Busan, South Korea 2014

After going to several tourist spots, a visit to Busan is not complete without a quick stop at the venue of the Busan International Film Festival.


Seoul, South Korea 2014

There are so many famous shooting locations in Seoul but since my South Korean trip was sort of like a meet and greet tour with my friends and students, I didn’t have enough time to explore on my own. Fortunately, I stayed in Hapjeong which is less than minutes away from Hongdae by subway. My friend and I visited the filming location of Gong Yoo and Yoo Eun Hye’s nostalgic gender-bender romcom. We got the whole place to ourselves and had a very comfy stay at the original First Shop of Coffee Prince cafe.

1박 2일 (1N2D Seoul Special)

The only time I cried while watching a Korean variety was when Song Joong Ki said goodbye in Running Man.

I didn’t cry when Joo Won left 2 Days and 1 Night Season 2. As much as I adore his extreme aegyo, I think he’s better off doing dramas,films and musicals. That season sure had its fun moments but as time passed by, I just inexplicably became too tired of the same ‘you win-you eat’ routine. There were times when I just didn’t care anymore. Uhm Tae Woong must have felt the same way, as I remember him in one episode where everyone was on a race while he decided to just take a rest on the sidewalk. I have only seen random episodes of Season 1 but I agree with what most fans say; that there’s a natural camaraderie among the members which makes it worth watching. Season 2 was not that bad and there are more hotties in the cast, but there was an uncomfortable feeling while watching Kim Jong Min and Sung Si Kyung together. Lee Soo Geun tends to overdo the body gags. Uhm Tae Woong was pretty lame at games while Joo Won totally sucked at quizzes. I loved Kim Seung Woo but he was soon replaced by Yoo Hae Jin. Good thing, there was Manghaesseo Cha Tae Hyun.;p  I love his natural, fun loving, kindhearted personality.His laugh is contagious too. I’m so glad he stayed for Season 3, and upped his game from Manghaesso to Daebak.

While Season 1 focused on members’ working as a unit, Season 2 relied mostly on games’ rewards and punishments. They worked against each other a little more often. I slowly felt as if it’s turning into Running Man.So the news about Season 3 honestly didn’t excite me that much. Aside from Kim Jong Min and Cha Tae Hyun, the rest of the members were replaced. Now the new cast includes Kim Joo Hyuk, Kim Joon Ho, Defconn and maknae, Jung Joon Young.

Season 3 basically started by focusing on each individual. There was the whole getting to know each other phase in the pilot episode. It might come off as boring in the beginning but afterwards you’d realize that that’s what’s lacking in the previous season. I did not feel too invested into the Season 2 characters. Their real personalities were not totally highlighted because they were all simply categorized into two groups:the ones who were good at games and the ones who usually have to sleep outside. This season gave each member a chance to converse,however awkwardly. After a few episodes of warming up, the strength of the cast has surfaced,regardless of their own weaknesses at games. The 3G vs LTE grouping was also an instant hit. LTE might have had the upper hand in games but 3G wins for comedy. And the addition of the Morning Angel relieved them from their fatigue from all the tortures of the previous day. So far my fave is the giant octopus though.;p Where else would you ever have the chance to wake up to that.

The PD is not a total 1N2D newbie since he was the maknae PD from way back Season 1. So it’s not surprising that this season has been getting a lot of positive comparisons with the original. There wasn’t a designated ‘leader’ in the cast, but Yoo Ho Jin PD leads them over all and is currently bringing back 1N2D’s old glory. Even the technical aspects such as the captions, background music and editing are well done, adding a little bit more oomph to the comedy.

My favorite episode would have to be the first part of their Seollal in Seoul. You just won’t be able to hold back the tears when you’re caught totally off guard on that one. The members gathered in Seoul station for the usual intro and each of them were given an old place to find, except for Kim Jong Min and Kim Joon Ho, the season’s Dumb and Dumber. The two have to work together because you know what they say, ‘two heads are better than one’. It was really funny when Tae Hyun remarked that those two won’t even make a one. True that. Those funny babos were so proud to have reached their destination in 30 minutes only to find out that the place is just 15 minutes away on foot! Cha Tae Hyun even had to help them memorize five short sentences.

I also had fun watching the other tasks especially the supposedly very easy one for Kim Joo Hyuk. But being the old soul that he is, he just made things so hilariously complicated.

The members managed to complete the hidden address of their final destination where they witnessed Seoul through the eyes of a family. There they also received the next task where they were divided into three pairs and sent to different famous Seoul landmarks for a themed photoshoot and the winning picture would get a “very special” reward.

The KBS Building served as this episode’s base camp. The members proceeded to a viewing/dubbing room where the winner of the photoshoot challenge would be declared. And there goes the surprise!

Wow~ My eyes just kept on tearin’ up too, no matter how much I tried to hold it in.

And the prize was certainly not something as predictable as a food cart pass. It was more on a personal level: poignant and heartwarming. In the end, the members and the viewers were probably all in tears; concluding the first part of the episode feeling like winners. 😀

I totally agree with the caption. This makes me want to go to Seoul even more. To create memories, to make each place worth coming back to..for me and for the next generation of my future family.

See you tomorrow, South Korea! ❤