오랜만이네… (also, greetings from Busan!)

It’s been a while! It’s about a month since I’ve arrived in Busan and I can safely say I’m all settled in! I actually have a third of my Seoul post drafted up (I spent about 5-6 days in Seoul before travelling to Busan to begin my exchange semester), but as always, going through and editing pictures is such a chore so sadly, the post may be left sitting there for awhile… Honestly, the only reason I’m even typing up this mini update is because I have an assignment due tomorrow and I’m doing what I do best – procrastinate.

Busan has been lovely, meeting new people has also been nice and the group of exchange students I’ve met are a wonderful, wonderful bunch. We’re all also assigned buddies through this PNU buddy programme and my (and Kiat Jiun’s) buddy Soohye is the loveliest person!!! She’s a year younger but she’s so warm and friendly and just super nice!!! ♥.♥ She’s really helped us a lot and everytime we meet her, we always end up with huge smiles on our faces, I swear. Her English is so great too, even though she’d beg to differ. I’ve also met a few other buddies, mainly Gen’s, because he picked us up when we first arrived in Nopo station and also helped us lug each of our 25kg luggages. He’s also sort of our go-to drinking buddy because istg the guy drinks from Thursday to Saturday and then mugs on Sunday. How do the Koreans do it, I will never know…

I have to admit that I haven’t completely explored every inch of Busan despite being here for a month already. Our hangout is still the busy PNU streets (which are pretty happening!) though I’ve also been to Seomyeon and Nampo-dong to shop. Those two are the main shopping areas in Busan, I’d say, since they have underground shopping malls that sell some really nice clothes at pretty affordable prices. It’s to the point where anything above 20,000krw is considered expensive because you can get a lot of items at way less than that.

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Some highlights from the past month:

  • Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday/Noraebang (노래방)

On March 20, we celebrated Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday in the common room as the clock struck twelve, complete with a yummy chocolate cake that Banks got from Tous les Jours (still don’t know how to pronounce this). The Germans taught us how to sing Happy Birthday in German while we taught them the Chinese version before we all ended with a weird terribly off-key medley of French, Spanish and Cantonese versions. It was so much fun. The whole thing was also awesome because Ying Wei was completely caught by surprise. She’d spent the whole day with Kiat Jiun and I shopping at Seomyeon before we ended the night by casually dropping by the common room where the rest of the gang was “studying”. Apparently, she was touched to the point of tears :’))))) And also, apparently we can’t take a decent group shot where everyone has their eyes open .__.

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The next day, we went out at night to celebrate her birthday at 천탁 which is this super popular place in the PNU area for drinks and snacks and you usually have to make a reservation beforehand or risk not getting a seat. It was a really big group so it was a little awkward and it wasn’t until half the group left and we hit the noraebang when the night really began. I think this night was one of the funnest nights in Busan so far!!! Naturally, a lot of alcohol was involved (which meant a trip to GS25 to stock up hehehe) and I think we sang from 9pm to around 1.30 in the morning. Crazy. Sanguk (Gen’s buddy) also popped by to surprise Ying Wei with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING ㅜㅜㅜ

Since PNU has a 1am curfew, if you miss it, you can only return to your dorm at 4am so we ended up shifting the party somewhere else. And by party, we really meant we wanted to find another place to drink at. We ended up in this really nice but pricey place with individual booths and played drinking games until 5 in the morning. We taught Sanguk all the lame but fun ice breaker games that we usually play at orientation camps in Singapore (like the neh-neh and 洗牛奶 game LMAO) and he was so confused half the time. We also played “I never” and now I know more about all these people I’ve only known for a few weeks than I do about people I’ve known for years, it’s insane. Also, I think noraebang is fast becoming our new favourite hang-out because I’ve been at least five times in the last month (but the only way to get me to sing is still to get me high first, thanks).

Camera 360

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Camera 360

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  • Beomeosa Temple

A few weeks back, we visited Beomeosa Temple and it was so pretty and everything was fine until everyone thought it was a great idea to attempt Mt. Geumjeongsan (which is right next to the temple) so just imagine me wobbling along in my boots and maxi skirt as everyone treks up the long windy trail upwards…… :-) We only managed half before we realised it’d be another 2km upwards and that we wouldn’t be able to complete it before sunset so we postponed the hike and decided to come another time to finish it (me NOT included). (Pictures here taken from Facebook and Kiat Jiun’s camera because all I took were selcas ha…..ha…ha…..)

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  • Spring Music Festa at Lotte Hotel

I headed back to Seomyeon two days ago to see my OT7 and now I can officially say I’ve seen all my favourite groups live. So very blessed n_____n It was a three-hour concert with five other acts besides Block B and even though my boys only did seven songs, they performed ‘Romantically’ and ‘빛이 되어줘’ which are my two favourite songs so it was well worth squeezing around with a bunch of frantic high school girls for. And perhaps more importantly, Jaehyo is platinum blonde!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is every bit as awkward and adorable in real life as he is onscreen and I’ve never been more attracted. ♥.♥!!! I spent the whole time with my eyes and camera glued to his every move because I WAS A WOMAN ON A MISSION and now I have a bunch of shaky Jaehyo-focused fancams that I don’t really know what to do with BUT

LOOK

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HOW

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BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

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(Picture credits: wittyB | DO NOT EDIT)

  • Igidae Park/Gwangalli Beach (광안리 해수욕장)

Finally, here’s a shot of the main group at the famed Gwangalli beach (sans the two Germans since they were away at Gyeongju that weekend). We went to Igidae Park right before that and it was such a climb but the view was absolutely gorgeous (I mean, just look at the last two pictures!!!). I’m so glad I decided to lug my DSLR out that day! Even though we ended up not being able to catch the sunset at the beach (the sun ended up setting behind a bunch of buildings so we couldn’t see anything from the beach, sigh), it was still relaxing just enjoying the sea breeze and munching on fresh strawberries with good company. (◡‿◡✿)

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Will blog about everything in more detail soon (with a ton more pictures), hopefully! In the meantime, happy 1st of April! It’s springtime over here in Korea and everything is sooooo beautiful that it makes the everyday trek up and down the mountain to and from classes less torturous. Well, just a teensy little bit.

I’ll be heading to Jinhae this coming weekend and Jeju the weekend after to get the most out of spring in Korea and I can’t wait! Till next time~!

Opening new doors

I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog so much but there’s honestly not all that much going on in my life now that I’m on break and waiting for school to start in March. Most of my time has either been spent on the computer or settling exchange-related matters like insurance, medical check-ups and things like that, with the occasional meet-ups with friends. I’ll also soon be meeting Sadi for the first time!!!!!!! While 1/2 of tlist are living it up at TMW Paris, the two of us will have our own pity party for two over ice cream T___T I’ve also sort of given up looking for a job though I did impulsively take on two articles last week for Amped and Teenage but if anyone knows of any decent part-time job that can give me cash ASAP, I would be beyond grateful!!!!! For now, I’ll just do a random point by point update about what’s happened in the last week as well as what is to come.

  • Next Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll be heading back to school for a seminar with students from Hanyang University. I actually have no clue what it’s about but I think it’s got something to do with intercultural communication of some sort. All I really know is that we’ll be getting paid $10/hour to attend *__* It’ll probably only add up to 60-70 bucks in total but still!!! $$$$$$$M ONEY MON EY MON EY $$$$$$$
  • Cheryl and I spent last weekend covering Topp Dogg‘s fan meet in Singapore for Dinoseoul and now we have officially sold our souls to the 13 of them THERE’S NO TURNING BACK NOW. I still don’t have a favourite because (1) There’s hardly any information out about them besides a handful of interviews and (2) HOW DO YOU BIAS IN TOPP DOGG? You can check out our pictures/interview with the group here, here and here. Um, yeah, so my pictures are mostly of Hansol but it’s not my fault the boy is pretty and photogenic ok!!!1 He is actual anime ♥.♥ He’s tiny and kawaii and he was always clinging on to one member or another during the whole fan meet and when he dances I want to cry ㅠㅠㅠ

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore
140112 TOPPDOGG Fan Meet in Singapore

  • I’ve also begun admin duties at 920406.com!!! It’s so lame that I actually get a tiny thrill whenever I find new photos to post up on the site but I love Ken a lot and I honestly wouldn’t do this for any other person. I’ve never bothered with fansites in my life because it’s all too Korean and complicated for me to understand but now it’s part of the job as an admin and I actually kinda ///want/// to do it. I feel like the eager new intern at work who’s always trying to please ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) …but the feeling will probably pass after awhile…
  • You From Another Star has aired a total of 10 episodes and the tenth episode had me giggling and squealing and facepalming and I love Cheon Song Yi so much!!!!!!! She’s probably my favourite female character in a Korean drama ever. Not to mention, Jeon Ji Hyun is playing her so well *__* I hate when writers don’t know how to write women in dramas – often, the male characters are always so layered and well thought-out and the heroines turn out so disappointingly two-dimensional and annoying and worse, portrayed as the damsel in distress 90% of the time. Well, Song Yi can hold her own, thank you very much. It’s awesome. Other than that, I’ve been slowly watching Prime Minister and I, and also started I Need Romance 3 and while they’re not *drama crack* they’re still really adorable so far.
  • It’s just a little more than a month before I fly off to Korea!!!!!!!!!!! GURGLES INCOHERENTLY ASFHAKDSJF I’m really anxious because I’ve never been away from home for so long but also really really excited. Oh god, I honestly don’t know what to expect. I really hope it’s a positive experience and I’d like to come away from it a little bit changed – for the better.
  • Ending this post with Topp Dogg’s new MV for ‘Open the Door’ as well as their dance practice! This comeback is so great, Topp Dogg is so great and just…..Stardom…..please, please don’t screw this up.

To an incredible 2014

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Happy New Year to everyone! Sending a little luck everyone’s way as we usher in the new year (ㅋㅋ geddit)… 2013 has been largely unexceptional, and I won’t lie – getting into VIXX in early March has been a large reason why it sucked way less than it did. I’m also thankful to have the people I love close to me, especially my family, whom I wouldn’t exchange for the world. I know I’m so very blessed to be a part of a close-knit family, and even though having family dinners together almost every night wasn’t something I’d broadcast to the world back when I was in primary or secondary school (and trying to be cool as shit), it’s now something I’ve come to treasure. Even our family holidays (to Perth and Chiang Mai) this year have been such a great bonding experience for us all (even if I have to survive my brother’s apocalyptic snoring each night).

I’m also thankful for the lovely friends I’ve made and kept this year. I don’t always make the effort; I’m not the warmest and most caring person in the world but this is who I am and I won’t apologise for it. I’m still a work-in-progress and that’s okay. I’m hopeful that 2014 will kick 2013′s ass in every way and I’m anticipating the opportunity to have my horizons broadened and to finally gain some much-needed independence. It’s the year where I’ll end up spending half the time in a totally foreign country where I can barely speak the language so it’ll definitely be…interesting. 2013 was boring and I desperately need a change in environment. I’ve been told a couple of times that I live a pretty sheltered life and I definitely won’t disagree so here’s to a more exciting 2014! I’m looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and to make memories that I will never forget.

NUGUS NO MORE

These past two weeks have been pretty crap and I’m thankful for VIXX being the one consistently good thing in my life right now (besides ya know family and all that) and I hate to have something as ~trivial~ as a K-pop group determine my happiness but at this point, I’ll take what I can get. I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met online and in real life (HEY VANESSA) because of VIXX, and just…I can’t imagine loving a group as much as I love this one. It’s only been eight months but I feel at home with Starlights, and they really are a lovely, welcoming bunch.

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I’m glad I joined the fandom early enough to see the six of them through a few comebacks, and on 6 December 2013, they celebrated their first win on Music Bank. I still can’t believe it actually happened. This is perhaps as monumental as the time Block B beat the odds and nabbed their Inki win. It’s so great to see groups from much smaller companies who have constantly been overshadowed finally rise up and surprise everyone. And of course, to celebrate, I made good on my promise and treated my family to KFC for dinner last night. I’m definitely loving how chicken and #VIXX1STWIN has practically become synonymous in this fandom.

And finally, *shoves N‘s mermaid tears in everyone’s faces* WATCH.

The First Week: 저주인형

I know I seem to be posting on a semimonthly basis but school has my butt completely whooped and when it comes to fandom these days, I can’t seem to concern myself with anything other than VIXX. I reluctantly (and slightly ashamedly) admit that I now eat, sleep and breathe VIXX. This comeback is everything I ever wanted and more and I have little qualms in deeming it as The Era. It’s really their best yet, and how appropriate too that it happens with their first full-length album. I have so much hopes for this promotion cycle and I know Jelpi does too since it obviously invested a ton of money into this comeback. Just the wirework in the MV, the makeup and special effects, the (now deflated) giant voodoo doll that hangs outside their company building, and let’s not forget all the new merch that was sold at the Milky Way finale. Jelpi is small, we all know that, so it’s heart-warming to know how much the CEO believes in the six of them.

I didn’t plan on writing about VIXX since I can’t exactly afford the time to but I feel like if I don’t talk about their comeback somewhere, I might actually explode. So I decided to do a short round-up, now that first week’s stages are done with. Sadly, there was no M! Countdown this week due to MAMA (and next week too, I think).

1. Show Champion (13.11.20)

This is my favourite stage so far! It’s also the first time they perform ‘Voodoo Doll’ live (Milky Way doesn’t count for me and the shots were terrible anyway). It’s far from a perfect stage but it was definitely perfect in my eyes. This is also the only performance we get before they revised the choreography because it’s supposedly too violent and will influence kids to go around stabbing each other…or something. It’s pretty bullshit and I felt personally affronted when I first heard the news but after seeing the subsequent stages, it isn’t….as bad as I thought.

Show Champion‘s camerawork and editing are usually really straightforward and simple but I don’t mind it here because you get to see the full extent of the choreography and they’ve not only managed to strike the perfect balance of close-ups and long shots, they’ve also got the timing down pat so that the camera cuts to a close-up of the member just as he starts his line. Best of all, the part where Leo falls dramatically to his knees was captured perfectly. I won’t go too much into the choreography and the whole tie-in with their previous concepts because this will just turn into an essay so I’ll probably link to the article I wrote for Dinoseoul once that’s up.

2. Music Bank (13.11.22)

Ah, Music Bank, you never fail to disappoint with your shoddy camerawork. I always believe the Mubank cameramen sleep on the job because they always cut to a close-up a few seconds too late. I will always remember how during Ravi’s rap in one of the ‘G.R.8.U’ stages, the camera actually cut to Hyuk instead (probably because they’re both blonde) so the part where Ravi did his bunny ears intro was completely missed. Tsk.

Even though they completely missed Leo’s fall to the ground here, this stage was still pretty damn decent for a Mubank one. The boys are killing it each time with their energy but if the camerawork sucks like hell, it can still take the experience away from the viewer. I, for one, usually get quite affected by this because when all the key points of a performance isn’t captured as it should be, it just makes me very frustrated watching it. It’s like, the performance is perfect, but why are you only capturing a mere fraction of that????? ¿¿ I have to say though that I’m really really glad Mubank gave VIXX time to also do ‘Only U’ since the subsequent two major stations didn’t.

3. Music Core (13.11.23)

This was my second favourite stage after Show Champ‘s only because we don’t get the original choreo (yeah yeah I’m getting over it). Music Core seems to really love showing off their fancy slow-mo editing and well, I’m not complaining. It makes the stage look super cool and their timing was spot-on, I’m so happy!!! With this stage, it feels like the cameramen actually know the choreography like the back of their hands so they’re able to anticipate and cut to the right member on time. I don’t know what the significance is of having N be the only member who has his suit buttoned up but given the vigour of the moves, I can’t say I’m surprised the back of his jacket ripped right open midway through the performance. Still doesn’t take anything away from what a great stage this was though.

4. Inkigayo (13.11.24)

[No video link for the Inki stage at the moment because SBS is a shit]

There seems to be some sort of general consensus that this Inki stage was The Best Yet but while it was awesome, largely due to the amazing set (pyrotechnics, feathers and sheet ghost thingies at the back? uh hell yeah) and K-ST☆RLIGHTs generally being 짱, the shots weren’t all that great. What I’ve noticed about Inki is their extreme love for close-ups and while I have a lot of love for Inki stages normally, today’s fell a little short for me. There were odd close-ups of hands and feet that just didn’t make sense to me and it was just a bit off, overall. But as I mentioned, the fanchants were incredibly amazing and loud today (it seems to get louder with each stage) and I just feel so so so proud to be a part of this fandom, I really do. You can tell that the boys were strengthened too by the cheers because their energy was even better than usual.

I still plan on doing a post about KL/TMW as well since the pictures from the trip have to go somewhere but I’ll probably do it once my exams are over in early December. The ‘VOODOO’ album release is tomorrow at 11am and I can’t wait to hear the eight other new tracks. Particularly excited to hear Ravi’s self-composed track! This week is so important so let’s gather all our 별빛파워☆ and bring our boys to the top (I don’t know about you but I’m particularly dying for some chicken…….. ;)

And because someone needs to share my pain, please have a lovelorn puppy in the form of Lee Jaehwan.

 ow2  ow