It Started in the Palace

I grew up watching anime (Dragon Ball Z, Ghost Fighter, Voltes V and Daimos to name a few) and Asian dramas (Meteor Garden, Full House, Stairways to Heaven and some other.) It was our (my brothers and I) favorite past time as far as I can remember. In fact, I consider myself a semi couch potato; semi because growing up in our household, there are some task that falls down on me being the eldest of four children. Thus the term semi couch potato, I’ll start watching with my brothers and then walk away to attend to my delegated task.

As I grow older, the number of anime and dramas that I’ve watched accumulated, since I always find time to watch some. Call it a stress reliever or a break from reality. Then, I discovered movies.

When I first came to the United Arab Emirates, I cured my boredom with movies, never ending movies. Since the apartment where I am staying that time doesn’t have a television (it does have an internet connection though) I found myself downloading numerous movies. And that is how I spent my first five years in UAE. Then I changed my job. With the changing of job, I moved out, since my boss imposed that I have to stay near the workplace, I did not have any choice.

The apartment that I moved into, like the first, has no television as well but there’s an internet connection (I guess an internet connection is more important than a television.) As I was getting to know my new roommates, I asked what keeps them sane or busy after work, and one of them showed me the website where she watches Korean dramas which got me curious and at the same time I remembered, dramas! From then onward, I got hooked all over again.


This is the first drama that I’ve watched since 2006. I remember it was being aired in the Philippines when I left. Since it has been so long, I started over. Here’s a summary:

Title: Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace / Great Jang Geum) Genre: Drama; Broadcast Year: 2003; Total Episodes: 54 Casts: Hong Ri Na, Im Ho, Ji Jin Hee, Lee Young Ae, Yang Mi Kyung

Summary: About 500 years ago during the time of Chosun Dynasty, Korea boasted a rigidly hierarchical and male dominated social structure. Set in this period, “Jewel in the Palace” is based on a true story about a legendary girl (Jang-Geum) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. Despite her poor condition as a low class girl in the male dominated society, Jang-Geum overcame a series of social discrimination and landed herself as a royal cook, later becoming the royal physician, then ultimately the physician in charge of the king. She was even given by the king the title “The Great Jang-Geum”. The story of her checkered life on her success and breakdown as well as her love story beautifully unfold. “Jewel in the Palace” is sure to touch your heart.

One would think 54 episodes (not to mention an hour each episode) is too much (it’s overwhelming if you think about it) but I did finish watching the whole thing. How and why? Firstly, it’s about food. Food has always fascinated me and with Jewel in the Palace, they introduced not only variety of recipes but also ingredients. It got me curious enough to try Korean cuisine, now things will never be the same again. Secondly, the love story is simple yet definite. It made me wish for that era to come back somehow or that that kind of man still exist (I wish!) I admire the selflessness of the lead male character, the sacrifices that he could make for the person he loves, it’s beautiful. Thirdly, it’s history. I love knowing about the past because the present owes so much from it. My reaction would be, so that’s how it was back then, that’s interesting, imagine the evolution. Yes, I’m a cat, I’m curious and no I’m not afraid to die. 😀

If any of you hasn’t seen Jewel in the Palace yet, I recommend to give it a try. You might be surprised where it could lead you. As for me, it lead me back to the kitchen and to watching Korean dramas once again and I’m loving every minute of it.


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