3 days a week

Standard

So clearly I forgot to factor in that I would be gone on weekends. So I will be doing a total of 3 MV’s today.

I will preface this by saying this because it’s been annoying me a lot lately (especially in this country of Korea) if you are sick please stay home-not only are you going to be making yourself worse but you are going to infect other people. It’s not a badge of honor if you come to work or school, it’s a sign of stupidity that you are willing to get everyone else sick as well. This is why MERS was such an issue here.

Anyway moving on.

Saturday:

Now this isn’t what is considered “Halloween” per say but my two best friends and I were talking about how Princess and the Frog is a little dark. One of my best friends is actually terrified of Voodoo in the same way I am terrified of zombies (I also made the error of showing this friend Voodoo Doll by VIXX). Now I didn’t find this particularly scary (yeah the dolls with the pins are creepy because animated dolls are always creepy) but my friends agreed that it is a little scary.

So Saturday’s song is “Friends on the other Side” from Princess and the Frog

Sunday

It seems these days there aren’t really “themed” kind of songs or MV’s anymore (at least in American music). So we are going back to a time when high waist jeans weren’t a trend but a staple in fashion as well as neon everything.

Now I don’t really have too many memories of this movie because it was before my time, and I didn’t see the new one either, but I do remember this song was always on the radio during Halloween season.

My mom did tell me though that she took me on this ride in Disney World when I was a kid and I screamed so badly that she had to take me out of the ride.

So going back to my childhood, we have “Ghostbusters” but Ray parker Jr.

Today-Monday

6th day of this Halloween countdown!

Venturing back into KPOP because KPOP loves a good concept in their MV’s.

Now Twice isn’t a group I’m overly fond of-especially with their success of Cheer Up. I thought their debut song was great but Cheer Up was easily one of the worst KPOP songs I’ve ever heard. Yet it blew up for reasons I’m still trying to understand.

But now they are back with their new song which is also Halloween themed (their debut was around this time last year and had zombies but I’ll be showing that later).

The song itself isn’t too bad-it’s 10000X better than Cheer Up but still I like their debut better.

Also I’m assuming that it will be a two part (at least) series since it says “Lane 1”

What I don’t understand is what this has to do with Halloween at all?

Jihyo looks awesome as the Snow Queen though!

So here is Twice’s “TT” which was released today.

 

Advertisements

You can call me Monster (teacher)

Standard

Ok so I am still attempting to update at least once a week if only for my only sanity.

This week was …interesting to say the least.

Today I will discussing: lesson plans (specifically dealing with discipline) new music reviews, and because due to funds and time I haven’t been traveling -so I’m actually going to talk about my plans for upcoming Halloween.

Lesson Plans:

Next week when it is in fact closer to Halloween I will talk about fitting that into my lesson plans. But this week’s theme both here on this blog and in my classroom was discipline.

In my school you get two types of teachers-the kind that has their kids well behaved and keeps them in line-and the kind that lets them walk all over.

I teach with one of each.

My one Co is very good at keeping kids in line, sometimes too much that it dampens the kids spirits but they do learn and pay attention well.

Then there is my other Co. Some of our classes are good enough they can take care of themselves without me needing someone to help keep them focused.

Then there are my other classes who are in strong need of something. This week their home room teachers have been mentioned how bad they are.

My 5-4 class is a class I try to get out of the way on Monday. Originally this was a great class but due to one weird trouble maker ( I say this in the fact that he is actually a very quiet student but he teases the other kids so much – I just never hea it because he says it under his breath all the time) they have become a fighting  and loud mess. So to my despair, I wanted to die when their home room teacher said I would teach them again the next day (I don’t know why -we didn’t need to make up a class-I think she just wanted a break from them-according to my Co their homeroom teacher doesn’t like them).

My other 2 loud classes are somewhat similar to 5-4 in nature but each class has their own personalities.

But the question is how do you deal with disruptive classes with a Co who doesn’t realize children need limits and discipline-and when scolding them for being rude maybe not do it with a smile or laughing or making a joke?

The answer? Gotta put your foot down.

I warned my 5-4 class two days in a row-many warnings-and they still acted out -so for two days in a row they stayed late (ran into lunch time) and copied lines.

Most people would say  “use a point system” -we do but these days the kids aren’t as motivated by points as they used to-if  a student is constantly told he loses a point he won’t care anymore and makes a joke of it (it happens). Not to mention that my Co’s only want to have the students cash in the points 4 times during the whole year. So the lure of points and candies kind of fades for them.

I would like to make it more often but My strict Co is very set in her ways as well.

So what can I do?

For me I found the answer was time. I give them 3 warnings -if they get 3 warnings as a class they stay 10 minutes past the end of class. Yes I don’t like wasting my time but if it enforces the kind of behavior that they should have as 5th (almost 6th graders) than that’s all that matters.

Another issue is that my students are told what they need : folder, book, notebook and pencil pouch.

Most students bring these.

But in my classes with my lax Co , many students don’t bring their notebook or didn’t even buy one.

We use it a lot for warm ups. And I’ve asked them many times to bring it -some haven’t even bought them.

I’ve been asking since March. It’s October-they will be 6th graders next march and after that middle schoolers-they need to start taking responsibility -they aren’t 4th graders anymore.

And because as mentioned above, individual points don’t seem to matter, I’ve made the bold choice to take points away from the class a a whole. If one student doesn’t have his notebook the WHOLE class loses a point. If two students don’t have their notebooks the whole class loses 2 points. And so on-today my 5-5 class had 4 students who didn’t bring their books.

It might seem harsh ( my Co openly said “it’s not my decision it’s hers) but I am not going to supply these kids with paper every class because they don’t have an English notebook (like my Co does-this teaches them they never have to bring a notebook which is what happened).

I even told the class “if you can’t buy for a reason please see me after class”. I understand some kids might not be able to afford one and I don’t mind supplying one -the school bought many for me.

In Korea the lack of responsibility is something the WHOLE country top to bottom suffers from. But not in my classroom. Yes I am “only teaching them English” but I am also hoping they learn something else from my class-maybe how to behave or treat others …or learn to try something new…something that is beyond books.

With children I get why they do it “it’s not my fault it’s his”type of thing is common. But they are kids-adults should not be acting like this. It sets a bad example. So I try to teach my kids to be responsible for their actions.

Fighting is a common thing lately (great) but yesterday in my 5-1 class I had a girl and boy fighting. Normally I would let my Co deal with it but all she said was “stop crying” and to the boy “say sorry” which …literally all he said was “sorry.”

But maybe because I was tired of all the fighting or whatever, I had the two of them stay after class, explain to me what happened (hitting and calling one a name) write 2 sentences of an apology in Korean, read it to the other, and then give it to the other.

I didn’t want to coddle them but I didn’t want to just yell at them. I wanted them to actually apologize, know what they are apologizing for and face the other.

I don’t know if they worked or anything but it was better than just letting them walk off mad and crying.

Discpline is something that is so hard for foreign teachers. We are seen as a joke a lot. Many times students don’t believe we go through with our discpline and are shocked when we do. Many students treat out class like a joke (all classes not taught by their home room teacher-music as well) and will act in a way they would never in their home room teacher.

And I understand it’s a different class- a lighter class (they aren’t graded….) and I don’t mind joking or talking about silly things or even being loud in certain times, but when the students cross over into disrespectful territory and bratty behavior…then you have to check them back into line…otherwise you end up like my Co who couldn’t control her open class.

 

New Music:

Since I could talk about music all day and night I will just pick 2 songs (new or new to ME or just old goodies that aren’t popular etc) that I really enjoy.

And I will pick 1 new song I don’t really care for. This isn’t mean to offend anyone -this is just my personal blog.

So to start I would like to pick : Park Hyo Shin (박효신)

He is solo singer (not sure if he is considered a ballad singer or not) with the company Jellyfish and I first heard about him because VIXX (also with Jellyfish) has a member who is a major fanboy of his.

And with all the disappointing KPOP released lately I wanted to try something new. So I decided to look up his stuff. This is the single off his new album (I think it’s called I am Dreamer but i’m not sure) and it’s such a beautiful song. It’s called “Breath”.

*Side rant*

One thing that drives me nuts is when people say “I don’t understand what he’s saying” or “I would like it better if I knew what he was saying”.

1. google lyrics.  this is the generation of electronics right? and you can’t even work a simple google search?

2. pop songs (not in this case but for general KPOP) lyrics are typically not that great -I love the Backstreet Boys but “I want it that way” is no lyrical masterpiece -same with many pop songs of all generations. you aren’t missing out on much.

3. KPOP to me is discriminated for things that some other music isn’t. For example- if i gave you a video of the beautiful “Ave Maria” I bet all in, your first words wouldn’t be “I would like it more if I knew what the words were”. In case you didn’t realize, the song is in Latin and I’m pretty sure people who listen to this song aren’t native Latin speakers (dead language hello!).  You just enjoy the song, not caring that you actually don’t know what the song is saying-sure you have an idea but how many out of a random group of people would be able to translate it for me?  It’s just something I wish people would be more aware of.

*end side rant*

My second pick is going to be “Tonight” by SPICA. While the MV is kind of cool (in a super aesthic kind of way?) the song is just a great fun song that makes you feel happy.

I’ve actually seen SPICA twice and both times this song really stood out to me. They are a really underrated group -maybe because they are older? Some people say their visuals aren’t great (which I think they are all very unique and pretty without looking plastic) or that their songs just aren’t hits (which I can kind of understand after listening to a lot of their music). But their vocals are insane and their harmonies are amazing. I wish they had more songs like this that showcase their talents.

 

Now onto the song I didn’t really care for (This is going to be a SUPER unpopular opinion I can already tell) is the new BTS single “Blood Sweat and Tears”.

Now while I’m not a fan of theirs, I do listen and like most of their music. I even own a few copies of their albums.

One of the big reasons I never became a super fan is sadly due to their insane fans (yes I know I am an EXO-L so I don’t really have any room to talk) but within the past year or so I’ve definetly noticed their fans behavior …as have the rest of the KPOP community.

But I want to give their music a fair opinion so I do listen and watch the MV’s and try to ignore their crazy fans.

Now I really did enjoy I Need U, Fire and some of their older songs (Run was kind of boring and after my friend told me that Save Me sounds like a Justin Bieber song…well I can’t listen to it the same way). And the concept for this single looked interesting…but ….the song for me fell really flat.

I got a bollywood/sort of caribbean feel….it just didn’t work for ME (a lot of people loved it -their fans died so as long as their fans are happy that’s great for them). Also the MV …didn’t really do anything for me-it actually reminded me of the scne in Pride and Prejudice when Lizzie is at Darcy’s house looking at all the statues.

I also wasn’t really pleased with the way the lines were divided-I thought Fire did actually a good job-but Jin had ….1 line? (was it even Jin? I’m not a big enough fan to really know their voices and we all know MV’s are the worst way to tell who is singing what ). Groups these days are doing their best to spread out lines (evenEXO’s Sehun has lines now!!!!!) so I wish BTS would do that as well. Usually it’s V who gets jipped for lines with Jin. (I know at least that much about BTS). So at least he got that little bit of the chorus. But like I said a lot of people like the song(I do like their music…just not this one-so have a listen and make your decision.

Finally as I had mentioned I have no money (think 99 $ to last me until Monday 12pm) so I clearly can’t do much. I had planned on going to hike in Goyang this weekend but due to money and the fact I have a 7 1/2 hour rehersal on Saturday…that plan has been changed until the last weekend of October (I am going to the Lotte Family Concert on the 22 EXCITED!) So I can get some exercise in, and see the fall leaves.

So I will instead focus on “Halloween”. Last year I did a KPOP 13 days of Halloween on my personal SNS. This year I do want to do something a little similar but different as well-so I think I will expand it beyond just KPOP and post it in my blog. With Halloween being the “13th” day I will begin this series of posts starting next Wedneday the 19th. While I will (fingers crossed) being updating on this everyday for those 13 days -one most days it will only be the Halloween Video because I hve work and you know how life gets in the way.

So please look forward to that .

Ok that’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed it. I will most likely be combining the First day of 13 days of Halloween with my usual post.

Have a  great weekend.

 

I’m Still Alive

Standard

I think I just read that my last posting included Dream Concert which was in…May..it’s October.

I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy and I have been. But mostly I didn’t really like where things were going with this blog. It became a mess of things and I had some personal things to sort out as well.

I’m still very much unsure of where this is going.

I know I revamped it a bit.

I still would like to keep certain aspects but I don’t think I have the will to keep it going every day.

For now I think I will just update once a week.

I still want to keep the teaching bit, of course keep the music/concert aspect, as well as maybe adding some other thing…but at this point I’m just really unsure what I want to do. I would like to ad travel but these days (read no money in my bank account) I am doing much less traveling.

So for now I will start with what I do know I want to keep.

-lesson plan

-music/concerts

-travel

 

So the first thing will be lesson plans.

Currently I’m teaching a super super boring lesson.  But it’s probably one of the most important lessons the kids should learn.

So my problem this lesson was -How do you turn a dull lesson that is super important into something they will enjoy and be wanting to learn?

My first thought was -play the fun games they love!

Bad news…my school updated it’s systems and no longer supports micrsoft office (something about how Gyenggio-do school system having to pay a bunch of money to microsoft) so any bomb game-or any computer game basically no longer works. Pass the ball, bomb games…..it sucks because not only do I lose games kids enjoy…I have to find something new to make.

So what do I do?

I think this is one of the hardest points for teachers-especially if you aren’t really free to create a lesson plan.

I am still very much tied to the book they supply-and even I know at this point the kids have to learn exactly what the book gives them because it is what will be on te test.

I am still searching for a solution for this problem. Because of the less than exhilarating material the kids talk more, respond less, and become nightmares.

Do you just grit your teeth and hope to get through this lesson plan? Or do you work your ass off and try to come up with something that keeps them interested for at least 40mintues of the class?

I’ll let you know what I decide to do. So far it’s 0-5-my class this morning was a nightmare- we only completed about half of what we were supposed to because they insisted on talking through their classmates turn.

Music/Concerts:

This is usually my favorite part of posting.

So so much. In brief overview I got to go to EXO Planet #3! And it was amazing! So so much…I won’t spoil it for anyone who plans on going. But just prepare yourself…because damn that Artificial Love dance. Sadly Kai was injured again…

Then I have attended some festivals here and there..and the VIXX fanmeet which which was amazing. Don’t underestimate Starlights …on that one day alone I wound up with 34 fans alone…It was a long fanmeet too. Kind of spilt between fanmeet and mini concert. Due to horrible timing though, the ending of the fanmeet became extremely depressing-they were finally have their solo concert that I had been waiting for since Utopia…the same time I would be going home to America….

The amount of comebacks have been insane. Of course I lost my shit over Exact! And then lost it again over Hades! And then had really mixed feelings about Lotto-which I do very much like now sadly…but just felt it was a bit of a letdown . But EXO and VIXX promoting at the same time…it was insane.

Now there are a ton of comebacks happening now and later this month. Luckily for me my major groups are out of the way so I can relax and watch all the other kpop fans have meltdowns-I mean this in the kindest way 🙂

I’ve listened and watched SHINEE’s new single. The MV felt very 90’s-early 90’s in it’s white background and insane clothes. The song itself felt very early 90’s -New Kids on the Block. For me the 90’s were a different sound because I grew up the mid to late 90’s . Song was good and I enjoyed how good Onew looked despite his ankle..but ugh Minho’s bad hair has to go!

GOT7 new single…felt honestly like a sequel to BTS Fire. I’m not even a BTS fan really so this is my saying GOT7 copied BTS.  But the arrangement (where the rap parts were, where it slowed down for some singing, the Trap/EDM chorus feel) felt very familiar. I wasn’t really expecting this and felt a little disappointed because of how much I really liked the past two albums (prior I wasn’t a GOT7 fan at all because of Girls Girls ….I mean come on).

There are so many songs out right now ( Ailee, Monsta X, etc) that I can’t spend all my time going over what I thought about them (plus I need a few more listens on some of them). But I will end with “Dancing King” by EXO because ….how could I not?

From everyone else I’ve talked to…it felt that Dancing King is what we all wanted Lotto to be…and wasn’t. It’s a great song. Upbeat and fun and funky with a really cool sounding hook. Not to mention that D.O. gets a lot more lines than normal (for a main vocal of the groups he gets a lot less than the other two *cough Baekhyun cough*) so I was really happy they let him sing more. THe MV was really fun as well because we got to see how YJS learned all the dance moves and saw some of his performance-not to mention the adorable little dances by Lay and D.O./Xiumin!

 

Finally to end today’s much belated, still messy with no direction post…I will talk about travel.

I was lucky enough to go home for Summer break. But in Korea, two weeks after the break we have another week long break for Chuseok (korean thanksgiving). Trust me those two weeks are awful because the kids are trying to resettle into school mode and sleep schedules (which parents don’t seem to care about any time of the school year) with also the idea that they get a break in two more weeks.

Basically it’s like labor day in USA-start school the week before and then have the holiday…it would just make more sense to extend it.

Anyway moving back to Chuseok-because of my vacation home during summer break, I didn’t have as much money to go on a trip.

Plus last year was a bit of a wreck-sure Jeju was beautiful and Udo Island was the best, but the trip advisors were awful, and a lot of things never worked out. WE didn’t go horseback riding or to the lava tubes and only have a few hours on Udo. They gave us like 90 minutes to climb this crater and back down (which I was fine but some people out of shape didn’t even attempt because of the time limit). They they were supposed to provide breakfast every morning which turned out to just be a muffin and instant coffee. Not to forget, the horrendous bus ride-this is a long ass bus ride almost the full length of the country and you are going to put us in crappy buses? the 2 hour bus ride to the airpot has nicer seats.

Clearly…I wasn’t planning on using that company again so I decided to make my own trip.

Ever since..last summer I had wanted to go to Seoraksan and climb it for Chuseok. But at the time I was still pretty new and uncomfortable planning my own trip. And most companies that were planning trips were wanting to go to Jeju. I would love to go back to Jeju but I didn’t want to go again.

So I decided to make a plan and go to Sokcho.  Earlier this year Sokcho became so popular due to it’s Pokemon thing. But I had no interest in that.

I would up going with a friend to Sokcho and we met another friend while we were there. Through there were some frustrating parts here and there I mostly did exactly what I planned.

The bus ride there was much longer than I initially thought due to the fact I was traveling on the day that everyone else was as well. Rest stops were backed up onto the high way!

It took about 5 hours from Pyeongtaek to Sokcho but honestly it was a great ride. The scenary was beautiful and the seats were comfortable. I had my own seat because I had booked it in advance. We stopped at a little rest stop closer to Sokcho and it was a cute little place.

I finally made it to Sokcho. But my friend and our guesthouse was at the other bus terminal. For those of you looking to go to Sokcho there are two terminals. One is called the Express Bus Terminal or “고속 “-this is for buses that go to the bigger cities like Seoul or Inchon. The other one is the Intercity Bus Terminal “시외” bus terminal-this is for the towns like mine which aren’t as big as Busan or Seoul

 

It’s a very easy Taxi ride from one to the other. My friend and I stayed at the HJ Guesthouse. It was a little pricy because of the holiday but it was nice. It was very close to both the beach and the Express Bus Terminal. (walking distance). It was also a bigger room with a kitchenette. It was much bigger than usual for guesthouses and it had a private bathroom. Even though they advertise English Speakers, we were only able to really talk to the 1 man who was there. He was very nice and accommodating when our wifi didn’t work.

You don’t have free breakfast like normal guesthouses because it was technologically what they call a “pension”. Not sure what the difference is really other than maybe this room was usually for like a full family on vacation for a week or two.

The first evening we went to the beach-it was very strange seeing Koreans at a beach. Sure the water was quite cold, but only children went in the water. About 100 adults stood and watched on the beach. It made one very self conscious while swimming in the ocean or trying to get out of the water.

The next day we did the main reason (I at least) wanted to go to Sokcho. I looked up the night before some maps of the park and chose what I thought would be a great hiking trail. I’ve been hiking before in Suwon which is a small mountain. So I knew this would be a little more difficult.

I chose the Ulsanbawi Rock Trail because it was advertised as the most popular. I did look at the map in the park and it said “easy-medium-hard”. The first part was so easy and the second part was pretty easy/medium. So I figured the hard part wouldn’t be so bad…..wrong! The last 1KM or so is almost completely stairs and it’s all uphill. And as if the 1 KM of stairs isn’t daunting on it’s own, just imagine that some of them are metal stairs attatched to the rock AKA you are suspended only by those stairs.

It was extremely difficult the last .6 km or so and it had gotten much hotter than I thought. My friend had never been hiking before and wasn’t really wearing the best shoes or clothes for hiking-it took her much longer than I-but I will give her props for making it up that rock and back.

The hike featured a lot of nice stopping points-a temple-another temple-some great pictures and “temple water” aka delicious mountain water that saved me. But what I didn’t realize was that the map said 2 hours….I assumed this was roundtrip…no it was one way. So between my friend having to stop for a while,s struggling on those stairs and waiting for my friend at the halfway point to climb back down it took about 5 hours. It was a damn good thing we started early.  WE finished with some Mountain BiBimBap and a Seafood Pancake that was way too big for any human to eat alone.

The next day we went to the Hot Spring -Cheoksan- so we could soak and relax from the day before. It was pretty cheap, I think about 8000W, and you have access to the hot spring and bath house. The  Jimjilbang was a seperate thing.

It was my first time at a Korean bath house and it took me a good couple of mintues before I could brave myself to strip down in front of a thousand naked Korean women.

They do give you a little towel but it’s not enough to really cover anything.

Inside there are about 5 or 6 different pools and a large “bathing” section. The pools are different temps (from super hot, to medium warm to frigid cold) as well as a “neck shower” (basically water just shoots down on your body) and a jet pool. But the real treat was outside-two hot spring pools-one wooden one and one stone one. It was so cool and I couldn’t help but to wonder what it would have been like if this was winter.

After about an hour or two we got out, and went on to the Abai Village. It is supposedly what Seoul looked like in the 70’s but now is mostly known for 3 things: being a North Korean Refugee Village, Special Abai Sundae, and the filming location of a drama.

Now I did try the Sundae -literally the whole street is lined with Sundae shops- along with fried shrimp. Because Sundae is normally blood sausage I have never eaten it but this sundae is seafood. So I gave it a try-not really my thing but the broth the sundae came in (we got the soup) was delicious.

Afterwards we did the “pull boat’ which was made famous by this drama Song Hye Gyo was in (a long time ago) where you pay 200W (sooooo expensive I know) and cross this little river.  The “captain” pulls the boat along with these hooks and you are more than welcome to help. It takes like ….30 seconds…but it’s a lot of fun and puts you at the other side of the river. I will say-if you are looking to go during weekends or holidays it is a bit of a wait so make sure you are done looking at the Abai Village when you cross.

The other side puts you in a cute little area with coffee shops and gift shops and some more seafood restaraunts. It eventually puts you out across from the Fish Market. (This fish market we tried our first night but my friend doesn’t really like fish and can be a little picky so we didn’t eat there-this however is the place that EXO came during Showtime when Suho and Luhan and Chanyeol went out shopping-you can even find the Hotteok place they ate it-the line is long!)

After the Village we went back and spent some relaxing time on the beach. I guess I’m used to spending a lot of time on the beach so I know to bring a beach towel, sunscreen and a book. Your Korean guesthouse will not have a “beach towel” or even a bath towel for you to really use to lay on. I would suggest bringing your own if you can.

Afterwards my friend and I met up with our other friend went out for dinner and ice cream. It was our last night in Sokcho.

The next day we departed. I went back to the Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride back was equally as beautiful and I took a lot of pictures. We stopped at another cute rest stop that I finally managed to eat those lovely “rest stop potatoes”. Literally they are just baby potatoes cooked in butter and salt…and they are amazing.

But after about the 3rd hour I was ready to get off the bus (and pee). We managed to make it back by the time it was supposed to get back despite all the traffic.

Overall I would love to go back to Sokcho but it won’t happen probably until after the winter because it takes too long for me to get there-I would only have a few hours there.

Transportation: My friend and I didn’t really want to learn the bus system for the few days we were there and we could walk to the beach or CU if we needed. We took cabs to and from Seoraksan , Hot Spring, Fish Market, and Abai Village (as well as my own taxis to and from the other bus terminal). It wasn’t overly expensive the most being 20,000W because we got caught in Seoraksan traffic.

As for traveling to Sokcho. As I mentioned above there are 2 bus terminals. Unless you are traveling from a bigger city like Busan or Seoul, you will be at the Intercity Bus Terminal. The bigger cities are at the Express Bus Terminal. Make sure you know which is which. They are only about a 6 mintue taxi ride apart and the taxis here are always at the stations.

If you are looking to book in advance, ask your co teacher to help you. The websites are in Korean and some of it is hard to navigate. I would suggest this if you are traveling on a holiday. My bus to Sokcho was packed full….my bus back however was not.

Bring some goodies and entertainment-the bus does have a 15-30 min rest stop but you might get hungry or bored.

Food: There are a ton of restaraunts around. The city is famous for “Korean style sushi”. I love seafood but my friend is super picky about her food so we didn’t get to eat much that was local to the town.

Activities:There are just so many things to do. Sure play your Pokemon but then take your head away from your phone and enjoy. You can go hiking Seoraksan (there are so many different things you can do there) or take the cable car for 9000W (I think …maybe it’s 12,000), do the Zip Line, relax in a hot spring, eat, visit Abai Village ,fo the Teddy Bear Farm, relax at the beach…so much to do in Sokcho.

Ok I think that’s all for now. Hopefuly I will remember this for next week! And hopefully I will figure out exactly what I want to do with this blog.

As I have mentioned before i do not edit these because I’m lazy. SO I’m sure there are a ton of grammar and spelling and …whatever else mistakes.

13892369_10206943322401453_8228781406500831065_n

The EXO Concert!! Chanyeol was by my section the most 🙂

 

13901575_10206935898295855_7790165426542553762_n

So full! This was Day 5 of the 6 concerts. My new lightstick and this super cute D.O. fan!

14291916_10207278543181763_6338065309263605824_n

Top: The Temple at the bottom of the hike. I think I read this is the oldest Zen temple in Korea. (Right) A huge Buddha…duh. (Left) The start of the hike-you can see the Ulsanbawi Rock in the far far distance!

14317483_10207278524781303_84577229855510521_n

(Top) In the middle of the horrendous final 1km (Left) some of the rock stairs (Right)…the evil suspended metal stairs from hell

14329884_10207278507620874_7583322359979046196_n

(top) the highest rock is the finish line! (bottom two) view from the halfway point -which isn’t really a halfway point but it was the rest after the “easy to medium hike” with a temple

14317509_10207278570182438_8423818652837868808_n

Top-Mountain Vegetable BiBimBap Bottom-Pajeon that would take 8 people to eat it

14355147_10207278521021209_2612288708424103746_n

View from the top. Sadly it was a cloudy day and you couldn’t see too much.

14322489_10207284606573344_2083041071449844191_n

Abai Village

14329874_10207284608293387_8198415793760482968_n

Abai Village- I don’t fancy myself a photographer…but I find that this shot looks like a professionals 🙂

14317367_10207292535251556_4882639714493964410_n

Mountain photos from the bus ride home-felt very LOTR

14291669_10207278572302491_9013993758570598022_n

This is the cable car-you have to purchase tickets in advance for it.

14322560_10207292536891597_1613941089634023803_n

the 3000W potatoes from heaven

14344729_10207283042374240_232857501267258788_n

this is why I love Sokcho-I don’t have to choose between Mountains or Beach…literally you look to the left you see mountains and to the right you see ocean.

14355128_10207284599373164_4404475120109726148_n

The fried shrimp (delicious) and the sundae soup

14364738_10207270961912236_5119739675855472130_n

Try to swim with all of them staring at you. It was strange.

 

HEY JUDE just SLIDE because it’s SUNDAY MORNING and it is FANTASTIC BABY because wow OH WHAT A NIGHT!

Standard

Your brain is spinning.  Because you have no idea what the hell that title of the post was. I know…it was me trying to be funny…and it might have turned out lame.

As mentioned in the previous post (which was two mintues ago) I wanted to discuss what music actually means to me and my journey through KPOP.

I felt that it didn’t fit in with the teaching and school life and deserved it’s own post.  Plus…that post was getting way too long and I didn’t want to bore you to death.  So if music isn’t your thing or you really don’t want to hear me talk about it because you think I’m lame or you think KPOP is lame…or you think I’m a pyscho fan girl (I”M NOT!!!) , than feel free to skip over this post.

Though I will warn you, you’re pretty much missing out on a post filled with amazingness and my “priceless insight”.

So let’s see..where were we.

Oh yes, how I was “conned” (not really) into spending way more for Dream concert than I initially had planned on…which …was still a hell of a lot of money.

As I have mentioned before I have seen BTOB, BIG BANG and VIXX so far during my stay in Korea.  I know…it’s averaging up to be slightly more than one concert a month….

KPOP

Most recenlty I was able to see BIG BANG’s Made Seoul concert!  It was amazing to finally see them live, not to mention standing so close!

This is going to sound like the most corny thing you have ever heard, but they are indirectly the reason I am sitting at my desk in Korea….and not America….First KPOP LOVE! See…corny?

In September/October of 2013 I had been introduced through a new co worker who at the time I was still getting used to.  Remember last post when i said I had been unhappy with having a loud crazy roommate but it got better?

Well it was kind of the same thing.  I was shy…quiet…awkward…..I know, through reading these posts you’re probably like “WTF” but that’s because I’ve always been able to express my feelings and thoughts better through writing…so I don’t have to say them out loud.

I had gotten stuck on the night shift because I was the “newbie” and I got stuck with my co worker D (I don’t want to use real names here and I really don’t want to have to type them out because I’m lazy).

Now we got along well and I wanted to seem “friendly” so I watched a few videos with her when we had no clients (DOG GROOMERS!!!!!) and slowly I would youtube a song here or there.

We watched MV’s (almost all of which I would come to watch later and be all excited about) Lee Joon ripping his pants (please youtube this if you haven’t) and a lot of other stuff I don’t really remember.

But it wasn’t until she and our other co worker who happens to be from Busan said to watch “G Dragon’s Crayon” MV.

What the hell were they thinking?

Not only had I been scarred by SHINEE Lucifier the first time I had ever seen KPOP, but that could have put me off of it altogether.

God only knows how I got past the crack that video is and actually liked the beat of the song.  Then I researched further finding out he was in a band…and there were 5 of them.

At that time my BFF and I had been very into 1D (are you seeing a pattern here?).  But….things went down hill after I found out that Big Bang had a ton of songs, were huge ,and most importantly were not your stereotypical Asian men.

They weren’t all flower boys, nor nerds….and that was what started everything. They were flat out attractive. Yes, now I can even appreciate Daesung’s “country look”.

Now some introspective shit: language barriers
Having been trained as a classical soprano I was used to not understanding what I was singng: Latin, Italian, French…..RUSSIAN? (that was the worst). But there is something about music where you don’t need to understand what is being said.

Now don’t get me wrong, lyrics can make or break a song for most people, however for me, I am more attuned to the music itself. I think that’s the reason why I am more open to listening to different genres of music and generally liking them than most people.

I had previously gotten into Reggaetone (Spanish rap kinda ) and most of the time I didn’t know what they were saying (i am glad to say my spanish has improved!)  but it didn’t really matter.  I could have been singing along to a song about monkey butts, but at least it sounded good.

So the jump to KPOP should not have come as the big surprise that it did.

Big Bang was really the catapault for everything else that followed: korean food, language, dramas.

As strange as this sounds, I owe them a lot. Not only opening up to Korean Pop culture, but learning to appreciate and be proud of my own ethnicity-something I have tried to suppress most of my life.

I think my Big Bang kick (what my BFF and I call use instead of obsession because it sounds a lot better a lot less sad) lasted the longest.

After that expericnng I expiernced my first introduction to a new KPOP band.  I don’t know if there is a term for it but I would like to label it as exhausting. First you have to learn all fo their names (which if there is move than 7 I automatically say no) and then one of the harder parts, all of their vocal tones (i think I have a decent ear but when the popular vocal tone in korea is nasally and they all seem to have it + autotune) , and then personalites…well it’s a lot.  And it happened with BLOCK B.

BLOCK B was also the first KPOP concert I had ever attended..

Block B had a different sound to them-more harsh? When I learned they started out as a hip hop group it all made sense.  For me what got me hooked was the song “Tell Them”.  While it had that “hip hop” sound, the bridge changed the entire feeling of the song and shifted into the chorus for full on pop. It actually remained my favorite KPOP song up until recently (so almost made it a full year!)

And then… there was the beautiful vocals of the main singer.  Big Bang’s Daesung has a nice tone and he’s gotten a lot better than he used to, but he doesn’t have the chance to sing a lot.

But Taeil had a voice that I hadn’t heard really in KPOP up until that point-a nice full tone with a bit of soul and power.  Not to mention his large range. I fell in love with his voice and to this day is one of my favorites.  Block B is still one of the bands where I can listen to all of their music and not want to skip over any songs.  It’s strange that happens in general for me, but especally for KPOP.

Insightful time: vocals
In general the type of voices that really get to me are full, soulful and powerful voices with a tone that is unique. I think there are a lot of good singers out there but those who have the power to transcend langauge barriers, and bad songs with their emotion are hard to find. It’s amazing what a well written song can do, but when you feel the emotion and heart a singer puts into their music, it really can make you feel like you are living their words/or the melody of the song.
We all like different vocal tones, and what appeals to us. Sometimes when I hear that my friend thinks this person has the most perfect voice, and I don’t get it…it makes me believe that voices are just like personalites and looks (as shallow as that is) and anything else. It’s something that is unique to us. And that’s cool to think about.

From Block B I moved onto BEAST.

Now the situation with BEAST is a funny one, and acutally happens twice.  My BFF went through a 2PM phase where we had arguements about Chansung (still think he’s ugly…) so I went back and tried to get into them.  I thought I was missing something…but it backfired and I wound up getting into BEAST instead.  They were on an episode of running man togheter…and it just didn’t work out how I had planned.

What really impressed me and still does is their ability to not only sing and dance well-I wouldn’t say there aren’t any weak memebers- but they do it live and it’s amazing!  Yoseob has one of the most consistent and well controlled voices I think.  Now while I do love his unique (weird) tone it is a little thin and slightly nasally.

This might sound weird, but BEAST was kind of another stepping point for KPOP for me.  It was the first time that I saw a band perform so well without a track under and all dance well.  Not to mention that I had discovered them right as they were promoting “Good Luck” which is just flat out amazing.  I think BEAST made me hold KPOP as a whole to a higher standard of performing live and abilites.

Insightfullness time again! : Bonds of Friendship
BFF did not want to get into BEAST. But I forced her and she is now happy I did. Its amazing what the simple power of friendship can do through music. WE’ve always traded back and forth hobbies, likes etc. and even shared some.(Deadliest catch, baseball, soccer, Muse) But the true test of friendship…was getting her into KPOP as whole. Because for a while I didn’t think it was going to happen. Baseball had been hard enough.
But then again..I know her so well all I did was drop a song that had a booming bass and that was the end of it.
Music is something that she and I share and while our tastes might be different, it is something we can give and share with each other. And I think that is a speical thing. Because not only do you get awesome new music, but it’s a speical bond.

Right as I was getting ready to head to Korea, I had decided I should try to like Infinite.  I don’t know why, or what made me think I should look into them but I did…..and I wound up fnding BTOB instead.

What was really intersting about finding BTOB was the fact that it was in the same company as BEAST and 4 mintue so I wasn’t moving to another label.  And a lot BTOB vidoes had them interacting with BEAST.

As mentioned what I like about BEAST was their ability to perform live and not have an obvious weak member, what I really liked about BTOB was their ability to do that….and even sing together!

I know it sounds bizarre- but you if listen/watch to most KPOP, members usually sing alone. They don’t sing togher…even in the chorus which I found to be strange.  But BTOB did so it made them really unique to me-and apprciate that their singers blended well and could actually harmonize.

Unlike with both Block B and BEAST,  I loved both the rapping and vocals  of BTOB .  Ilhoon has a great tone, though some say he sounds like Junhyung of BEAST , and while Chansub has a really nice , for me Eunkwang has one of those voices that is a stand out. As an entire unit they work really well together…even is Peniel’s Korean is not that great.

Insightfulness: alone

While music can be a wonderful thing when you share it with friends, it can be a little isolating at times. With BTOB I was kind of alone. With the BFF in China I couldn’t force her to watch vidoes like I had been doing prior. *evil*

Have you ever had a song where you are so moved by it but no one else gets why? That’s what BTOB kind of felt like. And it was lonely but at the same time it was something just for me.

I am a huge classical music fan. And most of my friends, while they like it here or there, none of them really are moved and filled with the same joy I am when I listen to it. The sound of the bittersweet cello, or intensity of percussion or historical feeling of the harpsichord (i know i ‘m weird) But it’s something that is mine and I don’t need to share with anyone if I don’t want to.

SO what if people don’t understand my love for The Waltz of the Flowers (serisouly that is no joke!)? I love it and sometimes that’s all that matters.

So that brings me to where I am today. VIXX. And one of the main points of music in general.

I hadn’t been in a great place my first month. I was beyond lonely, friendless, tired, insecure, homesick for my parents and especially my dog. I had nothing really going on and didn’t really care. It could have been really dangerous-I could have gone into a bad place but I forced myself to head up to Seoul for the concert.

That weekend not only did I find out about VIXX but a lot about myself.

I think I am pretty good at public transportaion and I’m not really afraid of it-living 4 years in Philly will do that.
But this is not the simple Philly grid system. And it’s not in English. Sure I was panicking the entire time and was so nervous but making it through the weekend alone with just a metro map (while apps are great there is no substitue for a map) made me realize “I can do this.” and not just the metro but life here in Korea.

Being Seoul seemed to automatically clear up any fears or doubts.
Seeing my friend W was also the best. She had been my biggest supporter the entire applicatoin process aaside from my parents, so to finally see her in Korea was a nice feeling.

As mentioend I had not wanted to go to the cnocert really. But I wanted to see my friend and seoul as well.

This is how it went down:

Before the concert: I don’t really want to be here. I want to go to BTOB next weekend more!

1st Song: this isn’t going to be fun. I know nothing and don’t really like the song.

Middle: this is kind of great. and amazing.

Final song: it’s over? but wait! why didn’t I pay attention earlier?!?!

After: …….*replay the only Vixx song on iPod*

To borrow the amazing show “avatar the last airbenders” opening intro “Beast. BTOB, Block B, Big Bang. Long ago the four bands lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when Vixx attacked and kind of jacked everything up.”

I won’t go into detail about how they are all awesome dancers (even Ken isn’t that bad) and can sing, and do it all live, and sing together-it’s like all the individual things that made the other groups amazing was put into one group…and it was amazing. Being in Seoul had lifted my spirits but the concert really made me realize that there is no use sitting alone in my apartment and not exploring what was around me.

From that weekend on, I have yet to spend one full weekend in my apartment or small town. And I love that.

Insightfullness:
It’s amazing how a song can bring back a feeling or memory-painful or happy. They say smell is the strongest trigger of memory-for me its songs or sounds. If I hear a melody and I can’t place it I usually will go crazy and even look for it until I find it.

Goo Goo Dolls came to me in one of the darkest moments of my life. When my 20 month old puppy died of cancer (on my birthday….yeah) they got me through it. John Rzeznik’s genuis lyrics and melodies were able to heal me and while when I do hear those songs and think of the painful time I’m also able to remember how I got through it.

The Beatles remind me of my college years-how much I did love them and all the friends I’ve made, my two bff’s in particular- before my bff S had not been as close to my other bff T at the time, but the three of us bonded over the beatles to the point we all took a midweek spontanious road trip to NYC for the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Even though we are in different countires, seperated by time zones, we are still able to have those memories though those songs.

I think the reason I got into VIXX so quick was because it was during that time, both the weekend and the concert itself, that I was able to get back on track, and fully appreciate being in Korea, and starting this new chapter away from home. Also, the distraction helped out with homesickness. While I do get homesick occationally and cry at night, it is not frequent. This a band that somehow pulled me away from what could have been a very very dangerous place, and in a weird way I do owe it to my friend W and Vixx as stupid as that might sound.

W and I were having this conversation via text: KPOP is like any other music. it doesn’t matter if the lyrics are stupid, or if the MV is over the top (which most of them are)-if it means something to you than that is all that matters. If it helped you out during a bad time or reminds you of happier times, than you shouldn’t be concered about anyone elses opinion.

And this goes for all music. Not just the negative KPOP sterotype (which is stupid). If that an aria in madam butterfuly is speical to you, or you are hooked on aerosmith’s don’t want to miss a thing (looking at you S bff) or if you love teen top because they make you cry (sorry W) then music did it’s job. It transcended words, language, and got into your soul-and after all isn’t that what music is all about?