Anime, Crunchyroll, &God of Bath

*Diary*

(Way back) in 2008 I was definitely obsessed with watching anything with DBSK in it, and that’s how I discovered CrunchyrollI first started using Crunchyroll when EVERYTHING was on it– before businesses starting cracking down on UCC (User Uploaded Content), and– I guess, when I had more time to BE on it. 

Now, Crunchyroll has a ton of anime, a lot of Asian– not just Korean, dramas and movies, and even some manga, making it just as loveable as it was five years ago.

So, in this post I want to share a “behind the scenes story” of my love for Asia– not just Korea, and tell you to check out Crunchyroll (and some more fun Korean study materials) if you haven’t yet!

^^

A Behind The Scenes Story

Ever since I was a kid, I loved anime (Sailor Moon and DBZ!) and Japanese literature. I can still remember reading Japanese ghost stories; and, I even read Shogun in high school since I was– and still am, obsessed with samurais.

I always had my head in a book, so I definitely didn’t and still don’t watch movies very often.

(Right now, the only movies I want to see are Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta and The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale.) 

But, as a kid I loved Mulan, The Karate Kid, The Golden Child, and anything about martial arts starring Jackie Chan or Jean Claude Van Damme. Later, I loved Kill Bill, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, and Memoirs of a Geisha.

(I also loved a bunch of period movies from the 80’s like The Breakfast Club and even movies from much further back like The King and I (1956), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and Splendor in The Grass (1961).)

However, my favorite movies OF ALL TIME are dark, independent Korean films, but I also love action and adventure movies, historical and science fiction movies– but not really romances or comedies or romantic comedies, at least not as much as other girls that I know.

(I’ve never seen Titanic; and, I HATE Disney movies– minus the classics like Fantasia, Mulan, Pocahontas, and The Little Mermaid.) 

Anyway, I have my weekly variety shows, some dramas in my queue, and some books on my bookshelf, but suddenly I’m also craving anime! So, I went back to Crunchyroll for the first time in almost two years…

Crunchyroll

Now, I have six anime on Crunchyroll that I picked out and will be watching this week over Thanksgiving break *yay* instead of going home; but, I also need to start writing my final papers for three of my classes, so I’m going to start them over the break, too, and– hopefully, finish them early so I can make it home in time for Christmas before I leave the country and go to Korea.

When I watch anime, the most important thing I look for is how it’s drawn– the style. I’m really picky, and I don’t like most anime, because I don’t like the way they’re drawn. For example, my favorite anime OF ALL TIME is Yu Yu Hakusho *Yoko Kurama fan girl moment*, which has a really rare, hard-to-find style and one of the best stories– EVER. 

Yoko Kurama~

Yoko Kurama~

So, add in my preferred genres, and you might realize that I am really Really REALLY picky about my anime. I can’t watch it often since it takes forever to dig around and find one that I like.

(The last time I watched anime was when I was at home and on Netflix the whole summer BEFORE I went to law school. That was in 2011, but I still remember watching and loving Gun x Sword, Shigurui: Death Frenzy, and a bunch of yaoi.)

So, happy Crunchyroll-ing!

And, here is my page at Crunchyroll. There, you can check out my current addictions and my complete lists of (start-to-finish completed) Korean dramas, Japanese dramas, Taiwanese dramas, anime, comic books, and manga; and, feel free to add me if you are on Crunchyroll or decide to make an account.

Finally, if you want to study Korean and have fun studying Korean, then check out this popular Korean webtoon, God of Bath:

"The man with the hand of God starts the scrub battle to become the best bath coordinator."~

“The man with the hand of God starts the scrub battle to become the best bath coordinator.”~

god_class

The (diverse) cast and characters~

Hot guys working at a Korean sauna and action, comedy, and even romance. What more could you ask for to make studying Korean fun?

Just go HERE to start reading!

^^

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A Dirty, Awkward Saturday Night

*Diary*

If you’ve never been clubbing on Dirty 6th in Austin, Texas before, then just think of how a street full of maybe ten blocks of nothing but bars and clubs could have gotten its name. I mean, this is a place where girls can drink for free and everyone can get in for free. Bars and clubs don’t close until 2 AM, and one club even stays open after that…

So, things definitely get– well, dirty.

“Mama.”

“Mama.”

“Mama.”

(This isn’t a “Mommy” mama. This is a “baby mama” mama.)

Read that aloud about ten more times, and you’ll hear what I heard as I was dancing with my friend, S-, at my favorite club last night. Her boyfriend– Korean, was somewhere nearby fending off creepers while we were on stage, which is just a foot higher than the dance floor.

By then, I had already been followed around by two guys. Then, another guy who said he came all the way from India told me to show him what “America” was like– he even whispered right in my ear even though I did my best to ignore him. Later, right when I got to my favorite club and was dancing on stage, I had my ass slapped by a clean-cut Asian boy wearing a suit. Who would have thought he’d be an ass slapper? I mean, do girls really dance with guys who slap their asses? Because, he was really surprised when I (almost) put my elbow in his face instead.

(Oh, just a typical Saturday night on Dirty 6th. You can love it, you can hate it, but you can never leave it.)

When I finally turned to look at who kept calling me “Mama,” I saw a cute, baby-faced Asian boy– we’ll call him Baby Face from now on, wearing red pants and standing right next to S-‘s boyfriend. 

When Baby Face finally caught my attention, he got up on stage, stood in front of me, and said:

“I LOVE black people.”

It’s not the first time I’ve met Asian guys who like black people and black girls, so I said– coolly and kindly, “That’s nice. I like Asian people, too.”

Then, his friends– one was Asian and one was black, dragged him away while my friend and I just laughed. We were both pretty drunk and just wanted to dance– with each other.

(Trust me, by then EVERYONE was drunk– including Baby Face and his friends.)

Well, of course Baby Face came over again, and the first thing I asked him was, “How old are you?” He asked, “How old are you?” I waved him off at this point, because I don’t take attitude from boys, or anyone for that matter. Quickly, he said that he was 26, but he was definitely lying– and we all knew it, so my friend and I got him to admit that he was 23; but, he could have easily been 19, 20, or 21. He even pulled out his ID– totally unnecessary, but he didn’t show me the front and just said to call him “Moon.” 

So, he was definitely a Korean boy, and we definitely wondered where he picked up the habit of calling girls “Mama.” He tried to dance with me, but I just wasn’t drunk enough. In fact, my friend and I both admitted that I would never be drunk enough to dance with a guy like Baby Face– with a guy who wants to put on his red pants and bring his attitude to the club but leave his manners– the most important thing, at home.

Well, this (cute and harmless) creeper happened to be Korean, so let’s flip things so you really get the big picture.

I’m a black girl, or a white girl, or even a Mexican girl. Basically, I’m not a Korean girl. But, whatever kind of non-Korean girl I am, I’m at the club on a Saturday night, just as drunk as everyone else. Suddenly, I see a really good looking Korean guy standing with his group of friends. So, I walk over to him, and I say the following:

Oppa… Oppa… Oppa…

At first, he just ignores me, but when I finally get his attention, I tell him this:

I LOVE Korean people.

*Crickets*

*More Crickets*

Well, if that didn’t make you cringe, then something is wrong with you; and, you might have cringed for several reasons:

1. It’s pretty awkward to call someone you just met oppa.

2. It’s also pretty awkward to tell “X” person that you love “X” people.

So, I guess I just wonder why people can be SO awkward sometimes.

Especially when they’re drunk, downtown, and trying to pick up someone of the opposite sex before its 2 Am and they have to go home alone– again…

Heirs (Again)

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

*This post is spoiler-free, and you can watch Heirs HERE*

If you haven’t started watching Heirs, then you need to start catching up with the rest of us– words I never thought I would say! Now that we are more than halfway through, it just keeps getting better and better– and it was already pretty damn good.

The first three episodes are just the background in a much bigger picture. Mainly, they introduce us to the characters and set up the love-line between Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang.

The next seven episodes start “filling in” the bigger picture. Although nothing really happens, we get to know the characters– and boy, are there a lot of characters! From the kids in high school to their friends and enemies at high school to their rich (and sometimes poor) parents– and one big brother, everyone seems to have a story to tell, and they’re all worth watching!

(One of my favorite stories in Heirs– apart from Choi Young Do’s, is Lee Hyo Shin’s!)  

When all of us were tired of holding our breath, not only do the characters start to grow and develop in Episode 10, but they do so in realistic ways, winning us over again and again just when we thought we were ready to throw them all away…

Except for Choi Young Do, of course.

He’s just…

Sigh.

Anyway, by the time we get to Episode 13 and Episode 14, things are just nail-biting, heart-racing, pause-the-screen AWESOME. I’m practically racing home just to watch this damn Korean drama!

What I’m really taking away from this story and why I think its SO good:

The new generation ISN’T going to make the same mistakes as the old one– and when it comes to Korea, that’s an incredibly powerful message, especially for a Korean drama to tell.

I wasn’t expecting anything from Heirs, but now I am. I’m expecting a lot, in fact, and not just amazing new episodes for THIS season but also a Season 2

A Korean Variety Show for Everyone

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

Recently, I talked about watching Korean variety shows in Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 1: Learning Korean. ISo You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star?, I also talked about foreigners who are pursuing their dreams in Korea, like Sam Hammington– an Australian guy… and well, Sam “oh-chil-ee– a guy from Ghana.

Well, I just discovered this entertaining AND heartwarming Korean variety show where four foreigners, including our two Sams, go to a 섬마을, or “seom maul”– island village, to teach English to the students living there. They also live with and become close to the families there.

The four teachers are a diverse bunch!

The Teachers, or "쌤들"~

The Teachers, or “쌤들”~

From left to right: Sam Hammington is Australian. He is a famous comedian, and he recently got married to his Korean girlfriend of seven(?) years.  Sam is Ghanaian. He has been on a lot of Korean variety shows already, and he is a student who is looking to follow in Sam Hammington’s footsteps by becoming a famous comedian, too. Brad is American. He is in a famous Korean band called Busker Busker. Abigail is from Paraguay, but this is my first time seeing her even though she was on a Korean variety show before.

The show looks like a lot of fun, too!

Cute~

Cute~

So, go here to On Demand Korea to start watching the first episode and to find more episodes.

Finally, for those who might not know it, seeing foreigners on Korean variety shows is a BIG deal. In 2008, it was almost impossible for Nickhun, the Thai member of 2PM, to go on Korean variety shows, even though later it’s what he became famous for. Five years later, and foreigners– Asian and non-Asian, are actually guests and even hosts on many of them.

Things, people, places– they all change, and they can all change for the better, including Korea.

For more on the change, go here.

So, what are some of YOUR favorite Korean variety shows?

I watch (almost all of) these Korean variety shows every week, and you can find even some of them on Dramafever too: Talk Show Hello!, Mamma Mia, Happy Together, Kim Byungman’s Laws of the Jungle,  Infinity Challenge, The Human Condition, Running Man, and Gag Concert! I used to watch more, but I do need to have a life outside of Korean TV.

Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 1: Learning Korean

*The “Preparing for Life in Korea” Series*

Introduction

Learning Korean is the first part in a three-part series on “Preparing for Life in Korea,” because it is the most important part of preparing for life in Korea.

Even though in most countries around the world you are likely to encounter people who speak English, in Asian countries like Korea and China, you are not likely to encounter people who speak English; although, I’m not sure people realize that until they actually go to Korea!

(I asked my best friend, who is Chinese, about whether or not people in China speak English. She said, “Not really,” which is exactly what I said about whether or not people in Korea speak English.) 

Being able to at least speak Korean– even though I can read and write Korean, helped me talk to everyone from realtors to taxi drivers to shop owners.  I got to meet people in Korea– like everyone else, but because I spoke Korean, I also got to make friends with them and network with them, too, which is a big part of living in Korea and not just living in a small bubble in Korea, one filled with the few foreigners and Koreans who DO speak English.

Once YOU learn Korean, you can communicate– talk tomeetmake friends, and network, with people in Korea. You can even apply to schools and for internships and jobs that most foreigners don’t know about or have access to because they don’t speak Korean.

So, in “Preparing for Life in Korea,” I’ll also talk about Studying Abroad in Korea, where I’ll talk about how to find the study abroad program in Korea that’s right for you, and Finding a Job in Korea, where I’ll talk about how to get the internship or job in Korea that’s right for you.

(Speaking Korean is also a valuable skill both on and off of your resume; for example, if you want to date a Korean boy– or girl, while you are in Korea, then it definitely helps to speak Korean!^^)

Learning Korean

Learning Korean~

Learning Korean~

Learning Korean is a lot easier than learning Japanese or Chinese, but once you actually learn the alphabet, which is similar enough to English’s alphabet in its use of consonants and vowels, then you suddenly hit a really big (red) brick wall called “Grammar.”

English is a Subject-Verb-Object language based on syntax, or word order:

“I-like-EXO.”

In English, you can never say anything but “I” followed by “like” followed by “EXO,” because word order defines meaning.

However, Korean is a Subject-Object-Verb language based on morphology, or word structure:

I-EXO-like, or “나는-EXO를-좋아하다.”

In Korean, you CAN say “나는 좋아해, EXO를,” because the word structure defines meaning. For example, 는- is a “marker” for the subject, “를” is a “marker” for the object, and “하다, 해요, 해, etc.” marks the verb.

(There are so many verb endings in Korean…) 

Warning:

좋아하다 (to like) needs an object marker: EXO.

However, don’t confuse this with 좋다 (to be good), which needs a subject marker: EXO.

Okay, I barely scratched the surface of the Korean alphabet and Korean grammar, but you might already be confused! So, let’s talk about what you need to do AND what you’re probably doing wrong.

Learning Korean… The Right Way?

1. Learn the Korean Alphabet!

(http://www.howtostudykorean.com/unit0/unit0lesson1/)

I started out by learning the Korean alphabet– NOT the romanization of Korean words and phrases. I don’t suggest learning the romanization of Korean words and phrases, either, which– now that I think about it,  is what most people do.

Why?

Well, you won’t be able to make the transition from learning letters, words, and even phrases (basic vocabulary can be understood through romanization) to being able to put letters together to build words, phrases, and sentences (complex grammar can not).

2. Learn How to “Stack” Korean Characters Together to Build Words!

(http://www.howtostudykorean.com/unit0/unit0lesson1/)

I was always (and still am) amazed by how Korean characters turned into words– almost like Legos or something:

ㄴ+ㅏ= 나 (I, or “na“)

ㄴ + ㅏ + ㅁ = 남 (stranger, or “nam“)

ㄴ+ㅏ+ㅁ+ㅈ+ㅏ= 남자 (man, or “namja“)

3.  Learn How To Make Simple Sentences!

(http://www.howtostudykorean.com/unit1/unit-1-lessons-1-8/)

Remember when you learned your first language? Okay, maybe you don’t, but AFTER learning the alphabet and how to make words using letters (or characters), then you were finally ready to make simple sentences with a subject, verb, and object (or subject, object, and verb.)

Learning Korean is no different. Just because you are older that doesn’t mean you get to skip steps– it just means you can– hopefully, get through them a little faster!

4. Listen to Korean!

The most important part of learning a language is being able to “hear” it, or turn sounds coming into your ear into words once they “land” in your head.

I took Italian for two years, but I could never “hear” it. I started being able to “hear” Korean very quickly, because I spent so much time listening to Korean music and watching Korean shows.

So, the more you listen to Korean, the more you’ll “hear” Korean.

5. Read and Speak Korean!

The best funnest and easiest way to learn how to read and speak Korean is to sing it. If you can’t go to Karaoke (노래방, or “noraebang”), then just get on Youtube at home, turn on your favorite song with 한글, or “hangul,” and start singing along!

(One of the first songs my friends and I learned!)

6. Converse in Korean!

(http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/)

I also spent a lot of time talking to my first love, K.H.S., and my ex-boyfriend in Korean. I still speak Korean a lot, too, especially with the owner of the Korean bar and my Korean friends.

7. Make Korean friends!

(http://mykoreanfriends.com/xe/)

Because, Korean friends will help you learn Korean!

8. Watch Korean Variety Shows!

Finally, along with switching your time spent learning Korean romanization to time spent learning the Korean alphabet, you should also make sure to get your eyes out of a textbook– from time to time, which has what I call “bad” Korean, and onto a Korean variety show. Why?

Well, textbook Korean tends to be very formal and stiff. Let’s take the word 당신, or “dangshin,” for an example. 

Please, do NOT use 당신 as the casual pronoun “you.” It’s much closer to meaning “darling,” but it’s ALSO often used when the person you are speaking to is being rude. Be careful using “너,” or “neo,”which means “you,” too. It’s okay to use if you are close with the person you are speaking to AND if he or she is younger than you, or at least the same age as you. If you are not close with the person you are speaking to, then use his or her name + “씨” if they are similar in age and status to you. If they are older or higher in status– say, a teacher, then use his or her name + “님.”

For more on what the Korean words you are using really mean, go to Naver’s Dictionary; and, if you really want to learn the words that Koreans use, as well as how they put them together into phrases and sentences, then don’t forget to watch a Korean variety show!

(That’s how I learn new vocabulary along with popular Korean speech patterns, like acronyms; and, Running Man is one of the best Korean variety shows, so be sure to check it out HERE.)

So, learning Korean is the first step in preparing for life in Korea, and it’s a big one!

Do you have any tips on learning Korean? Do you know any other great Korean language websites?

If so, then leave them in the comments to share with everyone else.

My Favorite Korean Boys, Part 3: Kim Woobin

*The “My Favorite Korean Boys” Series*

When School 2013 came out, I had absolutely no intention to watch it, but I read some articles about the drama and the cast. So, I knew Lee Jong Suk (Secret Garden) and Kim Woo Bin (nugu?) would be in it.

It was only later when Kim Woo Bin– together with Lee Soo Hyuk, appeared on Talk Show Hello that I started to wonder just who this boy with a weird face, goofy smile, and deep voice was…

What a goofball~

What a goofball~

Later that same week, I saw him again on season 2 of Strong HeartHwashin…

... But, a charming goofball~

… But, a charming goofball~

I’ve only fallen for two other Korean actors (lies!)– Gong Yoo and Yoon Kye Sang, but I fell for Kim Woo Bin when he said this:

“I came from a difficult and obscure hometown. I went up to Seoul to find work as a model because at that time, I couldn’t receive support from my father. I lived for six months in a sauna and didn’t even pay up because I didn’t have money… I didn’t even have enough money to buy rice, so I would just drink water.

When I would try out for modeling jobs, the positions would all be filled. I had a friend who dreamed about becoming a model with me, and I often said, ‘We should give up.’

I’m glad my friend didn’t listen to me because I am so happy right now… 

I met good people…” 

(Credit Soompi– with minor additions by me.)

On Hwashin, he also talked about getting scammed by his old company and sleeping in so that he wouldn’t have to be– no feel, hungry; and, that’s when he had to stop talking and hold back his tears. It was only his first or second variety show appearance, so he apologized to the hosts and guests, but the way he carried himself and expressed himself so honestly was refreshing and touching.

Suddenly, I was intrigued by this humble, hardworking country boy, and I wanted more. So, I decided to watch School 2013, and I’m glad I did, because while watching it I got to know some of Korea’s best young actorsKim Woobin and Lee Jongsuk, as well as watch one of the best Korean dramas– EVER.

(Watch School 2013 HERE on Dramafever!)

School 2013 was daebak, and I watched the special that aired once the drama ended. I also watched and read a lot of interviews– anything, that Kim Woobin was in, and HERE is one of my favorite interviews; and, in another one of my favorite interviews, he also talks about how his biggest role model is his Dad.

*Aaw!*

He’s been in quite a few things from White Christmas (2011) to Cupid Factory (2011) to Vampire Idol (2012). I also really love these two mini-reality shows he filmed earlier this year, and I can’t recommend watching his earlier works, but I can recommend– and highly recommend, watching these two mini-reality shows, especially the second one!

So, I also watched A Gentleman’s Dignity, because he was in it. I also knew that I HAD to watch Heirs, because he is in it. I’m planning on watching the movie he recently starred in, Chingu 2.

Recently, he said that he felt like he was going to cry as soon as he saw his name roll by in the credits.

From a small town country boy to a top model to a top actor, Kim Woobin seems to have been through it all and done it all!

So, he’s definitely one of my favorite Korean boys!

Too bad he’s already taken.

<3

Heirs

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

Well, I finally took the time to watch Heirs, and you can watch it HERE on Dramafever, too. I started it yesterday, stayed up all night, and just finished the latest episode, episode 10.

Its awful, but its also addicting.

First, once I got past the cheesy surfing introduction, I really liked the first few episodes that took place in America– minus the incredibly bad acting from That One Blonde Dude With The Crazy Eyes. I liked the initial romance between Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang– before Kim Tan thinks that just because he likes Cha Eun Sang he can do whatever he wants to get her, as well as each of their stories.

In addition, it was interesting– if not refreshing, to see American stereotypes from a Korean point of view. It was also interesting to see a different side of American life in a Korean drama, one that might be closer to reality for many young immigrants in America and not just the Korean ones: You work, you go to school if you can, and– in the end, you do just about anything to survive.

(It’s not always a “Kim Tan” kind of life filled with Daddy’s money: An expensive study abroad, cheap friends.)

Back in Korea, it was interesting AND refreshing to get down to the nitty gritty of what its really like to have that much money. Chaebols in Korean dramas are always perfect, right?

Right.

(I mean, look at Boys Over Flowers and Secret Garden.)

Well, the one thing Heirs needed to get away from was the “perfect chaebol,” and it did– fabulously. I love getting to see so much “dirty laundry,” and once I wrapped my head around all the different connections between different characters, I was really pulled into the story on a deeper level, which surprised me.

(I was expecting something shallow.)

Still, at the end of the day, its becoming a typical rich guy, poor girl drama, and it relies on too many typical, been there-done that plot devices, especially as the “romance” between Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang unravels. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this: This scriptwriter really knows how to write classic, chauvinistic male leads– just look at Hyun Bin from Secret Garden and Jang Dong Gun from A Gentleman’s Dignity. Thankfully, she also knows how to write amazing supporting roles and side stories, so you end up watching the drama for more than just the leads!

(I hope this is the first drama of hers that I can watch AND finish without stopping two episodes before the end…)

Anyway, my favorite character is Choi Young Do, and he’s THE reason why I’ve managed to make it all the way to episode 10– he just adds something to the drama, something really important: Depth.

Neither male lead is “good,” but Choi Young Do is better, in my opinion, because he’s self-aware and self-reflective.

What I mean is, compared to Kim Tan who just does what he wants and thinks he’s right about everything, Choi Young Do might also do just what he wants, but he’s a lot more uncertain about whether or not he’s right– or whether or not he’s even doing the right things; and, he seems to be trying to figure that out…

He seems to be trying to make sense of his life and the people around him in a realistic, thoughtful way– including Cha Eun Sang and whether or not he has feelings for her and whether or not she has feelings for him:

“I like you, but you hate me, don’t you?”

Those stormy eyes, those long legs, that deep, dangerous voice!

(This drama would be nothing without Kim Woo Bin’s character, along with the charisma and presence he’s becoming known for.)

So, who are you rooting for: Kim Tan or Choi Young Do?

And, who is YOUR favorite heir?

So You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star?

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

This is a special post for my “little sisters” who are interested in pursuing a career in the Korean music industry as singers; and, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out THIS post by seoulbeats about what it’s like for Asian-American, Latino, black, and white people who are currently pursuing “The Korean Dream.”

I’ve talked about the music industry in Korea before HERE, but I’d like to offer some advice– not just a warning, and introduce two possible role models (for my little sisters in particular) who have made it big in Korea and are black and Korean: Insooni and Yoon Mi-rae (aka “T” or Tasha).

And, here are two important links:

Entertainment Companies and Their Artists

Entertainment Companies and Their Addresses

(I know that there are people of every race who are pursuing careers in music or entertainment in Korea, so there is someone out there who we can all look up to! If you’re not sure, just ask me. I wish I had room to mention them all– from Jessica Gomes to Julien Kang to Sam Hammington and even Olivia, a French girl, and Sam, a Kenyan boy. But, don’t even get me started on the people who are Korean-American or Chinese and have made it big in Korea!)

From now on, I’m not going to use the word “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star.”

I don’t think you’ll make it (very far) in the Korean music industry as a foreigner unless you have the humble heart of a true singer and are willing to work incredibly hard from learning to speak Korean to learning about Korean culture to learning about the people and companies that make up what has become a very large industry– on top of actually singing and maybe even dancing if you become a “dance gasu.”

Why won’t you make it far if you just want to be a “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star”?

These days, anyone can get surgery and be styled to look like a Kpop idol or Kpop star. These days, anyone can even have the attitude of a Kpop idol or Kpop star. So, what separates you from everyone else is your voice, talent, and work ethic. Having a good work ethic, especially in a place where people are often over-worked like Korea, will be the best way to make your dreams come true.

After all, by now many of us know that auditioning to be a singer in the Korean music industry both in America AND Korea is an ordeal, and the competition gets harder and harder every year! So, that means YOU have to work harder, too.

(To see what its like to audition for SM, watch THIS video as the members of Infinity Challenge– seven of Korea’s most famous comedians, do just that!)

If you DO manage to pass the audition and sign with a music or entertainment company, then practice harder than everyone else. Take critique– in fact, ask for it. Go out of your way to sing or dance anywhere and for anyone.

Most importantly, don’t let the challenges you encounter, such as discrimination or cultural differences, bring you down!

It’s hard for Koreans to make it in the music industry, too, so don’t see your challenges as any harder than anyone else’s, although they might be different in many ways. From running errands to performing favors to standing on small stages night after night and even being scolded and getting your feelings hurt– you better be ready to deal with it all and get through it all, always learning and improving along the way.

In addition, take the time to get to know your sunbaes in the Korean music industry, from H.O.T. to EXO, from G.O.D. to 2PM, from S.E.S. to SNSD, as well as other legends and current trends in the Korean music AND entertainment industry.

However, for my “little sisters” who are looking for a sunbae and role model who might hit a little closer to home, then look no further than Insooni and Yoon Mirae.

Insooni~

Go HERE to read more about Insooni and her story, as well as get some excellent advice from The Diva of Korea herself.

Yoon Mi-rae with her husband, Tiger JK~

Yoon Mi-rae is someone many people are more likely to already be familiar with, so I won’t spend too much time talking about her except to say she is an amazing rapper AND singer who has come a long way in both Korea and America!

If you have a dream, go for it; and, don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

But, be realistic. Don’t just see your dream– see the hard work, dedication, and effort it will take to make it come true.

(And, if you want to know how I got to meet people in the music industry and be in a Kpop music video a few years ago, then shoot me an email or check out THIS post on my tumblr.)

The Cheongdam-dong Guest House

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

My sister, a doctor, got engaged to her boyfriend. He is also Nigerian, and apparently he flew her out to New York to propose!

I got my security deposit back plus what they had overcharged me when I moved in– that’s 242 much needed dollars! I also went on a job interview this morning, and I’m excited about finally making the BIG decision to pursue my career in health law.

And, more importantly, I’m that much closer to having a white winter in Cheongdam-dong!

I decided to stay in Cheongdam-dong– not Itaewon or Sinsa-dong, because it was the cheapest option. It was also one of the most convenient options, since it is close to Itaewon, Sinsa-dong, Apgujeong-dong, and a few other places I would like to go, like Ellui, SM, and the Han River.

Once I found out I could use the apartment, which has two beds, all by myself– and even have an extra bed for a friend to crash, I went All In and booked it on Wimdu!

So, HERE is the Cheongdam-dong Guest House, which can also be found on AirBnB.

It’s SO lovely, and my host, Dohyun, is SO nice.

There was a problem, because the website was showing a $339.00 discount– one that appeared a few weeks AFTER I booked my room. I contacted him, and he immediately contacted Wimdu and even spoke with my mom. The discount was definitely a mistake, and everything was taken care of in a few days. What’s more, he was never annoyed or angry with me or my mom for asking him so many questions and sending him so many messages.

He was just patient, kind, and understanding.

So, I am really excited to meet him, too!

If YOU are looking for a place to stay while you are in Gangnam or Seoul, choose the Cheongdam-dong Guest House!

The location alone is the best, because you are in the heart of Gangnam, right next to famous Kpop stars and Korean celebrities, delicious restaurants, cute cafes, and popular clubs! And, coming home to this cheap but cozy and clean apartment with everything you need will also be the best.

… Seriously, is it December yet?!

I can’t wait to see my best friend Jennie, J-, D.H., unni and her family, all of my Korean friends, AND all of my friends from Korean class who are living and working in Korea PLUS, I also can’t wait to go to my favorite restaurants and clubs, Namsan Tower, and even Busan!

It’s going to be Two Weeks in (freezing) paradise.

The Crazies

*Diary*

If you have no idea what I’m about to talk about, that’s fine. This is definitely a Dear Old Diary post, because a LOT happened this weekend; and, if you haven’t yet, take a look at all of my different categories and find the topics and posts you’re looking for!^^

(Also, I have a BUNCH of emails right now, but I haven’t had time to respond. I definitely got them, though, and I’ll be responding to everyone in a few days!)

I already blogged about Thursday night HERE.

(Definitely the best night out this Halloween Weekend, but Friday night is a close runner-up!)

Friday Night

My best friend T- came into town, and I and my best friend W- met up with him, his girlfriend, and one of his friends. They came all the way from California! We pre-gamed at their hotel, and then everyone but W- headed to 6th street.

It was still Halloween in Austin, so I was dressed up as Tony Romo– and wow, that last-minute costume from Ross was a hit! I’ve never been screamed at by so many random dudes in my entire life. I even met some of my other “teammates.”

We drank a lot. We danced a lot.

At the end of the night, we went to my favorite club, and that was A BLAST– I really need to go on Fridays more often! A lot of my girls (S- and R-) were there, and a lot of my Korean friends (and random Koreans in general) were there, too, so I got to see them. I danced with my girls… and then my oppa… and then my dongsaeng.

(Somehow, the original group all stayed together, though, and we just became this big blob of drunk, dancing people.)

Anyway, I met my dongsaeng while I was in South Padre. He was with the Korean boys I knew, and once we found out we were all in South Padre at the same time, they came over to our beach house, and we played drinking games. I STILL don’t know his name, but every time he sees me he bows 90 degrees– twice, even when he saw me at the club.

After the club closed at 2:00 A.M., I ran into the “ex-best friend” outside. She was talking to S-. I haven’t talked to her since February, and I’ve barely seen her since then, too. It was good to see her, though, and even though a LOT happened between all of us– including S-, I didn’t think of anything except how nice it would be if we could all just be friends again.

We caught up, and she immediately told me to be careful of her ex-boyfriend…

Speaking of her ex-boyfriend!

Today, he found out that I talked to her, and he went PSYCHOPATH on me, so he is no longer my dongsaeng, either.

This is what happened over KakaoTalk.

He asked, “What did she say to you?”

I replied:

“Exactly what you said to her. I mean, its not like I’m in love with you. You’re also not my boyfriend. I could care less if you’re talking to me and talking to her or some other girl, but you doing that shows how fucked up you are. I mean, honestly, you’re like a little brother to me, but I could never date you. I know exactly what you did to X-. Remember? Just because I don’t say anything about what you did to her doesn’t mean I forgot or that I don’t care. Sorry to call you out, but what is with you treating girls like toys for you to play with? 재밌니?”

He said, “재밌지.”

(Of course its fun.)

Things quickly escalated from there, and when I told him:

“That’s why no one loves you, that’s why everyone left you,” he said:

“That’s why I don’t love anyone. Haha”

Things quickly escalated again, but I stood my ground. I told him I meant all the things that I said, so I’m not going to play games and be mean NOW even though he definitely said things JUST to try to hurt me– since I hurt him.

I feel sorry for people who don’t know how to love.

I definitely feel sorry for him.

He’s crazy, and I always knew it; but, I wanted to help him– its the psychologist and mother in me.  BUT, I’m glad he finally showed me the ugly face he was hiding behind the mask he wore, because there was just something wrong about my ex-best friend’s ex-boyfriend…

They broke up for a reason– and, he was definitely that reason.

Saturday Night

We went out again, and this time W- came, too. We drank and danced. We made the rounds and said hi to all the boys working DT and got some free drinks. It was a typical Saturday night, and the extra hour to party made people both ridiculous and ratchet.

“You’re loud and skinny, but your butt makes up for it.” — Some girl in the bathroom at one of my favorite clubs.

And, that sums up this entire weekend: Ratchet, ridiculous.

We even caught the Korean boy one of my best friends (was) in love with for a year and a half making out with some random girl in the background of one of our pictures. Thankfully, today I found out that she ended their relationship on Thursday night, so it wasn’t a big deal after all.

By now, we ALL had had enough of 6th street, so we called it a night and went home early…

And this brings me to something that I’ve been wanting to say, but wasn’t sure how to say:

I know a lot of girls have this image of Korean boys being SO sweet and SO perfect, but you need to realize that they can also be CRAZY. I’ve seen my friends– Mexican, Chinese, White/Japanese, and Bulgarian, ALL get into trouble and go crazy after meeting The Wrong (Korean) Guy.

But, lets be real:

ALL guys can be The Wrong Guy (or The Right Guy). It has nothing to do with race.

So, the sooner you can tell the difference between the crazy guys (and the crazy girls) and the good ones, then the sooner you’ll be on your way to having the relationships you’re dreaming of– not ones that turn into nightmares.

Anyway, I hope you all had a good weekend, too, and when you meet someone crazy, don’t let them make you crazy, too. If you can stay by their side and (do your best to) help them, do it; but, don’t do it if you can’t– if you start to go crazy, too.

But, just who are The Crazies?

The crazies are the people who don’t know how to love– not themself, and definitely not someone else.

So, don’t think that someone crazy will EVER really love you. They’ll just pretend to, and one day, you’ll see the face behind the mask, too; and, you’ll be forced to ask yourself,

“Am I crazy, too?”

We live in a society that romanticizes people’s psychological problems, but depression, self-destruction, and suicide are NOT romantic. They are NOT okay; and, if something IS wrong, the first step in getting help is to let go of your pride, stare yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself:

“Something is wrong. I’m not okay.”

It was hard for me and all of my friends to do, but we did it. That’s why we’re here now– better, and still together.

Happy Halloween

*Diary*

I got out of class. I walked around aimlessly, running into Miley Cyrus, two bananas, and a penguin.

Finally, it was time.

I went home and put on my Strawberry Shortcake costume that I got for $20.00 last week at Buffalo Exchange. I left my place around 9:30 and picked up one of my best friends, W-. She is Chinese, and she was wearing the black swan costume that I tried on but decided not to get. Her guy friend from college, F-, who suddenly dropped into town on a business trip also came with us. He didn’t dress up.

I made small talk with F- in the car, and then the hunt for parking began. It was only 10:00, but 6th street was already packed. W- found a spot, and we got Good Parking.

I got out of the car and finally took a look at F-…

Damn, this fine piece of ass was in my backseat?

Usually, I don’t like going out with guys unless I know them, but F- was beyond cool. He was Chinese, as well, and super, SUPER good-looking. He was a little shy at first, but after talking, walking around on 6th street, and a few drinks, the dancing and debauchery began.

He was really protective, too!

I’ve never met a guy who actually noticed when other guys were checking me out OR creeping on me AND did something about it. I never even dance with guys (anymore, and unless I’m into them), but I danced with him.

He had some moves:)

Anyway, he had to leave early!

No, he doesn’t live here. Yes, my curse continues.

(Every time I meet a guy I like, he’s never from Austin, and he’s never staying IN Austin, either.)

 Hopefully, he comes back so we can party or just hang out again soon! I miss having normal guys to hang out with…

Thankfully, I’ll be out with the guys again (tonight), because one of my best friends, T-, who is Taiwanese, will be in town for the weekend! I haven’t seen him in forever, but we’ve been through thick and thin since I was a sophomore in college; and, that was a LONG time ago.

Anyway, as soon as F- left, W- and I got attacked by guys– like, she literally threw this squirrel thing off of her, and when he came back for more I had to get in his face. He was the worst, though. Surprisingly, most guys were pretty well behaved tonight.

Oh! I had no idea who Strawberry Shortcake was until last week, but A LOT of people recognized my costume and liked it. So, all in all, we managed to look good, fend off the creepers, and have a great night together on Halloween. We even got into our favorite club at the end of the night for free even though they had cover!

(It helps to know the boys who work downtown.)

We danced for FOUR hours, though.

My feet are killing me, but I’m really happy to have had such a great and eventful– but not dramatic, Halloween.

So, Happy Halloween!^^