Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

Hehe. Reading the cbox is quite fun. I’m finally all caught up with the drama BTS. Lol. Li Ying kills me with her badassery by posting the above picture on her weibo! Original vs Adaptation. Princess Agents burned her quite well didn’t it? It wronged us too! Someone had to call a production’s switcheroo and she did it for Fei. I just dislike the fact that it has to be her comeback drama after so long. Drama gods, please give me a worthy Li Ying’s drama to watch! I missed the excitement of waiting for an anticipated drama to air. Now that’s off my shoulder, what have you guys been watching? My drought continues ~

I have been binging America’s Got Talents and Britain’s Got Talents lately. Every single damn time they hit the golden buzzer, I would start bawling my eyes. It’s crazy! xD

This song is stuck in my head! It gets my hips cracking. LOL.

Shin Lim <3<3<3

  1. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    I am watching…absolutely nothing. Do random youtube videos count? I’d like to say 2019 had a decent amount of well-received or just plain good dramas, but in complete honesty, despite my raving about more than one of them, I didn’t finish a single one and my motivation always died off super quickly. I don’t think I’ve been fully invested in a drama, constant investment start to finish, in quite a while. Similarly, lots of “sweet/funny romance” out that I hear pretty good reviews for, but none of them are catching my attention of interest. Royal Nirvana I started out intentionally avoiding bc I need to remain full-speed productive IRL right now, but after a while I’m also no longer that interested in starting it. Idk. Prob more of a me thing + a bit of a dramaland thing.

    What I REALLY want to know is when King’s Avatar season 2 is out (the animation)!

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      LOL! That’s so me Juli! Random youtube videos led me to AGT and BGT and then I’m down the rabbit hole.

      I think the commitment to a drama scares me right now, I just want to watch something and see that it does end, not after 50+ episodes. Time! I need more time!

  2. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    I started Royal Nirvana and finished 7 episodes. Just waiting for more episodes to be released before I continue.

    Have been watching Untamed on and off again. I’m also watching the donghua. If anyone knows how to get out of this cycle, please let me know. Otherwise I am going to be (happily) stuck. =P

    In the Jdrama realm, I’m watching the most recent season of Midnight Diner on Netflix.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      Haha same. Ever since August and The Untamed happened, I’ve been stuck. Tried starting multiple dramas to no avail. What is this sorcery?

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        There are “other dramas” and there is “The Untamed”. I’m sure the other dramas are very good too, just that…we keep going back to Untamed.

  3. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    I’m also watching Royal Nirvana and, half-heartedly, Begonia Rouge. Royal Nirvana is really testing my patience with its newly “adjusted” schedule. Earlier there were rumors that Li Yitong was reported to TPTB so they had to cancel the show, but turned out they still continue tho in a snail pace. Another rumor is that they have to re-edit the show since TPTB considers the plot to be too heavily political. So they’re still airing & at the same time re-editing. All of these don’t make sense to me (is there such a thing like “too heavily political plot?”). Years of exclusively watching Cdramas should’ve made me prepared for craps like these, but honestly this year is the worst. Rant aside, I think I’ll still be following Royal Nirvana, because Begonia has really outdated crazy soap opera plot.

    On the other hand, I’ve now re-started some Western series! Was captivated by Fleabag a while ago (what a heart-wrenching tragicomedy), and have been charmed by the Marvelous Mrs Maisel, and can hardly wait for season 3 of the latter.

    I also watched a couple of episodes of Actors Please Take Your Seat, but haven’t continued since episode 4. The show is entertaining, I just lost the drive to continue, but someday maybe I will. Still don’t understand the hype of Guo Jingming, sorry!

    BTW, I was lucky that Better Days was playing in my city! My, what a gritty, lovely story. Zhou Dongyu deserves all the awards — at least nominations — and Jackson Yi is great as well.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      “Too political?” Yes. “New” rules were published a couple years ago. Took longer to take effect than I expected. Late last year palace/court/harem intrigue themed mobile games became the first casualty. Government controlled media support the restriction saying palace intrigues and such have corruptive influence on social norms. Of course, the real reason is preventing indirect references to the government and its officials. Like a lot of political discussions are banned on Chinese social media.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      On western series, have you seen Stranger Things?! That’s my new discovery this fall and I don’t know WHAT took me so long to get on this train. It’s… SO AMAZING I WANNA CRY AT THE AWESOMENESS. T.T

      I’ve also heard good things about The Crown.

  4. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    I think I am in drama watching mode. I have finished a surprisingly amount of dramas this year. After A lovely swords gal, I am also just done with another sweet lil gem A little thing called love, and on the way to finishing kdrama Extraordinary You…which is losing steam towards the end but I’m at 15 so only one episode to go really. Still struggling with Arsenal Military Academy which is also a little draggy. Also started a A mountain called LingJian which I plan to continue watching. Otherwise nothing else is hooking me recently… but that’s a lot on my plate already haha.

  5. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    Finally finished Arsenal Military Academy through some skippings. I agree with Maymay that it did drag a bit, especially the middle portion of the story, but I felt that they could have extended the ending part a little bit more to give a better wrap-up. Bless Shen Tingbai and Gu Yanzhen lol. I am re-watching The Eternal Love I and II because I realized I wanted to finish it originally, but didn’t get to until now (also partly because I forgot some of the plot lol).I have dropped Begonia Rouge and couldn’t bring myself to watch it and I heard the plot is getting rather twisted-ish. I’m planning to watch Once Upon A Time In Lingjian Mountain…just need to figure out when lol. I’m interested in Joy of Life as well.

  6. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    Started and finished Extraordinary You over two weeks. I liked the first half cos it was quite meta and funny. But then the story and characters just ended up pointless and repetitive. Made it to the end cos of the cast and will keep an eye out for their future dramas (maybe a sageuk that’s hopefully not too sad!)

    演员请就位 is boring at times so I skip through the eps. Down to the “top 18” now. Some of the actors are talented and just need a breakout role. Other “actors” are really unimpressive. Zhao Wei and Chen Kai Ge know their stuff.

    Lovely Sword Girl was super cute and hilarious in the beginning. Found it draggy and less fun to watch once the male lead reverted to his old self and then all the angst started. But anyway I really liked all of the cast and the characters, esp. Xiao Xiu Xiu, Yu Er and Yuan Han.

    Nothing else to watch atm…

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      Extraordinary You started off so extraordinary but ending is so…ordinary. it wasn’t bad just I expected greater things with the ominous warnings in the beginning….but it seems the fallout is kinda mild…

      Agree that Lovely Swords Girl becomes less fun when male lead is normal again but by then I loved all the characters and can’t stop watching to see their endings.

  7. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    Been watching Flavour it’s Yours and Lovely Sword Girls.
    Am also enjoying Once Upon A Time In Lingjian Mountain, which I hadn’t expect to even watch, but after seeing the posts on weibo just had to check it out and it’s been entertaining.
    Also enjoying a thai series Kao Waan Hai Noo Pen Sai Lub 2019.

  8. 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

    @chasingpolaris: I finished Perfect Wedding! I liked the character’s job, wedding planner x plastic surgeon, so you get a lot of mini cases that discuss marriage and society’s emphasis on appearance. I wasn’t really huge on the relationship setup, but I rolled with it. Force houseshare -> fake relationship/marriage is fairly classic, but I think the fake marriage lasted way way too long. I was a little put off by protag’s initial antics, Yang Zi was very loud and her character was pretty unreasonable, I did like her when she was doing her job. She eventually grew on me, she’s just the type that tend to care about other people’s business more than she should. I also liked that she was rather firm when she decided to let go of things. Qiao Zhenyu looked older than I expected but the otp worked well once they got going. But it still took way way too long for them to like each other, then for fake marriage to pop, finish dealing with ex-girlfriend and such. The otp *is* pretty balance and well suited to each other, the writing just made it draggy.

    Oof, I really didn’t like second female lead/ex-girlfriend though. Her story is basically a bad ending version of separation trope, and she bought it onto herself, but she still kept going on and on about how much she liked male lead, and was hurt that he wasn’t waiting for her, then tried to lie to keep him, no thank you. I was initally pretty happy that the drama touched on widowed old people dating but they sort of tango’ed it for way too long, and it involved a love polygon, there was kids approval problem too, which is realistic but the way it was done was over the top drama-y. Similar feelings when it came to infertility problem, there was noble idiocy (I’ll lie to you and leave you for your own good) TWICE, and they were insistent on having a child instead of considering adoption which ugh, then there was bit more drama. Oh yeah it also has a narrator which I find kind of distracting?? Essentially I think the drama would have been better as 30 episodes instead of 44 episodes.

    Le Coup de Fondre – I can’t remember if I actually finished the drama last time or rambled about it? Not huge on otp setup, what with smart guy/average girl + force separation trope. But it does start with established happy ending, and the girl has a life outside of pining for the guy. First 15 episodes were high school portion, it’s bit slice of life with themes attached, I actually rather liked it, especially some of the choice monologue. It does jump around in time quite a bit, but I didn’t find it too difficult to follow. It’s a little unfortunate that female lead end up working with male lead, their careers are now tied together, but I guess it’s nice that they work together on start up. The company trouble are little over the top, but didn’t take me out of the scene.

    Male lead never stops being stoic, but he can be rather sweet, and he’s never actually a jerk. Female lead is pretty competent and I rather like her. I’ve liked Zhang Yujian since NiF, and I think he did alright here even though his character doesn’t have much range expression wise, I think he managed to convey intent/emotion with body language. I’ve watched some of his interviews since, he seems hilarious. This is the first drama of Wu Qian I’ve watched, and she’s rather cute here, although I’ve seen comments that her acting have been samey. I sort of ship them pretty hard irl lol. I like the supporting characters in this a lot, I love protag’s mum and stepdad, they are such a sweet family. Her twin brother is a fantastic brother, not so much as a boyfriend. But setup-wise, the secondary couple being playboy x childhood best friend is pretty interesting, I’m a little mhmm on some of the plot device used but I do like this couple too. The last third of drama is focused more on secondary couple + tertiary couple, as well as bits of their character development, I’m ok with that. Although there’s a mini arc focused on Wuyi that I didn’t really like, I see why they did it (it enriches her characterisation) but I’m still eh. Also lmao, her book couple is a fan art of a japanese indie horror game Ib, I’m sure they just pulled the image off the internet but I just laughed and laughed when I saw it.

    Young Blood – I loved this drama and wish it’s more popular. I just found out not too long ago that it wasn’t picked up by viki so subs are rather slow, rip. It’s so hard to find an original script drama that’s well written, and this is pretty well cast + well acted too! The filter and costume are a little weird at first, but I guess it’s clear that they were aiming for young audience and this is meant to be fun adventure kind of story. I like that there’s fair amount of plot twists but it generally make sense, the main team + some major supporting characters are all pretty developed and have varied personality, with different goals and allegiance, it’s always fun to see multiple parties pulling strings. The small amount of romance are super cute too, even if the otp took way too long for various reasons, the comedy is fun and natural, not slapstick or low brow. The female characters get to be smart & badass as well as cute & brave, yes please. I should probably write a real review for it on MAL later.

    Qin Empire 2/Qin Empire: Alliance – this is the one that’s on netflix, should be 51 episodes. I actually initially watched a 43 episode version and it had a different filter and is edit differently, only realised when I switched streaming source when I was half way through. Anyways, Qin Empire 1 was about Qin Xiao Gong/Shang Yang, and legal/political reform, which provided foundation for them to become a powering state years later. Qin Empire 2 & 3 were filmed together in 2011, had completely different director/writer, so it no longer follows the book it’s based on, but is closer to history. So tonally it was very different, 1 was rather somber & serious, with rather perfect characters who pushed for reform. 2 is noticeably lighter in tone, lighting and acting. This was actually the best choice to export tbh, since it has more varied characters with decent characterisation, and focus on various states with different allegiance and you don’t really need to watch 1 to watch it. It’s better off you don’t watch 1 since the tone is different tbh, and one of the characters who dies in 1 dies again in 2 due to historical accuracy.

    2 is about 1’s son, Ying Si, who became first King of Qin. He has a consort from Chu, with last name Mi, who was the basis of Legend of Mi Yue. Mi Bazi/Consort Mi later became first Empress Dowager in history and was in control of the court for number of years. Plot-wise, it’s more about Qin’s various diplomatic relations and wars in chaotic times, so it also show other countries and how they rise and fall. The characters aren’t one dimensional and are pretty different, Like Ying Si wasn’t what I’ve come to expect Kings/Emperors to be. He’s more playful and devious, but he’s no less smart or forceful when he wants to be. Consort Mi is also lot more outrageous than I expected (apparently historically accurate), I didn’t really like her when she was younger, but she’s certainly different. There’s a number of minor characters that I quite like here, including Mi Yuan (who we know normally as Qu Yuan) and I kept looking forward to when he dies, but he actually dies like half way in 3 lol.

    Qin Empire 3 – This unfortunate drama took 6 years to air, because one of the major characters General Bai Qi’s actor had a drug scandal (I think it was later proven it’s false alarm? idk) so they recast the actor and painstakingly CG’ed his face in the group scenes, I think consequently they might have cut some of the bigger battle scenes too, which is unfortunate. 3 is about 2’s son, Ying Ji and his continue expansion of Qin, he had a long life and was on the throne for 56 years. The first 10 episode or so sort of follows 2 where a smart and well known strategist almost destroyed one of the most powerful states at the time Qi using schemes. Then it timeskip to 20 years later where he usurp power back from his mum, and introduce his chancellor. It’s kind of a shame that this drama’s chancellor is mostly a negative portrayal, and writing goes back to more simplified archetype rather than nuance characters. There’s also a really long arc about a well known battle that’s done decently but I sort of lost interest. It’s still a pretty good drama but just bit disappointing after the fantastic previous installment. 4 wrapped up filming early this year is about 3’s great grandson, Ying Zheng, Qin Shihuang, so it’s the final installment, and will it please air soon! The author that wrote the original novels (that 2 & 3 abandoned) were kind of mad about the drama adaptation so launched a different adaptation project, but I’ve seen no news of it for like 2 years so looool.

    The Greatest Protector – Wallace Huo’s 2014 drama set in late Qing/early Republic about 镖师. Escort? Ok I guess they are but that summons a way different image. Bodyguard? Way underrated even on douban I think, so it’s unsubbed. Probably best Wallace Huo performance I’ve seen, but his popular dramas are the more idol-y drama so lol. It has the best wushu/fight scene I’ve seen, it’s all real kungfu, and the drama is clearly low key/down to earth wuxia. A big part of the drama is about rules and doing what’s right and such. The time it’s set in is pretty turbulent times too, so there’s clashing of ideals and such. I believe the drama had 7 episodes cut and it’s kind of noticeable, the republic politics is entirely to the background and you never see major figures even if they are named, which is a shame since I’m really interested in it. The drama also spent significant amount of time, at least 1/3 if not 1/2 of it on love polygon and melodramatic tropes. I really liked all the characters of love polygon to begin with too, they were down to earth and real, but the tropes and length kind of sapped all my affection for it. The ending also felt anticlimatic, IDK if it’s due to the cut or what, an epilogue about what protag end up doing would be nice. The writer is one of the writers for the movie The Grandmaster so that should give you some idea what tone it has.

    I’m half way through The Red, which features Zhang Luyi, Tao Hong and Zhou YIwei. I think I started it when I was watching Love Me if You Dare cos the comments highly rec’ed it. It’s set in 1938 Shanghai, so during Second Sino-Japanese War. I was afraid it’d be depressing due to time period, but so far it hasn’t been. Since the main characters all live French Concession area, so it’s mostly peaceful. Protag is very observant and smart, but mostly just want to live a simple life. But he gets dragged into various plots due to people around him. His love interest is also pretty smart and meticulous in planning, it’s very fun when watching them scheme. A large part of the drama is just about regular people living their lives in Shanghai during turbulent times, so it’s pretty neat. The antagonists are all pretty smart and there’s a few morally gray characters. It’s probably going to get dangerous and bloody later, I hope they all survive.

    Also watching 90s drama based on Spring & Autumn period 东周列国 春秋篇, mostly about a lot of proverbs and well known stories, it’s lot weirder and outrageous than I expected (I’ve only watched a few episodes, and one of them has incest……..) I watched the Warring States one when I was younger I think, not sure if I watched this, not that I can remember them. I wanted to watch end of Qin/start of Han drama, but they all seem hovering around 7 and really long so idk…

    IDK if I’d watch Royal Nirvana, I started the book since it comes highly recommended, but I think it’s mostly for the writing style, there’s a just a lot ways 60 episodes drama can go wrong. Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain is also on maybe, I watched like 2 episodes of the anime when it came out but it didn’t really grab me, the drama seems well received though.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      Yayyy… someone else is talking about the Great Protector! I was ravishing about the series — agree, it’s Wallace Huo’s best performance up to date and the fighting scenes are one of recent Cdramas’ best. The number of episodes is pretty decent (38 if I’m not mistaken. But it was produced and aired before the super-lengthy episodes became a trend, no?). I love all the side characters and their quirkiness, the romance is also done pretty well with Wallace and Jia Qing’s chemistry (my favorite part is their short sweet moment in the kitchen).

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        Yeah and the production team actually had trouble financing the show which was why it took so long to film. I’m so sad that some of the episodes were cut. The side characters and their story were pretty interesting. I did really like the otp, it’s always fun to see a stern character fall in love. Shan Mao creeped me out a lot, he’s a semi-antagonist so I know it’s intended, and he’s a twisted character because of how he grew up and how he’s treated by people that don’t know him, but he both fascinate and unsettle me.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      Once Upon a Time in LingJian Mountain drama seems to be liked by viewers who have not read the novel. Not liked by those who loved any of the secondary characters, male lead’s nasty wit and totally justified self-serving ways (Drama mellowed him to make him more palatable to the uninitiated.), or the profane “degenerate” female lead. Of course, every character’s IQ was lowered.

      First season of the anime was pretty true to the original. 2nd season totally messed up.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        I’m fairly lenient when it comes to adaptations, sort of have to be if you want to watch them. So I think for the most part, if it adapts the major parts and core themes of the story, I’m okay with it. It’s expected they would cut content and make characters more palatable towards the general audience. How well the anime adapts the story doesn’t really change the fact that it was uninteresting and even sort of generic for first two episodes (the comedy was unfunny to me rip) so I dropped it. DEEN’s lackluster animation and directing certainly didn’t help though.

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      I agree with you on the writing and the tropes for Perfect Wedding. A lot of it was just unnecessary or needed to be cut to a minimum, especially the ex-girlfriend’s scenes.

      What did you think of Yang Zi playing this type of character? I think it deviates from her usual image of naïve and cute, which I know people are getting tired of. Her character here, as you said, can be very loud and unreasonable but I think it’s also more realistic and down to earth than her other ones. I can empathize with her a little more here.

      Having a narrator for this series was so weird and unnecessary! I had wondered if it was adapted from a novel and maybe that’s why there was a narrator, but turns out there isn’t.

      Re: Le Coup de Fondre. The brother and her bff story was more appealing to me, so I ended up binge watching their cuts. The actor for the brother’s character seems to have gotten more romcom webdrama roles because of this drama.

      Re: Young Blood. I’ve read many good things about this and great to see your mini review here. Makes me look forward to starting it even more.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        I quite liked her portryal! Although I think I’ve watched too many of her dramas now, since I recognise some of the…standard ways she would act, so it pulls me out a little, awkward. The character probably *is* my favourite of hers, followed by Ashes of Love’s. Somehow AoL’s over the top naiveness being explained away by a plot point worked for me. Narrators only work for me if it’s sort of first person pov, or an epic, so this was definitely just weird. Like how it was super unnecessary in Ode to Joy.

        Re: Le Coup. I’m glad he got more roles, since his face is actually pretty suited for male lead. Hope you get to enjoy Young Blood soon, and definitely report back if you start it 😀

        • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

          I thought Jin Mi’s naïve personality was actually quite reasonable given her sheltered upbringing. The first half of the series was just Yang Zi playing her usual type of character but the latter half where there was so much angst is where I thought she brought her A-game. Oh I forgot that Ode to Joy had a narrator. It’s just so awkward.

          Currently dividing my time between Royal Nirvana and Joy of Life, but I’m sure I’ll need a break from RN so Young Blood will be soon!

    • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

      I’m still watching Young Blood slowly. Zhou Yutong’s FL is nice. Strong, reasonable and not damsel-y. Among my fav 2019 FL. Same for Zhang Xincheng’s ML. The 2nd FL is a nice char too. Not whiny or annoying although she doesn’t have a lot of super skills that some bloated FLs in other dramas have. No dog blood. The group of 6 leads have great chemistry and bond. That part is a particularly enjoyable watch. The more I like a drama, the slower I watch it. So I’ve been really slow with Untamed too.

      Skibbies, Love Under The Moon is watchable, but a bit slow. I’m around ep 32. It’s an easier watch than Never Gone. Ou Hao’s acting is ok, but may be a little bit below Wang Yibo’s actually. But better than HDJ’s. There are some villains, but not the top-level melo. Some biz subplots are a bit weird. Song Qian is in marketing, but her whole dept was working on a project bid. But maybe that’s how they do it in their industry.

      I finished Hotel “del” Luna. It’s great for those who really like a slick, glossy drama. A long parade of fancy dresses. I don’t like it as much as other AVV-ers. It has some standard Cdrama idol tropes actually, esp the last half. Too much focus on the main OTP at times. Including staring into each other’s eyes slowly by the tunnel while different insert songs are playing. A lot more staring in the last few episodes. I liked episodes 3-10 where it was less like the usual Cdrama tropes. I finished HDL fast partly because I wasn’t glued to the screen the whole time. I’ve only watched 3 Kdramas my whole life. ~42 total eps.

      Great Protector was strangely underrated. I remember it has very nice cinematography. Thanks Lenje for pointing out the details of the action aspects. The thing is I don’t like Jia Qing’s acting, so I FF’d some of the drama. So at the end, this drama was only half memorable to me. I also didn’t like the war theme towards the end. Jia Qing is also in some very melo modern dramas I skimmed and didn’t like.

      I watched a bit of Royal Nirv and may continue. The snail paced release fits my current busy schedule. I like the BGM, cinematography. Plot is ok. Just wish the storytelling style doesn’t use this bit-by-bit flashbacks so much to reveal the plot twists. The acting is pretty good. The opening BGM is strangely similar to Ever Night’s but the music teams don’t look to be related. But I may get tempted by Qing Yu Nian instead later. Or Sword Dynasty, if it comes out in 2019,

      May I ask if you guys have ever had desserts from Hong Kong 许留山 Hui Lau Shan ? I hear when their first store opened recently in BeiMei, the line was still 160-170 people long 2 to 3 weeks after opening. Is it that good? They are mostly known for mango desserts. I visit that area sometimes. I wonder if it’s worth trying. I’m not going to HK anytime soon.

      Skibbies, Thanks for reviewing Red and Qin Empire. I’ll try to watch Red later. It’s hard to find the time to watch the whole 3 Qin seasons. I still want to watch Advisors’ Alliance S2 before I forget S1 completely.

      Chasingpolaris, Do you have tips for traveling to Washington DC in early Jan with just a carry-on bag? I’ll just be there for a week. I very rarely visit freezing places. I’ll search YT for vids. I was shivering wearing a trench coat in Boston last May. lol. There are a lot more flight delays during the winter.
      I forgot to tell you, when I was in Tunxi Old Street in Anhui, there were many touristy shops selling very elaborate ink stones and fancy calligraphy paper. That area is famous for those products. It’s near Huangshan. I bought ticket to Malta for next year. It will be a lot warmer than DC. Outside of C, I see Xinhua bookstores in various international locations. Some of them sell calligraphy supplies. More than what you typically find in Chinatowns.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        We have many 许留山 Hui Lau Shan branches here. I find it just okay but that’s because we have plenty of other mango-themed dessert here. Worth a try if you like them.

        • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

          Thanks for your feedback Maymay.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        Yeah I really like the fact second female lead is much more typical cute innocent and maybe damsel-y character but she’s not annoying, and rarely damsel’ed. The friendship and how they end up working together and using their individual strength is definitely favourite part of the drama for me. I can’t believe you haven’t finished Untamed 😛

        Mhmm Love Under the Moon sounds alright, thanks for the review, I’ll likely pass though, since I still have Bloody Romance and other dramas on my list.

        Kdramas excel in producing slick glossy dramas, I haven’t watched them lately because a number of them end up trailing off or just straight up bombing the ending. Too much focus on otp is par for the course for kdrama tbh, it’s not the first time I wish romance wasn’t part of the drama haha.

        Re: Greatest Protector. I think the war theme was inevitable due to the time it’s set in, and also it contributed to disappearance of Biao Men, I’m not huge on it, but it was interesting time for a number of characters the drama focused on. (Like disgraced nobility, small time actors, street urchins). Essentially a lot of background stuff and not what the drama is zooming in most of the time.

        I have some fellow tRoP friends that don’t like Royal Nirvana purely due to how similar they look and it feels like knockoff hahaha. I think the superficial similarity is just from the same stylist team. Won’t comment on directing/lighting/plot till I start it.

        I started Joy of Life/Qing Yu Nian, it’s lot lighter in tone than I expected? Not quite as slick as Ever Night, the fight scene is mostly decent instead of awesome like in Ever Night, the camera spins a little too much. But I find I quite enjoy it? It’s lot easier to get into compared to other epics. The writer was also amazing in how they manage to keep transmigration trope so there would be clashing of modern ideals and concepts with history. I THINK it’s a palace-focused drama, not a fantasy action like Ever NIght, I mostly compared them two due them sharing an author.

        You can probably take your time with Qin Empire, skip 1 if it doesn’t grab you as well, you can always come back later. I need to remember to watch Advisor Alliance too now that I have a semi concrete idea of the period and major players involved.

        Re: Hui Lau Shan, I liked the deserts the few times I’ve been there. It’s not super amazing must try, but it’s pretty good. I think you just don’t get as many good dessert places (that’s not just plain ice cream or froyo) so that’s why the asian dessert place are popular when they open.

        • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

          Oops. Sorry, I only realized that you were the one who pointed out the fight scenes in Great Protector first. Thanks. I hadn’t realized their fight scene background. My brain is too crowded with junk. lol.

          Thanks so much for your drama and HLS comments.

          I’m currently busy browsing winter wear for my winter trip. lol. I’ve been too places that snow before and went skiing once. But I was much tougher back then and never brought really warm stuff with me. Now I’m not nearly as daring. So it’s taking me forever to look into this as idk anything on this subject.

          Last time, I mentioned how this happened in India after US, now there’s …奥施康定…. 在中国用假医生… YT vid 2z-QDHn2muQ Don’t fall for it.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        I’ve had Hui Lau San when I was visiting family in Hong Kong a few years back. Will say it’s worth a try if there aren’t any long lines.

        Re: Washington D.C. A trench coat will definitely not do in the middle of winter on the east coast, although D.C. is probably warmer than Boston. Is there any place near you that sells a packable down jacket? That might be the best option for you if you’re doing carry-on. It’s usually only cold outdoors and most restaurants/shops will crank up the heating indoors, so something packable/foldable would be best. I typically wear layers underneath my coats, but sometimes the heating indoors is so high that I have to take off my outerwear. Also, there might be snow at that time so you should probably have a pair of boots.

        Thanks for letting me know about Tunxi Old Street. Are there many “old streets” in Chinese towns and cities? I feel like everywhere in China just seems old in general.

        Malta sounds warm. It’s snowing/raining here.

        Boston has no Chinese bookstore, unfortunately. We just buy our books online.

        • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

          Good to hear your feedback on HLS. I don’t think we have Honeymoon Desserts in the country yet. (I ate there when I visited Asia.) At least MeetFresh has arrived in the country.

          It’s hard to answer the Old Street question, but in general, I’d say yes. Bc there are also a lot of Old Towns. So most streets in Old Town that are not obviously new should be considered Old Streets, right? Generally you want to go visit a place that was prosperous once but then later became less so due to economic changes. That’s usually how you find a lot of interesting Old Streets or Old Towns.

          When I was in Shanxi 山西, Pingyao Old Town had a museum that had a really beautiful large calligraphy of 马. It was so beautiful and horse-like. I regret that I didn’t take a pic of it.
          The elaborate inkstones in Tunxi were impressive. And some of them were almost bath-tub-like in size.

          I read your reply post on our previous thread. About the banks, I meant some of these below.

          Some bank customers first encountered discrimination at early stage (YT vid JHEc37I5pXM) then ended up facing predatory loan situations and ended up having their homes repossessed by banks. This was more likely to happen with minority groups and involved a long list of large banks. Many of the unfortunate customers had a history of having previously taken out non-favorable loans. Some customers were sometimes targeted using non-English application forms. ( “Hous Study” [journal] by Justin P Steil, Len Albright.) There are other issues in this sector beyond this housing one.
          Healthcare, romance, fake kidnapping scams targeting seniors are also common. (YT vid Ihis7eopG0U). Some victims are careful not to disclose their names in news to avoid getting targeted by further scams.
          The thing I mentioned to Skibbies above is also …
          Post US, India, now there’s …奥施康定 在中国用假医生… YT vid 2z-QDHn2muQ

          Thank you for your kind tips on warm wear. I’m spending a lot of hours lately “studying” “智能wool” and middle-weight inner layers. ( Capilene vs 250mrn wool. I’m trying the latter. ) In retrospect, I should have done this from the beginning instead of getting random items here and there in non-systematic fashion. I got an 始祖鸟 outer layer to prepare for rain for now. I hope to find an opportunity to try these things out on some mountain near me.

      • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

        I’ve had both HLS and MeetFresh. Personally prefer HLS because I like mango, but MF is very good for everything else. We have another HK based dessert chain here, C Fruit Life, which is like a combination of HLS and MF in my opinion. Are you big on these types of desserts?

        That’s a good point. I haven’t been too many old streets. Sometimes it just feels like the whole town is old itself.

        Can you write in Chinese calligraphy style? I learned it when I was younger but not properly trained. I always thought I would buy myself a proper set of brushes and inkstones to start learning, but it never came into fruition. My hands are not steady enough. My parents and friends find me a little strange in that I love to use almost obsolete items, like fountain pens, wax seals, film cameras, and of course calligraphy brushes. Also the fact that I enjoy writing in seal script form puzzles them. But I like and rely heavily on technology as well.

        If you like documentaries and if you haven’t already watched it, I recommend watching Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. It’s about a Chinese-American owned bank in New York that was the only bank slapped with criminal charges during the US 2008 recession. Of course all the big banks were not treated this way. The media reported about this, but it was not widely known. I only learned about this because of the documentary.

        Have you been able to test out your winter gear?

        • 30 thoughts on “Drama-Binging: What Are You Watching? (25)

          fyi, the next 2 weeks are the time of the year when you can get great deals on some coastal Calif hotels. Though that could vary year to year some, depending on the occupancy and booking rates for a particular year. I saw a YT vid for Top 25 US sights. CA topped the list with ~4 sights: SF, LA, Yosemite, SD. And thanks for your tips on Newport mansions. I’m surprised so few in New England made it to the list beyond Boston. I quite like Vermont as a place to visit. NE topped the list for healthcare quality and availability. MA is small in area, so it’s not surprising there aren’t so many attractions that made it to top 25.

          I like trying foods that are only available overseas while traveling. I often live in cities that only have mediocre or no C desserts. So that makes overseas C dessert shops attractive to me. Mangoes in SE Asia tend to be quite good. Better than Mex & Hawaiian ones imho. If you visit Singapore (or Malaysia) and Tw, make sure you eat the “local” fruits.

          Interesting. I didn’t know. I happen to like taking walks around Boston U when I visit Boston.
          I’m not sure why there were so many big old buildings near that area. They also have beautiful, mature trees. My ex-哈佛buddy has never been to that whole area at all.

          1 of my brothers, a few friends have dragged me to have Tw desserts at (Tw chain, i think) 天仁 type places for meals and desserts. I find Tea Station etc inferior to MeetFresh.

          Is this also a J thing? TS likes to store its veggies without any refrigeration. Half the time I get taken there for their bento, their veggies have gone sour. They taste half-fermented and stale. Tw cuisine started before fridges were common, so I had some stale veggies in Hualien years ago. Back then, there were few restaurants in Hualien. My travel buddy wasn’t happy to see the flies on the Tw buffet dinners, but my mom insisted on having dinner there. Now Taipei is full of great restaurants it seems.
          I like to go to restaurant lunches ~11:30 when they open for the day, but my brother likes to go for late supper when veggies have been sitting around for the whole day.

          idk why tons of cities now have Sichuan, Chengdu hotpots, but I haven’t seen a Macau/ semi-Portuguese (hotpot or otherwise) restaurant in the country the past few years. Have you tried them? I have to settle for the individual serving hotpots here. I’m content enough. I haven’t tried HaiDiLao but they are in a couple of cities. I didn’t try them in C either. News said some HDLs in C offers free manicure while customers wait in line. I’m not aware that the US ones do.

          Idk of a single Portuguese restaurant in any of the cities I lived in. I like their seafood soups and spicy tomato-ish soups.

          Do you know any great DC restaurants convenient for a 1-person lunch? I will dine with friend for dinners, but not lunch. I’ll be near Dupont Circle. I completely missed Foggy Bottom when I went to DC ages ago although I walked in Georgetown.

          Strangely, some places in C like 徽州古城 are not popular with tourists. There are lots of places like this that are not visited much but seem interesting to me. Baidu has text & some pics on 徽州古城. I find C had tons of places like this scattered around the country. It always takes me forever to plan a C trip for this reason. You can end up staying at a hotel near these places and not aware of them. Seems like such a pity to not see it when you are staying only 1-2 km away. I expect Sichuan and several other provinces to be the same way. 西 tourists and my brother only go to the most touristy of places like the most 1-2 touristy BJ hutongs and then complain endlessly about how everything old had been completely demolished, making it so boring for tourists.

          I don’t remember how to write most C characters. Due to the C language & culture ban I mentioned a while back, I had nearly zero official exposure to the language until univ. I’m just winging the whole thing.
          I’m at the age where I need to start playing the piano again regularly. I forget things a lot faster than I used to. Even in terms of muscle memory. I also notice during playback that I’ve gotten very sloppy at when I press and release notes. It sounded messy during playback. You sold your piano years ago? I can’t find enough time to do all the things I want to do. 我家有古筝 but I underestimated how much time it takes to begin to learn about the repertoire for the instrument. Unlike the piano, 古筝 can be tuned to various pentatonic scales. It’s not nearly as ready-to-play-every-song as the piano. Takes a lot more time to find the right 古筝谱 to start. 我觉得退休计划和投资也还是自己搞比较安全. yinhang 不太靠谱. 技术了解还不错的话,投资还能赚点钱, hence I read about 基因治疗 etc in the past. 现在正在很火呢. 年底特别忙 猜猜税收后果.

          The innermost layer I ordered was mis-sent to Rochester. They are just about to send it to me finally. So haven’t had a chance to try. This is the first time I’ll try a basic 戈尔特克斯 始祖鸟product. (I didn’t find a packable version in store. This item keeps slipping around). Will see what happens. idk how others get so excited about consumerism. I’m horrible at it. I get thwarted at every step. lol. I find it so time-consuming. Shopping and I are not fated together. I have a light, quilted jacket but I’ve never worn it bc I’m not sure how washable it is.
          I saw in news recently that Canada Goose has a store (in Toronto?) that has a frozen room for you to try their jackets. Their room emulates arctic conditions. It looks neat, but their jackets look really bulky to me.

          Thanks! 华尔街的高管没有坐牢的. pbs或pri “市场” podcast 有特别版本. 全都是 small enough to jail的相反

          I’m impressed at how every Canto AVVer here practically had tried HLS and each provided kind feedback. You’re all so nice. 😀

What do you think?