Epik High in San Francisco

Okay so this happened:  On May 28, Epik High commenced their 2015 North American Tour at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco.


The stage at the Warfield Theater
The stage at the Warfield Theater

This was a big deal for me because it was my first ever concert.  I’m a homebody and the idea of standing in line, enduring screaming fans and general madness just to hear/see artists live never seemed appealing to me – especially since I can just listen to a CD or watch a YouTube video in the comfort of own home.  But I’m thrilled to give up my… uh… concert virginity to Epik High.  Honestly there’s no other group I’d want that honor to go to.  Hee.

I still can’t believe my two eyes saw them in the flesh.

San Francisco was the first stop on their tour so their energy was really fresh.  Tablo’s always been my musical bias (I still think he’s one of the best wordsmiths in this industry) but Mithra was FANTASTIC at rapping live.  The venue was small enough that the whole concert itself felt intimate.  So intimate, in fact, that their true dorkiness shone through.  During the intermission, the trio listed off their favorite things about North America and – I kid you not – Tablo said geocities and hotmail.  Woooowww.  (Tablo couldn’t hide his nerdiness – Mithra and Tukutz named some popular movies and Tablo’s like, “Uh… F. Scott Fitzgerald…”  I screamed extra loud for that.)

A fan requested poor Mithra to do aegyo…. let’s just say that is a memory I want to bleach out of my brain forever.

The concert ranged from songs from their relatively new stuff (“Born Hater,” “Don’t Hate Me,” “Happen Ending,” “Eyes, Nose, Lips”) to old fan favorites (“Umbrella,” “Love, Love, Love,” “Fan”).  Such nostalgia.  A tiny part of me wishes I had splurged on VIP tickets but we had pretty great seats overall.

I swear I have photos from the concert and will add them to this post at a later time (they’re on my phone – haven’t had time to transfer them to my computer).  Better late than never!  Photos below.

“I remember” – Bang Yong-guk ft Yoseob

AKA The Song That (temporarily) Brought Me Back To K-Pop.

I haven’t cared much about K-pop (not even BIGBANG) since early this year.  In the past couple years, I’ve discovered a whole wonderful slew of indie/rock/hiphop music that I find I enjoy and appreciate much much more than the glitz of K-pop – and so I had all but cleansed myself of idol madness until I stumbled across this song.


And dare I say, this music video rivals my favorite K-pop music video of all time?

Okay, so I know I’m late to the party – this song released last year and I think at the time I had heard of the song but never bothered to give it a listen until a couple of days ago.  I do actually still keep an eye out for certain idol groups because, while I’m not into the fandom madness, there’s still a lot of great idol music out there.  So when my friend Holly told me about Yoseob’s solo mini-album, of course I wanted to listen to it (I like Yoseob and his album is pretty good!) and then by the magic of YouTube’s suggested videos I came across “I remember.”

The fierce red-head in the vid is B.A.P’s rapper Bang Yong-guk and the vocals are by B2ST’s Yoseob.  Bang Yong-guk… wow.  Just wow.  THAT VOICE.  I know zilch about B.A.P – I was really impressed by their debut but promptly forgot about them until now.  Listening to this song made me go and listen to some of their other stuff and I think they’re pretty great.  Am I sucked back into the K-pop mire?  No, but I like these young ‘uns, in a fond noona kind of way.  Haha.

Shiseido UNO Fog Bar CM

Okay, so this is a completely useless post.  But really.  It’s not everyday you stumble across a Japanese CM starring four beautiful イケメン.  Hnnggg.

I was stalking my favorite Japanese actor Eita a couple days ago and found that he did a recent CM for UNO Fog Bar, a hair styling spray, along with Oguri Shun, Miura Haruma, and Tsumabuki Satoshi.  Ummmm, hello NOSEBLEED.  Looks like this particular F4 has been endorsing Fog Bar for a couple years now because I found this adorable CM from 2010.  (You can practice reading Japanese subtitles a little too!)

Hehe.  I love the all シュツ シュツ シュツ (the spraying sounds).  The katakana is fun to write too.

I think I have this funny thing where I get really attached to Japanese actors, more so than Korean actors, but I tend to get attached to the characters in Korean dramas more than the characters in Japanese dramas.  Take Eita for instance.  I’ve watched five, going on six, of his dramas and I think he’s brilliant in each one.  (By the way, I highly recommend Last Friends and それでも、生きてゆく.  Those two dramas may have changed my life a little).

As for the other イケメン featured in this CM, Shun’s lovely but I’ve only really fangirled over him in Rich Man, Poor Woman (SO! GOOD!).  Haruma is so cute it make me want to cry, but I feel kind of blahhh about the stuff he’s acted in (including  Bloody Monday, which I found laughably bad).  And I don’t know much about Satoshi except that he was in The Waterboys (which I’ve been meaning to watch anyway), a really popular movie that, coincidentally, had a drama spin-off starring Eita.  Haha.

Okay, well, that’s it.  This has been a Fangirly J-actor Post by yours truly.  I even made a new category for it, see?  XD


My interest in Japanese has continued to wax and wane for about, oh, seven years now?  But I never seriously tried learning it until I took two semesters of introductory Japanese in college last year.  I didn’t hate it, but considering I was at the peak of my Korean studies and in the throes of graduate school applications, I just could not immerse myself in Japanese as easily as I could Korean.

But, at very very long last, I think I may have found the right stimulus.

credit:  rkgsflumpool

Flumpool.  Flumpool.  Flumpool.

Where have you been all my life?!

I feel silly because I’d known of Flumpool for ages but never bothered to listen to them because I used to kind of have this mental block against Japanese music (not sure why; it’s a beautiful language but maybe I’ve just been listening to the wrong things till now).  It’s very rare for me to stumble upon a band I like so much that I can pretty much enjoy every single one of their songs – and Flumpool is one such find.  I will unabashedly admit that I have been looping the song above for the past three days.

I’m excited because this is the first time I’ve been really excited about something in Japanese entertainment and, initially at least, I’ve found that a good dose of fangirling can be quite conducive to language learning.

And good music makes me happy wheeeeeee!

But I won’t jump the gun and say I’ll start studying Japanese wholeheartedly again.  I need to re-accustom myself to the language by ear first and I have no idea how long that will take.  I don’t even know if this will be enough to get me to started in the first place, but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

In any case, until then, MOAR FLUMPOOL~

Fan Cafes

I feel like a bad student that needs to be punished.  Even though I’ve had this glorious four month summer vacation, I’ve completely forsaken serious Korean studying and have instead resorted to playing around in Daum fan cafes.

Before I get into that, I just want say that I like K-pop, but honestly I knew nothing about the whole idol… industry – shall I call it? –  until a few months ago.  For me, music is music; in America, music is pretty much the only thing that musicians do.  The whole concept of “training” idols and “raising” them into stars and building their popularity through variety shows and CFs and such was really odd to me, but I think I understand it much better now.  I’ve also come to understand the concept of “fan cafes,” which seems to be yet another way to build support and popularity for a celebrity.

Most celebrities, including idol groups, seem to have these official Daum fan cafes (fan clubs) where, if you register, you can write on various forums, make friends with other fans, write messages to your idols (and sometimes get responses back), see pictures, and sometimes get access to exclusive content.  Unfortunately, many of these fan cafes also require you to have a 주민등록번호 or a Korean social security number.

I’ve joined a couple of fan cafes that don’t require you to register with a 주민등록번호 (it’s quite simple, if you’re at an intermediate level or above in Korean) and, actually, I’m learning some new words by reading all the fan cafe rules and user posts!  Here are some:

  • 가입하다 = to join, to become a member
  • 공식 = official
  • 정보 = information, data
  • 공지 = announcement
  • 게사판 = forum
  • 등업신청 = leveling-up application (usually something you have to fill out and submit as soon as you join the cafe, so you’re able to post on the forums)
  • 운영자 = admin
  • 금지 = prohibition
  • 탈퇴 = secession, withdrawal (what you have to click to leave the fan cafe)

I’m only really active on rookie group HITT’s fan cafe because I adore HITT.  Adore isn’t even a sufficient word.  Dare I even say that they are the only group that’s ever come even close to rivaling my love for BIGBANG?  My HITT-induced fangirl spazzing is no joke because it takes a really long time for me to really get into a new group and I absolutely can’t like a group unless I’m blown away by their music.  HITT’s managed to turn me into such a huge fan with just their mini album that I actually want to do my part in spreading HITT love (corny as that sounds).  I’ve even gone so far as to suggest a fandom name for HITT (they were asking people to submit suggestions) and explain my reasoning in Korean as well as to write on the 친구해요 게시판, hopefully to see if I could make more Korean friends to practice Korean with.  See?  I’m doing all this 카페 활동 and still practicing Korean at the same time!  (/Tries to justify not studying) 

In addition, reading posts on the forum is giving me more insight into how young Koreans write on the internet. Personally, I enjoy writing long, essay-type entries in probably very “textbook” sounding Korean but um… I guess I’m now learning how to write shorter, but still natural-sounding sentences in Korean without sounding robotic or like a beginner.

It’s actually more complicated than it seems!  Or am I just making things too hard?  I think anyone learning a language will come to point where they have to learn how to write differently in different situations.  Writing a blog entry versus writing an essay versus tweeting versus writing in a forum… they all have their different styles and quirks, right?

Big Bang SE Mini-album + Inkigayo

Hang on a sec, I need to collect myself.  *hyperventilates*

So I’m a huge HUGE Big Bang fan and I adored their mini album TONIGHT (check out my review here). Obviously, I was super excited for their special edition mini-album and I was blown away (I mean BLOWN AWAY!!) by “Stupid Liar” and “Love Song.”  (To be fair, I liked Daesung’s solo “Baby Don’t Cry” too except for the weird whirly sound effects randomly in the song).

And then… I saw their second comeback stage on SBS Inkigayo last night.

I have tears in my eyes.  I’m not kidding.  “Awesome” can’t even begin to describe how truly awesome the performances were.  It’s not even the performance itself per se; what’s incredible is how much Big Bang has grown over the years as musicians and performers.  Since I’ve only been a hardcore fan for a year (the longest I’ve ever fangirled over an idol group), through YouTube, I’ve seen their past four years in a very short time span.  In terms of music, they’ve gone from traditional hip hop and R&B, to electro-pop, and now to pop-rock while never losing their identity.  In terms of performance, who can forget their crazy outfits, their choreography, their inexhaustible energy?  Big Bang has an unmatched charisma that makes up for the fact that they sometimes slip up during their live performances.

That being said, their comeback stage last night might be the BEST live performance I have seen from them.  There is a sense of maturity, both in the songs and in the choreography and vocally, all of the members did very well.  Without further ado:


Source: 4everKPOPgirl01

The first word that comes to mind is – whimsical.  Everything from GD walking around like he’s drunk on stage, to the accusatory yet somehow still teasing chorus (which GD sings – how much do I love that!).  This is a really fun, upbeat song.  The melody seems to be at odds with the lyrics (it’s about a guy who’s been deceived by a girl?) but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable for me.  Supposedly, “Tonight” won out over this song for the title track and, while I think “Stupid Liar” is the better song (in terms of composition, creativity, lyrics, AND personal enjoyment), I can understand why “Tonight” was chosen.  “Stupid Liar” and “Love Song” both have a very different sound; “Stupid Liar” would not have meshed well with the overall sound of TONIGHT.  Personally I think it might have been better to package “Tonight,” “What is Right,” and “Somebody to Love” as one EP and “Cafe,” “Stupid Liar,” and “Love Song” in another, based on musical style.  (And, oh yeah, excuse the fangirling but TOP is looking so adorable in this performance!!  LOVE the hair.)


Source: 4everKPOPgirl01

I adore “Stupid Liar” but I think “Love Song” wins as my favorite.  There’s just something so fresh about the whole sound of this song.  Soompi’s review mentioned undertones of U2 and I have to agree; I actually thought it sounded more like OneRepublic (their style is also influenced by U2).  The pop-rock thing works well for them and, surprisingly none of the members, not even the rappers, got left out.  (Still bitter over the fact that Daesung got 1 LINE in “Tonight”).  In fact, TOP and GD’s mellow raps were probably my favorite parts of the song.  In some of their older songs (take “Goodbye baby” and “I Don’t Undesrstand” for example), I felt that the rap failed to blend in with the rest of the melody and just ended up sounding forced and awkward.  But in this song, the rap worked perfectly; I think it even held it together.  Of course, TOP’s intro was surprising and lovely – I never knew his voice could be so soft.  This performance was good (GD GD GD!!!! looked/sounded so FINE!  ahem) but there were some pitch problems… and I’m not going to say who, but I was surprised.  Hm.  Well, it didn’t stop me from replaying the video like a million times!

BIGBANG 화이팅! ^^

Idols on Twitter

Part of the reason Korean stuck with me more than any other language is because I don’t just learn from textbooks; I expose myself to the language (as best I can) in a variety of different ways.  Although my speaking practice is pretty much nonexistent, I get listening practice from dramas, music, TTMIK‘s 이야기 series and videos.  My reading practice I get from 만화책, short articles (usually celebrity gossip), Big Bang’s biography (AWESOME book, by the way), and Twitter.  Twitter is actually really great because you can practice reading, writing, AND learn how people use 속어.  I’ve tweeted with some native Korean speakers and learned a lot that way!  But, I have to confess – the reason I got Twitter in the first place was so I can follow all of my favorite Korean celebrities.

Continue reading “Idols on Twitter”