Mis in Tokyo

January 17, 2013 § 2 Comments

One of the reasons that I haven’t been writing anything here for quite some time is that, well… I just moved to Tokyo, and am going to stay here until August at least.

While I am definitely physically closer to the kpop industry  operations, as well as in a totally different way than in Sweden often encountering kpop and hallyu in my daily life, I am not mentally as close to it as I usually am. I am busy exploring a very new, very physical world, and I’m having, living, an adventure. My need for escapism looks different, and my head filled with too much other stuff to also harbor a lot of kpop love and worries.

In either case, I went to Shin-Okubo (Tokyo’s Koreatown) today to have lunch with a friend. The streets were filled with hangeul, and the to me so familiar faces of various kpop idols watched me as I passed. For lunch, I had dolsot bibimbap, a really really tasty one, and awesome banchan, and the background music included Dal Shabet’s “있기 없기” and Orange Caramel’s “Lipstick”, and I felt so homely, so familiar, and yet so far away.

/Mis

End of the year, K-pop 2012. Best Track of 2012

January 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Mis knew it from the beginning of course, for Lars it took a bit longer to realize, but the important thing is that we now both know the truth about the best track of the year.

Orange Caramel released their Lipstick full-length album in September and Lipstick was a great single release, Orange Caramel tend to have great single releases, but Lipstick is not our favourite track of the year though. Which one is it?

orangecaramel_lipstick

Though the title may give you a hint of something light, cute and fun, this is not necessarily what it is. Not only at least. There is a slightly spooky feel to the meldoy and it is turning hypnotizing on you after a while. This combined with sweet voices and lyrics that tells the story about love that went bad, makes this track a complete success. There is usually something special happening when Orange Caramel takes the cute concept on, something intriguing if you like.

The track has been played over and over again by both of us and by others close by. For those, like Lars who counts everything carefully in his Itunes library, this track has achieved an all-kill on most played list EVER.

The first track on Orange Caramels full-length Lipstick album is called Bubble Bath and this is OUR best track of the year.

“Why is it still remaining here and there?
No matter how much I erase, you still remain
Like the rain, like the music, please flow out
All of your traces, please be washed away

Bubble by bubble, bubble bubble
You are still there like soap bubbles
Bubble by bubble, after you disappear
I will be clean from hateful you”

The Future is Idol
If you haven’t done it already, check out other End of the year, K-pop 2012 posts here.

Time and the Future

November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m currently taking three courses at my university:

One of them is the Japanese language class I’m taking in preparation for going abroad in January. I have spent some time during the last weeks preparing for the kanji test I have tomorrow. Among the kanji ideograms I have to write is the sign 年, toshi or nen, meaning “year”.

One of them is called Future Studies and Forecasts. I have spent most of the weekend trying to analyze future scenarios, the idea of futures, utopias etc. Today I finally got started on the paper we’ll be handing in next week.

One of them is called Theory of Science and Research Methods. I should probably get started on the final examination part of this, but I haven’t yet.

Today two videos that I have looked forward to were released. One is called 1000年、ずっとそばにいて・・・:

One is called Humanoids, but the lyrics are about the future:

What song will I get for when I start writing the final part for the methods course?

(Also, here I am writing on a blog called The Future is Idol!)

Honestly, I’m a little creeped out by these coincidences.

/Mis

What truly matters

November 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

Kpop has given me a lot of things. It has helped me through recovery from eating disorders. It has given me new, awesome friends. It has provided me with role-models when I have needed to push myself through heavy workloads in school. It has given me incentives to learn not one, but two new languages. It has given me friends all over the world and made me travel far away on my own in a way that I could never previously have imagined. All in all, it has given me a more beautiful outer world. But that is not why I’m in it.

Let me explain.

A common way of defending young nerds’ interest in low-status hobbies is saying that it will lead to something with higher status. Computer games will improve your English and problem solving skills. Manga will let you know “Asia”, which appearantly is the World of the Future. Vampires will give you a sense of community, although this might also be seen as something destructive. Technology will eventuelly make you rich – just look at Bill Gates!

I guess all of this might seem the only way to defend these things against sceptical parents and teachers and classmates, and to encourage children who are ashamed of liking them and feel that they should spend more time on sports, gossiping, or whatever is considered more appropriate for their gender and age. But even so, it is beside the point.

As for me, the indirect effects of kpop are doubtlessly nice to think about when I spend yet another evening doing seemingly pointless things. Scrolling through Tumblr instead of studying. Reading kceleb gossip instead of going out with friends. Missing Girls or whatever show that apparantly is currently what you’re supposed to watch because I’m busy watching kdrama. Especially as I haven’t had a real relationship in years, as that seems to be the true stamp of approval from Life Agency.

But seriously, that is not what matters.  I have said this before, but I’ll say it again – if not else but because I have to remind myself of this every day. The true value is no language skill, no networking, no cross-cultural know-how or future work prospects. The true value cannot be described with terms as achievements or benefits. The point of it all is how it feels. It is about being instantly cheered up from playing that certain song and imagining the awesome video. It is, also, about losing breath and crumbling to pieces over an animated gif. About the excitement of finding the fancam for a performance you have been jealous of. About giving the pillow a beating to let out your embarressment. About getting all giggly just thinking about a certain idol. About the feeling of intense interest talking about them. About crying. It is about worries and joy and love. The other stuff is just there for us to point out when we are questioned.

/Mis

Human After All

November 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the things that interest me the most regarding idols is the building of a persona, the image, the fantasy. But I still like to think about how they all have a body temperature, almost exactly the same as mine. And each of them have a scent that I will probably never know.

But they do. All of them. Inescapably human bodied, no matter their image.

/Mis

Obsessions, now and then

October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I get too tired from worrying about idols, about their psychological and physiological health, about their love lives, about how they feel about what they do, about their economy, about their integrity, about the “race” dynamics between my (Caucasian) way of looking and theirs, about their attitude towards gender and sexuality, about their body image and their views on other bodies than their own, about what would happen if I actually met them, about what will happen if I never meet them, about their view on fans, about their popularity; in short, about idols in general, I sometimes really miss the days when I was just a bored, sad fifteen-year old virgin fangirl with idle hands and a huge obsession with Harry Potter.

No real people. None of the never-ending grown-up reflections that block my way today. Just me and my fiction, fanon and canon.

The following conversation just happened:

Me: Sometimes I wish being a fifteen-year old Harry Potter obsessed. It was so much less complicated.

Lars: You can never have that back.

Me: No. Never.

/Mis

Footnote: BUT I WOULD NEVER EVER GO BACK IN TIME. NEVER. EVER. WOULD I GO BACK THERE AGAIN. NEVER. Because it sucked. But I can still romanticize it afterwards.

Orange Caramel – Bubble Bath

October 21, 2012 § 3 Comments

It’s not always the best songs on an albums that get promoted, which means that they are often missed out by casual listeners. One of these songs is, in my opinion, “Bubble Bath” from Orange Caramel’s first album “Lipstick” that was released about a month ago. This has been one of my most listened songs these past weeks. (Just sit through the first 30 seconds; for some reason the intro isn’t much to write home about.)

~*han bangul han bangul*~~hehe

/Mis

Inside our Heads

October 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

The other day a common friend (a psychology student) of The Future is Idol crew started talking about the lives we live inside our heads and the richness of that life – often, but not always, in contrast to the life we live on the outside. In that moment, Lars and I looked at each other and started laughing out loud, thinking the same thing.

I’ve said it before and I say it again: Kpop is an industry of dreams. Kpop deals in dreams, and dreams is what it sells. Something I find extremely interesting about it, is how it is not an industry based on selling dreams about the buyer, but about someone else. The clothing and make up industry sells dreams about yourself, the person you will become in those particular jeans or shoes or shades of eyeshadow. The furniture industry sells dreams about yourself, telling you that your inside is represented in your home. A lot of the technology industry is based on the want of the buyer to be cool, to have that awesome sound system or at least that hip new phone that everybody are talking about.

But kpop is about dreams about others. We might objectify our idols, and I know a lot of fanspazzing is downright dirty, giving explicit descriptions of what the fan would do were hir idol near, and of course we will fantasize about how it would be to share some kind of romantic vibes with our idols. But the vast majority of kpop fanfiction is about the idols with each other, as is a huge part of fanart. I personally believe that one of the reasons that so many straight fangirls ship their male idols together is that they want to see them in love, but without having to identify or compare with a female character in a world where, unfortunately, gender is expected to be one of the most major parts of one’s personality and the base of especially heterosexual interactions. I often find favorites among the idols I identify with, but have no interest in doing the things that idols do – I don’t want to dance, or sing, or participate in variety shows. It is not the possession of a skill that I want that make me idolize them, no matter how much I can enjoy seeing them perform it. I want to fantasize about them, about what they do, about what they think and who they love. When I buy their music, I’m not buying a dream about whom I could be. I buy a dream about whom they might be.

When I was a teenager, I loved a song called Happy People Never FantasizeBut I no longer think that’s true.

/Mis

An Old Favorite: After School – Because of You

October 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

I started on this long post about To the Beautiful You and letting idols act as a support from the other side of the world. I sometimes tell people that I needed enough time to really immearse in it to get into kpop, but to be quite honest, I also think that I fell so much in love with it because I needed to, during some pretty dark times for me personally.

I have never really gotten that into After School as persons, so I won’t say that they helped me as idols. But one of the first kpop songs that got to me was an After School song. It was winter. On my ipod I had downloaded a bunch of random kpop songs I had found through some compilation I have no idea what it came from; I think I had pretty much just searched for “kpop” on isohunt and downloaded whatever working torrent I found. The buses didn’t run and it was too snowy to ride my bike, so I was walking to school with my heavy bags, running late but too tired to care.

And then this song came on:

As I didn’t yet know any Korean at all, I had a very vague idea of what the song was about. I realized that it was probably a sad song. But it didn’t matter. Because just at that moment,  the sun rose over the treetops. It shone on the completely snow-covered landscape, and into my eyes, and it blinded me.

/Mis

You and I, Goo Jae Hee

September 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is not really that much to say about To the Beautiful You. It’s colorful and pretty and cheesy and I watch it just for fun. As the episodes have gone by, the drama has become pretty different from the Japanese versions, which is nice for me who’s pretty familiar with those. Choi Min Ho is hot when he’s in pain but his childish smile turns me off. Sulli is probably more awesome than the role lets her show (Biased? Who, me?) because let’s face it, the character Goo Jae Hee is pretty annoying. But she’s not so annoying I can’t like her. And yesterday when I went through some old pictures, I realized one of the reasons for that:

Me, fifteen years old!

Goo Jae Hee

I really wish I had found a picture where I was dressed in my schoolboy outfit, including white shirt and tie. But even without the school uniform, I guess it’s not completely impossible to see some reasons for identification with Goo Jae Hee…

/Mis

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