Thursday, 26 December 2013

10 Amazing Years With 동방신기

I've been thinking how I should start and write this blog post. How can I possibly compress in one single entry all the memories of the past ten years? Be it a trial or an achievement, everything that happened makes up for TVXQ and where they stand in the KPOP world.

The boys and the fans have went through some crazy shit. Heck, we've been dubbed as the craziest and most obsessive fandom. The group has some of the wildest (glue poisoning from anti-fans! sasaengs!) and biggest controversies (breakup! hiatus!) in the industry. But it has been ten years since they made their debut, and we're still going strong. And frankly, we have more extremely high moments than lows. There's no stopping TVXQ, and there's no stopping us, fans, from supporting them and seeing them through.

I was excited and nervous for today because it's not just TVXQ's 10th year anniversary, but it also reminds me how I've been a fan for a decade. So excuse me if this post gets a little emotional, because there's no holding back in the emotion when it comes to my boys. I wept a little last night while spamming on Twitter, because it's overwhelming to look back at the roller coaster-like 10 years of my life with them. I'm no longer as obsessive as my 14-year-old self but I still love them with all my heart. I no longer save every picture, vote in every poll, panic at every controversy, and get butt hurt for every criticism thrown at them. But I can still be pretty rabid when it comes to them. I can get overly emotional at times.

It all started with Hug, of course. Wearing cute high uniforms and being obviously nervous, they started their careers as artists who aren't just pure visuals but exuding with talent as well. They started the new era of idol groups that continue to grow even now.

JaeJoong, YooChun, and JunSu may be performing under a different group name now, but it's still the anniversary of their debut. I've always been confused where I stand in this whole debacle, but I can't deny my love for these three after all these years. They're still JYJ from 東方神起 for me. I am an OT5 in the sense that I love the 5, even though I've long accepted that only two people perform under the name of DBSK now. The magic they created with their music is undeniable. Their ballad, a capellas, and SMPs are what made me the fangirl that I am right now. I can't settle for any less.

No words can express how thankful I am. I was just a kid when I first met them, and I'm now a working adult. I grew up with them, and I can't imagine them occupying a smaller space in my heart. Or even imagine any other group replacing them. A part of who I am as a person, and not just as a fan, was greatly influenced of all the life lessons I acquired from being a TVXQ fan. Because I don't just learn from them as artists, but also as individuals with really amazing virtues.

They were the ones who got me through high school, when I wanted to quit school and when no one believed in my passion (writing!). They were the ones who cheered me up in college when I was stressed from all the schoolwork. They are the ones who give me strength when I'm tired of working. They're the constant reminder that hard work pays off. And everytime they mention Cassiopeia, I have this delusion that they're directly talking  to me. I know that when they say Cassiopeia, they mean each and every fan.
"We still have parts that are lacking but when we see Cassiopeia and others who love us, cheer for us we gain a lot of strength."

- ChangMin (October 14, 2006)
But today, I specially thank YunHo and ChangMin for continuing the name of TVXQ. When they made their comeback as a duo, they gave Cassies everywhere so much hope. They had bigger shoes to fill and a bigger space to occupy. They carried so much weight in their shoulders, but they carried it so well for us. Thank you for making me so proud everytime you stand on stage.

CassPH said it well. YH and CM made TVXQ our home, where fans and JYJ alike can come back anytime. I'm actually one of the returning fans. (I came back when they came back.) It was only made possible because YH and CM made the decision to stay and to come back as the kings. They had so much to prove, and they also proved every criticism wrong. So thank you. Thank you for being our rock in this sometimes displeasing and chaotic fandom.

Cassiopeia is still a mess, but today, we all stand together to celebrate a milestone. We have reached ten years, and I have no reason to doubt that we can reach a decade or so more. You're only starting, and for the next few years, I believe that you guys will continue to grow as artists and masters of your craft. You may branch out in acting and variety, and rest assured Cassiopeia will be 100% behind you.

Cassiopeia, like for the past ten years, will travel this road with you. Just like how you've been protecting us and making us happy for the past decade, we will stay by your side, through all ups and downs. If the past ten years isn't enough proof that we can, then I don't know what is.

Thank you, 동방신기.

From the bottom of my fangirl heart, 사랑해요~ ♥(✿ฺ´∀`✿ฺ)ノ

YunHo and ChangMin are TVXQ. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

For the past ten years, my Christmas isn't complete without an Asian pop idol singing me some holiday tunes. This year, it's Tohoshinki's Very Merry Christmas that's making this season really merry.

I just finished eating Christmas Eve dinner with the family and opening all the gifts. Though I've been celebrating for over a week now (that's how we spend Christmas in the Philippines!), I still have a few more parties and dinners to attend. Hee. I do not want to look at the weighing scale after all these.

I do hope you're having a really nice holiday. Christmas Eve is always a quiet celebration in my family since there are only four of us. But it's always a nice one. And Christmas Day is FUN FUN FUN.

Have a merry Christmas, my dear readers. I just want you to know that I count you all as blessings. Every comment makes me happy, be it an agreement or a criticism. And if there are silent readers (I'll never know haha), I'm also very grateful to you. :)

Let's spread the holiday cheer around! ☆*・゜゚・*\(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆

Of course, I can't let this post end without DBSK's Magic Castle!
It's the first of their many Christmas singles.
It has been 9 years since Magic Castle,
so pardon the awkward styling. Hee.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Heirs (2013)

The Heirs (상속자들) was the most anticipated drama of 2013. It's also the most overrated. With a star-studded cast and the screenwriter of hits like Secret Garden and A Gentleman's Dignity, it's expected that this drama will garner all the media attention. I will try to make this rant as positive as possible, but this drama disappointed in so many incredible ways.

The story revolves around Cha EunSang (Park ShinHye) who's tired of juggling part-time jobs. She wants to escape her poor life with her mute mother by going to the US to live with her sister. Once arriving in LA, EunSang's surprised to learn that her sister's life isn't so peachy either. After running into some trouble with the police, she meets Kim Tan (Lee MinHo), a Korean teen exiled to live away from home. Even with the short time they spend together, the two find solace and good company in each other. Once meeting again in Korea, they realize that society has more to say about their relationship.

This series was pegged to be the Korean Gossip Girl. It's said to focus on high school students who are inheritors in their own rights. They're basically the generation that will South Korea's economy in the coming years. It sounds interesting enough, because I wanted to see them prove how they'll try to be on top of their games.

I had high hopes that it will not be just another Boys Over Flowers. I've been told that I shouldn't expect too much. But alas, I was disappointed even when my expectations were already low.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Monday Cutie: Lee MinHo (이민호)

Lee MinHo (이민호)
DOB: June 22, 1987
Known for: Boys Over Flowers,
City Hunter, Heirs

I thought long and hard before considering Lee MinHo for my Monday Cutie. Not because he's not cute (because he definitely is!), but because there are a million good photos of him out there. How in the world can I just pick 15-20 pics?!?

Lee MinHo is THE Asian superstar. He's the actor that has become a household name in Asian countries. My mother who can't remember names of actors knows his name. That's enough proof for me that Lee MinHo is indeed popular. Haha. He only appears in one drama every year, then spends the remaining months going from one country to another having photoshoots, fan events, and fan signings. He spends a great deal of time signing endorsement deals, too. Well, if I have a product to promote, I think his face is the perfect one to print on the packaging. Ehehe. But one drama a year is NOT. ENOUGH.

I had a hard time accepting he's plastic, but I have learned to accept him for who he is. I mean, his before photos aren't so bad either! And it's his smile and his eyes that I love the most. Those are definitely NOT fake.  I still love him to bits!

It's in Boys Over Flowers that I first saw him, and that's when I first declared him as the most good-looking Korean actor ever! I think it's the same for most Lee MinHo fans. But it's actually in City Hunter that I declared him to be my BIAAAAAAS (until SungJoon pushed him aside, that is). But I still love Lee MinHo. I mean, I could not have possibly finished Heirs if it wasn't for him! That drama's a train wreck but Lee MinHo is freakin' hot in every scene.

Here's my attempt to compress his handsomeness (is that a word? no? well, it is now!) in one single post.

During his baby days hihi

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hotarubi no Mori e (2011)

One summer day, the child Hotaru gets lost in a forest known for its mystery and is said to be filled with youkais. In the middle of her crying, a mask-wearing boy named Gin appears and guides her get out of the forest. He lives in the forest and describes himself as not exactly a youkai, but he's not a human either. He has a body held by magic and will obliterate when it makes physical contact with a human. Despite the danger of being friends, Hotaru goes back to the forest everyday every summer to visit Gin.

It's hard to describe Hotarubi no Mori e because the character starts out with a brother-younger sister relationship then slowly shifts to one that's romantic. Hotaru realizes that she seems to grow older every passing year while the mythical Gin seems to age much, much slower than humans. As their age inches closes, Hotaru starts to feel the need to see and touch Gin even during other seasons.

This movie has its flaws but I cannot help but love it still. Summer is often depicted in animation bursting with color and energy. But there's tranquility in this movie that's only made possible with the narrative the story follows.

I seem to like stories where the characters aren't allowed to make physical. It's emphasized in this film how young Hotaru will happily run towards Gin with open arms, and Gin will return this enthusiasm by hitting Hotaru's forehead with a stick. As they grow older, Hotaru ends up wanting to touch Gin due to the feelings stirring in her. This time, Gin wants the same thing.

Beautiful and oftentimes melancholic, there's warmth in the quiet moments in the film. There are funny moments, but it's mostly the subtle actions and the transition of time that make it such an engaging watch. The ethereal tones and underlying emotional ones build the layers in the relationship of the two. It's not just the lack of physical contact that hinders them, but the three seasons they don't see each other and one being human and another mythical don't help either.

However, it's the conclusion that disappointed me, even depressed me. The entire time they know each other, the question of taking that one step of reaching out to touch each other hangs in the air. But it's just sad that the choice is taken out of their hands. It also saddens me that Hotaru isn't given the time to grieve, or if she did, it happened on screen. Gin is not just Hotaru's first love. He's her most cherished fried, too. I need to see the emotional toll the conclusion had on Hotaru, but I only got snippets of it.

Their story feels a tad too short, and it made me want more.

Hotarubi no Mori e is a pretty good adaptation of the manga (which I read after watching the movie!) since it follows the story thoroughly. Some scenes are stretched but not much has been added. I don't think I've seen a more faithful adaptation to be honest.

The film is a little less than an hour long, but it's enough to make Hotaru and Gin a really easy pair to love.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thursday Readings: Of Korean Kinship, Feminism, and KPOP Fandom Politics

December is always the busiest time of the year, but even before the new year starts I want to try something new. So this is an additional series in this blog, but I'm not yet sure if I'll do this weekly. But it's definitely something that I'll do to catch up with my readers and to also share some of the things I enjoyed reading.
As a consumer of anything Asian, I delight in reading feature articles that look deeper into it. They say that one shouldn't read too much into a drama and just watch for enjoyment's sake. But there's also the fun in analyzing it and looking past the obvious.

My list mostly composes of articles relating to Korean pop culture, and hopefully in the next Thursday Readings I can include more articles about other pop cultures. :)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Monday Cutie: Shun Oguri (小栗旬)

Shun Oguri (小栗旬)
DOB: December 26, 1982
Known for: Hana Yori Dango,
Crows Zero, Rich Man Poor Woman

I've been busy last month so I didn't get to post as many Monday Cuties as I planned. So for December, I'm coming back with a vengeance by starting with my favorite Japanese actor ever!

Shun Oguri is probably one of the most popular actors in Asia, having starred in some prominent dramas and movies over the years. He's best known as Hanazawa Rui in Hana Yori Dango. I shipped Makino x Rui so much that I even made a fanvid for them back in 2006. I uploaded it on Youtube and it got removed due to copyright issues. LOL. But it was in Gokusen that I first liked Shun. Hihi. He's basically my first Japanese crush because it's also my first J-drama~ I've liked other actors of course, but he's the only one that has been consistently on my radar.

I'm pretty sure that his popularity will be even more explosive next year since he's cast as Lupin III! I'm just hoping that it'll be shown in cinemas worldwide just like what they did with Rurouni Kenshin! Also, it's rumored that they'll be shooting in the Philippines, so my friend and I are already planning to stalk him. Mehehehe.

I think what makes him such a big presence in Japan's entertainment industry is the fact that he already has so many iconic roles. I mean, he's Hanazawa Rui for goodness' sake. He's also Izumi Sano in Hana Kimi, Genji Takiya in Crows Zero. Heck, he's also Detective Conan! There's even a character in Doraemon that's based off of him. And now, he's going to be Lupin. You can't beat that.

He has such an extensive cinematography, and I haven't even watched half of it yet. But I'll get down to it ASAP. For the meantime, here's a pic spam, because who doesn't like a pic spam?

The role that made me love him so. Huhu.

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