Tag Archives: Korean novel

Between Calm and Passion: 001

Reading a novel in another language is somewhat a laborious process. Because there are a lot of words I don’t know and have only encountered for the first time while reading 냉정과 열정사이, I had to keep checking for definitions in Naver Dictionary (thank God for this extremely useful online dictionary!).

My reading process:

  1. Read a couple of paragraphs and try to understand as much as possible
  2. Underline unfamiliar words and grammar using a pencil
  3. Write down the sentences with unfamiliar terms on my notebook, and underline the same words
  4. Look for definitions (or explanations, in the case of unfamiliar grammar) online (or using a grammar book)
  5. Write down definitions on notebook
  6. Read the paragraphs again

It takes quite a long time if one paragraph has a ton of words I don’t know, but for some reason I quite like it. I don’t know if my brain has retained any of the new vocabulary that I’ve learned from the novel, but it’s certainly an enjoyable process. Maybe it’s because I actually like what I read–unlike the dry text and conversations in textbooks, a novel has forward-moving plot, so if the story is engaging enough, it keeps me reading and at the same time keeps me learning. I still like reading textbooks, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s just not the most fun way to learn Korean. /shrugs

냉정과 열정사이 can be translated as Between Calm and Passion (hence the title of this post). I’ll be posting some translations of parts I liked throughout the book, just because I really like the plot. Do note, however, that because I’m learning Korean and nowhere near proficient, my translations will probably not be accurate, heh. I’m merely using translating as another tool for learning Korean, and, well, it’s fun to translate!

Anyway, the plot of Between Calm and Passion circles around two individuals, Aoi and Junsei, who made a promise to each other when they were 20 years old that on Aoi’s 30th birthday, they would meet again at the Duomo, located in Florence, Italy. The novel is separated into two books, Rosso and Blu, with each book written by a different author and focusing on the point of view of a main character (Rosso for Aoi, Blu for Junsei), so it’s best to read the books alternately to get the feel for Aoi- and Junsei’s feelings and thoughts. My plan is to read Rosso first, then once I finish a chapter, go to Blu and read Junsei’s point of view.

Between Calm and Passion is originally written in Japanese, so what I’m doing is translating a translation of a work. If I studied Japanese really hard years ago I probably would have wanted to read this in Japanese, tsk. Ooh, and Between Calm and Passion has a movie adaptation which I have yet to see. I’ve been stopping myself from doing so before actually finishing the novel. Realistically speaking though, it would take a long while before I get to finish both books, so… D:

Meh, digression aside, here’s a translation of the introductions (I do not know what to call those short lines written before the first chapter. Introductions? Prologue? Erm…) of both Rosso and Blu. These are really short passages, but since I haven’t finished much of Rosso’s chapter one, there isn’t a lot of translation I can do at the moment. :/

Rosso

Agata Junsei was my everything. Those eyes, that voice, even that smiling face that suddenly flickers with a shadow of loneliness. If Junsei were to die somewhere, I will probably know. However far a place, even if we will not meet again…

Blu

I believe that although a person may not remember everything that happens every day, the precious things will never be forgotten. I don’t think Aoi completely forgot what happened that night. Even though it’s uncertain whether I’ll be able to meet her again…

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새 책들!

(Originally posted on my 비행기 Tumblr account)

The package my sister and I ordered from Korea (which took quite a while to get here) was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but for some strange reason we missed the mailman. Today we went and picked it up from the post office, so now my Korean novels are here!

(From top to bottom: 냉정과 열정 사이 – Rosso & Blu minibooks; 사랑 후에 오는 것들; 엄마를 부탁해)

!!!!!

Picking those books from a list of the many books I wanted to have was a chore. At first, I wanted to read Guillaume Musso’s 당신, 거기 있어줄래요, but thought that if I should read a novel in Korean I should start with novels that are originally written in Korean (Musso’s French, so naturally, his novels are originally written in French). But guess what? I bought a mix of translated works and novels originally in Korean. 엄마를 부탁해 is written by Shin Kyung-sook, and one of the books making up the novel 사랑 후에 오는 것들 is written by 공지영, but the other three books are by Japanese writers (Tsuji Hitonari wrote half of both 사랑 후에 오는 것들 and 냉정과 열정사이, whereas Ekuni Kaori wrote half of 냉정과 열정사이).

I wanted to buy 내 이름은 김삼순 as well, but apparently it’s already out of print? Hmm. There could still be some copies lying around somewhere, but I didn’t get to buy it. I should’ve bought 커피프린스 1호점 too since it’s quite cheap (it’s sold at Libro for 4900 Korean won–if converted, that’s less that $4.50!). Ah well, maybe I’ll just try and get them some other time.

I’m happy about my purchases, for the most part. I’m giddy to start reading 엄마를 부탁해 in Korean–I wanted to read it for so long (it’s available in English with the title Please Look After Mom) but didn’t because I wanted to get it in Korean first. 사랑 후에 오는 것들 is a novel that wasn’t actually high up in my to-read list, but…I dunno, I just wanted to get it. And when I found that there’s an available set of that plus 냉정과 열정사이 (originally 冷静と情熱のあいだ or Calmi Cuori Appassionati, which I’ve wanted to read ever since finding out about the plot) in mini format, I grabbed the chance to buy it. The minibooks are cute and tiny, about the size of my smartphone and smaller than my Pilot pencil.

Words cannot express just how ecstatic I am at just seeing my books. I’ve always loved reading stories and I love learning Korean, so to have those two things collide is just incredible for me. Of course, it won’t be easy to read these books; I looked at 엄마를 부탁해 and was floored at how many words I don’t know (yet). But it’s okay. I’m going to read everything in my own pace and just enjoy the idea that I’m reading a novel in a language that, for the first…18 years of my life (I think? I don’t really know when I actually really started learning Korean), was something entirely foreign and something I had no care for.

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