Album: Sarang-hagi-dde-mun-e (Because of Love)
Sarang-hagi-dde-mun-e (Because of Love) is the first and last album of the legendary singer Yu Jae-ha. Tragically, on November 1st of 1987 – not even three months after his debut album’s release – Yu Jae-ha was killed in a car accident.
Still, Yu Jae-ha is considered one of the best ballad singers in the entire history of Korean music. After his death, a music contest bearing his name continued to him. His one hit single, “Because of Love” has been remade again and again by many famous K-pop singers. The song is rather simple. It does not contain grandiose background music or flashy sound effects. Yet, its slow and simple melody catches our ears, slowly inducing us to ponder upon what the song’s lyrics try to deliver. Listening to Yu’s candid emotion
s, we can sympathize with the complex yet beautiful emotion of love he is talking about, and eventually with Yu Jae-ha himself.
Movie: Kamome Diner
The movie for this month is Kamome Diner a Japanese movie released in 2006. The movie starts with a Japanese woman named Sachiye opening a small Japanese restaurant named Kamome Diner at a street corner in Helsinki, Finland. Selling Onigiri* as the restaurant’s main flagship dish, Sachiye awaits customers but no one steps in to Sachiye’s Kamome Diner. After a month of waiting, a small number of customers start entering the Kamome Diner, and they share their life stories with Sachiye. A boy who loves Japanese comics, a girl who came from Japan to Finland only because Finland was the place she pointed on the world map with her eyes closed, and many others all become Sachiye’s guests and story tellers. The customers gradually build up, and the Kamome Diner starts to become lively.
Kamome Diner does not have a twisted plot. It is a movie about the everyday lives of common people who Sachiye met in Finland. Their stories are trivial but familiar. Anyone might have gone through the same kinds of circumstances and events as the diner’s patrons. The episodes consist largely of mundane but meaningful conversations with Sachiye and her visitors, the story of three roommates in Finland, and the cooking diary of Sachiye. Looking at the stories of the characters, you might find yourself reflecting more deeply upon your own daily life and feel every single moment of your days to the fullest.
TV Program: Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!
Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa! (Fantabulosa) is an episode comedy drama that aired on BBC Four in March 2006. As the title of the TV program indicates, Fantabulosa portrays the life of Kenneth Williams, a renowned English comedian who performed his talent in various media outlets, including radio, television, movies, stages, books and even on albums
. The episode is based on his private diaries. Journeying through Williams’ life as a comedian, Fantabulosa draws upon the stories of his family, career, and private life. The drama not only reproduces some of Williams’ greatest performances but also portrays the process of how such masterpieces are made. With Martyn Hesford’s feisty screenplay, Michael Sheen impersonates a confident and somehow arrogant Kenneth Williams with his characteristic haughty expressions. Through this TV program, the viewers can get to know Williams behind the scenes and re-evaluate what the celebrated comedian was really like.
Book: Wonder: Moments that Keep You Falling in Love with Life
Many people grow weary of their boring, repetitive life routines. Yet, there is a book that suggests ways to turn these routines into special, memorable and happy moments. In the book Wonder: Moments that Keep You Falling in Love with Life, American journalist Arthur Gordon shares his insight into finding happiness in daily life.
The book is composed of six chapters, each dealing with different kinds of unexpected gifts we can find in our everyday lives: The Gift of Caring, The Gift of Shared Wisdom, The Gift of Self-Discovery, The Gift of Faith, The Gift of Bright Encounters, The Gift of Awareness, The Gift of Adaptability, and The Gift of Life.
To For each theme, Gordon provides examples from his own experiences. By doing so, Gordon captures every moment of life and shows how wonderful seemingly small and trite things can become, if only people adjust their perspectives. For example, in “The Gift of Bright Encounters,” Gordon portrays his childhood memories and mentions how his childhood experiences, such as the first time he ventured into an attic with his father, have left memories bringing happiness to him. The attic became a new and exciting place for Gordon as a teen-ager, and later in life, it became a symbol to remember his father, who passed away a few years ago. Throughout the book, Gordon becomes a mentor who teaches a simple yet most important way s to see life, eventually helping you fall in love with your own life.
Exhibition: Recollecting Seoul
How well do you remember the cities you lived in when you were a child? It might be easy to remember the marvelous scenes of sunset you saw from the hills or the night views you enjoyed from your apartment windows. However, how well do you recollect the sounds from these venues? Perhaps not much.
The exhibition, Recollecting Seoul is a part of the Memory-In Seoul Project, exhibited in the Sound Gallery of the new City Hall. Recollecting Seoul rekindles memories of Seoul through the sounds of daily lives from the past. When museum visitors first enter the exhibit, they walk through a short tunnel and see old pictures (such as students shopping in a bookstore) displayed on both sides of exhibition walls. At the front of the exhibition tunnel, recorded voices are played from a video with black and white photos of bygone Seoul. Visitors to the exhibit really can see, hear and feel the history of Seoul.
The memories featured in the exhibition are not epic stories but everyday lives of common people from different periods in Seoul’s recent history. Walking through the tunnel of memories, the viewers may recollect precious moments that had flown
-by in the middle of busy daily routines. The history of Seoul, recorded by the voices of the contemporary era, serve as valuable annals for future generations and in ways that now enhance our everyday lives.
Exhibition date: March ~ December, 2014
September ~ November: Literature and Old Book Stores
Place: Si-min-chung Sound Gallery
*Onigiri: Japanese rice ball