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Posts Tagged ‘K-Pop’

Not really. I had such a great year teaching, traveling and having fun in Korea. I didn’t leave my heart behind completely, but it feels like something’s been missing since I left. Unlike many of my friends who went straight home after finishing their contracts, I decided to extend my time abroad and stay in the Philippines. I haven’t been home in over a year now, but I don’t feel ready to go back quite yet.

I’ve been thinking about Korea a lot lately – wondering at odd hours of the day what my friends must be doing (deskwarming, hanging out downtown, or drinking in any combination). Wondering if my students miss me or if their beloved Maria Teacher has been replaced ㅠ_ㅠ (I hope not!). Wondering what new cosmetics must be out. I could go on. Instead, I’ll make a list of things I miss from my life in the 대한민국.

Korea Miss List:

  • 제 친구들 – My friends!! I met so many great people and I miss seeing their goofy, drunken faces. Just kidding, we weren’t always drunk, right?
  • My co-teacher – She is such a great person. I miss her! Seriously, I was crying on the bus ride to the airport after she dropped me off ㅜ_ㅜ.
  • My students – I loved being a teacher. Not trying to gloss over the stress and frustration I often felt while teaching in Korea. But, my experience was overwhelmingly positive and most of that is thanks to my students.
  • Foods – Let me make a brief list: kimchi, samgyeopsal, samgyetang, kimchi jjiggae, doenjang jjiggae, Korean wings and fried chicken, bibimbap, freakin banchan, kimbap, rice cakes, ddoekbokki, street snacks
  • Egg Tarts – Not what Korea is famous for, but I always used to hang out at the egg tarts place with my pals after dinner.
  • Shopping – Because let’s face it, where did half of my salary go every month.
  • Cosmetics – There are so many and they’re so cheap! I’m also obsessed with cosmetics and Korea just made it worse.
  • K-pop – The soundtrack of my life in Korea. What’s new nowadays??
  • K-dramas – DUDE what’s new nowadays??
  • Nature – Never thought I’d say it. I kind of like nature now thanks to Korea.
  • 4 Seasons – I think it’s a nice concept.
  • Internet – I miss the high-speed internet!
  • Mobility – It’s pretty easy to travel in Korea. I can’t travel as easily here in the Philippines so I feel very limited.
  • Hair salons – I need a trim! I miss Ji-won at Serrano!
  • Korean – I miss hearing Korean! I feel like following around the Korean students I see here. I know, that is just creepy. I won’t do it 😛
  • Traveling – There was always somewhere new to see or return trips to Seoul or Busan. I felt like I could do anything I wanted at any moment.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things. I’m so glad that I took a chance and went to Korea. I learned so much and I have lots of great memories and stories to share with everyone when I finally return home.

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Another day, another free concert. Life is just too good sometimes!

I went up to Seoul with a few friends to attend the Asia Song Festival at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. It’s a huge venue suitable for hosting a concert of that scale. But, the festival didn’t run very smoothly. The ticket booths were disorganized and there weren’t enough signs to indicate where people should wait in line. There was too much cutting and pushing and shoving that could have been better regulated. Maybe they lacked volunteers or didn’t have enough money for signs. I think a lot of things can be improved for future years.

Program and ticket

Our seats weren’t bad. We had seats in the stands more toward the right side of the stage. They opened the doors around 3:30 even though the concert didn’t start until around 7. We just sat in the stands and had snacks.

Setting up the stage

Here’s a list of the performers:

  • 이승철 Lee Seung-chul (Korea)
  • 비 Rain (Korea)
  • 보아 BoA (Korea)
  • 카라 KARA (Korea)
  • 투에이엠 2AM (Korea)
  • AKB48 (Japan)
  • Jane Zhang (China)
  • Joe Cheng (China)
  • Michael Wong (Malaysia)
  • Bie The Star (Thailand)
  • 포미닛 4Minute (Korea)
  • 비스트 Beast (Korea)

Not a big fan of their songs but their performance wasn’t bad.

4 minute

At first, I made fun of their name as a ripoff of 2PM. But these guys really can sing.

2AM

Beautiful staging to showcase her sweet voice.

Jane Zhang

I assumed Jackie Chan would be there as the Chairperson of the Asia Song Festival. I hoped he would jump out of a helicopter and land on stage. But this is all we got. A 10 second video of Jackie Chan dubbed in Korean. To be fair, he reminded us that one of the reasons of hosting the festival is to to support UNICEF’s programs around the world.

Jackie's "appearance"

The strangest performance I’ve ever seen. Mega idol group AKB48 from Japan consists of 48 girls. I thought my head was going to explode from the combined assault of super pop music, pirate-y costumes, high-pitched voices and the spectacle of 48 dancing girls.

AKB48

KARA performed two of the catchiest songs of the year, “Mister” and “Lupin.”

KARA

Beast, once again. Though this performance seemed better than the one they gave at the Hallyu Dream Festival.

Every night I shock...

And finally…

It's hard to tell, but it's Rain!

It's really him!

Sorry I didn’t really take any good photos. I was too busy having fun! It was really touching to see Michael Wong perform one of the most famous Mandarin songs ever. It brought back memories of my EAP days! And, of course, I was so excited to FINALLY see Rain!!

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K-Pop Checklist

I’ve become more and more familiar with K-Pop music and “idols” over the past few months. Since I’ll be going to the Asia Song Festival, my second (third counting Usher) concert in Korea, I wanted to make a list of K-Pop idols that I’ve seen or plan to see:

  • Rain (Asia Song Festival)
    BoA (Asia Song Festival)
    Super Junior
    Big Bang (YG Family Concert)
    2PM
    Jaebom/Jay Park
    2AM (Asia Song Festival)
    SNSD
    T-ara
    KARA (Asia Song Festival)
    2NE1 (YG Family Concert)
    FT Island
    4minute
    Se7en (YG Family Concert)
    SHINee
    Beast
    After School
    miss A
    Flower
    MBLAQ
    Seo In-Guk
    U-Kiss

Looks like the only idols I won’t have a chance to see will be Super Junior and Girl’s Generation. At least I got to see Heechul at the Hallyu Dream Festival. And I don’t care for SNSD so it’s all good. When I leave Korea, at least I can say that I saw what their best entertainers have to offer.

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I did it. My first Korean concert! Thanks to some eagle-eyed friends of mine, I was able to sign up for free tickets to the Hallyu Dream Concert in Gyeongju. They offered a limited number of FREE tickets for foreigners through the festival website. Stick FREE on anything and I’ll take it.

The ever-reaching Hallyu influence

And all the big names were there:

  • Super Junior
  • 2PM and 2AM
  • SE7EN
  • KARA
  • T-ara
  • 2NE1
  • as well as others I wasn’t too familiar with: FT Island, 4minute, SHINee, Davichi, Cho Shin Sung, Beast, Son DamBi, After School, miss A, Flower, MBLAQ, Seo In-Guk, U-Kiss, Secret, Eru, Nine Muses

taken from the Hallyu Festival site

Here’s how the ticket voucher system works:

  1. Sign up for a ticket voucher on the festival website. Passport number is required!
  2. Print the voucher.
  3. Bring the voucher and passport to the ticket exchange booths.
  4. Get a ticket and wristband.
  5. Wait in line with screaming fans.

Pretty simple and little effort so it was definitely a worthwhile experience! Also, I’m still convinced that K-Pop is a political tool used to distract the population from domestic and international social and economic issues. With that said, here are some blurry photos from the concert!

The stage

The lovely and talented hosts who kept messing up and had to do over their entrance for the televised version.

U-Kiss

Miss A. Careful not to stare too much at this photo. One of the girls is only 15.

4 Minute

T-ara

And then my camera battery died :(. We had to leave before Super Junior, KARA, 2NE1 and 2AM unfortunately. But I hope I’ll have another opportunity to see them in the future. For free.

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Men of K-Pop

It’s been a while since I posted some K-Pop videos. Here are some new songs from the men of K-Pop.

If none of the videos work, try watching them on youtube or searching for another video.

Beautiful Hangover – Big Bang

My boys came out with a new video and it looks like their style has evolved into a more sophisticated and mature look that suits them very nicely. New haircuts too. TOP is looking good and stylish as usual. I’m convinced Taeyang is the best dancer and actor in the group. G-Dragon is still prettier than most women. Seungri looks good in white. And the one guy whose name I can never remember looks surprisingly good! He must work out now. And I like the title lol.

Word of advice to G-Dragon: Chapstick.

I’ll Be There – Taeyang

My 남동생 Taeyang came out with a new video this month. It reminds me a lot of vampires because of the cemetery scene. Or maybe because I watched the entire 3 seasons of True Blood in one weekend. That’s 33 hours out of 48.

I Need a Girl – Taeyang

My real brother’s anthem (Taeyang is my brother’s doppelganger). This is an older video featuring Sandara Park from 2NE1. And of course G-Dragon is in it too just because. I think he’s secretly in every K-Pop video.

Better Together – Se7en

Se7en is known for his dance moves. I think he’s pretty good. But all the flashing lights kind of give me a headache. His name makes me think of the movie…

Lucifer – Shinee

A lot of my students like Shinee. I’m not really a fan. They are waaaaay too skinny.

Fly to Seoul ‘Boom Boom Boom’ – 2PM

Here’s 2PM promoting the shit out of Seoul for the Seoul Dream Campaign.

Dalmatian Round 1

This is some kind of promo for a new group called Dalmatian. LOL at the name choice. A buff and tanned man wearing a robe walks into a room full of shoes and pulls out a pair of bedazzled, dalmatian-patterned high tops from the shelf. 33 seconds of confusion…

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In other K-Pop news…

 

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I went to the R-16 international bboy competition in at Olympic Park in Seoul this past Sunday. Definitely worth staying late in Seoul. Being from Socal around the hip hop scene back home, I felt a little pang of homesickness. I have to admit, before I came to Korea I thought I’d see bboys all over the place haha.

bboy competition in Seoul

Saturday was the individual competition but I couldn’t go to that since I was at the Usher concert haha. Sunday was the crew show and battle. There were 8 crews from Korea, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Germany, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico.  I’m not a judge or anything, but they could’ve been cleaner. Overall, pretty good competition and variety of styles.

I was happy to see a crew from the Philippines! Project P-Noise (ha clever!) from Manila. A lot of bboys back home are Pil-Ams so it’s nice to see some bboys from the motherland competing internationally. I read on their bio that they’re the first crew from the Philippines to compete on an international level. Not the first bboys to do it, but the first bboy crew.

Their routine was really creative and told a story. There were 3 nerdy guys trying to learn how to dance so they looked on the internet and downloaded some moves. Kudos for the geek factor. They wore some nice Philippine flag hoodies and tees, too. Way to represent! Here are a couple videos:

They beat Puerto Rico in the battle by just a few points. Anyone else find that interesting? Philippines v Puerto Rico?

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In the next round, they were up against Jinjo Crew from Korea. Seeing them live just confirms that Korean bboys are damn good. Jinjo Crew won the competition at the end of the night. Would’ve been cool to see Gamblerz too :P. Here’s Jinjo Crew’s routine. I wonder where they kept those hats…

During the competition, one of my friends pointed out that a bunch of girls were taking pictures of someone behind the stage. I had no clue why. She said it was someone from a boy band. So I asked her who and which one? She said it was Jaebeom! I recognized his name from the 2PM controversy since he suddenly and mysteriously left the band earlier this year. I didn’t know what he looked like so I had to trust all the girls there that it was really him.

So I decided to check online to confirm and yeah it was Jaebeom! I’ve only been in Korea for 5 months and I’ve already seen a (well, former) boy band member!

Jaebeom... from 2PM leader to bboy?

Now, if I could only see Rain!

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I know I’ve been posting quite a few K-Pop videos but I want to make it clear that I’m not a K-Pop expert in any way! I’ve gotten into it just by living in Korea and hearing music on TV, at stores and from delivery scooters blasting their radios. I just wanted to post some of the videos my students showed me today and videos I’ve seen on TV. Here are a few:

CN Blue – Love – I saw this video on TV a few days ago. Pretty catchy song. According to my female students, who are adoring fans of CN Blue, they really play the instruments. I like this song even though it does sound A LOT like one of their other songs.

Wonder Girls – 2 Different Tears – These ladies are doing well by singing Korean and English versions of their songs. Pretty good voices in the group I think. They definitely kept the Korean-style dance moves though. I can’t get into the sweeping arm movements and disco hip rocking. Aniyo!

In Korean

In English

2NE1 – Follow Me – A bit older but really, really catchy.  I think it was used to promote a cell phone or some other product so I heard it everywhere. This version sounds a lot slower though. Random side note, I don’t know why I didn’t notice earlier that Sandara Park is in the group! She was on a Filipino talent competition a few years back. Sooo freakin random. I mean maybe this was her master plan all along. To make it in the K-Pop biz. Who knows?

At this point, I’m just posting videos as I watch the music video channel. ENJOY!!

U-Kiss – Bingeul Bingeul – A few months old, but a really catchy song. I hear it everywhere! It was just on TV right now too, go figure. I like the song but I’m not feeling the video. It’s like I’m in a bad Korean night club. With people dancing the choreography in unison and everything. Doesn’t look as polished as other videos I’ve seen.

SS501 – Love Ya – This is the first time I’ve heard this song or heard of this group. Pretty good looking group of guys. Different style from the other videos I posted. It’s got more of an American hip hop sort of sound and look so I kinda like it. Since I’m not familiar with this group, I can’t tell who’s actually in the group or just a back up dancer. Actually, I have that problem with every K-Pop group.

Big Bang and Trans Fixion ft. Kim Yuna – Shouts of Red – This is a song to cheer on Korea in the World Cup (I think). Like a typical American, I know nothing about soccer. I hope to watch some of the games though.

2PM and SNSD – Cabi Song (Caribbean Bay) – Okay, I’m being a total hater right now. Can’t say I’m a fan of SNSD. I just don’t see the point of 9 girls being in a group unless they’re a sorority or something. This video makes no sense to me. It has about 2 dozen half-naked people training to be life guards at a water park. There are love triangles, squares and whatever. Too many people to even give enough screen time. All the boob and booty shots are pretty funny. The only convincing part of this video is that the girl’s breast implants would make good floatation devices. Oh and the dance party at the end is like a night club scene with everyone dancing to the same choreography. Yeah, I think I mentioned a few times already that in some night clubs people dance the choreography in unison. Like High School Musical.

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