Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Issues With Fangirls

I live in Korea. Koreans pretty much wrote the book on fangirlism and all the craziness that entails. For the most part, my friends and I make fun of them and have a good laugh. It provides a lot of entertainment on occasion. But sometimes they really annoy me.

Especially when they are older fangirls. As in, adult fangirls. Women who are my age or around my age. And occasionally older than me.

Now, I can understand that people who follow music groups or actors or whatever for years can become quite attached to said celebrities. I'm a huge fan of Relient K and have been for about 10 years now. However, I do not have all their names memorized (mostly because they keep changing drummers and bassists). I do not know where they currently live or what their favorite movies or ice cream are. I do, however, watch for when their new albums are coming out so I can buy them. I occasionally read articles about them because I find it interesting to hear what their inspiration was behind certain songs and whatnot. If I'm in the States, I buy tickets to their shows.

I do not daydream about marrying Matt Theissen (the lead singer). I do not cover my walls with their posters. I do not write a million and a half blog posts about them. And should they ever break up, yes, I will be sad, but I will not be upset and lose my will to live. My life will not turn upside down. I will not start petitions to keep them together.

Because no band or music group stays together forever. It's a natural part of life. Even the Beatles didn't stay together and no one thus far is bigger than them. And just because they break up, doesn't mean we have to stop listening to their music. There is no reason to get all torn up about music groups breaking up or one member deciding to leave. It's THEIR choice. Not the fans. Because, now pay attention because this is radical stuff, they are HUMAN. Wow, what a concept! They aren't owned by the fans?

And I think that behavior like that is best left for a bunch of junior high and high school girls. Not adults (aka people over the age of 18). Thus why it annoys me to hear of people I know who are 20 or 24 who are actually getting depressed about some obscure Asian group breaking up that they've followed for years. They write long blog posts about it... and then get even more upset when people tell them to get over it, and say things like, 'no one understands me!' Well, yea, because you're 20-something and you're acting like a 15-year-old...

This might be considered harsh, but I think back to when I was in my 20s. I was working two to three jobs to get through school. I worried about things like car payments and how I was going to pay for my school's volunteer trip to Northern Ireland. Things like what I wanted to do after I graduated and finding jobs kept me up at night. Yes, I did like a few of these Asian groups, but they didn't rule my life. I wasn't learning Japanese because I dreamed of someday meeting them or running off to Japan. It was just a phase. I still had my daily life/future career plan issues that took presence over my hobbies. Because focusing on studying and choosing a career seemed more important in the long run than some group of Asian boys that dance around and sing.

So... in conclusion, I no longer have any patience for people who are over the age of 18 who are obsessed to an unhealthy level with music groups. Seriously. Grow up. Get a life. Focus on what you are planning to do with your life and not some group of celebrities. Because in the big scheme of things... It doesn't matter.

And, those celebrities that you're falling all over yourself to love and support... they most likely don't even give a shit about you. They are going to do what they want to do. This is a business and they are in it to make money and be famous. It's a job. Think about that the next time you want to bawl your eyes out because Hot Boy A has decided to leave his group to pursue something else that may or may not make him more money or fame.

(And just to be fair, I do know there are exceptions to the rule... Some celebrities do care... but probably not many...)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Apartment Hunt

My new roommate and I have officially started our apartment hunt today. We initially wanted something in the Children's Grand Park area, since that's where my roommate attends university and it's still not that far of a commute for me. Unfortunately, our real estate agent told us that for the key money we have, there isn't much in the way of two bedroom apartments in that or the Kondae area, but he was still able to pull through for us and we looked at three apartments near Gunja Station.

A quick note on the key money (security deposit) thing before I continue, since it's something that I myself didn't know, even after living in Korea for nearly 3 years. While living somewhere other than Gangnam might be cheaper in rent, areas outside of the main foreigner hot spots (Itaewon, Gangnam, Haebongcheon, etc.) or towards the outskirts of Seoul, tend to have higher key money. The real estate agent said this is partially because they aren't use to dealing with foreigners and don't really know/understand that we're use to lower deposit prices and are still used to the jeonse system, and mostly because while monthly rent is completely negotiable, it's the key money that's most important because they can make a decent amount off the interest that they keep when they give you the deposit back. Thus, while you can get a brand new, 3 bedroom apartment for maybe 1.2 million a month, key money could run you about 20 million won.

Anyway, so we looked at three apartments today in the Gunja area. At first I thought it would be far from work, it's actually not that bad. It's on the 7 line and only two stops from line 2 and Kondae, so I'm still technically in the same area. I walked it today, and it was maybe a 20-30 minute walk from one area to the other. And it was a nice walk. Clean sidewalks, a bit of construction, but altogether really pleasant. The main difference is the area is much nicer and mostly new. It's more families than college students and the air feels cleaner. Plus, it's near Children's Grand Park, which is a huge park that has tons of fun things to do. (I could see a ferris wheel from one of the apartments.)

Apartment #1:
It was definitely the biggest of the three, but it was also a bit older. The living room area/kitchen was spacious and there was a lot of counter space. Also, it had a good size enclosed balcony where we could put the washing machine and store things. The bathroom was also large, though we would probably replace the shower head. The down side was the wallpaper (which we would negotiate to replace) and the bedrooms. One bedroom was a decent size, but the other two were really small and even smaller. Both of us have queen-size beds, so we were really unsure about whether we could fit the bed in there. If we could, it would take up the entire room and we would have to turn the third bedroom into a study/closet.

Other than that, it wasn't bad. I would have to bring my stove over from my current apartment and we would have to purchase an air conditioner, but other than that, we have everything. They didn't tell us a price, but we assume it was within our perimeters. It had a car park for Mac's car and there was a key pad to get into the building which we both liked. And it was a 2-3 minute walk from the subway station.

Apartment #2 and #3:
The last two were actually in the same building, which was brand new and had just been completed. There were only 9 apartments in the building and so far about 5 of them have been filled. The building was really nice, had an underground car park, security pad for the entrance and was literally a 2-minute walk from the North Gate Entrance to Children's Grand Park. It was only about 4 stories high and the apartments were on floor 2 and 3, plus there was roof access. The roof was spacious and had a great view of the park and the area. It's perfect for having BBQs and cook outs and we were told we could use whenever we wanted. Plus it was a 5-6 minute walk from the subway station.

Apartment #2 had a decent sized living area and we liked the lay-out of the kitchen. Lots of counter space and plenty of room for a table. The decor was very Korean, but it still looked nice. I liked the light fixtures. The bathroom was small, but it had a waterfall shower head, and a fancy toilet with bidet and other options. There was a small laundry room and three bedrooms. But this one had the same problem as the first one. One bedroom was great, but the other two were matchboxes. Both were too small for a queen-sized bed. However, the price was great. They negotiated the key money down for us to 15 million won and the monthly rent was below what we initially asked for.

We really liked Apartment #3. The lay-out was similar to Apartment #2, but the second bedroom could fit a queen bed in it. It was a little weird though, because a sliding door separated it into two halves, and we didn't really understand why they did that. The local real estate agent said it was intended to be some sort of storage closet or dressing room, but it was almost the same size the the room in the front. We looked at it and we think you could fit a queen bed in the back room (which would basically fill the entire the room) and then put the closet and such in the front. If it's my room, there is plenty of space for my TV and closet, plus some drawers. And the agent said we could take the sliding doors out if we wanted, which would open up the room a bit more.

The kitchen lay-out was different and not so space efficient and the bathroom was a bit smaller (but had the same fixtures), however, what sold us was the laundry room and patio. The laundry room had full windows on two sides and was very spacious. We could definitely fit the washing machine and a table out there. I have to admit, it's a nice view to have when you're eating. And there was a small patio off the laundry room that could fit a small, 2-person chair. Again, the view was nice. And the third, pocket-sized bedroom could be turned into our study and had plenty of space for our desks. It was a little more expensive than Apartment #2, but still in our range.

We both really liked it, but wanted to think about it and maybe check out another area. I really wanted to just sign the lease today, but it's a good thing Mac was there, because she asks all the right questions and is a bit more level-headed than I am. I get caught up in liking some place, that I often don't stop and think about everything. For example, is living in that building worth giving up the kitchen layout that we want or a bigger bathroom or more evenly sized bedrooms? (At this point, I say yes, but I could change my mind after some careful thought.)

So that was our first day in apartment hunting. Hopefully we'll go out again next weekend and maybe decide on something soon. I don't want to lose Apartment #3 and get stuck with something that's not quite what we want...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cheonan Blasts Off? Say What?!

For awhile now I've contemplated a blog about some of the things I deal with as a copy-editor at an English news program in Seoul. A majority of the writers are fairly good and do decent work, but every so often, I get a few bloopers that either have me laughing or scratching my head.

Not to mention, sometimes they get a little bit lazy and forget to check and re-check their sources, something that especially needs to be done if they translate from Korean sources, since a lot of Korean reporters are lazy when it comes to source checking. So I've decided that this post will be devoted to some of the mess ups I've caught so far.

World Cup:
According to one of our reporters... 180 million people were planning to take to the streets on the night of the Uruguay-Korea game to cheer for the national team. I suppose Korea planned to import football fans from other countries since the current population stands at 48 million... (She actually meant 1.8 million.)

Obama's Visit:
Awhile back, Obama came to visit Seoul and was going to speak at one of the military bases. For an entire day, we announced that he would go to Yongsan base, since that was the location told to the reporter by some obscure source. It wasn't until I spoke with my then-boyfriend who was in the Air Force that afternoon, that we discovered he was actually speaking at Osan Air Force Base.

G20 in Canada:
One of our reporters wrote a piece introducing the G20 summit in Toronto. She wrote that the summit was taking place the first week of June... It actually took place the last weekend of June. A fact that was recorded in every major news source at the time the article was written.

Cheonan Huh?:
We have one reporter who covered most of the Cheonan incident. She's nice, but not a native English speaker and definitely kept us entertained while covering such a dark topic. Here's a few gems.

"... the military plans to start lift off the bow as early as Saturday..."
"... the soldiers that sank off the Cheonan..."
"... the dead soldiers were found in their underwears..."

The President Regrets What?
One reporter recently covered the Sejong City revision bill that was voted down at the National Assembly. Really, the entire article was riddled with mistakes. Instead of quoting the ruling GNP parliamentary speaker Park Hee-tae, he quoted parlimentary speaker Park Hee-tak, and then blamed it on bad copy from Yonhap, a major English/Korean newswire here. (Honestly... I'm a foreigner, he's Korean and I knew the guy's real name and title...)

He then quotes President Lee Myung-bak as saying that he "deeply regrets the decision." What the President actually said, was that while he respects the decision, he finds it deeply regrettable.

The Korean War
The same reporter who entertained us during the Cheonan incident, also provided some fun during the anniversary of the Korean War...

"It has been 60 years since the broke out of the Korean War."
"... many soldiers shared blood during the Korean War." (Meant to say 'shed'.)

Senator Joe Lieberman magically became a Democrat again... and that actually went on air before I came on shift and noticed it. (He's been an Independent Democrat since 2006, which is not the same party.) This wouldn't have been that bad, since the parties sound similar, except the reporter proceeded to argue with me, saying that AFP called him a Democrat, so it must be correct. He even asked if I checked AFP to make sure... I just stared at him and reminded him that I'm American... and thorough copy-editor.

A ferry wreck had 50 missing passengers for half of our bulletins one day, when all of the foreign reports that came out before our reporter even wrote the story said there were only 11.

And of course, there are many, many more mistakes that make me scratch my head or think that some of my co-workers have temporary spans of idiocy, however, these are the ones I remembered or wrote down so I wouldn't forget.

Some of them I put on my very own personal "Wall of Shame" at my desk. All the reporters must walk by my desk at some point during the day, so it acts as a reminder that they should double check their stuff before sending it to me... or else blatantly obvious, silly, or stupid mistakes will be posted for all to see.

Every day brings more news... and more mistakes...