Drama Recaps
Coffee Prince Chapter 3: “Isn’t this a scammer’s set-up?”
by | July 20, 2007 | 16 Comments


Lee Soo Young – “혼자 짖는 미소” (Smiling to myself). Personally, I think Lee Soo Young’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste. But she seems like a cool person with an awesome(ly wicked) personality — just my kind of girl. And although she’s known for her somewhat epic, grandiose balladry (and they are very pretty), I kinda prefer this kind of sound. [ zShare download ]

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I just checked, and you can buy the novel from Hanbooks.com. Please note this book is ENTIRELY in Korean.

However, thanks to fishsoup for noting that there is a kind soul on these multi-tubed internets who is graciously providing full translations of the novel on this Xanga site. S/he doesn’t have an online moniker so I don’t know whom to thank, but go check it out. I always enjoy reading other people’s translations because it makes me more conscious of my own, and how to translate better, faithfully and yet poetically. S/he’s got the prologue and about half of Chapter 1 posted so far. That’ll be great because I just don’t have the time or energy to tackle a full translation.

I want to get through Chapter 3 relatively quickly because there are some cute moments between Eun Chan and Han Gyul in Chapter 4…


First off, Eun Chan’s mother loses a 2 karat diamond ring of a friend when she tried it on briefly — the friend was called away from the meeting in a hurry, the mother didn’t have a chance to return the ring, and somehow, somewhere, lost it.

As a result, the family’s thrown into panic over what to do over such a large debt. With nothing else of value, Eun Chan’s mother considers selling her beautiful mink coat — the last remaining gift from Eun Chan’s father from better-off, bygone days. Eun Chan can’t allow that, however — her mother has already sold off all of the other items of value (jewelry, handbags) given to her by her husband. It made him happy to give his wife the mink — when she wore it, he felt at last he was able to fulfill his promise to treat her to luxury.

Eun Chan recalls her father’s death — injured in a car accident, she was by his side at the hospital, when he took her hand in his own bloodstained ones and asked her to promise to look after her mother and sister, as the new head of the household, so he can die in peace. (Might be a nice dad, but it’s kind of a dick move, isn’t it? Way to leave a soul-crushing burden on a loved one as you die just to ease your last few seconds of life. Her father otherwise gives no indication of being anything less than a lovely man, but I didn’t like this about him.)

Meanwhile, I don’t like Yu Ju here either, although my dislike of her is starting to wane (mostly cause I don’t care). But consider that her very first reaction after being mugged by Min Yub is:

“My handbag! I got that in Paris… what a waste.”


Still, we get a small sense of her and Han Gyul’s connection — they met when he was eight and she was ten.

At that time, if you’d asked Han Gyul what he hated most in the world, he would’ve said milk, piano, and his father. He was made to drink milk even though he insisted he was fine not growing any taller, and he hated being forced to play the piano even though he said he didn’t want to become a pianist. And most of all, he hated his father, who imposed his will on him. That day, his father had punished him for pouring milk over the piano he’d played for two years. Just then, a customer arrived, and he ran to his room in embarrassment. He was so ashamed, he couldn’t stop crying. At that moment, seeing Han Gyul, Yu Ju, who was tall, long-haired and played the piano well, entered.

“Hey, do you want to be my kid brother [dongsaeng]?”

What a strange girl, he thought.

Despite this somewhat sympathetic background info, I find the novel version of Han Gyul kind of assy. It’s amazing what casting does — the drama version of Han Gyul is supposed to be cold and inflexible too, but seeing an actor’s living, breathing interpretation of a character makes him more accessible. Sympathetic.

For instance, after Eun Chan goes out of her way to help Yu Ju in her purse-snatching incident (before finding out it’s Min Yub), instead of any gratitude or even civility, Han Gyul insults her scooter with a sneer:

“In what arts and crafts store do they sell these? … Do they even bother to repair these?”

Futhermore, he doesn’t actually see Eun Chan and Min Yub collude to steal the purse — he just makes that assumption because it seems possible. In order to trap Eun Chan, he promises her/him a hefty reward for her good services, and gives her his number (scrawled on the back of the photo of his prospective blind date, showing just what he thinks of that). He tells her to call, and although Eun Chan tries to turn him down, he dangles the promise of an offer she can’t refuse — an entire month’s salary.

Eun Chan would dearly love to throw his arrogant offer back in his face, but she looks at her mother’s mink, thinks of the ring, and swallows her pride to call Han Gyul. Han Gyul then has the audacity to be surprised she actually called, saying he didn’t think she would.

He directs her to his hotel: Room S11.

/end Chapter 3.


16 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Bamidele

    He does sound like an ass in the novel, thank goodness they didn’t make him into too much of on in the drama. About Eun Chan’s dad, I think he shouldn’t have made her carry such a burden, but knowing he is going to die, it is likely he was just scared for his family’s well being. Eun Chan is kind of like Mulan (fav. Disney character) to me, a strong willed woman who sacrifices for her family.

  2. ANNIE797


    Thank you for summary of chapter 3 in the Novel.

  3. Deedlith

    Just ordered the book ^^ Couldn’t wait. Based on your review and the translation by CoffeePrince ( http://www.xanga.com/CoffeePrince ) Han Kyul is wayyyy more arrogant in the book than in the drama, as for Eun Chan she’s even more boyish in the book as well.
    Which is quite interesting, in fact i’m amazed at YEH’s portrayal of Eun Chan in the drama, but however boyish she acts, she just can’t get totally rid of her “soft” side. But in the book, the author really emphasized the fact that she’s a pretty boy, kinda like Mother Nature made a mistake in her gender. I like the two versions so no complaints here ^^

    Your comment on Yu Ju made me laugh ^^ But thinking about this, this is more logic… Han Kyul is described as an arrogant jerk, it is unlikely that he would fall for an innocent looking girl with a nice personnality. The mystery to me lies within Han Seong, how did they describe him? I mean, based on your quote Yu Ju is a bit superficial ( I’m dying to call her “bitch” but i’ll restrain myself), so how come Han Seong could go out with her? Again, I’m just wondering because i’ve only got Lee Seon Gyeon’s portrayal of Han Seong in which he is a pretty nice guy ( not to forget his voice which is to die for…).

    Lastly, referring to your quote about Yu Ju again ( though I may be thinking too much here) she does seem like the manipulative type unlike Chae Jung Ahn in the drama…

  4. secret admirer

    Thanks, javabeans. I don’t think the series ever mentioned that Yu Ju is older than Han Gyul. I know that many people are irritated at YJ for sending mixed signals but maybe, it is the viewers (and Han Gyul) who mistakenly see their relationship as more than sisterly/brotherly relationship. Hmmmm, we’ll see how the writers are going with this.

    Apparently, the scriptwriters have softened these characters a bit (Han Gyul, Yu Ju and Eun Chan) -perhaps to make the story arch more believable and realistic. Cause it would be hard for viewers to imagine Han Gyul switching his affection and personalities : from a self-absorbed cad liking a beautiful (even though you don’t like her, you still have to admit that she is striking) girl to a tomboy. And yes, Korean drama’s traditions dictate that YJ has to be “superficial” since she is the “other girl” 🙂

    Looking forward to the cuter moments between the 2 leads. And when is Han Sung going to appear?

  5. secret admirer

    for those who are interested, the translator of this xanga.site http://www.xanga.com/CoffeePrince has just joined soompi forum (Coffee Prince thread-page 167) soompi ID: 0CoffeePrince0 . You can PM her now. But take it easy, her translated work is 400+ pages!

  6. tuesdhei

    it’s really worth waiting for… i love this drama and the soundtrack as well… thanks for sharing!

  7. Iranian Espresso

    Thank You Dear javabeans
    It’s amazing.
    Thank you.

  8. Iranian Espresso

    Dear Javabeans
    Are You Korean?

  9. hua

    Thank you for the music (did you change the color scheme of the wordpress music player?), summary and links to the novel & translation! Just checked the ratings for Coffee Prince and after episode 6 it’s over 23 (2nd place)! Wow! Makes me wonder what’s ranked number 1…

  10. 10 hua

    ^hua – same question!

    i also wanted to ask if u r watching the lee jun ki drama…time of the dog and wolf (i think i reworded it incorrectly)
    and if u r going to do a summary for it

  11. 11 moochi2000

    ^hua – same question!
    (weird, when i started typing in this box, they left “hua” in the name instead of a blank!)

    i also wanted to ask if u r watching the lee jun ki drama…time of the dog and wolf (i think i reworded it incorrectly)
    and if u r going to do a summary for it

  12. 12 javabeans

    iranian espresso, yes. hua, yes i fiddled with the color scheme (hello, new toy!). and moochi, i’m not sure yet. i do plan to watch it (haven’t yet) and i’ve heard good things about it. and despite being ambivalent about Lee Junki, I really do like Nam Sang Mi. but i’m can’t say if i’ll write it up till i’ve seen it… i do want to finish reading coffee prince before the drama finishes, so i might not have time.

  13. 13 hua

    moochi2000: Just so happens that I downloaded the first episode of Time of Dog & Wolf today (Chin subs) and it came with an interview and a music video. I found the music video at Youtube if anyone is interested: http://youtube.com/watch?v=iuAU9SRrL48 I tend to prefer watching romantic comedy types of dramas and Time of Dog & Wolf seems more like an action drama from the MV…

  14. 14 hua

    moochi2000: Just so happens that I downloaded the first episode of Time of Dog & Wolf today (TSKS team Chin subs) and it came with an interview, the OST and a music video. I found the music video at Youtube if anyone is interested: http://youtube.com/watch?v=iuAU9SRrL48
    Personally, I prefer watching romantic comedy types of dramas and Time of Dog & Wolf seems more like an action drama from the MV…

  15. 15 moochi2000

    hua: yah i downloaded too from tsks…i think (cause they are the fastest subbing group for most korean dramas)
    hmm, yah korean dramas are usually popular among the romantic types, not really the action stuff. at least i haven’t even watched any myself so this will be my first one (ohhh lee jun ki haha)

    if i’m in the middle of reading a manga/novel (in this case) and the drama comes out, i tend to stop reading because most likely the drama copies the whole plot. but it seems like this time, the drama is not exactly like the novel. the novel also seems to have a different kind of atmosphere, but i’m not reading it, so can’t really understand haha.

  16. 16 Marzy

    sarah, thanks for this. the book seems to enjoyable. although yes, the dramas interpreatations of them seem bit more realistic and a bit better played. if i was reading this id probably hate HG, but in the drama i like him. but hate YJ still here and the drama eeekkk.. btw, i tried to go to the xanga page but it keeps saying page not found what does that mean? was it taken down? i wanted to read this book, i wish i understood korean more.

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