from eating meat to going on a real date. From the beginning, I was less sure of Cha Dae-woong. He starts off the series acting rather selfish and hurtful to those around him. Some of his early interactions with Miho were less than positive, though somewhat understandable. Over time, his character certainly grows and becomes more likeable.

Other Characters

“My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” does feature a few other characters, but several of their characters get very limited screen time. Dae-woong’s friends are charming, but unfortunately we don’t get to see that much of them beyond their influence on escalating some of the drama. The main subplot of the series occurs between a movie director and Dae-woong’s aunt. The movie director has a bit of an obsession with the real world actor, Chow Yun Fat. The budding romance between the director and Dae-woong’s aunt has a tendency to reach absurd levels, but it’s enjoyable and often provides the only happy moments during some of the main story’s more sad plots.

The Music

The show relies on a solid collection of a few musical tracks. Fortunately, you won’t hear these songs enough that you get sick of them. A couple of the minor characters even have their own songs that match their personalities quite well. Park Dong Ju, for example, has ownership of the emotional “Trap.” Unfortunately, the only soundtrack I’ve located online is missing the best of the show’s songs, including the beautiful “Fox Rain.” This song isn’t Miho’s and Dae-woong’s “official” song, but it’s the most memorable song in the entire show. Months after finishing the show, I still listen to it regularly!

Parting Thoughts

This show may not seem like your cup of tea if you don’t think you’re into happy and overly sweet shows. I watched this show with my husband, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. Rest assured, there is plenty of drama and a full serving of humor in each episode. I think even a young audience could enjoy the show. As for me, I look forward to rewatching it again sometime soon.

My Girlfriend is a Gumiho Screenshot

Dae-woong sees Miho’s true self for the first time.

You Should Watch “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” If:

– You’ve never seen a Korean drama before. “Gumiho” is an excellent introduction to the genre and will likely encourage you to seek more shows like it.
– You prefer a romance that focuses on characters who grow to genuinely like each other instead of arguing all the time.
– You’re not a big fan of ensemble shows with endless lists of characters. You don’t mind a few subplots, but you’d still prefer to focus on the overall story of the show.
– You’re not afraid to weep a little here and there while you watch a TV show.




I’ve had my 3DS for about a year now.  When I first turned it on, I only half-paid attention to the system’s social feature, known as StreetPass.  Since I didn’t have any games that took really advantage of the feature and I wasn’t planning to take the console out of the house much, I just left it disabled.  A few days ago, I decided to take another look at the feature and finally turn it on.  I quickly discovered that I had been missing a lot.

So, if you don’t know, the StreetPass concept is pretty simple.  Basically, each time your 3DS comes near another 3DS (with the feature enabled), the two devices exchange some basic information, including your personalized Mii. The next time you turn on your 3DS, you’ll see the Miis that you collected waiting at your StreetPass Plaza gate.  After welcoming your new friends, you can play a variety of games specifically designed for the Miis that you collected.  By default, the 3DS console comes with a couple of games you can play with Miis, including a simple but cute RPG.  Last year, Nintendo also released 4 more games that you can buy together as a bundle.

The StreetPass feature isn’t just limited to games designed for Miis.  You can also exchange game information for many of the system’s other games.  For example, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, you’ll download a copy of the other play’s character that will then show up in your game for duels.

For me, the biggest fun of StreetPass is just collecting and “meeting” more players whenever I’m out and about.  I’m hoping to eventually collect Miis from all over the world.  The StreetPass feature is a neat way to encourage people to go out more instead of just leaving their 3DS at home.




After reading positive reviews of Fangirl, I eagerly looked for it on my library’s website, hoping for a Kindle version.  However, I was disappointed to see that they only had the book in audiobook format.  I decided that it would be a good opportunity to finally try an audiobook out, so I checked it out anyway.

Well, I think I know quite clearly  now that I am not an audiobook person, for a few reasons:

  • There is no way to skim.  I detest giving up on books (unless they’re really bad), so skimming is my best friend during mediocre book.
  • When listening to a book, I feel a need to do something at the same time.  I found that only a few activities were suited to audiobooks, including mindlessly playing World of Warcraft.
  • The choice of narrator can really make or break an audiobook.  I was not a fan of the narrator for Fangirl.  Her way of doing male voices just seemed off to me.
  • Narrators can also affect the story in subtle ways.  For example, a narrator may choose to emphasize certain words in a character’s dialogue when that wasn’t the author’s intention.
  • With an audiobook, you’re glued to technology.  If you don’t have a smartphone or a compatible MP3 player, you’re stuck listening to the book at your computer.

However, I do see the positive value of audiobooks in some cases.  If you commute long distances or take long walks, an audiobook is a great way to break up the monotony.

 




So, I’m currently struggling through the audiobook version of Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell.  I’ll save my issues with the book for a later post; at the moment, I’m still hoping it improves.  But I just finished a part where Cath, the main character, turns in a piece of fanfiction she wrote to an upper level writing course.  Her teacher rightfully gives her assignment a failing grade.  Cath then has the audacity to argue with her teacher about she’s only “borrowing” the characters.

When I was in college, I spent plenty of time reading fanfiction.  I may have even written a piece here or there.  But I never would have imagined turning in a piece of fanfiction to a college professor.  Yikes.  I really am trying to like this book, but the main character just annoys me.




Lately, my husband and I have been a cleaning kick.  When we merged households after our wedding, we didn’t spend much time actually paring down his possessions.  We always meant to do it later, but, well, we got lazy.  Our problem is never with dirt and grime, it’s just clutter.

So far, the process has gone well and we’ve made noticeable improvements to our dwelling.  In addition, we found an old and still good gift card from our wedding and some cash.  Sure, it’s not much, but finding some extra money was a fun and unexpected discovery.

So, I’m sure there’s plenty of tips to help people clean their own homes, but here are a few of mine:

  • Don’t underestimate the value of lots of storage containers.  Since it’s January and the time of New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of storage containers at various retailers.  If you look around, you can even find some really great deals.  Storage containers can help you add storage space to previously unused spaces, such as under your bed.  Shelves simply look better with a stack of containers, instead of a mismatched collection of boxes.
  • During each session, always work on at least one a visible area that needs cleaning.  You may want to tackle your closets or your drawers, but cleaning a visible space, such as your desk or countertop, will help you feel like you really accomplished something.  I love walking by some of our now-clean areas and admiring our progress.
  • Start small.  If spending an hour or two cleaning seems daunting, just start with small sessions of 10 or 20 minutes.  I find that I always get into a groove once I start, but cleaning in small chunks may work better for you.

Good luck!