Maa, tujhe salaam.

My knowledge of Hindi is zilch, unless you count the few words I know from similarities to Marathi and from Bollywood films.  I’ll probably never learn Hindi to the extent that I’m learning Korean.  But I go through cycles (usually brought on by stress/anxiety) of intensely longing to connect more with my culture and heritage.  Hearing Hindi/Urdu somehow brings a bit of that back into my life.  Plus I’m homesick. ><

यहाँ वहां सारा जहाँ देख लिया, अब तक भी तेरे जैसा कोई नहीं.
yahan vahan saara jahan dekh liya, ab tak bhi tere jaisa koi nahin
I’ve been here and there and seen the whole world, yet  there is no one like you anywhere.


I rewatched a couple episodes of my favorite Japanese drama (野ブタ。をプロデュース) with Korean subtitles recently.  That was quite the experience.  My brain felt like it was doing gymnastics at the Olympics.  The awesome thing is that I understood maybe 85-90% of the Korean subtitles I read, while my ears also understood maybe 10-15% of the Japanese.  My brain kept trying to connect the two, but the synapses just didn’t seem to be forming.  Haha.  Well, I’ll keep watching and see if it gets easier.

I won’t write about how much I adore this drama but it is, hands down, out of all the Asian dramas I’ve ever watched, my absolute favorite.  It is the perfect story of youthful earnestness, camaraderie, and life in general.  And it never ever fails to makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  After rewatching it though, this part from episode 1 really stuck out.


AKIRA:  Youth – I’m not really sure what that means, you know.
SHUUJI:  Well, to me, it’s kind of like trying to do something no one else has ever done before.  Or giving it your all until you collapse.  Something like that.
AKIRA:  Hm.  What should I do?
SHUUJI:  That’s something you have to figure out for yourself!  

The word that really got to me was 青春「せいしゅん」 (청춘 in Korean), which means youth or (rather floridly) “the bloom of youth.”  It made me sit back and reexamine my life.  In high school, my dream was to become a published writer before I graduated college.  That was the big thing I desperately wanted to have accomplished while I was still in my 青春.

For better or worse, that didn’t work out and here I am.

Ever since I started graduate school, I’ve been wondering if I’ve just doomed myself to wasting away my 青春 at the lab bench, in the tissue culture hood, or in front of the microscope (though microscopy is fun), in a futile attempt to “do something no one else has ever done before” (which is the essence of a scientific discovery).  The doubts are making me realize that I’m still at the “figuring out” stage in my life and, meanwhile, my youth is flying past me.  

And I don’t think I’m the only one feeling like this.  Several of my friends have hit a “Quarter-Life Crisis,” if you will, where they feel like they need to be doing something great but just don’t know what.  Is society to blame for this in some way?  Have young people just been conditioned to feel like they need to have changed the world before the hit 35?  Or is youth really about attempting the impossible?  I’m not even sure anymore.  In any case, when I was feeling my lowest, I saw this comic –

– and it made me feel better.  It’s time to get over this existential crisis and move on before I worry my 青春 away.

Random Thought

I watched Hello Baby for a whole fifteen minutes before realizing that I was watching without subtitles.  It was awesome.  I still like subs even though I can usually understand the gist of what I’m watching without them.  I rarely have time to watch dramas and reality shows and when I do, I want to enjoy them 100000%, meaning understanding all the dialogue and no guessing.  My brain’s tired as it is.

Honestly, though, I’m not sure how much subtitles are actually benefiting me because, more often than not, I hear key things being left out of the subtitles, especially if they’re subbed hastily.

Case in point:  Episode 8 of The King 2 Hearts.  Hangah was being all cutesy in front of Jaeha, calling him oppa

… causing him to protest, “동갑끼리 왜 그래, 징그럽게?!”

I remember the English subtitles left off the 동갑 part entirely, perhaps because I suppose it’s too complicated to explain that “oppa” is used by younger females to older males and not between people of the same age.  Fine.  There has to be some give and take in subbing things, I understand that.  The point is, I was able to catch that line even without subs and it gave me a greater appreciation for Jaeha’s character and the way he perceives his relationship with Hangah.

Anyway, I’ve come to realize that I don’t even remember what it’s like to think of Korean as a foreign language.  There was a time for all of us that Korean was just a series of sounds with no meaning or structure associated with it.  I’m always conscious of that when I post Korean music or interviews in places where it can be seen/heard by my non-Korean-learning friends.  How do their ears hear the language?  What do they think of its sounds, its cadence?  Will they enjoy Korean music regardless of not being to understand the lyrics?  I certainly liked Korean music before I was able to understand Korean, but now that I can understand a lot of it, I’ve come to appreciate it so so so much more.

I dunno.  Sometimes I just like stepping back and reflecting on stuff like this.  Amazing how far we’ve all come.