Trip to Music Bank (Dreams Come True~)

As all of my friends and family know, my favorite genre of music is quite simple, Kpop. I love almost every (guy) group, it’s amazing because they coordinate great dance moves, have amazing vocals, are tall, and are almost always handsome, what’s there not to like?? Also I almost feel Korean idols respect their fan base more than American counterparts, but that’s up for debate. Anyways, one of my best Korean friends Boram knows of my obssesion deep-like for Korean music artists and pulled some strings to score Diana and I tickets to one of the three large music shows, KBS Music Bank. She even arranged for one of my lost acquaintances,  Jihye , to escort us to the show. Of course, unfortunately, photos within the KBS premises are not allowed, so there won’t be many personal photos I can add beside us outside of the KBS building (Coming soon*) =(

We were to meet Jihae at 3pm, so Diana and I revisited a nice little restaurant on the side of Ehwa University first. By the way, might I add we are getting really good at this subway thing. Anyways, after eating we met Jihae right outside of the station to head over as a group to KBS. Thankfully, our conversation was not stilted (I hadn’t seen her for so long..) and we were all equally excited to be there. Also, to add to the joy Jihae invited her little brother (age, 22) to come to the show with us, Diana and I have been lacking some serious eye candy lately, goodness! Tangent: he is 182cm and cute, but shy to speak english….can’t win them all I guess! Got a few answers out of him, but unfortunately I don’t think I will be seeing him again ='(. Back on Point: We waited outside until 4:45ish to be allowed to our seats. It was surreal stepping into the studio, I have seen Music Bank so many times, but we were actually only 6 rows away from the hosts, dancers, and of course, celebrities. The stage look smaller in real life, and the celebrities seem taller and more real if that makes sense. When we first stepped in the vocal duo, December, was belting out their latest hit, the taller one has vocals! Made me definitely want to look up more of their songs. I was confused about the rushed atmosphere but found out it was just a pre-show rehearsal 😛

Then one of my only favorite girl groups hit the stage, After School with their new single “Shampoo” (Dont’ ask me about the name). Korean female celebrities are known for wearing short shorts, but those things look so much more obscene in person, especially paired up with their oiled legs, but hey whatever makes good TV. Then the girl duo, Sistar, went up after them, and their song “Ma Boy” was very interesting. Actually the only girl group of the day who annoyed me was A Pink, the cutesy act just doesn’t cut it for me: winking into the camera, flicking hair, and blinking “I don’t know” eyes into the camera sets us back about 150 years.

But the boy groups….amazing!!!! I found out that both Youngsaeng, former member of SS501 and hotter than ever, and Park Jaebeom, if you don’t know him, look him up!, had their comebacks recently. The crowd went wild for these two, great powerful performances, I can probably hear my dying, screams in the lives (will check soon). I even think Jaebeom waved at me, maybe wishful thinking but I’m almost 100% sure. His dance moves are divine and he sings amazingly live, sorry, I’m fan girling a bit right? But anyways, there was not a bad boy group out there tonight, newbies B1A4 and Block B held their ground, they made new fans out of me. surprisingly, Touch is also out now, once again I am a newborn fan. At the end, the winner of the top song of the week was….Park Jaebeom! He was so cute about it all, and did a funny/serious/sexy (ok I was imagining that) encore of his song “Abandoned”. I cannot wait to see all of this and more when I go to this Sunday’s SBS Inkigayo, there are rumors of a 2NE1 comeback? Will keep you posted =D


One Night in Itaewon

The focal point of foriegner activity in South Korea is Itaewon, hands down. On the subway, I start to realize there are a few more non-asian faces than usual (which usually means just about 5, but that’s a significant number here!). It means we have arrived! Diana and I have visited Itaewon before, just to shop around and see what all of the hype is about, all of the store vendors speak english and there are familiar food places: Outback Steakhouse, Quiznos, and even Taco Bell. It’s a fun place to go and socialize when you don’t speak Korean, this is the place to find most of the natives who want to interact with foriegners and practice some English. At night time though, we discovered it gets a little crazy.

Diana and I had a pretty boring day yesterday, didn’t feel like looking at museums or hiking around, so we only ate and read a book at our hostel. Since it was already Thursday, we decided to head out at 8pm to bar hop in Itaewon (Our hostel is in a bar hotspot, Hongdae, but we don’t speak Korean so we felt Itaewon would be more fun). After finishing my book though I took an unprecedented nap and woke up at 9:30! I thought this meant we wouldn’t make the long trip (35 minutes) to Itaewon anymore, but Diana wanted to perservere. We were so lazy though that we didn’t even change into cuter, bar-hopping outfits, just went as was (which proved to be good enough). When we arrived, it was a little awkward deciding which bar to enter, and we realized on the subway that Diana forget to grab her passport to prove she wasn’t a minor. Hoping to brave our way through that obstacle, we approached a nice bar called Helios. The music was nice and on the way up a white guy already started hitting on poor Diana, his opening line was the magic words, “Let me buy you a drink”. This was looking promising, even though he was a bit player-ish (talking about his condo in Orlando, lol) but the door man wouldn’t let Diana in without id. On the way out we ran into a pack of hot guys going in, and one of them pointed at me and said “Tampa?” (I was wearing my University of South Florida sweatshirt) It turns out he’s a University of Central Florida student, what are the odds? Too bad we couldn’t go in the bar with them, but they pointed out some along the way that don’t check id, so again we were off!

The UN Club: It was pretty dead, but there were free vodka based drinks for ladies before 2am. While we were sipping on drinks, I noticed that the music was really, really good there too, too bad we weren’t in an American club and dancing. After a while, the guys started to creep, I had this guy from Congo, Angel, talking me up and Diana had some other African guy. They are way too aggressive, I’m not sure if it’s because we are foriegn, there for a short amount of time, or because they are African, but creeps in Korea are definitley more forceful. I had to push some guy away from Diana, trifling! Always talking about being in love and how much money they have, gosh. We escaped from there to go into some other bar called Ginger, the Korean bartenders (guy and girl) were so nice, we exchanged facebooks and they even gave us free admission tickets from this saturday. Maybe we will stop by? Anyways, we went back into the UN to take advantage of more free drinks. This guy from France approached and he was pretty normal about it, even left before we had to push him away. Then this Korean business came to me and said the magic words, “Can I buy you a drink?”. I always give them a few minutes of talking if they buy a drink, but this ahjussi (well not that old but basically) was already drunk and a bit crazy, he paid for our strawberry daiquiries and we tried to ignore him. Then he had the audacity to hit on my little sister right after me! Guys can’t go for more than one girl in the same group, obviously. He hit her with the same craziness of heading to a private back room, she smiled and told him to go first, we waved at him, and ran as soon as the perv left the room. If all of that happens on a slow thursday night, I can’t wait to see what funniness will occur in Itaewon tonight. =)

Don’t Believe The K-Dramas

Ok folks, I’m sure if you are interested in this blog you are probably also interested in K-Dramas. Korean dramas are part of the Hallyu wave that bring recognition to South Korea world-wide. Many foriegners have seen the dramatic scenerio: Boy meets girl, hate each other (or have an embarrassing first impression), keep getting put together by fate, and end up in perfect love. After going through many series, you may notice the “bedroom scenes” are almost always kept to a minimum, kissing reserved for the ending, sometimes kisses throughout the series are just quick and close-mouthed. That may lead one to assume this country is ultra-conservative and barely touch before marriage….WRONG. Couples are EVERYWHERE here, and it is impossible to mistake them just as friends, if you get what I mean.  As an American traveller in Asia, I know of the stereotype of promiscutity and overall “openess, but I’ve never seen so much PDA in my life, therefore, some stereotypes just are wrong. Couples have hands down each others back pockets, shoulder leaning, kissing, cuddling, the whole sha-bang.

Though I must say, Koreans do a good job of living up to the Korean drama stereotypes, the men seem to put their women up on pedestals. My sister and I watched from a window as a guy ripped the burdensome purse off of his girlfriend’s shoulder, and wore it himself. Seeing men wear or carry purses is very common, almost expected. Korean men go out of their way to hold everything for their girlfriend and provide for her, it’s kind of sweet. Also, to display their togetherness, many couples also walk around in “couple Ts”, shirts that match, sometimes even entire outfits that match. I wonder if their behavior is shaped by the current popular TV dramas, was Korea more conservative 10 or 15 years ago? All I know, is I now understand why single women become so desperate and go on numerous blind dates. Being single here is like having a large, embarrassing sign pasted upon one’s back, not fun at all.

I will upload photos to back up these statements later, I’m on a community computer and can’t save unfortunately.

Well, I just felt the intense need to blog about this point because everytime I go outside I can’t walk 5 feet without running into a couple). I’m off to eat and watch a performance that I will blog about later =D

First Impressions of Korea

So my little sister Diana and I landed in Seoul just a few days ago. We landed at 3:15 pm, but it took us a whole 2 more hours to get OUT of the airport, we were running through customs, getting directions to our reserved hostel, and find the cell phone booth we reserved from as well. It was a bit shocking to look around and realize the only language I can entirely rely on is body language….wish I took the chance to brush up my Korean before! Being thrifty (cheap) young Americans, we navigated our way onto an airport bus, it only cost 9,000 won, so much cheaper than taking a taxi for the hour ride…..Of course we missed our stop though. Sidenote, did you know Korea is over 70 percent mountains? A hard fact to learn while luggin two suitcases around for an hour trying to find our hostel. Which leads to another discovery, Korea does not have street names, we have to locate ourselves in comparison to chicken restaurants, Family Marts, and various stores, lol. Diana was dying after the first lost half hour, from both embarrassment and pain I’m sure. I then stopped us at a cafe and asked the workers in broken Korean if they knew english, when that yielded no responses, I switched to Chinese….again nothing, so we went back to handy-dandy body language. The manager was really nice and actually walked us halfway to our destination. The hostel, Mr. Kim’s Guesthouse is something I will save for another post, this one I think I will reserve for our first day touring around. 

We got up pretty early, got a map and bravely headed out. Our first destination was Ehwa Woman’s University campus, to get there we had to navigate through the subway station. Wondering underground, Diana and I ran into another lost American (from Atlanta) and we all stumbled through getting a rechargeable subway/bus card and got on the line #2 train. Unfortunately, I realized we were heading in the wrong direction, to save ourselves some “face” we waited until the next stop and got off calmly, as if it was our destination the entire time haha. Then hustled to a train heading the opposite direction. Outside of the Ehwa station is where my Chinese finally helped us. Most korean names for schools and places are derived from Chinese characters, when we asked Koreans for Ehwa university they would point us in the correct direction but what we needed was the school’s main gates. Then I thought, if main entrance is DaMen in chinese, it must be DaeMun in Korean…Jackpot! Lol, after we arrived we met my best Korean friend, Boram, to eat. She was an exchange student at my university when I was a Freshman, thankfully we kept in touch and she is the most awesome and helpful person. Half of our trip will be spent living with her, we are going on a day-trip to Gyeongju (which her dad is paying for-he is soo nice), and she actually got us tickets to see Music Bank (as we are K-Pop fiends). Lunch was delicious and it was great to see an old friend, but she had to leave and go back to studying. Diana and I then spent the whole afternoon getting lost and stumbling upon festivals and a palace! Over all it was a great way to kick off this trip =D