Tuesday, 25 November 2008

풀하우스/Full House

Genre: Romance/Drama
Language: Korean*
(*will start putting this here, since I will be reviewing both Japanese and Korean shows)

Han Ji-eun lives byherself, in "Full House", a home her parents built. One day her two closest friends, give her a ticket for a dream vacation! Though slightly suspicious she finally agrees to go. Only to find out shes been swindled; not just the vacation, but her house was sold while she was gone as well! Long story short she calls out to Lee Young-jae, a movie star she met on her trip. They set up a contract, where she will agree to marry him for 6 months, after that they will divorce and she can keep the house.
All seems like it will go according to plan, but what about Lee Young-jaes feelings for Kang Hye-Won, his childhood friend since the age of 9. As well, will Han Ji-eun accept Yoo Min-Hyuk feelings for her, despite the marriage contract? It becomes quite the love square!

Finished this one last night. Such a good drama. It has an okay ending, and is strong all the way through. The characters are lovable and believable. I got rather sucked in, mainly by the two leads: Bi(Rain) and Song Hye-kyo.

The original idea of a marriage by contract is pretty crazy, but it shows how two people can fall in love, even with many differences. By being able to see all sides of a person, it allows you to become closer right? Like family I guess. Anyways this is a good watch. Korean dramas are known for their slow-pace, but this one isn't bad, at 16 episodes it is definitely watchable.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Chai Cake ♥

Well yesterday I baked a chai cake.
Not as delicious as when my mother makes it, but good nonetheless.
I slightly messed up the amount of baking powder >_>;
but it still rose nicely.
I recommend this cake for anyone who loves chai :D,
however Watkins is the only place I know of the get chai powder
(it's great to drink too.).
My mom sells the stuff, so we come by it easily.
For others...I guess you could order it online :)?

I admit it doesn't look as pretty as I'd like...
but we had company and I had to put the glaze on rather quickly.
(Didn't have time for it to harden nicely before cutting.)
Anyways here is the recipe:

Chai Cake

3 tbsp/45 mL Chai Latte
2/3 cup/160 mL hot water
1 cup/250 mL flour
1-1/2 tsp/7.5 mL Baking Powder
1 tsp/5 mL Cinnamon
170 g1/4 tsp/1.2 mL Cloves (Ground)
1/4 tsp/1.2 mL Ginger
1/4 tsp/1.2 mL Sea Salt
1/2 cup/125 mL butter or margarine
3/4 cup/180 mL granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp/5 mL Original Double Strength Vanilla Extract

Chai Glaze
2 tbsp/30 mL butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups/375 mL powdered sugar
1 tsp/5 mL Original Double Strength Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp/1.2 mL Cinnamon 170 g
Reserved 2 tbsp/30 mL prepared Chai Latte from cake recipe
Grated cinnamon stick (optional)

+Cooking Directions
Heat oven to 325°F/170°C. Grease and flour a round cake pan (8"/20 cm).
Stir hot water into Chai Latte until blended.
Measure 1/2 cup/125 mL for cake and set aside 2 tbsp/30 mL for glaze.
Mix flour, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt.
Set aside. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer
on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until fluffy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth and blended.
Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with 1/2 cup
Chai Latte until smooth. Pour into pan.Bake for 25-30 minutes or
until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes;
remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Spread Chai glaze over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down side.
Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
*For glaze: melt butter in 1-quart/litre saucepan over medium heat. Stir in remaining ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze on cake. If desired, grate cinnamon on top as garnish

Monday, 17 November 2008

Lunch Queen/ランチの女王

Genre: Comedy/Romance/Food...
Language: Japanese

Natsumi's favorite time of the day is lunch! Food is one of her passions, and she loves trying new restaurants. One day she runs into a distraught young man, Kenichiro, who asks her to pose as his fiance. Somehow she agrees to it, and ends up being abandoned by him....in front of his family! His brothers feel obliged to take care of her, and she begins working at their family restaurant.
Over time all the brothers start to care for Natsumi.
Who will Natsumi's heart really beat for, of all the brothers?
Wow, I watched this one a long time ago.
Still, if my memory serves me well, this was a cute series.
Normal dramas have long shots of good-looking fellows,
or the heroine, this one has long, dreamy shots on....food xD.
They really get across the "in-a-restaurant" feel,
and watching will often make you hungry!
The ending isn't great, but that's not completely unusual for this kind of show.
I recognized a few of the minor actors, like: Ito Misaki(Kiken Na Aniki), Yamada Takayuki (Water Boys), and Yamapi...(Who doesn't know this guy?!) :).
In closing, its a okay way to waste 12 hours.
Go ahead watch the story unfold, there's even a bit of action, involving a criminal!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Kurosagi/ クロサギ (dorama)

Genre: Action/Romance
Language: Japanese

Kurosagi is about a young man whose entire family was killed, by his father, after his father lost all his money to a scam. Kurosagi then vowed to remove all the swindlers from the world, by beating them at their own game. He hopes to avenge his family in this way. One day, however, he meets Yoshikawa who strongly objects to his way of life, and tries to get him to change. How will their relationship evolve? Will Kurosagi ever get caught?

Ah who doesn't love Yamashita Tomohisa? This is one of my favorite series. Each episode envolves a different swindler that Kurosagi must face. The way he wins back the money is always interesting. Kind of like a modern day....Robin Hood. The last few episodes are pretty heart-racing too, if I recall correctly.
There isn't too much romance, which is nice for this type of show. Horikita Maki does okay, but really she wasn't what kept me watching the show. Thankfully it isn't all, "damsel-in-distress" or "stupid-girl-getting-in-the-way". She is more like a side plot.

Watch this. Enough said, it's really a very cool show.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Returning to Japan

I was accepted to go to Japan again...

(Taken in Asakusa).

I get to go for longer, probably two weeks :D.
Since the time we go is inbetween their school years,
I get to go to a week of school
(since they only get a week off between, weird I know)
I will even get to wear my friends old uniform ^-^, I hope it's the same as everyone elses...

(Taken from Tokyo Tower)
I also get to stay with the same host family, as last year,
the same home where my exchange student, this summer, came from.
Ahh I can't wait to see them all again!
(Taken in Tokyo Disneyland)
I can't wait to stock up on Japanese music! With my new camera I can take double the pictures I took last year, plus I will be staying double the time. Last year in a week I took 300+ photos >_>. I'm the worst gift buyer though, and hardly bought anything last year, except for music xD. Most of my presents brought home were omiyagi (gifts from my host family.)
Please give me gift ideas for my host family!
The Japanese are huge into gifting, but I'm not too imaginative.
Plus I used up all my ideas last year and this summer :( .
(You have to give gifts when going and recieving)
Last years presents: (Everything had Canada insignias on them)
-Key chains
-Little gift boxes
-Maple Syrup
-Maple Cookies
-Bouncy Balls
-Nature Books
-Jelly Bellys (I realize not Canadian :P)
-My mother crocheted a blanket
-I also brought pancake mix, 4 types of home-made jam, Canadian paper plates, and napkins. Then I made them a pancake breakfast :D.
Warning: Jam is a very heavy when thinking about weight in luggage :O
....and more, I just can't remember right now :(
So taskute kudasai ! (Please help!)
I'm sure you have imaginative gift ideas :D.
So far I've thought of...socks....and Archie Comics....

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Nodame Cantabile/のだめカンタビーレ

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Language: Japanese

Nodame is a brilliant, but lazy piano player. She plays easily by ear, but doesn't bother to read the notes! She also is hopeless in everyday life, such as not bathing, and stealing food from her friends for lunch. One day she meets Chiaki, a man with no little talent, and falls in love. He is known as a top student with a major in piano, as well as being able to play the violin. However deep down he wants to become a conductor. Eventually the two begin a strange friendship, which eventually progresses into romance.

This is one of those cute romances I enjoy, lots of comedy to keep it going. Normally I get easily frustrated by stupid heroines, however Nodame (portrayed by Ueno Juri) is actually rather endearing. I think perhaps since she acts like a child, you don't expect as much from her... Chiaki (portrayed by Tamaki Hiroshi) isn't the typical heart-throb, but he is a good leading male.

This drama is really worth watching, and the music is gorgeous to listen to. ^-^