Sunday, March 08, 2009

heroic Chinese dramas

I checked on my online order of new Chinese TV dramas a couple of weeks ago. Since it had been 3 weeks since I had placed the order I emailed the site and asked them to investigate. I was told that one of the two dramas was out of stock so I had to replace that one with another one so I could still qualify for free shipping. Since my order was not on its way here by March 1st, I went to the local used bookstore and I was lucky enough to find another drama series that was in my price range. But before buying it I asked the store clerk to test it to see if the Japanese subtitles could be turned off or not. Since the publishing company was not the same as the other ones that I had bought before, I figured it was worth checking. I didn't want to buy another Chinese TV drama series with hard-coded subtitles and I wasn't about to buy it if that was the case. At first, the store clerk said he thought the subtitles could be turned off, but I knew he wasn't sure so I asked if they had a DVD player to try it on. Then another clerk took over the task. She put one of the discs in a player and hooked it up to a small monitor. It started playing and then she proceeded to tell me that the subtitles would have appeared in the beginning and since they didn't appear right away she took this as evidence that the subtitles were off. However, from the moment I saw the video display, no one had said anything yet. So I just waited and watched. Sure enough, as soon as someone spoke the subtitles appeared. For whatever reason, they said that player was set to show the subtitles, so the clerks then got out a used game console and played the disc from there. On that console they were able to turn off the subtitles so I went ahead and made the purchase.

I bought Heroic Legend (DVD-BOX❶ 6枚組) on Sunday, March 1st. I only bought box one at first. They had box 2 as well, but I waited until I finished the first one before buying the second half of the series. Each box has 6 discs and there is a total of 35 episodes. This drama is filmed just like a movie. It looks very good. The other ones I bought before look like TV shows, but this one feels like a movie. It looks very good at full screen as well. One of the main actors, Huang Hai Bing, is from the 2nd drama that I was watching. It's interesting to note that he looks exactly the same but he sounds very different. I felt like it was someone else's voice.

Besides the excitement of having a new TV drama to watch, the reassuring feeling I get from this one makes me feel good. This is the first time I have watched the series and there are a lot of things in it that I can understand only because I had watched the other dramas. This drama is like a testimony to me that my understanding of Chinese is growing. I can recognize all of the words, phrases and things in it that I would not be understanding if this had been the first drama that I watched. I hear them and I can say to myself, I know that word because it was in the other dramas. It is a building process.

When I watched my very first Chinese TV drama, I could say that I don't understand Chinese. But now I would say that I can understand a little Chinese. I don't feel like someone who is sitting there not following the dialog, not understanding the story, not knowing what's going to happen next. I feel like I understand enough of the words to know what to watch for next. I'm following the dialog to some extent. I'm not completely lost. I'm not only looking at the pictures. Again, this was the first time watching this series so I had no previous knowledge of what's going on, so I know that my understanding is coming from the spoken language and confirmed somewhat by what can be seen happening on screen.

I watched the first half from Sunday to Thursday and then Thursday evening I bought the second box. I finished watching it early this morning.

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