Day of epic proportions in my personal life

Today’s random post is brought to you by Kim Joe Jang of Cassies-fame.

So I tend to not like to mention things about my personal life here aside from the occasional sarcastic comment or picture or mini-rant, but today was just ridiculous in the amount of, well, ridiculousness that has happened in my life – and of course I mean awesome ridiculousness. Kpop related ones. Wut.

I spontaneously attend a KSA meeting so I can get fed ramen and because I am friends with the secretary, and can thus bribe my way into getting food without paying dues 😛 For the first time ever I was jamming to music I can’t normally jam to in public locations, and I realized I have learned the Soom dance. Too many YG songs, though. Try to Copy Me was played at least twice and there were no new songs aside from Soom. I almost volunteered my iPod *eyeroll*

Sidetracked my bioengineering friend with Kpop video watching. She is lesbian, got a huge kick out of AKB48’s Heavy Rotation PV, and I learned she has a massive crush on f(x)’s Amber (she was upset after I told her Amber is currently AWOL). I am corrupting more students’ lives with awesome irrelevance. I then proceeded to confuse her thoroughly by contrasting Mister/Pretty Girl/Lupin Kara and Genie/Kissing You/Run Devil Run SNSD. Yep, even she was mindfucked about the concept changes (after Lupin, “…were these the same girls…? I recognized the HBIC though, the one they dance circles around in that ass-shake dance?”). CLASSIC.

Had a nice heart-to-heart with a friend, where I was given questionable looking but tasty Korean supplements and was taught the proper usage of the expression, “hyul.” Apparently I’m going to have to shove someone down the stairs and then try this. I have the pronunciation down pat, though (lol, it’s only one syllable, BUT I SOUND LIKE A NATIVE OK???).

…did you know I had a dream featuring G-Dragon plus Big Bang, once? I had to fill in for TOP’s rap in Haru Haru, only to miserably fail. And I talked to G-Dragon like a normal person and learned that OMG he was a really cool dude – very normal, easy to talk to, and cool. IT WAS SO REALISTIC and I think this is my privileged insight into his true mind, so this is how I will see him from the future :DDD /cray cray cray

I watched WGM as we were returning from our ecology lab field trip (but did not download Adams couple this week FML).

I honestly think this is like compensation for me blowing the past couple of exams. Not quite sure yet whether this is good or bad news…

This seriously belongs in elsewhere, but…I’m too tired to be logical.

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I’ll be listening to this a lot next week…

Credit: MiChiVisualeuse

Wait until you YouTube muddy cult. Be warned! That MV was a little too visceral for my taste. But Nega’s bipolar musical quality contrasting haunting guitar lines plus piano with suicidal screamo is so soul-wrenching and precious for some reason. Plus, this will make for perfect emo-music as I hit the library for physics tomorrow. Some Kara Rollin’ would so not fit the mood (aka I HATE PHYSICS GO DIE NOW).

Remember that I came upon Kpop from J-rock. I honestly had no interest in music beyond classical and my orchestra/band repertoire until I happened upon a certain J-rock band called Nightmare, and from then on my life became so musically rich, from the current radio pop to underground indie to Brit rock to Swedish metal, and yes, even High School Musical for a week (after which I was so traumatized I don’t even give Glee a chance). I even started singing again, and all was happy and flowers. For some reason, Jpop was never my jam, but I kept on seeing videos of J-rock vs. K-rock and, naturally, J-pop vs. Kpop videos. I’m pretty sure my first Kpop videos were of DBSK, Suju, and the like, but for the longest time I thought boy bands were in general ridiculous.

The first Kpop video that really stuck to me was this, of all things.

Credit: hazerxx

Impression 1: what kind of name was SS501? I just finished the WWII portion of my history course then, and the SS
Waffen definitely came to mind…

Impression 2: o.O wow the dancing was really synchronized. And the guys were kind of attractive.

Then came the Brown Eyed Girls (Abracadabra got me in, but it was their first two albums that made me stay), then Ring Ding Dong, then 2pm, 2NE1, and my life was over. When I started watching 2NE1TV 24 hours before my chem final…er, let’s just say I am extremely grateful for my grades. That was on top of the WGM I was already watching (but thankfully before I found sites with updated subs, so I only had 16 episodes to work with), and once summer started I watched every SNSD variety show in two weeks. The excessiveness burned out really quickly, though, so now I am grateful to have Kpop as a good diversion to keep the equilibrium of my day.

I’m excited to return to normal blogging soon. I am a 2NE1 and Japan Invasion review behind, plus Beast is coming back next week. Look out for a September Top 5 post, first. I still need to get two midterms over with, though, and schedule out 15 hours of mandatory volunteering, all for next week. Organic chemistry went surprisingly well, so I’m comforted (probably false hope >.<) that my hardest course is manageable with some efficient studying. For all you students out there, don't forget to hit the books! It's all about the self-discipline.

Gif of the Day

This made me lol.

Fany’s fail!acting ❤
Congrats on the 45k sales, girls. They will rank pretty well on the monthly Oricon (I expect around #10 +/- 5 or so) and I really think they will be able to break 100k in a month, and if not, at least 85k+. More money for their pockets.

SNSD + Photoshop = Oil in Water

Can we just discuss that the hell is going on recently with the SNSD photoshoots?

Usually I don’t pay attention much to idol photoshoots – they look pretty on stage, so I assume they will look pretty on magazines, and I mostly check them out for some eye candy or pick up some hair styling ideals/drool over the shoes. Before we get to the SNSD disaster, let me present some good examples of recent photoshoots.

Kara and miss A+Kim Bum had recent shoots for ASK and Edwin, respectively, and though I’m very eh about the super heavy makeup for Kara’s shoot, I got to hand it to Goo Hara – she’s a very photogenic girl, and I rarely see bad pictures of her in shoots. The miss A shoot was fun and funky, and Suzy establishes my previous prediction here that she’s miss A’s poster girl (though I think Min is also very photogenic, just a bit on the short side but who cares).

Now, while I realize the two newest pictures of SNSD that were released were an album cover and a Cosmopolitan (of all things) cover, it still did not excuse the horrible combination of wardrobe choices/photoshopping – in fact, for an album cover that will define the face of SNSD to the public of Japan for their first debut, you’d think they would take even more care?

Here’s the Japan debut single, SNSD’s Genie, album cover.

When I first saw this, I honestly thought it was for a shoot – where did the marine outfits go? But I’m over that considering they (or at least from the waist up) look great. However, I know they are getting promoted as “leggy idols,” but the width of their thighs have been reduced to sizes not physically capable of supporting their upper body mass – Hyoyeon’s legs are not the same size as Sooyoungs, and I swear even SooSica’s legs were “trimmed.” And let’s not even mention the uniform skin color and height. And Yuri’s hair needs more RDR-style poof.

One good thing I noticed about this shoot is that, finally, Hyoyeon’s getting styled well again. I’m sure we all remember this mess.
.
I never quite liked her hair on shows, performances, ads, whatever, since the ITNW days, where she rocked that fierce blond almost well as Jessica. Glad UMJ/SM finally got the message that fierce works well for this girl.

Next, we have the special, 10th anniversary Cosmo shoot.

I want to burn most of their dresses. Ignoring what Taeyeon has written next to her, is it just me, or does her arm look twisted around, as if someone shopped her face onto the back of the head? And why are the nine members’ images layered on top of each other in such a nonprofessional way? Can we make the shadows cast look at least a bit more natural? This is such a facepalm moment for all PS users out there.

On the other hand, I’d like to point out that this is the reason Yoona is the center – she knows what she’s doing, and in this disastrous piece, she stands out with her poise (even if her dress is…no). For me, only Yoona and Sooyoung look great, Seohyun, Yuri and Hyoyeon look good, Taeyeon arms <!–3, Jessica, your facial position </3, and Sunny and Tiffany not getting the message that they were going for the happy look. </3

Meanwhile, this is how you should rock the Cosmo cover, Hyori-style. But she needs to stop with the push-up bras every single time, though. Just saying.

Lastly, YG baby, Yang Yoo Jin, is the most adorable thing on earth. I spazz everytime I see her picture. Sooo cuuteeeeee. I love Asian babies.

Japan, here we come!

So I’ve been waiting to write this article, and now that SNSD has finally announced that their debut single will be Genie, I can finally settle in and put in my two cents on the girl groups in Japan situation.

As you know, this summer/fall has marked Kpop’s girl groups’ inevitable migration into the land of the rising sun, which was bound to happen sooner or later after the success of their boy group sunbaes as DBSK and Big Bang. I’m actually surprised no one made the move sooner (other than the Grace, but that’s something I’ll cry about another time T__T). 4minute, Kara, and SNSD will lead the charge into Japan. 4minute has already debuted their single I My Me Mine and has traveled back and forth from Korea and Japan to perform on music shows; Kara will be releasing their Mister single August 11th and has performed their first show on Music Japan this past week; SNSD will be having a showcase August something and releasing their Genie single in September. In other words, three of the top Korean girl groups will be debuting in a very close period of time with translated versions of old, hit singles (minus IMMM which is relatively new).

One reason I waited to comment until now was because I seriously anticipated that SNSD will be debuting in Japan with an original, Japanese single, and past precedents set by DBSK and BoA gave possibilities of that happening. However, SM has completely changed their tactics regarding the marketing of their artists in Japan–first it was the change in label from Avex to UMJ, which I personally think is a good move since Avex has always been cheap on promotions, and second with the Genie single. I’m a little disappointed, admittedly, but I’m not overly surprised.

Things are changing, boys and girls. Through my extensive forum stalking, I’ve read lots of comments along the lines of “omg, XXX is going to go to Japan and fail, and I hope they disappear.” Obviously the work of antis, but it paints a rather accurate picture of the hopes of haters and the worst nightmare of fans. However, such a scenario happening to 4SoKa (ok I’m going to leave the abbreviation as that) will be near impossibility.

Does anyone realize how much companies are holding the hands of these groups and looking out for them? Take SM–contrasting their treatment of throwing the Grace into Japan while their fanbase in Korea was just growing, leading to abysmal overseas failure and their virtual disappearance from the Kpop map, they have now gone to pouring everything into the successful promotion of SNSD even before they land in Japan. Heck, they even did an entire photobook in Japan, and trust me, it was not just for the view.

SNSD has built up their fanbase these past three years to where I’m stupid gawking at the ridiculous gifts Soshified got for their 3rd anniversary. They are at their peak Korea wise, and I think it’s as good as a time as SM could’ve picked for their Japanese debut–honestly, their 2010 songs have not been as strong as the 2009 ones, but the steady sales and mid-year domination just showed that SNSD has reached what I like to call a commercial equilibrium in Korea–it doesn’t matter how fantastic or crappy their music is, it will sell like hotcakes regardless.

What I’m totally confused about is how permanent SM is making this debut seem. The girls have been completely pulled from their shows except for Seohyun, and their recent SendVoice messages made it seem like they aren’t coming back, with lots of “don’t forget us!” and “wait loyally for our return!” sprinkled in. Didn’t they learn from BoA, DBSK, heck even Se7en and WG, that the fanbase will slip if the groups are gone for an extended period of time?

4minute has already started promotions but are still performing on Inkigayo. That could just be that they don’t feel pain, but it doesn’t seem they will stay long term. As an aside, I think Cube is steady winning my vote as managing company of the year, which will make for an awesome future post, not spoiling anything at all. Kara’s already made it clear they’d stay for 20 days only, but 1.) DSP has never been good at planning, or choosing good title songs until 2010, or at giving their artists good living/practicing conditions, now that I get started. However, since they’re now under UMJ’s management, this might be part of an actual plan of a series of waves of promotions, especially since fluent Japanese is apparently no longer a prerequisite in attempting to break into Japan, and the artists would never leave Korea long enough to weaken their presence there, which would be pretty smart.

So let’s quickly digress to the songs. Repackaged Japanese versions of hit songs, I guess, creates more chances the song will be a success if we consider the Korean version a test trial period. Kara’s Mister is a fantastic choice in my opinion–it finally becomes the title song it should have been during Revolution promotions, it has a fantastic butt dance, and translated really nicely into Japanese. Personally I believe it was too early for 4minute to enter Japan, but I can see now that this part of Cube’s larger plan to train their artists to adapt to the international market, so I don’t see current long term promotion.

Lastly, here’s what the CEO of UMJ had to say about promotion plans for Kara/SNSD in Japan:

Universal Music Japan’s CEO Koike Kazuhiko discusses his promotion plan for KARA and SNSD in Weekly Toyo Keizai (A Business Journal).

“They have good looks and great singing abilities. It’s a waste to keep them just in Korea, so they should sell in Japan as well.“ Major record company Universal Music’s CEO Koike Kazuhiko, in addition to being the company president, he praises Korean girl groups KARA and SNSD in this way. He seems confident in giving both of these girls from his company success through full-blown promotions, which will begin this summer.

(omitted)

(Traditionally), for foreign artists to succeed in Japan a moderate level of Japanese skill was essential, unless they were top class artists. However, that’s not really the case now.

Speaking frankly President Koike said, we’ll decide which promotion method to use depending on the artists’ characters. Whether that means mainly doing activities in the Japanese market, or using a similar promotion method to the one we use for artists from Western countries doing activities mainly outside Japan. Discussed above, KARA has looks like Japanese idols and their Japanese songs should be easily accepted. Japanese was studied enough for them to be active in the center of Japan.

He explains that, SNSD and KARA are completely different, their appeal as “real-deal artists” is a profitable plan, and that Japanese ability isn’t really necessary when using the same promotion techniques as western music.

From what I’m inferencing, Kara will be promoted as a Japanese group much like DBSK’s promotion, while SNSD will get more of the western-style “treat them like foreign artists” promotion. Smart since this will prevent the two groups from clashing in the market since they will be labeled differently, but there’s definitely a lot of questions to be asked, like if Kara’s Japanese proficiency is enough for their style of marketing, whether SNSD can have the influence of western artists even if promoted like one, and most importantly if consumers are willing to distinguish these two groups instead of lumping them together as “those two korean groups” (admittedly, they’re lumped together quite often in Korea).

So how will it all play out? To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea. In a sense, the existing Japanese market is an iron curtain–dominant female groups such as MoMu and AKB43904859384 and solo artists like Koda Kumi and Namie Amuro make it hard for newcomers to gain a solid foothold in the market. However, a similar story existed for the guys, where Johnny’s groups (Johnny & Associates is a company that produced Jpop powergroups like Arashi, KAT-KUN, and SMAP) made it nearly impossible for even other Japanese pop groups to survive, let alone foreign acts. But lo and behold, Tohoshinki/DBSK became one of maybe two non-Johnny groups to be able to have consecutive number ones and actually present competition.

Final tidbit of FYI. So SNSD is release their single September 8th…and guess when JYJ is releasing their The…minialbum? Yeah…so just coincidence or revenge? Will this affect CD sales at all? Johnny’s groups usually bring terrible sales to other artists releasing the same week, and Tohoshinki’s been known to outsell them, not to mention this is JYJ’s big return after their Tokyo Dome stint, so no doubt fans are angsty. We’ll see. And that rumored 5 minute long Mister mv complete with story better be hella good. I’ve waited so long.

Thanks to Soshified for the article translation from Weekly Toyo Keizai, a business magazine.

Predictions for the rest of 2010

So with 2010 more than half-ways behind us, I decided to make a little prediction on who’s coming back when.
Red = comeback confirmed, Purple = my guess only

August is going to be a fun month, with Se7en, SHINee, and BoA all actively promoting. I think this will be better than the Rain-Hyori-2pm clash during May (especially since I believe the August contenders are musically a little more standout at this point). T-ara is confirmed for an album (full album? But my prayers are never answered that well…) in September/October. Rainbow will be back September, hopefully with much improvement from Gossip Girl. Both Kahi and Gain have solo activities lined up for September, ironic that it’s yet another Pledis/NegaNetwork clash after Son Dambi/Narsha.

For my predictions, I see a 50/50 chance of 2NE1–rumors are they are already working on choreo/album, but for some reason I don’t feel a comeback. But they have to. So either they’ll come out early, say September or early October at the latest, or not at all.

Will the Wonder Girls return to Korea? Their summer was hella hectic, but I feel 2DT was too rushed and didn’t really make an impact. If they have plans, it’ll not be until 2011. Similarly, I think 2pm is going to be back either really late 2010 or early 2011. However, I feel the 2AM boys will be back in October/November. They only have one mini-album under their belts since debut, so a full album is due.

4minute is done for the year, especially with Japan promotions. MBLAQ is probably also done, but a late 2010 comeback is remotely possible. I feel BEAST will be back in November. They’ve more or less wrapped up overseas promotions and it’s been a while since Shock of the New Era.

I don’t predict anything from the Soshi girls in 2010 since I think they’re the only group preparing to enter Japan seriously (meaning long-term), but SM might have changed strategies after DBSK/BoA, so a late-year mini-album is possible. Big Bang seems to still be promoting in Japan, with their new single Beautiful Hangover soon to be released, so I don’t think we’ll see them until 2011. But do remember T.O.P. was working on an album before he started filming Into the Fire, so expect that to drop late 2010/early 2011 before any Big Bang comebacks.

Kara is sticking around in Japan for only about a month, so I predict they may pop out a mini-album in December (a third album would be nice, too). Some sixth sense (that does not see dead people, tyvm) tells me Brown Eyed Girls will be back in action in December. SIGN was so long ago. UKISS, too, has been missing, since Man Man Hani, so they might return in November/December. After School won’t return as a full group until their last subunit promotes, so it’s 2011 for them. f(x) needs a late year mini-album turnaround, but I just feel SM is semi-giving up.

The New Year will be interesting indeed. By that time, maybe miss A will release a second mini-album! Talk about time and progression–rookies don’t stay rookies for long, do they? Let’s check back on this in 2011 and see how many I got right.

Where to watch subbed WGM and other stuff

So I’m a huge sucker for the MBC show We Got Married, and if you haven’t heard of it before, essentially two Korean celebrities join in a pretend marriage and have to live with each other and do all kinds of missions, creating endless opportunities for hilarity. And whenever the couple starts “skinship” (aka begin holding hands -__-) we the audience giggle and gasp like little elementary schoolers at a magic show.

Most recently the show has been taken over by idols ever after the Adam Couple of Gain and Jo Kwon helped revive season 2 from near death. Now 2 other couples, of SNSD’s Seohyun and CN Blue’s Jung Yonghwa and 2pm’s Nichkhun and f(x)’s Victoria have also entered WGM for an 100% idol-loving couplefest.

It took me forever to locate all the YouTube channels that sub each couple, so I thought I’d at least share what I’ve gathered.

Adams (Gain-Jo Kwon):
snjeung1 has the quickest subs I know of, and has since started hardsubbing so you can download the subs easier. She also subs other BEG related goodies like Heroes.
Kkaplinesubs has, I think, the nicest, most complete translations, plus they upload on Dailymotion so the videos are less likely to be removed! They release slower than most groups, but the product is nice.
And of course, T2ssubs’s WGM channel of lovely 2OneDay subs all your OneDay related needs.

Yongseo (Seohyun-Yonghwa)
Yukiandjudy amaze me with their speed of translating. I am in awe–within 24 hours of live broadcast, they’d be done.
Rundevilrunsubs is a nice project that provides slightly more complete subs.

Khuntoria (Victoria-Nichkhun)
T2ssubs releases Khuntoria before Adam, so this is the fastest access to subbed Khuntoria episodes.
Affxtion (f(x)’s international forum) has also started subbing (and I think they are still doing Invincible Youth), though you need to be a registered member of the forum with 30+ posts to download (YouTube kept on removing their videos).

Keep in mind YouTube channels are constantly banned and new channels are made, so keep updated through their Twitter and I’ll try to update this page should anything change.