one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Monthly Archives: April 2012

I see a lot of people have been reading my post about the Korean Setting Perm. On it, I mentioned that the curls were quite tight, but that I thought they would loosen up over time. Well I just want to update and say that they no, they haven’t really loosened up at all, and it’s been over eight months. Eight months later and those curls are still holding tight.

Setting perm is described by Koreans as the “elegant” waves versus the digital perm, which is supposed to be curlier and more slightly more fun? I’m not sure how to describe it, but setting perm is what you see when you see classic, sophisticated Korean girls. I don’t think it turned out the way it was supposed to have on my hair because my hair is naturally very frizzy, so I’m sorry if my pictures weren’t of much help to you. Funny thing I just searched up “setting perm before and after” and my picture came up. Maybe I shouldn’t have put such a dismal picture of the after shot (sobs). 

In retrospect, the Korean magic straightener was not nearly as good as the Japanese straighteners I’ve gotten before, so here’s some real advice: definitely go for the Japanese straighteners over the Korean magic one if you want straight hair. Okay, that’s enough talking!

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안녕, how are you guys doing these days?
I’ve been feeling very out of sorts lately. Uncertain about my life, sick of school, and to be honest, quite sick of life in general. I feel like I have no accomplishments, no skills, no talents, and very little chance of succeeding at anything I want to do. I’m sure you also have these kinds of phases, but honestly I’ve been feeling this for the past couple of years. It was when I discovered my love for Korea that my motivation started to rekindle, but lately any hope of that changing my life has been once again dwindling. I can’t connect with people either. It feels like there are no people out there that really understand me, nor do I come across anyone I even feel like I could relate to on a deeper level.

So…lately I’ve been writing in my Korean journal a lot. My partner reading it has been asking me what it is that’s been bothering me, but to be honest, I don’t think he could really understand the extent of how I feel judging by his English ability at this point. To be fair, I can’t understand anything deep he says in Korean, so I think we’re even in that respect. He’s also having a bit of a hard time here in America, and I feel like I’m drifting further and further away from him, which is kind of breaking my heart, but by the way he’s been acting lately, there’s frankly not much I can do about it.

So to continue my soulful, sad streak, here’s another entry in my Korean journal:

요즘은 난 정말 피곤하고 지쳤다. 정말 피공하고 지쳤는데…그래서 일기를 더 쓰고 싶은 것 같다. 늘 혼자 있고 싶다. 혼자서 조용하게 실고 싶다. 친구를 만나는 것도 불편해졌다. 요즘은 난 이곳 저곳 방황하는 것 같다. 위마가 없이, 목적이 없이, 의욕까지 없이 살고 있다. 자주 과거를 생각한다. 과거의 핸복한 순간들을 샣각한다. 예전에 완벽하지 않았어도 적어도 행복한 순간 있은 것 같다. 요즘은 사는 낙이 하나도 없다.

Mistakes are inevitable. Please forgive me ~

Since I don’t have inspiration much these days to write a lot about Korea and Korean learning, feel free to ask me questions in the comments here. Also, some people have been emailing me questions about Korea, and sorry I haven’t exactly gotten back to all of you. Some of your questions have been a bit difficult and out of my range of knowledge, so I’m still slowly working on them. Hope all is well ~


Sorry I haven’t been updating!

Lately I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and to be honest, I’ve been really preoccupied with Tumblr. Just looking at my blog, you can see how much I’ve been reblogging. I’m quite obsessed with Tumblr right now, and with the debut of SM’s new boy group EXO, which I’m slightly head over heels for atm, there’s no way you could pull me from Tumblr right now.

But I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update on my Korean learning. Since February, I’ve been meeting up with a Korean language buddy. He’s really nice but it’s still hard to actually practice Korean with him, given my poor speaking skills. However, last week I decided to do something I had once done with a language exchange partner in Korea. The idea is for both you and your buddy to get a journal, to write in it daily, and then exchange it when you meet, and have the buddy correct your grammar. It gives me a bit more responsibility to work on my Korean on a daily basis, so I think it’s a good thing. And he’s a native Korean speaker (and I’m a native English speaker), so it’s good for both of us. Some of the sentences he’s written are quite cute and funny (for me, he referred to me as “my Julie,” which at once amused and touched me, but I know he didn’t mean it in that way ^^).

I decided to do something random today and write a letter in my journal called “A breakup letter to my lover” because I’ve been watching this new drama Twelve Men in a Year and it’s inspired me to write about that. Here it is below, and I’m pretty sure the grammar is not totally right, and if you want, you’re free to correct me before my partner does in the comments below!

내 애인한테 헤어지자는 편지
안녕, 잘 지냈지?
우린 언제 부터 서러 알고 있었니?
3년 되었어.
우린 얼마나 행복했는 줄 알아?
그런데 네가 다 버렸어. 왜?
네가 왜 그런 식으로 날 다루는 건지?
이제 그만하자. 헤어지자.
마음대로 생각해. 난 상관 없거든.
날 걱정하지마. 내가 널 가장 필요한 순간때 네가 없었거든. 왜? 시간이 없을만큼 바빴건지?
넌 날 진심으로 사랑했어? 제발 나 좀 그만 웃겨.
난 예전처럼 널 사랑하지 않아서 다행이다.
그렇니까 날 좀 내버려둬. 제발. 부탁해.
에제 너의 마지막 기회다.
이기회가 놓치지마.
난 더 이상 찬을 수가 없을 테니까…
날 보내줘.

What did you think? If you read the entire thing, then props to you! I honestly had no idea what I was writing, and I did have to check my Korean expressions dictionary from time to time. Do you want a translation? If yes, then reply in the comments below. Remember, don’t take this as Korean studying help because I’m not sure about the grammatical correctness of it. It’s just my own personal writing exercise hehe.

On the lines of the drama, I really do recommend you watch Twelve Men in a Year (also called Twelve Signs of Love, but that’s the “American” translation). I see a lot of you came to my blog looking for a review of the drama I Need Romance, and although I don’t think Twelve Men in a Year is quite as good as I Need Romance, I think it definitely somewhat fills the gap in my heart that I Need Romance left. You can watch Twelve Men in a Year on Hulu if you live in the United States, but there are other links to it as well: Epdrama and KimchiDrama. Have fun!


To be absolutely honest, the past couple of days I think I’ve hit a peak with my k-pop. I go in and out of cycles of being obsessed with k-pop, and I think the recent attention put on SHINee has kind of died out, now that they’ve been performing on music shows for three weeks. A lot of established groups aren’t promoting new songs right now, so it’s been kind of dead on the radar. There are always a lot of new groups promoting, but I feel like there are so many of the same kind of groups that pop up all over the place that I’m starting to get a little impatient and sick of keeping up with k-pop a bit. I hate to say it, but I do need breaks from my beloved k-pop world at times too.

But I randomly stumbled upon SPICA yesterday and I’m been obsessed, watching all their MVs and listening to their first mini album. I think that in the mass sea of new girl group debuts, they have something special and could really succeed.

Some background information – SPICA is a new group that debuted back in January, though they didn’t start actively promoting until February. They’re managed by B2M Entertainment and are produced by the famous Lee Hyori.

Here’s the song that caught me:

For me, the first couple of seconds of a song is very important, because it sets the tone for the rest of the song. This song, “Painkiller,” begins with a haunting piano tune and a fantastic voice. Hooked from the start. And then the set seems to mainly be an abandoned alley (that’s all too familiar for us k-pop fans), but there’s something I like about the way this MV is executed. Someone on YouTube commented that the song gave off the feel of a “tragic romance” and I have to agree – it has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, somehow.

I think each member is really unique-looking and I think pull off the badass girl attitude without seeming pretentious or like they’re trying too hard. I love the outfits – there’s something about them that I like, can’t exactly put my finger on it – but everything about this group strikes to me as mature and professional, like they’ve been doing it for years.

Then I did some research and realized that they have been doing it for years. The youngest member is 23, and the oldest member is 25. Thank goodness. Most of the new groups (both boy and girl) have been way too young. Zelo – B.A.P – I know people love you, but 15? Really? The girls of SPICA have been in the business for a while. BoA, the lead vocalist, was Infinite’s vocal trainer. Bohyung was supposed to debut with 2NE1, and Jiwon almost debuted with T-ARA. These girls have been training for a long time, and I think it really shows.

Now, I’m not encouraging companies to train their talents for a long time or anything. I just think it’s better to debut your talent once they’re older and more mature – not only are they better performers then, but they’re more capable of handling the stress of being in the spotlight so often.

Here was another one of their singles, “Russian Roulette”:

The video starts off with the girls gathered around a circular table. BoA instigates a russian roulette game – for no given reason – and the girls take turns with the gun. The entire atmosphere of the MV is very sophisticated; it reminds me a bit of Casino Royale (2006), the suspenseful, mysterious, dark aura really works for these girls. The outfits in this part of the MV are fabulous. Admittedly, I’m really into fashion, and I felt like these outfits were sophisticated chic without trying too hard (like I’ve already iterated about the previous video). The song is catchy, not as heavy as “Painkiller,” but still very memorable.

Kim Bohyung, maknae

Kim Bohyung, maknae

With such good vocals on the MVs, I was a bit apprehensive when first watching their live renditions, worrying that it wouldn’t be as good as in recording. I mean, every group live won’t sound as good as their recordings, but I think SPICA did pretty good, considering they have only been performing on music programs for a bit over a month. I think they have room for growth, but I think they’re waaaay underrated right now. They’re flying mostly under the radar, and I think they deserve more recognition! If you like them, tell your friends about them :)