SHINee and GOT7 week (I realize that’s a lot of capitalization)

It’s only been ONE month since I fell head over heels for Big Bang (TAEYANG IS MY EVERYTHING). I have spent a lot of time listening to their MADE album from start to finish and even though I previously didn’t like Zutter, I have ended up listening to it anyway. There have been more discoveries lately so here’s a post about that.

But first, I have something to say. I read a blog (I think) where two people were ‘reviewing’ the members of Big Bang and they were absolutely tactless and ruthless in attacking TaeYang’s looks and character. It was painful to read, mostly because I felt sorry for the authors. I hope for their sake that their thinking matures and they see how unnecessarily mean they were.

Somehow that’s an awkward paragraph to transition from but I’m going to try my best to mention female groups in this paragraph. If you couldn’t tell, I’m the one who digs for male groups while my sister is all about the girl groups. She has been trying to get me to watch some videos but I think my problem with female groups is my preconceived ideas of what they have to offer. So it’s on me to get over that and just try watching their videos.

Anyway, I found this video below and that’s how I’m listening to most of Taeyang’s Rise album. I thought I only liked Stay With Me and Ringa Linga (please check out the dance practice video which is the most music-video-like dance practice video ever) but Taeyang’s live performances have won me ovvver.

Omg, the way Taeyang twists the mic stand at 0:52. Part of the basis for this post was writing about the small yet oddly significant things Taeyang does during his live performances. Like the way he likes to tuck the hem of his shirt very slightly into his jeans and his signature poses. In the words of a 21st century teenager, Stahp, I can’t even. His harmonization is always on point and can we just stop to appreciate his cute swag factor?

Taeyang can sing and even though his hair styles are always questionable, he’s got a heart of gold and is probably as sweet and humble as his members say he is.

So who’s first on the new favorites list? Shinee!!! It’s stylized as SHINee but let’s just go with non-capitalized in this post.

shinee-the-saem-eco-soul-bb-cream-2015

L to R: Onew, Taemin, Jonghyun, Minho, Key

Here is what we’ve been listening to/watching:

1 of 1 is off their newest album which is 90s-inspired. Their fashion is A+, also something I don’t think I could ever pull off but props to their stylists for letting them rock ugly turtlenecks, leather vests, and classic denim.

I’m surprised that we have become Shinee fans because when a friend said she loves them, I was like, yeah okay they’re not bad. The one who didn’t want to watch ‘View’ with me – cough my sister cough – is now the bigger fan. Shinee is fun to watch onstage but as a group, they’re not very close and don’t mesh well so their interviews can be dull and awkward. I find it a shame that they’re not close but I guess there are reasons for that?

Next up: GOT7. I’m the only one on the IGOT7 boat right now but I’m having so much fun. I watched them on various entertainment programs like Weekly Idol then I watched their interviews before I started listening to their music. I like their personalities, that’s why I ventured into their music.

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L to R: Yugyeom, JB, Jackson, Jinyoung, Mark, Bambam, Youngjae

ALSO CAN YOU SEE THE HAIR ON THEIR LEGS?!!!!! Never seen before (at least, for me) – body hair on male KPop idols. That’s what I wanna see.

JB comes across as a responsible but caring leader, like Teuk. The difference is JB can sing (sorry Teukie, you’re a wonderful DJ and MC with your silky voice but your singing is like umm, hahaha). YoungJae has a nice voice, too. There’s never a dull moment where Jackson is involved and the others seem decent. I think it’s great that they are a multinational group yet they function so well and seem close to one another.

Look at how dorky they are. I want to see Super Junior have a pajama dance party like this too. And just for extra measure, here is a video of them dancing to ‘If You Do’ at 2x speed on Weekly Idol:

Oh, and a fun fact I discovered today while looking up GOT7 member profiles is that only ONE of the members is older than me. That tickled me. Ahh, I can call them kids, right? Stay humble, kids.

As for BTS or Bangtan Boys (I had no idea they were the same), if you’ve been reading my tweets, I have dipped my toe in the water but I’m not convinced. I watched them on Weekly Idol out of curiosity and the member who stood out the most to me was Suga. Call it instinct or whatever you like; I can recognize my kind when I see them. And that is all I will say about this.

ENJOY!!! And yes, this blog has been taken over completely by Korean music fans.

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Awkward Encounters: the apartment on the second floor

You know the basketball player I successfully had a conversation with last semester? I meant to wish him good luck in his future endeavors since he was graduating at the end of the semester. Well, as it happened, I only ran into him once and I was in a rush so I simply and breezily said hi to him. He said hi to me and that was it.

I went home for summer and he graduated. Summer went by and basketball season seemed like years ago.

Two weeks after returning to our apartment, we were outside one day giving the car interior a quick antibacterial spray. We heard someone’s door opening and closing then two people talking.

We are, um, rather antisocial neighbors so we try not to bump into anyone but if we’re forced to, we’ll just exchange greetings.

I looked up and saw that there were two people coming down the stairs from the apartment opposite ours. My eyes couldn’t believe who I was seeing but yes, it’s true. It was him – the basketball player. I mean, our new neighbor. He was with his girlfriend.

My eyes couldn’t believe it but my reflexes were quicker.

“OH MY GOD, IT’S HIM!” I think I whispered to my sister.

“WHO?” She tried to look over her shoulder.

“GET IN!” I dove into the backseat and pretended to be busy digging for something.

We both were lying across the seats and had our legs flailing outside the car (obvious dramatization) but better than an awkward situation where we meet each other’s gazes and he recognizes us and is like, wth??? No, no, no.

So yes, hello, new neighbor, how bizarre.

He spotted us last week. He seemed confused and surprised and probably doesn’t believe that it’s us. Same. Well, I’m over my reluctance to run into him but still, the initial surprise lingers because how the heck is the world so small?

Not sure if we’ll see him at this season’s games as an audience member but until then…

He has a small dog and lets the little thing run around and does its business on the grass between the apartments. First off, that’s not considerate and second, THE SMELL!!!

Maybe we need to have a word soon.

Raine
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People you may know

Good evening, it was a long day at school today what with dealing with adult bullies and listening to lots of racial micro aggression (ooh, I found this and it’s so accurate to the point of making me want to punch something) during the Q&A session at a cultural presentation. Yes, it was a day of trying to hold back frustration and anger towards insecure cowards and insensitive jerks.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is dedicated to all my blogging friends who have quit blogging. Yesterday marked the day the last person on my ‘favorite bloggers’ sidebar quit blogging. Mallory, Britt, Bailey, Heather, and finally now, Victoria.

It’s a bit sad but at the same time I think these ladies have thought things through and I support their decision wholeheartedly. I, myself, have had countless ‘maybe I should stop blogging’ or ‘blogging is getting stressful’ thoughts.

I’m so immensely glad that I found these ladies even though I’ve never met them in real life before and talking about internet friends is always weird but I loved their blogs, they keep it real all the time and I feel like they would be really lovely people to be friends with in real life.

I’ve had internet friends on Neopets and MapleStory before but sadly, that happened at a time when Twitter wasn’t used often and ways to keep in touch with those people wasn’t something I thought about. Sometimes when I think about those people, I wish I’d done something to keep in touch with them. No, I don’t remember their names/don’t think I even know their full names. I have Tumblr friends now though, mostly people who share the same anime/manga interests as me.

After reading Victoria’s well-written and perfectly-put blog post, I realized that some parts of what she said resonated with me.

I have lost track of the number of times I have used the phrase or variants of the phrase: I’ll be blogging regularly very soon or This blog is not dead yet, don’t worry. When in truth, I really didn’t have much motivation to fire up the blog and post content regularly. I’m also, if you haven’t noticed, a blogger with no specific direction… I suppose they now call it ‘no niche’ or ‘lack of branding’. I’ve never liked the ‘branding’ or ‘niche’ bus. First off, it’s hard for me to think of myself as an ‘expert in my niche’ because I’m multi-passionate, how does one think of one’s self as an ‘expert’ and what makes anyone an ‘expert’ at anything anyway? Second, I just blog about whatever I feel like writing about, like a diary… which is what I thought blogs were originally meant for. For a while, I tried to stick our blog into a box and write for an audience – um, yeah, non-existent one – but that failed quickly and just stressed me out because I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t (cue Mulan soundtrack). I was just fooling myself when I thought I could actually make something out of this blog. After all, this blog – which was and is still a very generous gift from our mom who pays for hosting and other blog-related stuff that until today I still have no idea about – started out as a place where we posted 1 million pictures of bands we liked at those specific points in time. Yeah… (See what I mean with this oddly irregular-length paragraph that would make SEO experts scream? I promise I tried to break the paragraph up but it didn’t seem right.)

But, like Victoria said, I’m not who I was when I started this blog with my sister. At the core, I don’t think people change that much but people do change – likes, dislikes, styles, small yet significant things like that. When I started this blog, I was a high school freshman (at least, that’s how old I was in US school terms lol). This blog turns 8 this month!! Crazy!!! It’s been a really long time and so much has happened, so much has shaped who I am today. This blog’s flow has changed with the times and oh, how nostalgic it gets when I scroll back and look at posts from previous years. This blog is in many ways is a reflection of the process of growing up which is both cool and awkward at the same time. I’m content with the way our blog is now. I’m just writing whenever and whatever I feel like. I can also tell you honestly that not having an audience or getting comments or ‘being popular’ doesn’t bother me. That shiz doesn’t suit me anyway. Wait for my post on not having any friends (though when I usually say ‘wait for this or that post, I overthink or abandon it quickly so we’ll see).

A memoir is a good idea though who knows if it will ever be complete… I’ve tried to start one a dozen times but the most I’ve gotten is maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs then it all goes downhill from there because my emotions and thoughts go all over the place and I can’t focus on the direction I plan on going.

Anyway, I just want to tell my ex-blogging friends: keep on keeping on and staying true to yourself, and thanks for acknowledging the existence of this awkward potato.

Thanks for reading (probably just Google bots, if I really think about it).

Also, the post title is totally a RyeoWook song title because RyeoWook just left for his mandatory military service. We’ll wait for you, Wookie.

Raine
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Rediscovering myself

On a whim, I decided to dig for posts I wrote back in 2014 in hopes of finding something that would tell me when and how I started getting anxiety. What I found instead warmed me inside out. I found that in the periods of time when I was down, I often had nuggets of wisdom for myself. Reading those old posts, I was reminded of things – good things – about myself that I had forgotten.

It’s just that in this past year or so I’ve been using this blog as an avenue to let out all my anxieties and frustrations. Writing is my way of dealing with my emotions and while it has really helped to write what I’m feeling, in the process, I have forgotten to write happy things too. Life really is a rollercoaster but I’ve only been writing about the dips, not the peaks.

Perhaps I have played a role in feeding my negative emotions like I read in the book I bought my sister.

Sure, things are different now than two years ago, my anxieties are different now than two years ago, but things are always changing and I need to learn to go with the flow. I need to move forwards, nurture my likes, stop nurturing my dislikes, let my feelings come and go, take things one step at a time, remember that I am not alone in my worries.

After all, the only person who can help me the most is myself.

Here are some of my favorite posts (and also as a reminder to myself that I am capable of good, funny posts): 1 , 23 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10

Happy Sunday~

Raine
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Super Junior AND Big Bang, not OR

I just came from looking up ‘Super Junior and Big Bang’. I was under the impression that groups from rival entertainment companies aren’t supposed to be pals but when I mentioned this to my sister, she was like, ‘why not?’

Funnily enough, I went to find a live performance of ‘Bang Bang Bang’ to convince my sister to like Big Bang and what else did I find? I found a video in which SeungRi is singing on KangIn’s lap and beside KangIn is YeSung. And my Teukie MC-ed for the event! In 2016!! That’s this year!! That made me very excited because I like when my favorite bands are friends with each other.

Naturally, that led me to look for more evidence that my now favorite Korean groups are less than rivals and more than friends. What my search led me to was forums with polls on whether Big Bang or Super Junior is better. Of course, people felt the need to include reasons for their choice, i.e. SJ is not even relevant, BB has more digital sales but SJ has more physical sales, BB has a bigger fan base. Mostly negatives about SJ. That made me upset.

Before discovering BB, I thought SJ was the most popular Korean group. 🙁 But apparently Big Bang was recently named best band, beating even Maroon 5, which I think is huge… And I understand that now because BB is a boundary breaker, a trend setter, a game changer, blah blah blah. You can’t deny their on-stage presence and the marks they’re making in the fashion and art world.

Does that mean BB is better than SJ? Here’s where I have a bone to pick. We can like something and not bash its competition. We can compare two things but there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer for some things. Some of the comments I saw were really angry and forceful. Unnecessary, I think.

For me, comparing BB and SJ is like comparing apples and oranges. Teukie and GD are the leaders but the way they act is so different. Teukie is the main speaker of the group while BB’s is Seungri, not GD. Teukie seems to have taken a parental figure role and does a good job of keeping everyone together while GD has more of a hands-free way of managing the group. You get the picture, right?

At the end of the day, each group does things differently and if it works for them – and it has – then good for them. Why must there be an absolute answer to who is better?

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Here’s a gif of ShinDong (SJ), DongHae (SJ), YeSung (SJ), and G Dragon (BB).

This post is also dedicated to Teukie. I know it’s weird to be saying something like this since I don’t know him personally but thank you, Teukie, for all that you do and please take care of yourself. Super Junior’s Kiss The Radio program ended today after 10 years which is very sad because it’s basically what Teukie has poured his life and soul into for 10 years.

To me, Teukie is one of the people who is the kind of person you just know you connect to even though you’ve never met in real life. He’s also the kind of person you want to protect because he takes on too many things and gives too much of himself to the people around him.

Anyway, here’s to less critical comparisons and leaders who deserve a hug of encouragement. Thanks for reading.

Raine
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Big Bang – no, not the scientific explanation

Falling in love with Korean music has been one of the many turning points I’ve had in recent years. There’s more variety in my playlist now and it’s a good thing. In the last week, I have discovered yet another band that I would have been uncomfortable admitting I had feelings for 10 years ago. Nope, not that person anymore.

The big reveal? Big Bang.

Big Bang - no, not the scientific explanation

Daesung, G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Seungri

I feel like I should be shocked at myself but somehow I’m only surprised and tickled. Not ashamed, either.

I know Big Bang. After the explosion of K-Pop 10 years ago, Big Bang became one of the names I couldn’t miss in conversations, tweets, and whatnot. I ignored it all. I had no interest in Korean bands. I was also a judgmental teenager who didn’t quite know how to accept others who weren’t like her. I may cringe at the thought of my old self but I don’t hate myself for that; I can only be happy that I’ve become more open and accepting of others for who they are and what they like. It’s all in the process of becoming a better you and I don’t think it’s ever really too late to do that. Aaand I’m traipsing down the ‘digression’ path again.

Before this, I only knew Big Bang by name. I knew little else about what they had to offer. I had no idea the band comprises of 5 members or that G-Dragon is in the band or that their song ‘Fantastic Baby’ loved by my classmates and my sister’s classmates is by them or that they’re under YG, another famous South Korean entertainment company. I simply thought all popular K-Pop bands were under SM Entertainment and the less famous ones were not lol. Having stopped following mainstream news, I had no idea their latest songs hit #1 on so many charts either.

I recall my sister and I trying to watch one of their music videos a few years back. We couldn’t make it through the halfway point of the video before we closed the video. Some things are an acquired taste. Big Bang might just be one of them. Big Bang makes Super Junior members look like preppy mama’s boys (not necessarily in a bad way because beautiful DongHae… I mean… never mind). The only way I feel you would understand is if you Googled Big Bang…

A girl I call an acquaintance yet befriended on Facebook posted a clip of a Big Bang interview and they looked so oddly clean-cut that I couldn’t help playing the video. I played it without sound the first time, reading the captions and succeeding in being amused till the end. I scrolled down but found myself scrolling back up and turning the volume up.

I was fascinated by that video. Not all the members spoke but I concluded that they exude a certain charm. And yes, I was surprised to find out that G-Dragon, T.O.P, and Taeyang (whom I assumed was the same person as Taeyeon for years) are all Big Bang members (I knew them by name and vaguely looked at their pictures but never got around to reading the part that mentioned their ties to Big Bang)…

What did I do next? I did what felt most natural – I went to look up more of their interviews on Youtube. It did feel strange to be looking them up and voluntarily watching their videos but it ended up all good.

One evening was spent watching their interview on a popular Korean variety show, Happy Together. I was sold. I still didn’t know much about them but I knew that they have chemistry and personality. (Side note: I watched another band’s interview and they had very little chemistry and that was clearly reflected in their music too, ugh.) The member that stood out the most to me was G-Dragon. He wasn’t the big, scary punk with crazy hair that I had pictured in my head for years. He’s actually soft-spoken, easygoing, and polite. And he’s not even 30?!?! Um, what?

Oh, my misconceptions. T_T

Okay, then I Wikipedia-ed them, and watched a live performance of Bae Bae and didn’t completely hate it which is usually a good sign. Bang Bang Bang followed, then Loser, then even Fantastic Baby. Then I knew I’d gone too far down the Big Bang path. Oh well, here I am. I can recognize all five of them now – G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri. Thank you very much. I don’t have a favorite but I do like Taeyang’s voice the most.

Their music is more diverse than I expected. I specifically want to point out their album MADE because I haven’t quite finished listening to the rest of their albums. The songs fuse R&B, rap, hip hop, and dance (and other genres but mostly these) so seamlessly that it almost seems like a genre of its own. Actually they’ve been constantly proving themselves to be a group who doesn’t stick any labels to themselves or limit themselves to just a handful of things. I like that. I guess you wouldn’t really call them a K-Pop group since they don’t lean towards the pop genre?

My mom and sister would most likely not would not imagine themselves going to a Big Bang concert but I’m quite sure they’ll be surprised at how much of a good time they’re having when they eventually follow me to one. ROTFLTTM (roll on the floor laughing to the moon).

I’m sorry this post was all over the place – I tried really hard to get my point across while combining some history. I’m going to go watch their MADE tour on Youtube now because I really like their MADE album. Bye.

Pretend this is tiny font: I hope my sister will like at least one song of theirs so that we can karaoke and talk about G-Dragon together ahaha.

Raine
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Part 6: Weight, what? (Weight, who cares?)

Conclusion… kind of.

Well, I’m still not thin by Asian beauty standards therefore I suppose I’m not beautiful. But WHO CARES? Screw the standards. Tear them down and jump on ’em. I’m okay with not being a size 2 or even a size 6 (even though J.Crew lied to me and tried to make me feel better by allowing me to fit into a size 6 dress ?!?!). I’m okay with my broader-than-Asian-average shoulders and hips and let’s not forget that mini J.Lo booty.

I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. I’ve come a long way from being the exercise-loathing person with zero sense of portion control.

I exercise, I eat healthy (have I told you about the week we ate only walnuts for lunch?), I eat poorly (have I told you about the day I allowed myself to be handed a mountain of rice on a plate and I ate it all?), I gain weight, I lose weight, I fit into my jeans, sometimes I don’t, I still have anxiety but then I read Ajahn Brahm’s book and feel better, and at the end of the day, just to be cliché, I am meeeeeeee. I am enough.

And so are you.

You do healthy you and you’re fine. Who cares what people say about your size? Okay, it hurts and you can’t help caring but don’t let it hold you back or drag you under. We need to focus on inner beauty and stop all these needless mean comments. You might think it harmless to make a comment about someone’s size or looks but it could affect them more than you’ll ever know.

Especially as a child. There’s a difference between being a bit bigger than average and being unhealthy. If a child is not eating healthy and not getting any physical activity in, point them in the direction of living a healthy lifestyle, don’t label them as fat and tear down their self-esteem. Teach them self-love. Teach them that everyone’s body is different. Teach them that there is no specific size for healthy and beautiful.

It has been a long and slow back-and-forth process of accepting and not letting people tell me how I should feel about my own body but now when I look back at old photos, I don’t see a fat kid. I see me. I see me who had no problem being the size I was. And it’s a good feeling.

I still have my days – like this one – but for the most part, I now brush off ignorant comments about my size because I’m not going to let some distant relative – or some freaking stranger – tell me what I should look like and how I should feel. You can take your unsolicited advice and shove it up yours.

Elasticized waistbands and I still belong together no matter what you say, though. They have been with me, through thick and thin. Thick and thin, geddit? Haha.

P.S: Even as I wrote this, there was a battle going on inside my head, wondering if I’m being entirely ridiculous and stupid for writing this when in reality, I was and am fat. Can you see how ridiculous it is to have ‘fat’ and all its negative implications thrust upon you and having to deal with it for the rest of your life? ‘Rest of your life’ sounds absurd but the inner fat kid inferiority complex that remains even when you know you’ve lost weight? It’s as real as real gets. Please think the next time you intend to open your mouth and give ‘well-meaning’ comments about someone else’s size.

Double P.S: You’re supposed to read the ‘weight’ in my title as ‘wait’.

In case you missed it: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

Raine
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