Looking from the outside in, those who watch Asian dramas seem like a peculiar people. I mean, why watch shows in a different language when there’s plenty of good stuff in English? But there’s all whole new world waiting just outside the usual Netflix fare.
I present to you, ten things people who watch Asian dramas (especially Kdramas) aren’t afraid to do.
1. Read Subtitles
I had no idea this was big deal until I started watching Asian dramas. I’ll usually have subtitles on when I watch in English, because I don’t want to miss anything. Since trying to convert my friends, however, I’ve realized many people can’t get over this.
Some don’t want to put in the effort because they like to do other things, but in time it’s easy to be busy while watching dramas. Today I made fry bread while watching Cheese in the Trap. I probably wouldn’t have made the bread if I didn’t have the drama to watch with it.
Others have trouble keeping up. In the beginning it can be hard to catch everything that’s being said, but the more you watch, the faster your reading time increases. That can never be a bad thing.
2. Learn a new Language
There was a time when I was TERRIFIED of Asian languages. My father is already fluent in Korean (he used to live there) and every time he tried to teach me a word, I would be totally clueless.
Looking back, I think I programmed myself not to hear correctly because I already assumed it would be too hard. Now, I’m even reading Hangul. I never thought it would be possible until I learned it was a phonetic language. The experience has been freeing.
3. Try New Foods
Kimchi, tteokbokki, kimbap, and jajangmyeong. There are so many foods I eat on a regular basis that I had never tried before, or only ate sparingly. I have a gigantic tub of gochujang in my fridge, and seaweed in my pantry. I never saw myself thinking of those things as staples. My bread consumption has gone down where my rice consumption has gone up.
I even tried my first bowl of seaweed soup at Korean birthday party over the weekend. It’s really amazing where this Asian drama journey has lead me.
I haven’t had the chance to leave the country yet, but I’m already making plans to visit Korea in summer 2017. One of my dearest friends, Shelly (who’s blogged on here before) is in China right now teaching English, it’s something she might’ve never experienced if it weren’t for dramas.
Before dramas, I wouldn’t have considered traveling to an Asian country, and now it tops my list. I even have friends who have moved to the other side of the globe because of it.
5. Challenge Ideas of Media Diversity
I’ll admit it, for the majority of my life I lived as ignorant white girl who hadn’t considered the impact the color of someone’s skin had on media. It wasn’t until I started watching dramas that I began to see the lack of diversity in English produced works. I even wrote books with all white characters that were (thankfully) never published.
Now I’m writing a young adult fantasy based in India without a single white character to be found. I get excited when I see other races portrayed on English television, and even more excited when I see diversity in a Kdrama. Moorim School, FIGHTING!
6. Be a Fangirl (or boy, as the case may be)
This one might not seem like that big of a deal. Everyone has things they’re interested in. Heck, there’s comic con isn’t there? (which I totally approve of, BTW) But since us drama watchers (and Asian pop lovers) are so few and far between, we tend to fangirl harder to make up the difference. I’ve never thrown myself so passionately into a fandom, and I’ve never been so proud to call myself a fangirl.
7. Wear face masks or panda hats or bunny ears
Random, I know, but this thought is actually what sparked this post. It’s cold and flu season, yet cute face masks are only available online. Drama watchers see the face masks so often it’s no longer weird. Same with other wonderful head/face gear Asia has to offer.
Oh yes, and those cleansing masks are sooo soothing.
8. Be cute
I’m not saying people who don’t watch dramas can’t be cute. In fact, anything on this list can apply to anyone else, but this brand of cute tends to run stronger in with drama watchers, especially the K-variety. Before dramas I would never make peace signs or blow my cheeks out in a picture, but now that’s the norm.
Aegyo has totally won me over, and I get all fluttery when boys throw hearts.
9. Try New Hair Colors
This one applies slightly more to Asian pop lovers than drama watchers, because of all the pretty colors pop stars wear their hair.
And to further prove my point, this cartoon went instantly viral after it was released. Because it’s too, too, true.
10. Make New Friends
I saved this for last because I’m eternally grateful for the friends I’ve made in the drama and Kpop fandom. Not only that, but I’ve found the courage to speak to others in Korean and make friends who are living far from their home country. It’s connected me to so many I would’ve never had the courage to meet otherwise, and rounded me out as a person. I don’t regret becoming a drama fan, and I never will!
What new things have you tried since Asian dramas? Let me know in the comments!
38 thoughts on “10 Things People Who Watch Asian Dramas Aren’t Afraid to Do”
All of this is so true!! You have plans to go to Korea in 2017? Hmm… I think I need to talk to my husband. 🙂
YES PLEASE!!! I would love it if you came! Start saving now. Flights actually aren’t too bad.
THIS IS SOOOOO TRUE !!! All of it ! they just draw you in. i find myself drooling over things that i used to think were weird before. Loved this post 😀
Thank you!!! 😀
All of this is so true! I would never have discovered this fandom and made so many good friends if I hadn’t stumbled over K-dramas last May. I’m eternally grateful that I did.
I am planning Korea in Sept this year by myself. So I can eat in the little street restaurants we see in dramas and stock up on Korean face care. I too have met so many amazing people by going to Korean Concerts that I never would have met otherwise
It really is the best fandom in the world. Your trip sounds so fun! I’m jealous even if I’m planning to go myself. 🙂
I’m abut on the flip side. As an Asian American growing up in the 1980s, I got picked on about everything I did. The rising popularity of Asian pop culture and globalization in general is making it easier for me to find my “weird” foods and things.
One of the reasons I watch k-dramas is that there are faces like mine in every role (good, bad and ridiculous). And my daughter is going to grow up thinking that that part of her heritage is not so weird.
Now if only we could get more Asian faces here in US TV and movies….
Great point! I feel awful about my previous ignorance, but now I’m all about more Asians on TV. I really hope it’ll make a better world for your daughter!
I’m retired US Navy, and started watching Asian films cause Bruce Lee, BEFORE he died…. I had BFs who had to watch Kung Fu theatre LOL Plus I took French & German in college & watched lots of foreign films as consequence. I found out about Kurosawa then, in the 70s.
So I’ve been doing subtitles for decades.
I lived in Hawaii (THANK you, USN!) and was introduced to a huge variety of Asian food (I’d found Indian food in HS thanks to a lovely lady from Delhi who worked w/my dad, & Chinese food from the Polynesian Restaurant in Charlotte LOL) Korean food hit the top of my list in Aloha-land, tho. They had a food truck that sold those bean-stuffed steamed buns! Right outside my office!!!!!
I’m also an anime fan, and so bunches of these things (the cuteness, JRock, bishounen anime boys…) swam onto my radar, starting in the late 80s/early 90s. I in fact found KDrama when looking for live-action Japanese anime dramas, LOL
I am learning Korean – cause I found out that hangul is an ALPHABET!! I was so excited. And I have to say this – there are NOT a bunch of excellent English-language shows out there, sadly. There are some, but even the ones that have a lot of artistic merit tend to be so dismal, and male-centric. So FEW of them pass the Bechdal test. The reason I mainline KDramas over almost anything else (except BBC – always BBC) lies squarely on that – KDramas are written for the most part BY women FOR women since the Korean entertainment industry figured out that WE are a huge, lucrative market to tap (we meaning women, btw). Too bad that Hollywood still thinks that 18-25 year old males are the ones to cater to – I’ll give that a pass, thank you.
Can I just say how very cool the ice cream hair is?
And ok, I might mention that another reason I love KDramas just might be the incredibly hot men…
LOL!!! That comment was made of awesome. And I agree, then men don’t hurt one bit and the girl power rules! I heard someone once say the wondered where all the good rom coms went, and she figured out they were just hiding in Korea. Super jealous you lived in Hawaii. If it wasn’t for money, I’d be there eating Korean (and other Asian food) in a heartbeat. The weather there sure beats Korea, although I can’t wait to visit Korea, too. We’ll just have to keep our fangirl game up until more people realize Kdrama is the place to be!
Love this blog and all the comments … I don’t usually leave replies, but am compelled to do so today. I’m 1/2 Korean – Mom Korean, Dad American – British ancestry. My dad was an early missionary to Korea (1920’s – 1941) who married my mom, and I, the eldest of 4, was born there. WWII forced us back to USA, Los Angeles, where we all have lived since then. I’m sharing all this to say: In L.A. we grew up among people from every part of the world, but no one seemed to know of Korea until the Korean War. We were raised to be proud of our heritage, but we did not speak Korean. Sadly, it was not widely known that children could grow up speaking several languages, the biggest regret of my life. A family trip to Korea in 2013 changed my life. I felt at home there, and loved every minute of our time there. Since then, I am trying to “fill up” the Korean half of me Since I’m retired, I can binge on Kdramas,Kpop, and all things Korean, and this “old ahjumma” can fangirl with the best …. squeeeeee!!!!!! All so much better than USA can offer!!! I’ve converted several friends to Kdramas, and , it is so much fun to discuss them. I have to get back to Korea soon!!!!
LOL … I’ve gone on much too long, but felt a need to share … it’s true, we feel a kinship through our mutual love of all things Korean!
Thank you so much for commenting!!! This is the best story I’ve ever heard. So glad to have you part of the fandom! My mom is a big fan too. It makes my heart happy 🙂
I first started Korean dramas because of my adult daughter’s love of them so I especially liked gracesflowers comment about being an older fan who can squeal with the best of them. While we might not have exactly the same tastes (I actually like older Hong Kong, Chinese and Japanese dramas best), I like that we can watch and learn together.
So true. Even with varied tastes, we still learn from each other. Thank you!!
My sister introduced me to my first k-drama almost four years ago. We had mostly watched Korean films until then and, although most TV projects by no means have the same quality as cinema (BBC and RAI TV might be the only exemptions, imo), we found an exciting new “hobby” to share. We try to watch the same dramas and, at some point, even if we can’t actually be together in the same room in front of the same screen, we chat endlessly and share our comments with each other. Because, even though our schedules and interests may be completely different, we never give up on our mutual “addiction”. Thank you, dramaland… 🙂
Kdramas are the only reason I’m on Facebook anymore. I don’t have any fans who live near me, so we chat about it on social media endlessly. It makes my days brighter, for sure!
I started with Japanese anime and manga and then discovered Kpop and Kdrama… mostly for the incredible amount of bishie men.. But I find myself saying Fighting and Oppa and Adhjussi on the regular now and I’ve even trudged the slow walk of the unhappy and given the drunken piggyback ride of love. : )
This post and this blog in general is the best and one of the few blogs where I read all of the great comments. Heck it’s the only blog I really comment on. : )
Keep up the great work noonas! Fighting!
You are the sweetest! Thank you!!
great article. i love the fangirling mention. i’ve never fangirled before, but here i am in my mid-fifties fangirling like mad, especially over one particular beautiful man. now there’s another thing kdrama watchers do: describe men as pretty or beautiful (at least the young ones, anyway) 🙂
True! I forgot that I never said that before…. 🙂
I have to say that I HAVED fangirled before – I’m one of those aging original Beatlemaniacs…So yep, been there, done that. Plus I’ve loved Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant !) since the 70s (saw them in concert, yes I did – & have pics….) But to see MULTIPLE groups get this treatment, and see it handled so well, with the fan meets, and the respect & affection the groups/stars have for their fans! That is so completely awesome to me.
OMG I’m not sure I’d have survived a high-five w/Paul McCartney in the lineup, at 15 years old LOL
Oh, I’m so with you, there!
Even though i wasn’t into fangirling, that would have done me in, too!
I so enjoyed this article. You totally sound like my kind of girl! I related with so many aspects. For one, my son is stationed in Okinawa and I went to stay with him for a month. I was way too close to Seoul to not visit. So we hopped on a plane (Jeju Air!) and had a great 5 days. As for the mask, you occasionally see one on a plane but when I went to China they were everywhere. I even came back with a couple of cute ones. Also, I’m never shy to try different food or say a few words in another language. They appreciate you trying to get a feel for their culture. I will also add that it helps watching the dramas because you pick up on cultural habits that help when you’re visiting another country.
I’m so excited for your visit to Korea! Wish I could go, too!
Awe!!! Thank you!!! I’m really excited to go, I’ve been planning like crazy. Is it March yet?
I’m so glad I became a Kdrama fan! I originally started watching because of some very gorgeous Warrior Baek Dong Soo edits I found on Deviantart when I was scanning the internet one day. I hunted around online and started watching and ended up bingeing on the show for three days straight. After that, I was hooked. Now, I’m watching W – Two Worlds and on the edge of my seat for Scarlet Heart: Ryeo to come out, and secretly trying to learn as much Korean as I can so I can travel there someday. The only sad thing is that my family and friends have no idea about my addiction, so I’m pretty much alone 🙁 It’s nice to know that I’m not the only fangirl out there 😀
You’re definitely not alone! It’s okay to come out of the closet, you’ll never know which of your friends are watching if you don’t. 😉
From one single drama obsession (Secret Love Affair) I have:
Started a blog, written close to 100,000 words of Fan Fiction, attended a piano competition and a Master Class, taken a Music Theory class at the college level, started piano lessons at age 50+ and got a free piano that someone left in a move just like in the show, made all kinds of korean food at home as FF research, attended KCON in LA this year, seen a subtitled Kmovie (actually 2) in a local movie theater and been interviewed by a Korean TV station, plus I’ve gone to numerous local concerts featuring the classical music from that show. It’s been a ride I would have never guessed I was getting on almost 3 years ago when my son told me I might like these “mangas adapted for TV”.
It’s am awesome, wild ride, no doubt!
I’ve become totally addicted…in some ways negative to my own culture…I am Caucasian, living in US….finding American movies, TV rather boring…and find that probably the most attractive looking men are Asian men…Americans seem rather bland lately. I find the people have beautiful eyes and full, soft lips in most cases, even the men…culturally it has changed my perception of my own culture! I’m a bit surprised by this…but in a positive way…
Ann, I can relate. I find I’m drawn to Asian culture because it is so different from my own. I’m also Caucasian and living in the US. I grew up where there only whites and blacks. In ’75, when the Vietnamese refugees moved into my area, it was my first experience with asians and I was captivated by their culture and their beauty. I love the exotic. I’m drawn to the differences.
Yep, totally experienced that, too!
On Thursday, November 3, 2016, Dramas With A Side of Kimchi wrote:
It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I have met NO ONE who could relate, so I’m usually alone on my ventures. Even went as far as hitting the subway in Seoul… alone! Shanghai, too! And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
me too ,american here. i got into kdrama in feb 2016 ,via a dramafever advert for the movie ”bromance” on facebook .it was a 2-3 minute clip but i was hooked and that started my kdrama addiction . i never thought i would find asian/korean men attractive ,sexy and romantic .The msm in usa paints them as dull unnattractive nerds, i realized i’d been living in such ignorance about asia. i’ve done a lot of reading about chinese and korean history and society and i’m so impressed with certain aspects of the culture and the technological advancement. I would love to visit korea and other asian countries .
what i find so endearing about kdramas is the romance ,an art which lots of american movies have lost and have become too centered on sex. in kdramas, its the sweet build up to the relationship,the tenderness of the male leads .they are also very family friendly in terms of violence. The saeguks are very beautifully and artistically done with lovely sceneries, elegant and rich costumes showcasing asias rich traditions,lots of eye candy and beautiful soundtracks.
i’ve also picked up lots of korean phrases and have started to write modest hangul. I find the writing system quiet easy and i no longer have a brain frizz when i look at hangul. its been an interesting year and hopefully we will continue to be entertained with beautiful kdramas.
Isn’t it amazing how it can change us? Kdramas are incredible!
I’m an Asian kdrama lover and a kpoper.
But i don’t have any change at all in my appearance.
I eat my own country’s food because korean foods are rare here in my town.
I don’t dye my hair because… Just because I’m to lazy to take care of it.
But that subtitle reading skill, aegyo things and learn a new language is true. I never want to learn any language before kpop came into my life.
I never interested in selfies before kpop.
Nowadays, i do V sign all the time.
I also do selfies with cute expression, selfies with cool expression, basically i copy those kpop idols selfie style and my mom said my selfies are really good xD