Thoughts on 花千骨 the novel

When it comes to novel-to-drama adaptations, I usually prefer to watch the live-version first to avoid participating in the whole “omg how dare they cast this actor/actress!” drama that usually surrounds such adaptations. Also, the novel is usually better, so I can enjoy the drama in peace and then have added satisfaction reading the novel after instead of whining about how the drama supposedly “butchered” the novel.

Hua Qian Gu the drama is still airing but I couldn’t resist getting hold of the two-volume novels and finishing them within 2 days! 😍 It’s an amaaaazing read, and is perfectly complementary with the drama.

First thing, what I loved about both is that there are a number of differences in terms of plot / relationships between characters but instead of one butchering the other, I find both stories fascinating and not a bit contradictory. It’s like being able to enjoy twice the amount from the source material and the drama managed to be faithful to the novel and yet have added elements of surprise. ❤️

I can’t talk more about the novel without being all spoilery, so you have been warned!

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Right is right, wrong is wrong

对就是对,错就是错。

If the first thing you think about is the (in)famous line in c-fantasy drama The Journey of Flower (花千骨), high five!
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I’m usually not into fantasy dramas, mostly because of the cringeworthy CG effects and out-of-the-world makeup / costumes but Hua Qian Gu is an exception for me. It has high production values, a competent and endearing cast, a great story and the CG effects are pretty nice. Okay I guess I’m pretty shallow, but I need my dramas to look nice (not just the characters). The fantasy realm (and their interior design) is great in this one.

At first I was quite cautious about the storyline (supposedly a loveline between master and disciple) but I find myself so aggravated by the male lead and his one-track mind of “right is right, wrong is wrong” and I can’t be bothered with him anymore lol. The side characters and their relationships with the female lead Hua Qian Gu are sooo much more awesome. Instead of having one-dimensional evil villains vs the good guys / justice, the story explores a grey area where the audience (or at least me) find themselves rooting for the supposedly ‘bad’ guys in the end. Sha Qian Mo is one of my favvvvv characters ever 😀 I can’t believe every time he’s fighting with Bai Zi Hua, I want him to win over the male lead so badly. I don’t blame the male lead for wanting to stick to his principles, but he’s really the most stubborn character EVER. I don’t think going against your principles is necessarily a bad thing, nor is changing your mind or making your own life a little easier. Not like you are totally abandoning your principles, but just give yourself a little leeway and flexibility!

In most dramas, the side characters are simply there for plot purposes but I really like how each character really shines in Hua Qian Gu and aren’t forgettable at all. A few of my favorites:

  • Dong Fang
  • Tang Bao
  • Shuo Feng
  • Ru Zun

If the drama manages to deliver the story so well, I can’t wait to see how awesome the original novel would be! Wanted to borrow from the library but all loaned out, possibly cos the drama’s so popular now.

I’m not really into writing about dramas / character analysis, so I won’t ‘review’ the drama, just that I highly recommend this! The right mix of laughs, tears, poignancy and epic-ness that grip your heart.

If I have to give one single reason why this drama is going to be in my TOP 5 c-period/fantasy drama, it would be the OST. I love a good OST and it does seem like c-period dramas have amaaazing songs.

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地老天荒 is THE song for me. A good c-period song for me has to be stirring / sweeping / epic, with poetic lyrics. Better if the lyrics is very much relevant to the story. This one goes one step further (or two) by managing to weave in a number of characters’ names/places into the lyrics seamlessly and having my favorite character in the show, Dong Fang (portrayed by 张丹峰) sing it. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

I need the OST on iTunes! Currently the OST out is mostly instrumentals :/

地老天荒 – 张丹峰
蟠桃花满枝桠
跌落前它绽放
让钦慕沉醉在这杯酒盏
一场梦美如画
却轻易碾成沙
(啊)爱随着风变成牵挂
绝情水漫天是非路阡陌
蛮荒中惦念情与劫是否在东方
飘来紫熏香墨色如冰悲凉
怎说千古纠缠必成伤
地老天荒
啊…
唯有痴恋不愿遗忘
正邪的两端只有爱是最荒唐
耳畔独留宫铃残响
地老天荒
啊…
不负苍生又负了她
说执念已断抵不过最真的谎
近在咫尺何处天涯
绝情水漫天是非路阡陌
蛮荒中惦念情与劫是否在东方
飘来紫熏香墨色如冰悲凉
怎说千古纠缠必成伤
地老天荒
啊…
唯有痴恋不愿遗忘
正邪的两端只有爱是最荒唐
耳畔独留宫铃残响
地老天荒
啊…
不负苍生又负了她
说执念已断抵不过最真的谎
近在咫尺何处天涯
近在咫尺何处天涯

The person who wrote the lyrics is a genius. It’s times like this that I really find the Chinese language amazingly beautiful. I’m so so so glad I understand the language and also ashamed that I didn’t put in more effort in studying it in school. But it’s never too late (: I can’t say that my Mandarin is improving via all these books/dramas since I’m only getting better with all the archaic phrases used in period writing lol. My personal favourite? 我定要护你周全。I think all the guys who say that are so swoon-worthy hahahaha.

Fangirling aside, I find myself thinking often about translation and how it’s really very difficult to convey that exact meaning / feeling in another language. For example 我定要护你周全 can be loosely translated as “I will definitely protect you” but something’s missing. Oh well, I will just enjoy the beauty of the words in its original language <3

I cannot stop listening to the song. ♥ All the other songs in the OST are amazing too! There’s a duet by the two leads which I love too.

Baidu is now one of my most go-to websites. It serves me a lot better than wikipedia in Chinese haha.

Can’t wait to get my hands on the book! No spoilers please! (:

——–

I’m finishing one c-novel every 1.5 days on average and my mum thinks I’m crazy lol. I guess that’s the obsessive streak in me.

I’ve created a new page on Chinese Novels Recommendation and put in some of my favorites for both C and TW novels. Will possibly add drama recommendations to it next time! I always welcome c/tw-novel recommendations! Please let me know what are your personal favorites ^^

 

TOPIK and JLPT 2015 – Registration

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It’s the time of the year!

Haven’t taken both tests since 2013, where I got my TOPIK 6 (barely passed lol) and JLPT N3.

Kinda sucks that TOPIK is only valid for 2 years so I have to take it again this time (and hopefully maintain my level 6). Would also be the first time I’m taking the new TOPIK, so quite excited!!

Below are the important dates for people taking the tests in Singapore.

JLPT

Test date: 6 Dec 2015 (Sunday)

Registration: 17 August to 11 September 2015

Site: Japanese Cultural Society Singapore

Cost: S$55 for N5 / N4, $65 for N3 / N2 / N1

Note: Would be good to register early since you still need to mail out 2 passport-sized photos affixed on a form

TOPIK

Test date: 15 Nov 2015 (Sunday) – so close to my birthday 😡

Registration: 24 August to 4 September (430pm) 2015

Site: KLC (details / how to register)

Cost: S$72 for TOPIK 1, S$80 for TOPIK 2

I’ve just submitted my payment for JLPT ($$$$ fly) and if I remember to sign up for TOPIK (lol) it’ll be $145 gone…….

….

..

Okay I need to pass the exam. It’s probably improbable for me to fail TOPIK (I’ll get at least a level 3 right?) but for JLPT… mmm. The plan was to prepare for it since January, but I haven’t been doing much. Add on the fact that I’m obsessed with C-novels these days, I probably won’t be doing much for Japanese until September. oops.

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Going to the library later on (more c-novels!) and also to the post office to send the photos over!

I tend to be really paranoid when mailing out stuff, so I make sure that my handwriting is big and neat, especially the numbers hahaha.

I still don’t feel like studying for anything today, so back to c-novels.

I’m mad in love with 淺綠’s writing. Going to see if I can borrow the 3rd installation of the 天配良緣 series and also see if I can find new reads. 😀

Also, I’m quite into Cantonese songs these days hahahaha. The old school stuff. 😛 I used to have a huge crush on 羅嘉良 when I was a kid lolol. And Para Para Sakura was one of my favourite songs. Does anyone remember the super long running HK song 真情? The opening song is stuck in my head, just that I can’t pronounce anything properly.

Come to think of it, I really have bad ears and I can’t learn by simply just listening to dramas or songs. Envy those who can!

Anyone else taking TOPIK and JLPT this year? 😀 😀

Leave a comment and let me know!!

Maybe we can study together too!! ^____^

#8 Onsen is the best!

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Not many photos here since I can’t possibly take photos in the compound.

Because everyone would be all flesh and no threads!

I can’t believe I love onsen soooooo much now. All because of Amber. Initially (and since forever), I am very not used to the idea of public baths and I cannot comprehend how people can just bath together in a common area. But Amber suggested it during the previous trip, somehow coaxed me into it and now I’m TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH IT.

Like seriously. On tiring days at work, I would dream of just soaking in the water and just let all the worries slip away.

So I was really looking forward to the onsens in Beppu, supposedly natural and all awesome! The plus one and I are really quite slack travellers; we refuse to do any research and would simply do a cursory google search. The number of choices were overwhelming and after eliminating the mountain ones (haha okay it’s just me…), we settled for Hyotan Onsen, which supposedly had pretty good reviews.
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Along the streets. I love Beppu, it’s just so quaint and quiet!

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Finally reached Hyotan!

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It was a good soak, but the place was pretty underwhelming compared to the one I went with Amber in Osaka (which had at least 6 indoor pools and 6 outdoor ones with different colours / types) but at least this one was all natural.

The plus one didn’t want to go to an onsen at first but I think I had her converted. I think?

Wanted to have dinner in the onsen but couldn’t find the restaurant and doesn’t seem like they have much choices anyway. Settled for a small restaurant and sat at the counter.

The place was run by a middle-aged couple and it’s just so cool to see how they manage the whole place on their own! We were lucky to get a seat and managed to order something since they had run out of many ingredients already and were near to closing time!

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Simple quaint menu!

Ginger highball! I make it a point to try as many highball as possible in Japan but nothing beats Yuzu Highball!!!
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Yummy food!!

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Looks simple, but it was good. 😀

This was Beppu’s speciality. Some kind of thick-cut noodle in broth.
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Beppu >>> Kumamoto next!

 

#Day 1 (must-read), #Day 2 (must-also-read), #Day 3 (just read), #Day 4 (might as well read), Day #5 (keep reading!), Day #6 (read la read!), Day #7 (go read!)

Ewha Study Guides for The Self Learner

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Nothing makes me happier than receiving books in the mail.

And seeing books everywhere in the house.

Received a book package from the awesome TwoChois the other day and it made my week!

Tell me how not to be happy when you see all these nicely individually wrapped books!

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I guess the title spoils it all, but omg I’m soooo happy to have the Ewha textbooks/workbooks again!!

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You might have remembered that I’ve done a quick review on Ewha Level 1 & 2 books before. I bought it on behalf on my friend, so couldn’t hold on for it for too long.

Looking forward to reviewing them in detail this time!

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What I’m most excited about is that Ewha recently published study guides for their level 1 books! I mean, how cool is that! Ewha is probably right at targeting the self-learners market 😛

A lot of people find self-studying rather intimidating, especially if you do it right from the start. With the study guides, it might make it an easier process. It’s like having a ‘teacher’ next to you!

I haven’t had the chance to look through it in detail yet, but they do look good 😀 I have always been recommending Ewha textbooks for the new learners and with the guides, I think it’ll be even more helpful!

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On a side note, the notebook is superrrrr pretty. I cannot stop staring at it.

Together with the snarky postcard lolol. I’m a fan of such stuff.

Basically the front says: I can’t do without you!

The back: You don’t think I’ll say that to you again tomorrow right?

lolol.
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Thank you TwoChois for the books!! 😀 😀 😀

I would need some time to get the review out, but if you are keen to purchase them, head over to Twochois NOW because they are having a special promo event!!

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How awesome is that!

TwoChois – We send you Korea

너 밖에 없다는 말 

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Is so overrated.

This.

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I love such snarky writing. Would totally buy these postcards! The people behind it must be such wonderful people lolol.

Am I the only one who hates it / have no idea how to react when people say that? Most of the time it’s just a way to get you to do more things for them.

Oh well.

I’m still in my c-period novel obsession mood and I might take some time to get out of it.

You know how when you have just read a beautiful piece of writing and you have no idea how to read any other books because it’s just not comparable? And you find yourself desperately wanting to read something similar? No?

Hahaha maybe it’s just me.

In any case, I am very very very very impressed with a c-period novel I just read. Possibly the most poetic and beautiful novel I have read in Chinese – the writing at least. I totally fell in love with it. No wonder they called it 诗化小说 (poetic novel).

For those who are interested, it’s 天配良缘之陌香 by 浅绿.

若你有幸為她所愛,這一生,上窮碧落下黃泉,她將與你不離不棄
情之所以為情,並非轟轟烈烈才令人心馳神往

而是平淡如細水長流,才最讓人眷戀……

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I’m quite a fast reader normally but I find myself slowing down for this novel, wanting to appreciate every phrase and sentence. I liken it to enjoying a cup of good tea – 需細細品嚐.

The female lead is also possibly my all time top favourite character and she’s totally the kind of person I aspire to be (but totally not able to lolol). Normally I fangirl over the male lead but this time I find myself perfectly fine without him lol.

If you like stories with really well fleshed out characters (those you will love to bits), try Tong Hua. If you want beautiful writing, try this. ^^

The novel mentioned this poem and I found it hauntingly beautiful.

《一棵开花的树》

席慕蓉

如何让你遇见我

在我最美丽的时刻
为这

我已在佛前求了五百年
求它让我们结一段尘缘
佛于是把我化作一棵树

长在你必经的路旁
阳光下慎重地开满了花
朵朵都是我前世的盼望

当你走近

请你细听
颤抖的叶是我等待的热情

而你终于无视地走过

在你身后落了一地的
朋友啊 那不是花瓣

是我凋零的心

If you can read in Chinese, I would definitely recommend you to try this! ^^

Would appreciate more novel recommendations! If you know any of those poetic ones, let me know!! 😀