Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pizza originated in Korea?

After showing Hyunwoo형 a video made by Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and ibuzzkorea regarding the 'disputed' origin of idol groups in Korea, he sent me a link of a video showing the "True Origins of Pizza." He said KTO and ibuzzkorea's video is similar to a pizza commercial. And true enough! haha ^^ Apparently, Mr.Pizza (a South Korean pizza chain) had this commercial showing the origin of pizza is indeed.....tadah Korea! But, as I mentioned, the video is an advertisement. As a media studies student, I think I've found something interesting to research. hehe And I have to say, the video is funny, brilliant and extremely creative.

You can check the KTO and ibuuzzkorea video  HERE.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Banana Talk on Olive TV's Tasty Road ^^

My bestfriend Kwanpil will be introducing his restaurant/coffee shop/bar called BANANA TALK tomorrow March 31st, on Olive TV's program Tasty Road3 at 12 noon and replay at 11 in the evening.  

I've already featured Kwanpil on the Power Korean section of my blog and also his store, so if you haven't read it please check it out.  The show will be introducing Banana Talk (menu, specialties, the name, the flower boy crew etc).  
I personally like Banana Talk's Kimchi Fried Rice and Banana Waffle. Just thinking of it makes me crave for it. (drools* hahaha) The store is kinda popular because of the tasty food it serves, the good ambiance, strong wifi kk and the flower boy owner and waiters. Haha. So if you visit Korea, make sure you drop by here!
The show is hosted by two beautiful and hot Korean celebrities ^^ Park Sujin and Kim Seong Eun ^^

Were there idol groups 600 years ago?

ibuzzkorea and Korea Tourism Organization(KTO) just came out with this "documentary" stating that there were already idol groups 600 years ago.  It says the names of the group even resemble to that of 2PM and missA! Oh by the way, 2PM and miss A are the official ambassadors of KTO too. LOL

What do you think? ^^ Here's the video ^^

You can visit ibuzzkorea too and leave your comments. It appears to be another exciting event prepared for K-Pop fans out there ^^ so make sure you visit, leave comments and enjoy! ^^

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Love MCountdown mission!

Here's another event prepared by MCountdown only for awesome K-Pop fans out there ^^ This is for the upcoming Hello Japan special next month.

Prizes: 3 signed CDs (2AM, missA, FT Island) 2 Hello Japan tickets for  4 people ^^

What to do:
Just make a K-Pop cover song or dance video. At the start of the video you'll have to say 'I Love MCountdown!'

Deadline: April 12th, 2012

Click the link below for more details ^^

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Make your own K-Pop Easter eggs and win prizes!

Just read this interesting event by K-Colors perfect for the Easter Sunday and for K-Pop fans! It's very easy to enter so make sure you join ^^
K-Pop Easter / K-Pop Ostern 
Period: March 3 - April 3

Prizes: Block B – New Kids on the Block, MBLAQ – Mona Lisa, 4Minute – Huh, Mary Stayed Out All Night (Ost), SM The Ballad, Kara – Revolution2 

What to do: Create Kpop Easter eggs! There are no limits to your creativity. You guys can paint them, paste up with something, arrange it nicely whatever comes to your mind. The most important thing is that we can still recognize that it’s an Easter egg. When you are done just send a picture of your piece.
Among all pictures which have been sent in we will choose our top 3- you will be notified around April 15 and you will be able to choose your prize (starting from 1st place). The winners for the remaining 3 CDs will be drawn from the rest of the entries.
Your pictures will be published in our issue in April as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows who will be able to see them?
For all those who do not have a clue how this is supposed to look like we uploaded two pictures (does not have to look like the pictures- these are just examples)

Summary: Create your easter egg, send in 1-3 pictures, win a CD

You are allowed to send in more than just one design but no more than 3.

All entries should be sent to: (Keyword “K-pop Ostern”)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Issue 101: On Sasaeng Fans

I think more and more K-Pop international fans are voicing their worries on the issue regarding sasaeng fans. I'll be writing an entry about my experiences with sasaeng fans from a foreigner reporter's perspective. I think international fans who are in Korea have different experiences too.

Origin of the word
Coming from the Korean word sasaenghwal (사생활- privacy/private life) and fans. Just like English, Koreans are fond of shortening long words and titles so it became sasaeng+fans= sasaeng fans. Literally it would mean fans who invade private lives (personal, family...everything) of the celebrities they "idolized."
Here's a short documentary by tvN-ENews.

Where do you see them?
Of course there are no labels that say we are sasaeng fans and we are 'normal' fans, you just feel and see them, I guess. Basically, they are always present in almost if not all events of their idols. And from what I observed they target locations where celebrity vans pass. Sometimes when I do interviews at the entertainment company's office or hair and beauty shops, it's common to see sasaeng fans in groups or even alone waiting outside these buildings.

What do you think of them?
Well, I think sasaeng fans have grades or levels too. Some sasaeng fans are relatively 'harmless' while some are going extreme. Remember this is from a point of view of a reporter not a celebrity. I've seen many of them already but they've never really hurt or even asked me what I did inside the hair shop or the entertainment company when I finish an interview. I've talked to some of them before in a concert and they were just concentrated on what their idols are doing and they didn't even mind me. hahaha. Although there was one case where a fan of my friend who's an actor sent me scary tweets, which led me to block him/her and even made me unfollowed my friend too. And, by the way, believe it or not, I think there are also international fans who are sasaeng fans or who would qualify as sasaeng fans themselves. Afterall, there is no formal organization that declares you a sasaeng fan.
Anyway, to continue, I also remember one group I interviewed before told me a story that they have fans waiting outside their dorm almost all the time even overnight. After a show, these fans usually follow them up to their dorms. I think most celebrities are already used to this kind of lifestyle and that they have "countermeasures" prepared already. Even trainees have sasaeng fans already, so somehow, they are already quite familiar with this kind of lifestyle. However, I definitely say that the JYJ-TVXQ thing is really an extreme account of a sasaeng fan case. The urine, poop, underwear, menstruation blood, duplication of door keys, trespassing when the idols are out or inside sleeping and more!  This is plain stalking and insane!
In the "Korean fan culture or tradition" if we view it in the market perspective, sasaeng fans occupy a spot that could somehow signify an idol group's popularity. It's like "the more sasaeng fans the more popular the group is." According to the interview made by KBS with a sasaeng fan, popular groups have hundreds to thousand sasaeng fans. Probably like paparazzi versions but ala Korean style. They could create controversial stories and probably make stars gain attention or could also lead to failure of their careers.
Anyway, I feel sad about this issue. Sasaeng fans don't just take private lives of these celebrities, they are also making their own lives suffer. What's gonna happen to them in the future if they keep on doing these things. Something should be done to stop this.
Fandom is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to unite people who share the same fandom/s regardless of age or which area you come from.

Note: the video above mentioned about international fans. Recently, more and more TV programs, concerts, events are inviting international fans to be part of the audience. That is why, SOMETIMES, compared to Korean fans, international fans are prioritized. I've heard many Korean fans don't like it. Not just sasaeng fans. I've heard some of them saying it's unfair and that it's weird because they themselves in their own country could not see their celebrities because of the international fans etc. I am not sure if there are incidents already where an international fan got attacked but I hope it's not gonna happen. If you happen to be reading this please don't be scared. ^^ There are many Korean fans who are really nice and sweet too. They'd even help you with the process and all. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

K-Pop Managers, Stylists and all that jazz!

I've been out of the blogging world for quite some time since there's just too much on my plate. Whew! Anyway, from now on, I think I'll be sharing more stories about my experiences as an entertainment reporter here in Korea and as a friend of some celebrities (ehem kkk). Even if I wasn't so active I received many e-mails from many readers and one question that's been asked many times, is about the idol managers and stylists.

I'm not sure if they're serious but some K-Pop fans expressed their interests in working as managers or stylists, so let me try to explain. 

Who are they?
Managers and stylists in other words could be like "personal assistants" of the celebrities. Usually managers are males. Being able to drive a van is basic and you have to be physically strong to "protect" the celebs who are under you. They usually have the same fashion, I'd say comfortable fashion, and they usually carry car keys and recording gadgets like iPad, smartphones, small camera etc. for them to record the performances of the idols. Idols especially the new ones are very eager to see how they'd do on stage. 
Stylists on the other hand are usually females. Basic requirement is knowhow on make-up and a 'sense' of fashion. You don't have to be a make-up expert, at least you know how to retouch (I'm guessing the right word haha) because make-up is usually done hours before an event in a superduper expensive hair and beauty shops, usually in Cheongdam area. I don't know but if you're a star in Korea, you should have your make-up and hair done in Cheongdam area or else you'd look cheap or whatever. (FYI, Cheongdam is a high-end place in Seoul where you could find a lot of entertainment companies. I'll probably write another entry for this). So going back, stylists are also in-charge with the outfits. Aside from make-up kits, they usually carry a lot of clothes with them. Depending on the celebrity, some stylists are given the freedom to just impose on which outfits to wear while some discuss it with the stars or even the company. 

Based on my observation, they are quite young, almost the same age with the idols or a bit older and they also have the same fashion, make-up style and even hairstyle. So it's very easy to know which ones which. Many fans envy them because stylists (depending on the celeb) can literally see (and touch) almost everything.  Because aside from make-up retouch, they help the idols change clothes, wipe sweat etc. I said depending on the celebrity. I personally know many of them and personally witness a lot backstage. Of course they are expected to be professional. As far as I know, many of them were fans before too. If you decide to become a stylist, you are at least expected to stop fandoming and concentrate on your work. 

How do they get the job and what are the benefits.
Just like any other jobs out there, there are also many ways to get this job. Of course one way is to submit your application directly to the entertainment companies but as far as I know, most of them got their jobs through connections. By connections I mean they were referred by fellow managers and stylists. They usually know each other. The pay is not that good (as far as I know) but once your celebrity gets famous, you'll get a chance to travel with them to different places, all for free. Of course they get to meet many celebrities but since it's given in this line of work, I'd never really consider that as a benefit. Just imagine the ones working for the idols who are having world concerts these days. 

So what do you think of them?
I think, they play a very important role in the success of these celebrities. They have to deal with the fans, schedule, reporters etc. and they need to have a flexible time. Of course it depends on how busy the star is. Working as an entertainment reporter, I've experience some frustrating things in dealing with these managers. Managers know if their stars are famous or not. So usually, managers of rookie groups are really kind. But there are also some who are not. Especially those who think that the idols they're handling are already popular. If you're from a "lowly" media agency, chances are they're not gonna mind you. You give them your business card but they're not gonna give back theirs. They'd tell you they left it in the car or they ran out of cards etc. But they'd do other way if you're representing a big and influential media agency. I guess no need to explain further.  Of course there are very kind managers too.
For me, I think managers have to be smart enough to understand what's going on in the business. Most of them are not aware of how foreigners get all the information about their stars. And many of them still don't know the potential of fans abroad in making their stars famous and more "powerful" so this is actually what I'm trying to change here. 

Prince managers and princess stylists
You've probably seen non celebs with your favorite idols who are equally good looking as them. One famous example is the prince manager of Super Junior. Actually there are many! To name a few that you could probably stalk (hahaha) are 4Minute, MBLAQ, B2ST, TeenTop, CHAOS, N:SONIC, Block B, IU, Lee Seunggi, Yoo Ah In's and more. And I personally think MBLAQ has one really pretty stylist ^^;; One would wonder why, well they could also be aspiring celebs but decided or for the meantime wants to get exposure in the showbiz world through this kind of job. 

If you have more questions please leave a comment below.

Photos: Managers of B2ST, IU, Super Junior, Teen Top, MBLAQ, 4Minute