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.

 photo 20140329_014206_zps93025d76.jpg
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 .__.

 photo wei1_zpsc18d5e95.jpg

 photo wei2_zps4b2b6741.jpg

 photo 20140320_144524_zps5d05c82d.jpg

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

wei3

Camera 360

wei4

  • 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…..)

 photo 1947541_10153883651170702_129575203_n_zps4de4de78.jpg

 photo bm1_zps3708b388.jpg

 photo bm2_zps84c1634d.jpg

  • 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

tumblr_n3aj6geQov1shkkn2o1_1280

HOW

tumblr_n3aj6geQov1shkkn2o2_1280

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

tumblr_n3aj5gugs81shkkn2o2_1280

(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. (◡‿◡✿)

 photo DSC_0116_zpsc0443e7a.jpg

 photo DSC_0122_zps88056ce5.jpg

 photo DSC_0065_zpsc9300b4d.jpg

 photo DSC_0019_zps061c819b.jpg

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~!

B is for blessed

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve last blogged, and honestly, I’ve just been preoccupied–mostly with school, and when I do get back home, I’m either sleeping or procrastinating on Tumblr so as you can see, my days have been spent quite… fulfillingly. I’ve decided to post an entry today since there are a couple of things happening in my life, with the most major one being exchange!!!! But let’s start with the first piece of good news…

(1) Block B
Is this real or is this just fantasy? When I first found out that Block B are starting over with a new entertainment company called Seven Seasons (GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE STARDOM THANKS FOR TREATING THEM LIKE SHIT I WON’T MISS YOU), I could hardly believe my eyes. I’m so happy that they’ve stuck together and I never doubted for a moment that they wouldn’t because this is a group that voluntarily hang out with each other on a regular basic even in the absence of promotions so ofc a little setback like a lawsuit won’t stop them from finding a new home and making music together. God, I’m just so so happy. BBCs, mark your calendars and prepare your hankies because our boys are officially coming back on 30 September!!! ♥♥♥

Check out Seven Seasons’ cute greeting video to BBCs featuring our smile rep Yukwon!

I don’t even know whether I like it because I like it or because it’s something. Regardless, I love how simple the video is and here’s the text translation that conveys so much in just a few lines.

You’ve worked hard

I’ve suppressed it again and again and stayed patient

The training uniform that is drenched in the smell of sweat

Saying goodbye to public transport…

Quietly prepare for another beginning.

(Trans credit: ©)

(2) Busan
Like I mentioned, I got into my first choice for exchange for the next semester! Well, Seoul was actually my first choice, but I’d written Pusan National University instead since it has 20 vacancies and a girl’s gotta be realistic when her grades are like crap, ya know? This will mean that I’ll be living in Busan independently for a whole semester and attending school there as an exchange student. I’m nervous as hell just at the sheer thought of it but also ridiculously excited. I think it’s the experience I need to finally grow up and learn how to depend on myself a little more. I haven’t yet accepted the offer since I want to first complete my course matching and everything and see what’s available for me to take over there before I seal the deal (it’s pretty much done, anyway). But still!!!! I’m a little worried I’ll end up spending a miserable and lonely four to five months abroad with nothing to show (since I won’t be going with anyone I know), but I desperately hope that’s not the case. Time to step out of your comfort zone, Justine, and carpe diem!

(3) Birthdays
I celebrated two birthdays over the weekend, with my brother turning 25 on Friday and my two younger cousins having a birthday gathering at their place the day after. Birthday celebrations within the family are typically low-key affairs but I’m not bothered by that at all. We spent my brother’s birthday at Handlebar, which is this really awesome place in Sembawang that’s kinda ulu but serves really really good meat. I couldn’t take pictures at all because it’s alfresco dining so it was practically pitch black and I didn’t bring my DSLR. The food’s a little expensive, but the portions are pretty big and they’re so good, trust me. (And to my brother: I love you and all but I hope turning a quarter of a century old will mean that you’ll finally grow up because god knows you really need to. Please take responsibility for your life and act like the adult I know you can be.)

The next day, I was pretty much guilt-tripped to heading over to my aunt’s place since my other cousin wanted company at the gathering but well, she’s my favourite cousin, and it’s hard to say no to her when she’d asked so nicely. I really like spending time with her because no matter how much time we spend apart, it’s like it all disappears once we meet face to face. It’s nice. Right now, she’s head over heels in love with Dylan O’Brien, and it’s a feeling I completely understand. :’) Besides freaking out over my poly schoolmate’s MTV Movie Awards selcas with the Teen Wolf cast (WILL NEVER GET OVER HER SELCA WITH DANIEL FREAKING SHARMAN NOPE) and laughing our butts off over this picture (it’s fake lol), there was also….cake! Two of them to be exact. See, when one of the birthday girls is seven years old, well, you can’t expect her to share a birthday cake, right? But no one’s complaining because I love cake and cake loves me. Who doesn’t love cake?

 photo CAKE_zpsbf465306.jpg

Birthday girl Ethel and her sisters photobombing...with success
Birthday girl Ethel and her two older sisters photobombing…..with success
Other birthday girl Aurea with her twenty big candles. Happy 20th!!!
CAKE2
With the fav cuzzie who shares a birthday with both Chris Pine and Dylan O’Brien (as she had so excitedly shared)

Other than that, school has been spectacularly………normal. It’s been uneventful but with a three-day school week (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE), I can’t really complain. I’ve been trying (and failing) to keep up with my readings but hopefully once my few overdue Dinoseoul articles are out of the way, I can try and beat procrastination out of my system and finally get down to doing what needs to be done. Here’s to a great week, everyone! xx

The Voice and other things I do to procrastinate

This weekend flew by and it’s amazing how much I lack a sense of urgency. I’m about 500 words into my 1000-word film essay due tomorrow, and I’m still blogging and refreshing Twitter like nobody’s business. Complacency? I think so.

I even watched a two-hour episode of The Voice just now, if you know, that wasn’t enough to convince you about how likely I’m gonna screw up my essay. My favourite’s gone though because that’s always the way it is (Mackenzie it’s not your fault your mentor screwed you over and can’t appreciate the unique indie-pop quality you bring to the show k xx).

But how BRILLIANT was Amanda Brown? I’ve embedded the video clip on Facebook but I’m going to share it here too, because W-O-W. Best performance of the night, hands down. And a fantastic way to close the show (Those high notes at the end! I can’t count how many times I’ve replayed it). It brings me back to fond AI8 memories where Adam Lambert always delivered the last performance of the night, because hello, rockstar. This girl’s stage presence is unbelievable and it’s hard to believe she’s a backup singer, like gurllll where have you been hiding all this while?!

I also collected my limited edition ‘Blockbuster’ album today. I guess it’s a little later than some, but it’s well worth the wait because it’s absolute perfection. What’s different is that it comes with a pin, a cheering towel (which looks like a pirate flag and the material is so soft), some postcard looking things which are so pretty and high-quality. And the CD comes with two bonus tracks, the acapella versions of ‘Nillili Mambo’ and ‘Mental Breaker’. Both sound GORGEOUS because you can really hear the vocals clearly without the distraction of the backing track.

Now back to my essay… I have to say it’s definitely easier to write though because I find that there aren’t a lot of technical aspects to Thelma & Louise (which is a really great film btw, give it a go!). But it gives me the problem of not having a lot of places to cite from since a lot of it comes from my own inferrences, and because it’s an academic essay and we’re supposed to back up everything, there’s a bit of problem. But the scene towards the end where they lure the gross, perverted lorry driver who was leering at them and then gave him a piece of their mind before burning down his fuel tank – so satisfying. Hooray for female empowerment – men can suck it!

And to end off my post, it’s half an hour before it’s the 12th so I hope everyone had a ~~*~Happy Pepero Day~*~~ today! Keeping in theme with girl power, I bought my own box of almond Pepero (my fave!!!) and I inhaled the entire thing. Okay, I might have given a stick or two to my dad, but other than that, who needs men, yeah?

Where ya been?

I haven’t updated this space in a long, long time. I won’t say a lot has happened, but fandom-wise, I finished B.A.P Killing Camp last week, and these boys really deserve more shows because they’re adorable. I know I had some problems with how awkward they were during Ta-Dah! It’s B.A.P and I also read in an early interview about how they still feel uncomfortable with some of the members when left alone together, but they’ve grown so much in such a short time, and it just makes me feel all proud. :’)

They’re also currently promoting ‘Hajima’, a track which I haven’t yet grown to love, which may also be why I haven’t been keeping up with their music show performances. But please, please vote for B.A.P for MAMA here. There are tutorials you can find to create accounts for the related websites in order to have voting access. I know a lot of the artistes nominated work really hard and probably deserve the award too, but these guys have worked non-stop since their debut, and it would be such a lovely reward.

At the same time, my number 1 Block B boys returned with ‘Nillili Mambo’ and are currently promoting (I’ve made just about a million posts or three about this so). I watch most of their music show performances because they’re pretty flawless, and here’s one of favourites so far:

They’re currently wreaking havoc on Match Up Returns but I haven’t gotten round to watching them because I’m still waiting for subs WAH. But BontheBlock are such kind souls – I mean, they painstakingly translate all the tweets and are taking on this subbing project, so really, kudos and tons of love to those guys!

***

School-wise, it’s still a pain. We filmed our CS0900 environmental video like two weeks back, and I was feeling pretty confident about it until it came to editing, where I felt like I had zero say in anything. Caster and I took matters into our own hands and are currently in the midst of reworking it. We’re sort of doing this behind Isaac’s back and haven’t yet told him we filmed additional scenes (cause we’re chicken shits) so I hope it all goes well :/ I may link the video once it’s done, but we’ll see.

Here are some pretty pictures from our shoot at the open area in Woodleigh. Thanks to all the Cherokitties who came down – I don’t know what I’d do if they didn’t! (All pictures taken by Isaac and Caster)

Camwhoring pre-shoot! Where’s Ting…
Unleashing my inner supermodel… kinda

Miranda was feeling faint so I offered my lap but um I was sitting on my iPod so here’s an awkward shot of me trying to wrestle it out of my butt pocket without disturbing her
My favourite picture from the shoot

***

I’ve literally spent the entire day today watching dramas. I marathoned Full House Take 2 and it’s crazy, and it’s awesome, and I’m dying for more. I’m halfway through my impressions post for Dinoseoul, and there’s just so much to say, that I don’t know what to say. And wow, Noh Min Woo, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING THAT BODY?! He’s a little too skinny for my tastes, but he’s very very tall, and BOY IS RIPPED. Wow wow wow. And his freaking bone structure is cut from glass, I swear. He’s literally one of the most beautiful famous Korean men I can think of in recent times. Like, it’s quite literally unreal, how beautiful and godly he is. Okay, I’ll stop. …But can you at least understand where I’m coming from here?!

After watching all the currently released episodes of Full House 2, I was left with a little sad void, and was itching to watch something else so I started Episode 1 of Piece, this J-drama that I’ve heard about that was apparently pretty good. It’s poignant and pretty, and there’s just something about it… It has that very pensive air to it, and the two lead characters are so intriguing. I’m currently waiting for Episode 2 to finish downloading, and I hope I have the stamina to continue on because my attention span wanes so easily, particularly when it comes to J-dramas.

I also signed up for ‘Only One’ dance classes in addition to my Thursday ones so I have that to look forward to. I need to watch BoA‘s live perfs a couple more times to get the feel of the choreo before getting into it. And note to self: Either do something about your infatuation, OR MOVE ON. *awkward smile because um*

Oh, and lastly… 2NE1 last night! It was such a cool experience having an actual guerilla concert happening here in Singapore, and with a huge group like 2NE1, no less! Rumours were flying about the day about the girls’ appearance at the supposed hologram concert since they were seen shopping at MBS, and well, turns out, the rumours were totally true!

Now I’m not a huge fan of the girls – I really only like a select few groups in K-pop – but I had a lot of fun, and we were pretty in front, I would say (though this inconsiderate girl brought along a stool and pretty much towered over everyone and blocked all of our views grr). Only 500 could get into the barricaded area along the bridge at Clarke Quay, but I’m sure more people filled the space.

And can we just talk about how gorgeous CL looked? Talk about hair envy! She was a total rockstar last night, as were the rest of the girls, but the 21-year-old leader really stood out for me. And she was impressive with her English too; I totally did not know she was that fluent.

And to think, the concert was free! Haha that’s pretty Singaporean of me, but still, how often would you get to see these YG superstars perform without paying a single cent? Check out the write-up that Rachel churned out at record time for Dinoseoul here. And please like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter – it’ll mean so much to us as a growing editorial website. :)

xx

Block B’s Blockbuster album review

Now that Block B is finally back, I find that 90% of my fandom time is once again devoted to these seven boys. These days, I’ve been listening to their first 12-track full-length album, ‘Blockbuster’, on repeat. Because it’s that good. They’ve definitely made good use of those eight months since the controversy that made them halt their ‘NanlinA’ promotions in February.

There are two songs (‘Halo’, ‘Did You Or Did You Not’) that are off their previous mini albums ‘Welcome to the Block’ and ‘New Kids on the Block’, which is a little bit of cheating on their parts, but I do enjoy them both so I’m not complaining… much.

11:30

I’m not really sure why, but listening to this just makes me feel like doing incessant body waves across the room (particularly during the ‘baby, I~~~’ part); it just evokes that kind of response – partly because of memories of U-Kwon‘s teaser as he dances sensually and then leans against a wall. This is what some would call a baby-making song, I mean, even the lyrics seem to hint at it: ‘I become excited for no reason oh / (do you want it) / if you think like I do’. It’s got a very distinct chill, R&B vibe, which is easy to get into and a nice opener and lead-up to the louder, more dramatic title track.

Nillili Mambo (닐리리맘보)

It’s no surprise that this is the title track since it has a lot of mass appeal, and seems to be most in line with Block B’s current image as fun-loving but badass guys. The pirate concept that they went with for the MV was a great choice, since it’s so unique and helps showcase their vibrant personalities. Part of the reason why I prefer this comeback over ‘NanlinA’, is that while that was energetic and catchy, it was a little too cool for my tastes and didn’t come across as as much fun.

‘Nillili lalala nilliliya nillili mambo’ and P.O.‘s ‘we bobbin’ to the music music this song is groovy groovy’ are probably the two lines that’ll you’ll find hard to get out of your head after a few spins. Besides the hook, the sweeping orchestral music also feels very grand and pushes the song to more powerful territory that definitely makes an impact. It’s the kind of song that has the ability to convert non-fans into BBCs, in my honest opinion. I also absolutely love Taeil‘s and U-Kwon’s lines here simply because they sound so good.

Mental Breaker

This song is so much fun! ‘Mental Breaker’ starts out with a very oriental intro before the ‘ooh ooh!’ interjection comes in and its dance fever from then on. I love that every single time I listen to this song, I picture Kyung shaking it all over town like he did in the teaser; it just brings a big smile on my face. The lyrics are essentially about being in this sort of relationship that’s not been defined, so you don’t know if the girl is your girlfriend, or if she simply looks at you like an older brother – so quite the headache-inducing situation to be in. The entire song has a very funky feel, with influences of Euro-pop, which may be due to the fact that it’s composed by two Swedish guys, Marcos Ubeda and Kevin Borg. And the teaser aside, Kyung’s rapping shines here for me, because you can tell he’s totally embracing the infectiously upbeat attitude of the track.

No Joke (장난없다)

It seems like every album they put out, there’ll be one track that’s full-on rap – previously it was ‘LOL’ and on here, it’s ‘No Joke’, a combined effort of our rapper line made up of Zico, P.O. and Kyung. Unpopular opinion time, but this is probably my least favourite track, which actually isn’t saying a lot in an album full of gems, I guess. Just that this one’s perhaps one that’s just a little less shiny for me.

I can definitely see why people rave about this track because it’s totally badass, but it’s really a matter of preference since I usually prefer their more melodious songs – some singing or hook to balance out all that hard-edged rapping. And was I the only one who had to look up the lyrics to realise that Zico was actually chanting the words ‘No joke no joke no joke’?

Movie’s Over

I was interested in listening to the full number ever since I heard it in P.O.’s dramatic movie-like teaser, and this is definitely another standout in the album, one I think would be a great follow-up to ‘Nillili Mambo’. Co-composed by Zico and Superstar K4‘s Gye Bum Joo, this track features our leader on the bulk of the vocals, and really, who knew he had that in him? Zico’s singing voice isn’t very powerful but it has a certain raw quality that’s able to effectively bring out the emotions in this song, though I do wish the line distribution was a little better and that the other members got to showcase their vocal abilities more too. This song is so soothing to listen to, and the only thing I didn’t quite like was Kyung’s rap bit that felt a little rushed and out of place here.

Where Are You

This is a full on ballad, and a first-time solo offering from main vocalist Taeil, who wrote the lyrics and composed the song. It starts out pretty generic but once the chorus hits, I’m hooked. It sounds like a track you’ll find in a drama OST, perhaps playing as the credits roll at the end, but what’s so lovely about this song besides his beautiful emotive range and the wonderful control he showcases, is just the sheer fact that he’s really selling the song. Listening to this, I’d without any hesitations believe that he’s completely head over heels in love over the girl he’s singing about. Swoon-worthy.

Romantically (로맨틱하게)

Written by maknae P.O., this is my favourite track, hands down. I’m sure this will probably change after a few more listens of the album, but right now, I’m completely smitten with it. It’s just so sexy. I love the line distribution here and that B-Bomb and Jaehyo get a substantial amount of lines, although this does mean that main vocalist Taeil gets the shorter end of the stick. But it’s worth it just to hear B-Bomb singing the chorus, which is incidentally my favourite parts of the song.

The whole number has a very jazzy vibe, and I’m not sure who does the skatting here but I may or may not be in love – it’s such a wonderfully appropriate addition. This is one song I really would like to see them perform live. It’s great that Block B aren’t afraid to explore uncharted territory and divert a little from the distinct hip-hop sound that we’re used to; it just goes to show how versatile they are and how they can essentially rock any style.

(Source: Blockbintl)