Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Asian Rama Wednesday #1: Introduction/My History with Asian Culture

I've decided to take the plunge and start a themed series or meme. (Sorry but I instantly think funny internet images at the word meme.)

Asian Rama Wednesday. I got the idea from Alison Can Read's Manga Monday. I thought about doing a similar thing for Manga Monday but realize that Manga isn't the limitation to what I'd hope to share and blog about that's related to Asian culture.

Along with the list of things I'm interested in -- I know much more than I should about Asian things. Such as, mangas and dramas. *blushes*
I am that one friend, that if there's a series I know what series it's based on and I've usually read it.
Hello Hana Yori Dango and all the things that are based on the series, Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers. (Don't get me ranting on about Boys Before Flowers vs Boys Over Flowers. OKAY.)

Warning: Rather lengthily post!

My History with Asian Culture
Now I'll try to give my shortened version.

It all started with manga.
I have been reading manga since I was in elementary school, I'm not kidding. Honest to god I have original comic book forms of mangas (which I am quite proud of). My comics include: Gundam Wing, No Need for Tenchi, Sailor Moon, and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Back then comics and manga related material were hard to find. That was until I found Smile. Smile is an early version of Shojo Beat, minus the articles. Pretty much it was just chapters of manga every month. It was discontinued in 2002.
As the years went on, mangas become what they are now; freshly printed, often translated, and easily accessible. My physical collection only grew during that time. I used to have a lovely 300+ manga collection that over the years I've started doing away with. (Most of which is now semi-embarrassing to say I own.) What with owning random numbered volumes and series I no longer cared for.

I'm not sure when but I stumbled across Manhwas, which are Korean mangas/comics. I fell in love. I like Korean stories because I find them to be much more loving and sweet. Japanese stories often leave with the bittersweet ending.
That said on occasion they can be weird, also I find that in Asian culture. No offense meant, it's just a cultural difference. I get it but it's still strange to me.
I know others would say the same. Find something I think is normal, being strange to them.
(Ever heard of, read, or seen Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do? All of those are based on a Korean internet novel. I find it to be a very strange story.)

As time passed and I got older. I started buying less and less of them in normal stores, started looking in used book stores and thrift shops. Which usually lead to random purchases on a whim. Meaning I might not actually enjoy the series I randomly bought. Most times I gave said mangas away to a friend, donated, or traded-in somewhere.
One time I boxed up all the mangas I no longer wanted, which amounted to about 40 and traded them in, I got $100 in in-store credit. (Mind you I had a heart-attack thinking about being able to spend that much in the store. Ended up being able to get some of that in cash, and put it towards a day out. Movie, lunch, etc.) 

Maybe someday I will post what is left of my collection.

Through being interested in Korean mangas I would try to get my hands on them but they were almost impossible to find. (I would always say "I can't find a Korean manga to save my life!") Through time that lead me to reach into the online world. Where I found movies and eventually Asian Dramas. I'd always liked Asian movies and through the internet they were easily accessable. That interested was only helped along with the fact that many of the movies/dramas are based on mangas.

One summer I lost myself in dramas. That was a very long time ago. . . (Pretty sure it was 2005 because Hana Yori Dango just came out.)

Now with everything new in the world; computers being faster, internet being faster, having everything at your finger tips all the time, it's overwhelming what you can find.
Dramas airing in their native country and days later being translated and released for viewing. It's crazy.

Looking back, I think about how everything trickles down.
Mangas lead to an interest to everything Japanese, which lead to me finding Manhwas, which lead to my interested in Korea, both manga (and manhwa) lead to my in Asian Dramas, which strongly reinforced my interest in Korea as the Korean Dramas were amazing.

I am all about Korean things now. The music, the food, the dramas, the language. I've never been a fangirl in my life, until I met Super Junior, and then 2NE1. *squeals*

It's sad to say that now Asian Dramas are popular I don't watch them as much. It's difficult for me to sit for long periods of times and read subtitles (Each episode is usually over an hour long!). I can do it but after awhile I just need something that I can understand through hearing. If that makes sense.
I do however watch a lot of Asian movies, I will most likely take that route through this series.

Helpful links and information

If you are interested in mangas I recommend checking out Shojo Beat or Yen Press.

Shojo Beat is girl version of Shonen Jump, sadly the magazine is not longer in print but the label "Shojo Beat" is still used on Shojo mangas pringed by Viz Media. The website however is still up although not active. They have lots of free sample content.
Shojo Beat Samples
NOTE: From memory I believe; Be With You, GabaKawa, ION, Kamikage Girls, Millennium Snow, and Socrates in Love are all 1 volume mangas.
Other Links:
Shojo Beat
Yen Press | Yen Plus

Now while I don't really include manga to be close to books (different sections). I might review one on occasion but they will not count towards my reading goal.
Also I don't plan on posting volume by volume. Personally I find it too time consuming, although more spoiler-free. (When I start reading a series I don't keep an eye on volume numbers)

I do not read manga online I will not be posting sites where you can, sorry.

Asian Dramas:
Netflix: Fairly sure only Korean Content is viewable.
You CAN find dramas on Netflix's but they are annoyingly difficult to find as they are listed under unspecific sections. Try searching for "(Korean) Movie", "(Korean) TV", or "(Korean) Drama" and you will be redirected to a search category for more specific results. (Subscription)
Hulu, only Korean Dramas (Free)
Mysujo, which IS legal. (As nothing is hosted by the site) (Free)
Drama Fever, Only Korean Content. Licensed material is legal and up for viewing. (Free with Ads. For no Ads you'll need a subscription.)

Korean Dramas are by far the most popular the the easiest to find. They are also the only ones to get licensed and sold in the US. Makes finding anything merchandise for fans of other series annoying.

Please do not post other links, such as youtube or any other drama sites.

Asian Movies:
Netflix: See Asian Dramas
Mysoju: See Asian Dramas

Please do not post other links in the comments.
This is not a place to discuss where to find Asian Media Content online.
I do not encourage illegally obtaining licensed material.

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