Travelling and other things, but mostly VIXX

April 19 is the date of my final presentation of my final university semester but April 19 not only means freeing myself for good from the shackles of school life, because now it also means a new beginning in more ways than one…….VIXX comeback!!! *sad trombone anti-climactic sound* Sorry, if you were expecting something more profound and philosophical. Feeling just a little overwhelmed here because finally, a comeback! But more importantly, it’s happening as the same time I’ll be in Korea!

It’s just so amazing to me, how of all the times to make their comeback, it happens to coincide with the 4 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a year that I’ll be in Korea. There can’t be any other explanation for it… it’s… it’s fate. My destiny to see them during a promotion cycle. I guess I have no choice but to accept this fate. *proceeds to rewrite entire itinerary and plan it around VIXX’s schedule* Okay fine, I guess I’m only half-kidding…

I’ll be in Korea from April 27 and fly back on May 24, but will be spending the first few days in Busan with my mum. I’m actually really excited to be going back to Busan! I wonder how much it’s changed… It’s still quite unbelievable to me that I spent an entire four months in this beautiful city.

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All the huge lilac clusters that stretch out for miles are all cherry blossom trees!
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Igidae Park was torture to climb but holds some of the bluest seas I’ve ever seen

This place will always hold special memories and it’s gonna be that one thing that’ll likely bond Kiat Jiun, Gen and I for a long, long time, even despite not meeting up as often as we’d like to now. Busan will forever be what connects us together, and I love that. Sometimes I’ll see Kiat Jiun in class and we’ll catch up now and then, but most of the time, I have no clue what’s going on with her… which is kinda strange. To think, for a period of time, we spent practically every single day together as both classmates and roommates. We took almost all the same classes, had the same circle of friends and went everywhere together – even travelling to Japan! Life can be so amazing and unpredictable sometimes.

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Three Musketeers teehee

But I digress. After my mum leaves, I’ll spend a day and a half by myself (hopefully VIXX has something on or maybe I’ll try and make it for Leo‘s Mata Hari arrival just for fun) before Cindy, Fel, Alex and Mel arrive in Seoul. Squotongs, unite! Buuut if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little wary about travelling together as a group of five because I feel like there’s going to have to be a loooot of compromising.

Because I’ve been to Korea, I’m quite clear about what I want to do or don’t want to do (not that the list is very extensive), especially since I’ll already be doing some of the things with my mum the week before. So I’m afraid I’m gonna end up feeling like the bossy hard-ass that tries to impose her opinions on others (which is kinda a new feeling because on most travel trips, I’m pretty hands-off when it comes to the itinerary). Either that, or because two of them are first-time visitors (and thus willing to try everything) and the other two can be more free with their money, I may end up feeling obligated to spend on food or activities that I would probably prefer to spend elsewhere. Team player and all that. And I’d hate to keep harping on money, so I might just go along with it (as I weep on the inside).

Of course, I’m still really, really excited about spending time together in a place we all love, but I can’t help but worry. Travelling and living together for two weeks is a lot different from occasional outings to the mall and one another’s houses. But now that VIXX has entered the (love) equation (hurhur), I think it does make things a little easier! We can bond over that no matter what, and we’re all keen to try and make it for some schedules while we’re there so that does fill up a chunk of our two-week itinerary. Yep, gonna be lugging all my official Starlight merch there. No doubt about it.

And if anyone’s been counting, yes, that does leave quite a few days where I’m by myself (hashtag HanSeoulo). It’s mostly an opportunity to prove to myself that I can do it. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do during this time but I’ll probably try and go to all the places that I didn’t manage to in the three weeks before that. And if VIXX happens to have a schedule too… well. :-)

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Where did 2015 go?

2014 was an eventful year for me as I spent a large chunk of it overseas on exchange but my memories from the last year are hazy at best. My internship at Discovery took up the first half of the year, and then the second half was basically embarking on my FYP at uni. But if you want me to pick out individual significant moments from 2015, I honestly won’t be able to.

But one thing I have to say that I’m grateful for in 2015 was making a solid group of friends that I enjoy spending time together with. There may be times here and there where my patience is tested (as with any relationship), but other times, the good times, occasions spent stifling laughter in public places and being privy to a plethora of inside jokes, well, they’re some of the most enjoyable times I’ve had.

All my life, I’ve been the type to treasure one-on-one conversations, so being part of a bigger group (consisting of 8 people, including me) is something relatively new to me. At times, it almost feels like I’m an outsider looking in, because conversations move at the speed of light, and sometimes about the most inane things that I feel no connection with whatsoever.

But there’s always something to learn from every situation, and being part of such a friendship also teaches me to be more understanding, in a way. I guess what I mean is that being exposed to more people allows me to see things from new perspectives that don’t necessarily correlate with my own. Which is always important. And I don’t mean to wax poetic or anything, but I do feel that I end up learning more about myself in the process too—more about what I’m like, what I like, my boundaries, my skills, etc. and consequently, this awareness makes me appreciate myself more. You’re pretty damn great, Justine. Never forget.

Time for change

The delightful combination of strawberries and nutella is a recent discovery that kinda makes me feel dumb for missing out on it for the past 20 years of my life. It’s so yummy, and it’s the perfect mix of sinful and sweet. Besides the usual past-midnight snacking, I spent the last hour tweaking my blog just so because I stupidly changed the theme without meaning to. Well, good thing I never really liked my previous one anyway, so hello new theme! I’m not a big fan of it but change is good, right?

I haven’t been blogging or writing or…doing much of anything, really, these days, but I did drag my butt to dance a few days back and it really made me remember how much I actually love dancing (despite, yes, not being very good at it). It was a back-to-back 2-hour class and we danced to Jojo’s self-choreography of BIGSTAR‘s ‘Run & Run’ and wow, how much do I love the song? I’ve had it on repeat since Thursday and also downloaded two other BIGSTAR mini albums promptly after. I don’t know them all that well but they seem like the sort of group I could really end up liking because they remind me of VIXX somehow with the way they’re constantly proclaiming their love for their fans. I mean, they made individual placards to cheer on their fans during Idol Sports Championships. WHO DOES THAT?! I’m a little partial towards Feel Dog and Raehwan (and Sunghak too ehehe) at the moment because /dumb 92-liners/ and their friendship is adorable. Here’s the group’s interview with Pops in Seoul in the infamous yellow post-it box (C’MON, RAEHWAN IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL).

They really are such dorks and they’ve put out some great songs too but I guess in K-pop, looks will always trump talent and sadly, they’re a little um, lacking in the former department (just a little!). I really gotta applaud labels that sub their artistes’ videos like Jellyfish Entertainment and Brave Entertainment do because it really helps make the groups more accessible to international fans like us and after watching a few of the BIGSTAR Show eps, I’m just liking them more and more (they’re all so squishy and small and adorable!!!).

Something else that’s been on repeat for me is The Tragic Thrills’ newly-released self-titled EP. I have so so so much love for this album, I cannot even put into words <3 <3 <3 I pre-ordered the album a year and a half ago when Allstar Weekend started a Kickstarter project to help fund their next album but somewhere in between, they grew up and changed their musical direction completely and The Tragic Thrills were born. I’m a huge ASW fan because they made such great happy music that’s impossible to hate so I was understandably wary about the change but this album surprised me in so many ways. Zach‘s voice suits the new style of music like a glove and the honesty that hangs onto his every word is captivating. I can’t even pick a favourite track because every song on there is incredibly-crafted and perfect with such lovely, poignant lyrics and I won’t hesitate recommending the album to anyone in the hopes that they’ll feel changed in the same way I do after a listen from beginning to end. It’s definitely making it into my list of top few albums well, ever.

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I also belatedly celebrated Amelia’s 21st birthday yesterday and just a few hours before I was supposed to leave the house, I baked a brownie in record time (thank you, Betty Crocker) and smothered it in M&Ms to make it look prettier than it is. We met at Clarke Quay and then headed to Chili’s, where we proceeded to eat our weight in expensive food. I swear to god we didn’t order all that much but how did the total come up to $116???!??!? One of life’s greatest mysteries, indeed. But it was nice catching up with one of my oldest and most refreshingly honest friends. Can you believe we’ve known each other for 15 years – 10 of which were spent in the same class? We’ve changed so much along the way that I think that if we were to meet one another now, we actually probably wouldn’t even be friends. But our childhood connects us so deeply, I can’t imagine otherwise.

Ying Xin, Amelia and I then migrated to the riverside to attempt to digest the massive meal we had and pondered life and shit. At one point, I think I might have posed the question, “When are you at your ultimate happiest?” and it got me thinking a little. Amelia’s idea of happiness involves being far away at some nice holiday resort but to be honest, I’m perfectly happy at home. I don’t need to be surrounded by a ton of people either and in fact, the lesser, the better. I think a happy day for me would be a really rainy one where my whole family’s home and I’m curled under the covers and reading a book or using my computer, and I can hear the strains of the chattering of my family from my room. And then maybe somewhere in between, I’ll crawl out of my cave and join them in the living room for a movie. It honestly doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. Pfft… And people say I’m high-maintenance.

And finally, I’m a little late but congratulations to Team A for becoming WINNER! I’ve long come to terms with the fact that Team B was fighting a losing battle and anyway, I do have a lot of love for all the Team A boys so I can’t complain…much. The only thing that makes me a little sad is the possible disbandment of Team B when they function so well as a group together. They’re so dependent on one another that I’m not sure splitting them up would be such a wise idea but I’m sure YG will come up with the best way to deal with them. He’s said too that he’ll be keeping the fans’ opinions in mind when he makes his decision so I’m a little hopeful even, that we’ll be seeing the guys again pretty soon. (And here, have some gifs of WINNER’s Mino because he’s painfully good-looking and him + glasses + smiling = my panties on the floor tbh)

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(GIF credits: taehyunsong)

“I’m busy, very very busy!”

Today’s post title, courtesy of Hyuk because this never fails to have me doubled over in laughter. I’m a weekend away from the official start of school, and I feel like I have to savour every single moment I have left because it’s just so precious. I’m not ready to once again be bombarded with the stresses of school life and endless deadlines /deep sigh/

TUESDAY
1. Thankfully, I managed to spend the past few days indulging, indulging, indulging — starting with finally meeting up with people I haven’t seen in far too long, in order to catch Fall Out Boy‘s gig here at Fort Canning on Tuesday. It’s the third time I’ve seen them live and I really do have so much love for these boys and the perfect music they make. ‘The Phoenix’, ‘Alone Together’ and ‘What A Catch, Donnie’ were probably my favourites of the night. It wasn’t the greatest concert I’ve been to because the setlist wasn’t the best (‘I’m Like A Lawyer…’ should have been on there!!!!!) and the members were all really quiet onstage, but! Patrick Stump‘s voice is just a wonder to behold. It’s Saturday already and I still have Fall Out Boy on repeat, and I’d catch them again in a heartbeat if they were to come here for the fourth time.

WEDNESDAY
2. This was immediately followed by B.A.P‘s second visit to Singapore. I feel like it was a lot more exciting when they came last year, for some reason, but I’m still glad I got to see them. I went for the press con under media as part of Dinoseoul, so at least I didn’t have to queue at an ungodly hour just for a good glimpse of the boys. My view in the end wasn’t great anyway, because it was such a huge public place and we were relegated to the last two rows of the media seats *single tear* When the boys came out though, all the media rushed to the front in order to snap better pictures and I did the same. We were all crammed at the front and I had to take pictures in between peoples’ tripod stands. Considering that, I’m glad my pictures turned out okay since I could barely see or hear anything they said due to how chaotic it all kinda was. To sum up, the boys were really polite, quiet and a little tired.

2.5. Dinoseoul can be found on Flickr now! We’ll be using it mainly to upload HQ pictures that we take at press conferences and events since FB always reduces them until they look like crap no matter how pretty they originally look. At the moment, HQ pictures from B.A.P’s press con as well as from Live on Earth Singapore can be found here. I’ll just share a few of my favourite shots that I took at the press con, just because. I took mostly pictures of Himchan because I had a pretty decent view of him and also because ~~*~bias~*~~ but I did snap a few of the others too (barely any Youngjae though, sadly). And I know the pictures aren’t ~koala tea~ since they’re nothing compared to what some of the other sites and especially the ones some of the fansites have taken, but well, I don’t claim to be some sort of professional anyway. I’m just thankful the lighting at City Square Mall was good and that I didn’t end up with a whole bunch of blurry pictures.

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THURSDAY
3. B.A.P Live on Earth Singapore was the day after and I was a jittery mess on my way to the Star Theatre because I was so excited at the thought of finally being able to watch them perform live. I mean, I’ve seen fancams (A SHIT TON OF THEM, TO BE EXACT) and they only served to amp up my anticipation……which might also be the main reason why I ended up being slightly disappointed. I’d already seen every single performance that they’d put up that night so I wasn’t surprised in the least, so I thought maybe hearing/watching ‘Badman’ for the first time would make up for that and make the experience a little more special, but… we didn’t even get that. So yes, they were great live, but I wasn’t blown away and I just wish they’d changed things up a bit — for the special stages, at the very least.

I guess I’m just a little bitter because I know their Wanted concert in Seoul is going to be entirely different, particularly with the inclusion of all the new tracks and also because I know they really want to show Korea how much they’ve grown since the first Seoul stop at the start of Live on Earth back in February. I feel a little slighted, but… I’ll get over it. I’ll say one more thing though: Jongup is a complete cutie pie. I don’t know how many times I was giggling and grinning from my seat because he was being so cute I just- and I’m so happy I chose the right area to sit at because I had a great view of Himchan throughout the concert and HimDae!!! IN!!! MATCHING!!! WIFEBEATERS!!!!! /backflips off every available wall/

I’ll definitely go into more detail about the concert when I finally get started on the review for Dinoseoul. In the meantime, here’s a preview picture of Himchan taken by sexyvocal.tumblr.com since the original HQ one isn’t uploaded yet. This might be one of my favourite pictures of Channie, possibly ever. I break into a huge smile everytime I look at it–he just looks so happy and you can see his precious eye dimple in all its glory. (✿◠‿◠)

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And finally, it was so nice meeting Vanessa for the first time (hehe and Marie too)!!! /squishes you both/ K-pop fandom can really suck sometimes, but sometimes it can bring people closer together and allow you to meet some really wonderful people too. Thanks to the two and of course Michelle as well for being such great company that day. (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ

FRIDAY
4. Today was a failed attempt at being productive since I spent the bulk of it sleeping, struggling to clean my room and only managing to neaten up a very very small part of it, followed by a 1-hour dance class with Cheryl (I hope you’re enjoying your dance classes so far!!!) and finally ending the night by making fudge brownies. Since my cooking skills are mediocre at best, I had to rely on a Betty Crocker ready mix that my mum bought, but since the brownies didn’t burn (….much) and they taste awesome, I’d still call my late night baking attempt a success. A+++++++ for effort. /dusts imaginary dirt off shoulder/

SATURDAY
5. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving my Dinoseoul shoes behind and stepping into my (very very dusty) Teenage-sized ones and okay, I have no idea where I’m going with this analogy… Basically, I’ll be freelancing for an article on SKarf so I’ll be heading to Korea Plaza in the afternoon for the girls’ press conference, followed by a one-on-one interview, which I’m strangely nervous about. I’ve never interviewed a K-pop group before! I hope it goes swimmingly and I leave with the information I need to craft a good piece. Wish me luck! xx

Mid-month update and an overflowing of feels

I’m still working on my VIXX pimp post which has been in my drafts forever because it’s taking me a little longer than I expected. Everytime I write a little, I have to go back and watch an episode of Diary or VIXX TV and then I get distracted and end up forgetting about the post and just watching the episodes. /DAMN U VIXX/ Other than that, I’ll just sum up what’s been happening in what will probably end up being a really long entry because you know how I get when I write.

(1) Today was surprisingly one of the most tiring dance classes at CJ. It was my first time going for Girl’s Style and it was so much fun even though as usual, what I imagine I look like when I dance is completely different from how I look like in reality (which is a dying fish, basically). But I’m really looking forward to the next class! For those who are interested in um getting off your butt and attempting to get fit, the school’s just introduced their INFINITY package which is such an awesome deal because you can basically pay a certain amount of money (more details here) and then within a fixed time frame of 30 or 60 days, you can then choose to come for any of the open classes throughout the week for as many times as you want.

(2) I’m 2394813 years late but I finally got my ‘hyde’ album!!!! I paid a few dollars more and had to wait longer in order to ensure I got the Ken insert I wanted (you see the things you gotta do when you have a bias but seriously those collarbones are unreal and totally worth the extra money alone) but I think the album’s absolutely gorgeous even though mine came a little bent from the travel here T__T The pictures were really dark so I tried to pretty them in Photoshop……and it may not seem like it but trust me, they were worse off pre-Photoshop ok.

(3) I feel like we’re so lucky this drama season because there are so many good things to watch, more specifically Monstar, Dating Agency Cyrano and I’m hoping to add I Hear Your Voice to that because I’ve been hearing good reviews but even though I’m on my break and don’t seem to be doing anything at all, I still can’t find the time to actually start watching it. Where does all my time go????? And I haven’t caught it but Cruel City seems to be amazing as well if you’re looking for a dark thriller-type drama that’s well-executed and well-acted. Which reminds me, I reeeeeally need to catch up on Itazura na Kiss.

(4) Bangtan Boys… OF COURSE I have to talk about them. I knew about them a couple of months back because some of the boys have been doing vlogs leading up to their debut and I heard something about how a couple of them had been scouted from underground rap battles so they’re talented as hell and amazing at what they do. But I really didn’t expect to like them as much as I do. The boys are alllll so incredibly young (the oldest member is 26 days older than me), but they already have such an amazing stage presence and I was honestly really blown away by their debut stage on M Countdown yesterday as well as the clips that was shown of their debut MelOn showcase. They’re that perfect combination of confidence, charisma and talent – and can I just remind everyone of the fact that Jungkook is freaking 16 years old but already blowing up the stage like a pro? They also have what is now my favourite greeting from any idol group ever – it’s just so cute and perfect.

While I’m not averse to rap or hip-hop, I won’t say I have much of an appreciation for mixed tapes and the like, so with more than half of the group made up of rappers, I was quite surprised to really enjoy ‘2 COOL 4 SKOOL’, which turned out to be such a treat. I love everything on there even though the interlude and skit (which would be cute if I understood what they were saying) seemed to be fillers more than anything. Now, my only experience with hip hop albums is the ton of Eminem albums I have collected from my phase back when I was 12 (DON’T JUDGE OK) but having skits and intros and outros seems to be a thing? Here’s my favourite track because it has such a Block B vibe (I know I shouldn’t be comparing but……), I just can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Such a swoon-worthy song.

(5) Can VIXX please stop appearing on every single Ceci issue because my pockets are not deep enough??? I think they were in the June issue but I can’t be completely sure because I have no idea why there are no previews for it but they’re def in the July issue and they’ll be in 8 glorious pages and just… WANT. Just look at ’em prettying it up. As much as I love how dramatic and dark ‘hyde’ is, it’s when they’re like this that I love them best. I usually reduce the quality for my pictures to save on space, but these are so colourful and gorgeous, I couldn’t bear to.

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(6) And on to real life (because I do have one too, as much as it doesn’t seem like it)… Senior’s camp last week was freaking exchausting to the core. So for those who don’t know, senior’s camp is basically a condensed three-day version of actual FOC where we test our games and programme on people from our own batch and then get feedback so we can improve when it comes to the actual thing for the freshies. I was a programmer for Day 1 and even though I only had one hour allocated to me for the first day, I still somehow ended up being involved in all three days mostly as a Station Master and it was just. so. tiring. I don’t know how I’m going to do it for the actual thing where it’s five full days and I have one whole day of programmes to plan meticulously T__T

I’ve always said that one of my biggest regrets in uni so far is getting involved with FOC because it’s just too much commitment and too much responsibility than I’m used to, but I do have to say that even if I could have done without going for camp, it wasn’t… all bad. I did enjoy actually getting to know people for once and it did make me care about others a little more and just become generally more self-aware as a person. I don’t know how to be more specific about this but yeah, it was… overall, not an entirely unpleasant experience. And I guess since I’ve already committed and it’s the final stretch, I might as well give it my all. Aw, look at me being all mature and positive about this, almost brings tears to the eyes :’)

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Rooftop view on Day 0 of camp – SO GORGEOUS
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With Fay – taken right after my 1-hour nap while waiting for the group to arrive at our station in town

The main comm + GLs had a photoshoot some time back in May for the FOC booklets and I was just in awe at how much effort was being put into the whole thing and everyone ended up looking really great and in character. I think we spent the whole day waiting around and getting our hair and make up done and it was a surprisingly professional experience, even though the entire team was made up of our own batch. Of course, I took pictures because never will my nose ever look as pronounced as it did that day. I ended the day with a round of laser tag and even though our team lost, I’m proud to announce that I had the highest score on our team – oh yeah (even if I was like 200 points away from the actual winner, but who’s counting)…

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Junfeng – our dear FOC Chair – insisted I take another picture because I may or may not have intentionally cropped most of him out in the previous shot
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With Diane… and Ayeshah photobombing

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With Andrea :-)

And if you’re looking to come to WKW, just a quick reminder to sign up for camp here: http://bit.ly/ZDqj20 and do visit http://wkwscifoc13.tumblr.com as well to keep yourself updated! I do think camp will be awesome because a lot of amazingly talented people have been involved in this and I’m quite certain we’ll be able to pull this off without a hitch. Please come for FOC!!!

(7) And finally, a huge huge congratulations to EXO for their first win! Yay #EXO1STWIN! Anyone who’s been reading my blog, will know I’m a huge fan of the boys and even though I will concede that it is a liiiiittle early still for a win since it’s only their first comeback, I won’t take anything away from them because they have worked hard and do deserve it. I won’t go into how Suho had the most hilarious crying outburst on stage because that’s old news by now and frankly, I’m more interested in what looks like a blossoming friendship between two of my bias groups.

We all know EXO and VIXX took a group picture last week, and then Leo was seen talking and giggling with Lay at the back during the Inkigayo encore stage. And then today, after EXO won MuBank, so many things happened 1. Hongbin and Chanyeol clutching hands and jumping together 2. Leo and Lay practically seeking each other out 3. Hyuk fanboying 4. Ravi hugging Tao and then rushing forward to hug Kyungsoo 5. Kyungsoo running over to where VIXX was leaving and hugging Hongbin AND /WAILS/ I JUST- YOU DON’T UNDERSTAAAAND /IT’S VIXXEXO/ You can watch the whole thing in 1080p or just skip to the end ~where the magic happens~