Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Emma... as the Prime Minister of Korea?

So, had a funny moment at work the other day that I meant to blog about and forgot. And also, I wasn't sure if anyone would find it as amusing as I did...

Anywho, sometimes after about 8 or so at night, the reporters have me do voice over work since there is no one else to do it and I pretty much have most of the 10pm newscast edited by then. It happens fairly frequently so most of the time they just say, "Emma... dubbing," and I say "Okay, which quote?" Or if they don't speak English, "Dubbing juseyo!!" with a big smile, because they are terrified I'll say no. (As if I could...)

Anywho, the other night I was sitting at my desk editing when Won Young, one of the reporters, pops up out of nowhere and says,"Hey Emma, want to be the Prime Minister?"

Of course, she meant did I want to dub a quote for her package about the new South Korean prime minister. But yet, it still got a good laugh from me and the senior anchor. As it turns out, I got to dub both the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly. Which led to a long, drawn out inside joke about how I must be moving up in the world if I'm both the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly at 24.

And it's kind of funny to watch the clip and hear my voice coming from the mouth of an older Korean man.

Anywho, that's my little story about how I got to be Prime Minister for about 7 seconds. I have to admit that I like voice over work. It's something that I didn't think I would ever do, especially since I was told during my broadcasting class at JBU that my voice wasn't really made for broadcast... Yea... ouch...

Though, I've been told I sound more professional than whiny now... that's definitely a good thing...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Day at Work

I'm sitting at work waiting for the next stories to come through for the 7pm newscast and I felt the need to write something... though at the moment I'm not sure what. I guess I could give an update of sorts. Though there isn't much to update on...

My roommate has moved in and things are working out quite well. We get along and sometimes stay up late talking about random, fun things. I felt bad when I got home yesterday. She had completely scrubbed and reorganized the kitchen. It's fabulous and I love it, but as the primary apartment leasee, I probably should have taken care of that. So, from here on out, I'm going to do my best to keep it sparkling. And try and get the landlady to FINALLY come fix the hot water and bathroom light...

Je Won
Things are still going well with Je Won. Though, we still don't get to see each other very often. He called me last night after his 회식 (company/client dinner... always involves lots of drinking... Korean business culture: you don't mess with the 회식) but unfortunately I had fallen asleep about an hour before that and was incredibly incoherent on the phone as I was techincally still asleep (I have a bad habit of answering the phone in my sleep...). All I remember is "Emma, just hang up and go back to sleep."

I vaguely remember answering a question before that... I've heard that talking to me on the phone while I'm asleep can be funny... anywho, I didn't get to see him last night, but hopefully we can meet up sometime this coming week or during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). He'll have 3 days off and he's definitely not allowed to go into the office then...

Job and Job-Related Hobbies
The job is going well. Haven't had any particularly bad days or good days. I've been trying to put in a few more days in when possible to help pad the "Emma Unemployment Recovery Fund" which is filling slowly. I'm also making some good friends at work, which is nice. I'm getting the hang of editing and the style here, so that definitely helps.

I'm still writing for May Pang's website and have been talking with some people about making the right contacts. I've got one friend who is going to call some of the agencies for me and get press contacts. I've got another who said he could help me with some networking... I just need to get my business cards made up.

I'm really excited about some of the places I could be going with this, but I have to remember to not let it affect my "real" job. And also to remember the promise I made to my indie rock friends that I would help promote them as best I can.

It's Fall in Korea...
I'm so happy that the cool weather is here. It's such a relief from the humid and sticky summers. And the city is pretty in the fall with all the leaves changing and the weather really nice. Unfortunately, it'll only last until mid-November or so. Then, winter will come roaring in. Though if last winter is any judge, I suspect that this winter won't be that cold.

This coming weekend is Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving and the weather is going to be beautiful from what I hear. My Korean friends will be busy with family and most of my foreign friends are traveling, so I'm looking forward to spending the time just relaxing and enjoying the weather. I might go get some new books or work on my book on the roof.

Yes, I know it's still a month away, but I'm already sending out word for my annual Halloween costume party. It happens to fall on the same day as my friend's wedding, but luckily it's earlier in the day. I'm planning to pull together Tinkerbell and Peter Pan for Je Won. I informed him of this on Thursday and he said he didn't care, as long as he didn't have to wear tights... Let's hope I can make two costumes in time...

And that's about it, I suppose. If something else comes up, I'll be sure to post it. ^_^

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plagiarism, G-Dragon, 2NE1 and YG Entertainment...Oh My...

So, I'm currently caught on the fence.

The latest story running around the Korean Pop scene is the plagiarism claim that Sony is making against YG Entertainment involving songs by G-Dragon and 2NE1. Now, I'm a big fan of both Big Bang and 2NE1. I like their songs, style, dance, etc. But I'm also a writer. And plagiarism is similar to stabbing a writer in the heart.

One could argue that the songs don't sound that much alike... but the truth is, they do. I'm no music expert, but even I can't deny that there are substantial similarities between some of the original songs and the re-makes. (Though I am of the opinion that most of the re-makes sound better than the originals.)

And YG Entertainment is claiming that with 2NE1's song "I Don't Care" they didn't really know about the Lionel Richie song because he's not popular in Korea. (Which I could almost believe, seeing as I'm American and even I hadn't heard of his song.) G-Dragon is staying silent, which is probably the smartest thing for him to do if he wants to keep his job and his fans.

All in all, it's a bit disappointing. Big Bang and 2NE1 have had a number of hits from their original stuff, and I don't know why their producers would feel the need to borrow melodies from popular American artists. Both have made a name in Korea for being different, and this just kind of goes against that.

But, in the case of G-Dragon, even though he wrote two of the reportedly plagiarized songs, I have to admit that I don't think he is the only one to blame. Wasn't there someone there to tell him, "Ah, maybe you shouldn’t copy that song..." or "Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like Flo Rida or Oasis..."? I'm most certainly not saying that he isn't at fault, but I don't think he should shoulder all the blame. Though from the reports I've seen, what YG and G-Dragon need right now are good PR people to spin this thing in a way that won't send his career to the grave. And to learn from this incident. If they want to use the melody from another song... BUY IT. Suck it up and pay the royalties. Or better yet, DON'T USE IT. Write your own stuff. So, maybe the public may not like it at first, but if you keep trying, eventually you'll grow as a writer and become better.

And in the end, I have to admit that I won't stop listening to either group or G-Dragon because of the allegations. It's kind of like college football. Even if your team is losing, you still support them through the bad times and the good. So, even though YG is losing right now, I'm still a fan.

Here are the songs in question for you to make your own decision...

Plagiarism One- Lionel Richie's "Just Go" and 2NE1's "I Don't Care"
Lionel Richie- Just Go

2NE1- I Don't Care

Plagiarism Two- Flo Rida's "Right Round" and G-Dragon's "Heartbreaker"
Flo Rida- Right Round

G-Dragon- Heartbreaker

Plagiarism Three- Oasis "She's Electric" and G-Dragon's "Butterfly"
Oasis- She's Electric

G-Dragon- Butterfly

Plagiarism Four- Joe's "Ride Wit U" and Big Bang's "With U" (released in Japan)
Joe- Ride Wit U

Big Bang- With U

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ASF Rocked

I loved the show. It was awesome. Seeing a lot of top name groups at once was great, even if we were sitting pretty far back. We had a good view of the entire stage, but it was kind of hard to see the performers. Other than that, it was a good time.

And I got to see BIG BANG and 2NE1! I was so excited to get to see my two favorite groups. They totally lived up to their reputations. 2NE1 crunked and danced up a storm and Big Bang had the whole stadium screaming. I have decided that it is my goal to interview both groups before I leave Korea. I guess I better get working on my Korean, though I know that CL and Sandara are both fluent in English and I think Bom is too. Minzy, sadly doesn't, but I'm sure the other girls would be willing to translate. And I've heard that T.O.P. and G-Dragon have a good grasp of English, so I may not even need to worry about interviewing them in Korean. Though it would be awesome... incredibly scary, but awesome all the same...

And I got to see a bunch of really good new groups like K-OTIC, a fun group from Thailand, and Agnes Monica, an amazing vocalist from Indonesia. Oh, and Show Luo, a really hot singer from Taiwan. He actually got me and Jung Min interested in paying a visit to Taipei to see if all Taiwanese guys are that good-looking.

One of the more interesting acts was a singer named Ruslana from Ukraine. She kind of erupted on to the stage in a strappy, red, dress thingy with Nordic-looking back up dancers who looked like they were attacking the stage rather than dancing. I don't think the crowd knew quite what to do with her, being used to girlish pop acts like SNSD.

Speaking of which, I have to admit that SNSD stepped up their dancing during "Genie". They broke out of the cutsy, choreography and actually through in a bit of freestyle that was borderline hip hop. They still need a bit of work to get up to 2NE1's level, but they definitely are making efforts to mature in the dance department. Of course, they ended with "Gee" which kind of brought them back down to the cutesy level...

Of course, Agnes Monica blew both SNSD and 2NE1 away. She was a one-act show bursting with energy and personality. She got the crowd to join in with her in a stomp routine, right after starting a "Heal the World" sing-along in memory of Michael Jackson. Not to mention, this girl can crunk and dance like nothing I've seen in Asia... other than 2NE1, that is. But her voice is so powerful and soulful. This girl definitely has talent. And she's hoping to break out into the US music scene. I think she'll totally make it. Not only does she sing and dance well, but she writes and produces her own stuff. Something not many pop acts do today.

And I suppose I'll end this post with mentioning the awesomeness that is Gackt. I think everyone should see him live. His showmanship blew all the younger acts away. He started off with "Ghost" doing this crazy robotic dance that was so believeable that I almost thought it was a Gackt robot. And then the big screen on the stage split in the middle and his band appeared in a swirl of fog and red lighting. Course, the fireworks and flames helped add to the mystery and excitement. Yea... it was awesome...

All in all, a good show. It really got me excited about doing more in the entertainment arena. I'm hoping that things with the website really start exploding and I can get into some interviews and real event coverage. There was apparently a press conference that I missed. Oh well. I need to somehow get on some press release list. Got my work cut out for me I guess... Not going to be easy, but I'm up for a challenge. ^_^

Agnes Monica

Show Luo

Gackt from the Festival



And just for fun... Ho Ngoc Ha, a talented performer from Vietnam

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Visa Run Time!

So, it's official. I'm heading off to Fukuoka again on Monday to get my visa. This one is just a quick run. I fly in Monday morning around 9:30 am (yup...that means I have to get up at 4:30 am to catch my 8 am flight) and come back around 4:45 pm on Thursday.

Hopefully, everything goes according to plan and I can finally get everything over with. You don't know how happy I am to finally get everything taken care. Let's just hope my roommate can move in soon. Or at least give me a no soon so I can call my back up person. (Yes, I have a back up person. Hooray.)

So just pray that everything goes according to plan so that I can finally breathe and quit being so stressed out...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Interesting Food

So, I was out with my friend tonight eating street food and I realized that I have never written about food n Korea. Without further ado... I give you all an introduction to food in Korea... with pictures...

My first attempt at Korean cooking. It doesn't look very pretty, but it's tasty (and looks better when you order it at a restaurant. It's called "mandoo guk" or dumpling soup. In a way, it's kind of like the chicken noodle soup of Korea, or at least that's what it tastes like. Anyway, it's really good to have in the winter.

Then, there is "bar food" in Korea. They call it "anju" which basically means appetizer. Often times it's something fried or spicy. Oftentimes we go out and get a couple of different things to eat while we drink. Most bars here make you order some sort of side dish in order to drink there, mostly because soju and draft beer is so cheap.

Something new that I recently discovered is a type of seafood, which is incredibly popular in Korea. It's basically shellfish on a grill that you dip into chili sauce or this kind of salty sauce. At the end of the meal, they melt a bowl of cheese and put some of the leftover shell meat into the cheese. This is best with a bottle of soju which is Korean alcohol similar to vodka but crazy strong. These kinds of restaurants are popping up all over the place in my area. You can't miss them with the giant fish tanks in front of them and tons of shells and crabs in them.

In tune with the spicy stereotype of Korean food, this particular dish is probably the spiciest. It's called "jaeyuk dobap" which is basically spicy pork that you eat with rice. There are a couple of different ways to eat it. Like this, or in "jaeyuk dosambap" which is cooked on a grill at the table and eaten wrapped in lettuce. Either way is tasty. But, as I said, it is pretty spicy.

A post on Korean food wouldn't be complete without street food! This is kind of the fast food of Korea. Mostly it's found in little stalls on sidewalks and they have everything from corn dogs to kimbap to fried shrimp and squid. These particular dishes are "tteokboki" and "sundae". Tteokboki is rice cake and odong in a spicy sauce and sundae is blood sausage. Blood sausage is basically a type of sausage that is cooked with blood. Yes, it sounds and looks a little nasty, but it's actually really good. Sometimes it comes in a stew and is really good.

Street food is really good when you're hungry, but don't want to eat a lot. Or if you're short on cash. These two things together were about 5,000 won total. (around $4) Or if you've been out dancing and want something to eat before heading home.

Of course, there are plenty of other dishes that I want to talk about, but I don't have pictures yet. Kimch-chigae is delicious and my favorite. It's kimchi stew and really spicy. There is also samgyeobsal, which is pork cooked on a grill and galbi which is marinated pork or beef that is cooked on a grill at the table too. Oh! And dalkalbi, which is spicy chicken mixed with vegetables that you also cook on a grill at a table...

Ugh, all this talk about food is making me hungry...