One of my favorite Kdramas lately is One Day Off, which is a rare example of an interesting but restful show. It’s about a school teacher who, when faced with the intractability of some of her students, “sometimes longs to disappear,” so she indulges herself with one-day trips.
When she’s had enough of real life, this teacher, Park Ha Kyung, gets away from it all on Saturdays. She is played by Lee Na Young, from Romance is a Bonus Book (only with short hair). The story is about the places she goes, the people she meets, new experiences, and how that starts to change her.
Her first trip is to a shrine, a natural place to go when in search of peace and quiet. She opens herself up to new experiences and tries out different approaches to serenity and contemplation. She finds out some of it is not for her, and just how much communing with nature she really wants! Every episode has its own story, and we learn a little bit more about her each time.
Unexpected Guest Stars
Since this is a short web drama, I didn’t expect a lot of well-known actors, but there are quite a few. Early on, I was surprised to recognize Han Ye Ri. She was in Hometown and My Unfamiliar Family, and I especially loved her in Six Flying Dragons. In this episode, Ha Kyung copes with a student who wants to drop out. Then she goes to an art exhibit by a former student, where she feels very awkward. Well, everyone feels awkward. The story is about how she digs deep for meaning, and for ways to support her student. Not everyone thinks the same!
Some trips have a goal in mind, such as when she goes to the Busan Film Festival, where she keeps running into the same guy. He is Koo Gyo Jwan, who has been seen in D.P. They are memorable together. On the other hand, some of her trips are aimless, like one that starts in the middle of the story and then has flashbacks and time skips to show how she got there. That one is harder to follow, but we eventually discover that it all started when she missed her train.
As the stories progress we see Ha Kyung gaining confidence and learning to roll with whatever comes. She has been helping her dad get his internet going, and we get flashbacks of her life with him when she was a child. Then at a bus station, she comes across an elderly man arguing with a clerk. He is Park In Hwan, who will forever be the dancing grandpa in Navillera. She perceives him one way at first, and then in another way when she connects his behavior with that of her father.
Ha Kyung’s journey (in more ways than one) culminates in the last episode as we see her visit the same historical site at different ages. The first time she’s on a school trip, then she returns with her best friend after college graduation, and then again in the present day. This is the episode that really makes you notice how she’s changed. The bestie is played by Shim Eun Kyung, who was in Money Game and Naeil’s Cantabile.
Should You Watch?
I enjoyed it a lot, and thought about it a lot afterwards. There are sad moments and sweet moments and little surprises scattered all through it. I watched it all at once, but you could fit the episodes in here and there because they are only 25 minutes each. See if you can find out where this cat fits in, and look for the bakery that has sweet rolls with googly eyes. This drama is found on Viki and is well worth your time. Let us know in the comments if you enjoy this kind of show!
Until the next little surprise drama,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi