My dog won’t let me sleep. And neither will Anpanman, apparently…

Last night I was so tired. My daughter is traveling with her class on an end of school year trip and my husband was working. I savored having the house to myself for the evening. When I climbed into bed, my dog, Hobbes, decided to squeeze himself into MY spot so I was forced to lie there diagonally whilst contorting my body around his 21-lb rolled up ass.

He’s tiny, but solid. And he knows how to make himself comfortable. Often when I think I’ll get to cuddle with my husband, he’ll swoop in and take the spot that is rightfully mine. See what I mean?

29088182_1917973305180680_4146004129229045760_n1

I finally nudged him to move over and he decides to make himself comfortable by lying on his side, back to me, and resting his head on my husband’s pillow. I’m thankful at least he’s on the other side of our queen size bed but sheesh! You’d think he was entitled to act so…¬† human!

My body was done for, though. The weekend was just so busy… shopping with my daughter for her grade 8 graduation dress, waking up early both Saturday and Sunday morning to put in a grueling 2-2.5 hr workout and up to my parents place for an early father’s day dinner. Not to mention all the running around we had to do to get in our errands – plus a short hike on Sunday to end the day.

I was very close to la-la-land. I could feel my body succumbing to sleep but just before I reached that blissful slumber… just as I was about to feel the final strings of my consciousness being pulled into a peaceful darkness…

This is what goes through my head…

“WAITING FOR YOU, ANPANMAAAAAAN!”

Seriously?

anpanman

Advertisements

BTS Burn the Stage – About Teamwork and Leadership Skills

[NOTE: I am not going to go into details of what has happened in either episodes to avoid spoilers. Everything I talk about has already been hinted during the documentary’s previews/trailers]

I re-watched episode 3 last night with my husband. And then I watched episode 4. I knew, from the previews, #4 was going to be intense and I wanted to prepare myself before watching it with my daughter.

Because it was pretty intense. In this one, there’s an argument – and the emotions are pretty damn high.

I mentioned I was a bit worried BTS’ documentary might be critiqued as a typical reality show (using drama to fuel ratings a la ‘Real Housewives’ style – though not to that extreme of course as I have faith in BTS). We all knew we would be seeing their personalities sometimes not in the best light. And this definitely comes out when two or more members start to argue.

Going into this, I was fine with the whole concept of showing their different sides. I only wanted to see some resolutions. If BTS are to uphold their reputation of being a strong team and family, I expected them to also display proper conflict-resolution after such disagreements in order to not just avoid fall-outs but to strengthen their relationship further. I expected RM, as the leader, to ensure the resolution is attempted as a group. This is what they are supposed to do. Without leadership and conflict-resolution, they would have been doomed to failure a long time ago.

I was not disappointed.

So after watching the last intense episode, I was reminded of a recording of PD Bang as a keynote speaker, where he answers questions from other professions regarding his strategy in bringing together BTS and his leadership role:

Overall, I’m very pleased with Burn the Stage. As much as I love k-pop – both the music and the entire subculture – the ideology of idol perfection has never sat well with me. I did feel it was a lie – not one which I blame the idols themselves. This is, basically, what k-pop is all about. It wouldn’t be it’s own genre without making these idols god-like. They achieve near-perfection, or at least the image of perfection, to feed their fandom what is almost like a new religion.

Fans seek these idol-like traits to worship. It’s both scary and fascinating at the same time. I’m coming to accept this fact – without this type of worship what would k-pop be like?

Yet… BTS is doing the opposite here, aren’t they? Mind you, they needed to bring their popularity up to a point in order to do this. Regardless of their ‘ugly sides’ they are showing through Burn the Stage, their fans will continue to support them and their haters will continue to hate them. Nothing will change that reality on either side of the coin.

So what makes this documentary so special? For me, I feel relief. I feel encouraged. I always knew each idol out there are just humans. But to see BTS’ bravery in showing this side to the world is like they were just waiting to exhale. Yes, they are human and here’s how they are going to show everyone how human they are – imperfections and all.

Honestly, this was such a good move for them. They have used baby steps to branch out of the manicured idol group mentality and through Burn the Stage they continue to show they are true artists with control of their creativity (of course, huge thanks goes out to Big Hit for allowing them this liberty, unlike many of the known entertainment companies in the industry).

If you are from the states, a reminder you can sign on with YouTube¬†Red for 2 months free subscription. I am not certain but read the schedule for each Burn the Stage release date is about every two weeks. With a total of 4 more episodes to be released, you might be able to watch all 8 if you time your free subscription correctly. For the rest, you may need to pay per episode. Here in Canada it is $2.49 CAD for each. I felt it was worth it! I now will own each episode and I’ve already watched each one at least 2 or 3 times!

BTS Burn the Stage (no spoilers)

DYOASPDUQAAWK7U

So the long anticipated Burn the Stage documentary is out. We will see footage of not just behind the scenes of BTS’ Wings Tour, but a promise of a more unfiltered version of the group’s life.

I actually wanted to get this out earlier as I contemplated what this all might manifest not just to the fans but to the entire k-pop industry.

I have watched the only several minutes in of the first free episode but stopped and realized it was important for me to begin writing before I went further.

Before the release, and even the trailer, there were so many speculations. Rumors stated we would see a more raw side of the members – we would see arguments, injuries, hardship and even members fainting.

Some fans were concerned – would they be able to handle seeing all the turmoil endured by their idols? Well, that is up to each individual fan. As a parent, I do plan on watching it with my daughter because I’m not sure how she will handle her emotions over all of it.

I thought long and hard about this – I wondered, has this ever been conceived before in the k-pop world? Fans are so accustomed to worshiping idols – they are used to seeing the trained, social side of idols whom work at achieving perfection. And I am not referring to performance perfection, though that is certainly what they are known to train for.

I am talking about how they carry themselves out. They shelter us from seeing their other sides. We mainly see their good side. Their happy sides. They always seem to get along so well in front of the camera.

The concerned side of me wondered if this could go to the reality TV show ways seen mainly here in North America. We definitely do not need another Jersey Shores, for example. It wasn’t that I even thought BTS would stoop to that level, of course, but I was a bit afraid they might be bashed for it.

On the other hand, I saw BTS paving the way by taking such risks. They can, ultimately, really shake things up for the world of k-pop – in a very good way! Because k-pop idols are human beings. They aren’t perfect nor should they be. They do have other sides to them and it’s about time we, as a whole, accept this reality. So long as they still maintain a level of responsibility for their actions, I think we need to see that they aren’t always getting along with one another – and through all their amazing work, they fall and fail like every else can and will at some point in life. Many times in life, actually.

I think about the mental health issues that plague idols. And I think of how hard it must be to have to carry out this ‘perfect image.’

I hope Burn the Stage will ‘rock the boat’ in a very positive way for all idols.

Let them live. Let them breath.

So – I haven’t watched all of it. You be the judge – good idea? Or not?

Love and Death – my ramblings

We’ve recently lost a very dear family friend of ours. She was like a second grandmother to me while growing up. Her two daughters, both being fantastic artists, created a beautiful memorial page for their beloved mother.

While reading the words they wrote about her mother’s life, I was reminded how she knew her husband for almost 50 years before she lost him to cancer. 18 years later (this past December) she was diagnosed with cancer herself.

Eighteen years. To be with one’s true love for decades and then have to live the last couple of decades without him.

On a daily basis, I do not think of this, of course. However, unfortunately, it’s times like these where I wonder if I could have the strength she had after losing her husband who she loved dearly.

Sure, my husband can drive me crazy with his little quirks (as I’m sure I drive him crazy with my own quirks), but I will say, without hesitation, I love him with all my heart. He is my best friend, my anchor and my lover through and through. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone else.

The family friend of ours missed him every single day of her life after her husband passed on but she did not give up the will to live. She continued to dance, to travel, to spend time with her daughters and grandchildren. She stayed active!

Honestly, I pray I will half half her strength should I ever find myself in the same situation as her later in life.

K-Pop Idols Interacting With One Another and Our Fascination with Being a Witness

As a k-pop fan, one obvious behavior I have been following is our fascination with watching how k-pop idols interact with other k-pop idols outside of their group. It’s not exactly too hard to be a witness to these interactions from a very light-surface level.

YouTube alone has a crazy upload of fan-made clips. Obviously, these are small moments caught on camera, usually at award shows – whether it be a small gesture as a handshake or something more where two idols appear to be engaged in a deep conversation on the side. Everything is not only caught on film but analyzed to death by k-pop fans. Fans will draw their own conclusion of what is going on which I find amusing – because none of us really know what’s going on. None of us have a clue if it’s all for show or for real.

Never-the-less, the fascination-part from fans is interesting to me and made me question why we want these interactions to mean something more than what they probably really are.

For one, I think it’s just very human nature for us to gossip. This nature of ours probably stems from us wanting to belong to the bigger community. Which is a secondary emotion for feeling secure, stemming from our survival instincts (‘greater in numbers’). This is not something that is uncommon across any fan-base of favorite celebrities. And to us, this fantasy-like gossiping feels safer than gossiping about real life people. It’s a way for us to drive our need to gossip at a safe level.

Is it safe, though? I think it could be if we keep it light and off-line. We need to understand we have no idea what is really going on. And if we’re ‘shipping’ idols together and then causing rumors they are dating, this can go viral extremely quickly. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with this phenomenon because once put online, rumors spread rapidly and I believe there’s too much risk of it hurting the idol. Talk among the privacy with friends of ‘what if’ and ‘imagine this’ but keep it off the public platform – that would be the safest bet!

I also think our connection with k-pop idols is more intimate than connections between the usual celebrity to fan-base. I won’t go into this further because I believe that is a whole different discussion. There is a dark side to what I have seen with the vicious cycle created by the k-pop industry for their idols to connect with their fans and for their fans to reciprocate back to the idols.

I will, however, focus on the positive side for now. When this intimate connection is done in a more moderate, balanced and healthier way, I see the fan-base worrying about their idols.

We worry why they fainted. We worry if they are getting enough rest. We worry they are losing too much weight and going on dangerous diets. We worry about their self-esteem. We worry about their level of happiness. We worry they are depressed or lonely or overly stressed and anxious. These are nothing to be ashamed about. Worrying for another human being, regardless of whether we actually know them or not, is never a bad thing. If we do not have compassion in us, we would be fucked on a much global scale.

And so I think we take comfort in seeing them interact with those outside of their own group and company. There’s still a bit of sadness they might not have much of a choice to make/keep friends outside the industry but to see them at least creating friendships at some level is better than nothing.

Variety shows and talk shows often have more than one k-pop idol as guests. It’s no wonder why these shows are so popular – they know what they want. And it gives fans a glimpse of what their idol life is like, especially if a talk show is able to get the idols to discuss and compare similarities of living with their members. The clip about RM and Suho comparing leadership stories on Problematic Men comes to mind (with bonus clip of how Suho nags Sehun like a mom):

As for variety shows, my favorite was watching Jooheon (MONSTA X) and Jackson Wang (GOT7) on Celeb Bros. There were several parts over two separate meet-ups but I’ll embed just the few I think is most significant at showing their budding friendship:

And then sometime later, they meet up again and we get to see a different comfort level between the two. This had me cracking up so bad! They argue like an old married couple! :p

So are these ‘bromance’ all an act or are they real? I don’t know – it’s not easy to say how scripted they are or not.

I do recall during end of MONSTA X-ray Season 1, all members were given 2 hours of free time so long as they went off on their own. Jooheon hopped in a cab and immediately asked to be taken to JYP Studios. On the way there, he was trying to call Jackson Wang.

For their sake, I hope these friendships are real.