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Sticky post: Welcome! and about me

*EDITED May 19, 2014.*

Hello and welcome to my journal!  Here, you will find my thoughts on my J-POP and K-POP fandoms.  J-POP fandom basically means Arashi.  As for K-POP, a lot of my older articles are about TVXQ and as of the editing of this intro post, EXO is what I am into and you can expect to see some EXO posts coming up in the near future.

Since I am not too technology-oriented, you will rarely see picspams or videos on this site.  I am rarely up to speed on my fandoms and timeliness is not a driving concern.  I can guarantee you it will not supply with you with any new information on any group.  In short, it's a rather useless journal :-D.  What it does contain is lots and lots of analysis.  You will see me wonder out loud about pretty much any subject, be it interpersonal relationships, music, acting, dancing, looks, and so forth.

In terms of "rules", there are none.  A pre-friending message is always very nice and welcomed, but I don't care if you friend me without saying a word.  So friend away, but I don't friend back by default (my friend page is too long to begin with), so if you want me to friend you back, please tell me so.

Random comments are always welcome and highly appreciated, so comment away!  In addition to English I speak French, Japanese and am learning Korean now, so if you would rather comment in one of those other three languages, go for it.

Well that's it for me.  Thanks for reading!

I'm back with a new fandom in tow.

Hi all,

LOOOOONG time no see.  I wonder if any of you even read this anymore.  I imagine not and I am sad to have fallen out of touch with some good LJ friends during my hiatus. I decided that I will (likely very sporadically) start posting to this again so look forward to more ridiculously long and detailed dance and singing analysis from me in the future!

It's been three years since I last posted and my fandoms have changed in the interim.  I still am an Arashi fan (though I don't really follow the music anymore), I no longer follow TVXQ/JYJ or CN Blue, I still am a SONE (I will likely continue to not post about them since to be blunt I like them for their looks and personalities, not because I think they are amazing at singing or dancing, which is what I mostly talk about), and recently I am into EXO.  The reason I am going to revive this journal is because I have to talk about EXO's Kai's dancing - it is just screaming for dance analysis and as a performance based group, EXO as a whole just gives me so much to talk about.  I have so many MVs, dance practice videos and live performances that I want to talk about, I don't even know where to begin.

As for why I no longer follow TVXQ/JYJ - basically it was the lawsuit, all the negativity of it, and the ensuing split in the group. For me, TVXQ was and will forever be 5.  I still respect what HoMin are doing now (though I don't really follow them either), but as for JYJ, their music/dancing/concepts were not my style and Junsu's solo stuff was just... REALLY not my style.  What can I say, I am a sucker for the SM brand.

As for CN Blue, I am not really sure why I left that fandom. I think that was just something where RL just got too busy and before I knew it, I wasn't following them anymore. I should look into them again, I like their music and am curious to see what they are up to.

As for EXO, my new fandom, I just got into them several months ago and now we have this lawsuit situation again le sigh. I feel for the older EXO fans, I really do, and I am glad I wasn't really into that whole "we are one!" thing.  Kris was never my bias but in many ways I identified with him the most and respect him a lot, so I am sad to see him leave. And as for how the fans are reacting - not surprising but unfortunate nonetheless. I think it's easy to take Kris' actions like a personal insult to the rest of the EXO members, but I am sure that is the last thing Kris intended. The number one complaint people seem to have is the timing right before the first solo concert, but if you have a lawsuit to win, the emotional/physical toll on Kris or his bandmates was probably not the ultimate concern and his legal advisors thought this would be the best timing (and trust me, timing is one of the most important strategies in litigation so I have no doubt the timing was very very careful planned out). This is all assuming all of this isn't all staged by SM in the first place (right down to all the SNS activity). EXO is getting all this press right before their first concert and even non-fans may be curious to see how EXO's concert turns out with 11 members.  There ain't no such thing as bad publicity, right?  This is admittedly an extreme view and I am sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the spectrum (the other end that this is some sort of ploy by Kris to hurt his former members) but the point is we will never know.  It honestly is pointless to get riled up about a situation we know essentially nothing about.  In order to keep on going as fans of EXO, I think the fans need to just accept the situation and move on.  Those who can't put this behind them will end up getting so sad and frustrated and leave a fandom that only causes them pain (Exhibit A: me and TVXQ). So EXO fans, if you want to stay a fan, you best be moving on and choose not to get pulled into the misinformation warfare.

The thing I am concerned about is the fate of EXO-M (I honestly am not worried about EXO-K.  In the worst case scenario, SM will probably get rid of EXO-M and keep EXO-K.  Hate to sound so cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised if the whole subunit thing was designed as a form of insurance. If one goes kaput, they can keep going with the other and it won't be such a bad transition since that subunit has already existed as a subunit.)  Short of EXO-M just being dissolved, I don't know if EXO-M will just keep going as 5 (would disrupt the whole equal halves thing), a new member will be added (doesn't seem like fans would like that) or maybe they will dissolve the EXO-K/M distinction and just make one 11 member group perform in Korea and China, like the other groups do.  It would just be sad to see the remaining M members disappear because of this and while I don't think there is a real risk in that, it seems like EXO-M kind of fell off the planet since the lawsuit and it worries me.

Ok, well that is all I am going to say on the EXO situation.  My speculation on this topic is of no worth to anyone, and there are so many more important topics to discuss, such as: 1) Suho as a blonde - yay or nay? 2) bucket hats - yay or nay? 3) cheek percussion - yay or nay?

(I say nay to all three)

It's good to be back and I hope we can have many interesting discussions here!
 hi friends,

while i am sure many of you who are students are relishing in the feeling of SCHOOL IS OVER! SUMMER IS HERE AT LAST! HUZZAH!, I, along with the countless other misguided souls who are thinking of taking the bar exam this July, have started that dreaded process of bar review.  It pretty much amounts to condensing more than three years of law school into one month (i say more than 3 years since i doubt anyone ever takes ALL of the subjects tested on the bar during their law school careers.  Some lower ranked schools take this approach but most of the first tier law schools don't teach to the bar).   For instance, we covered the subject of Torts, which is covered across a semester, in the span of three 4 hour long sessions.  If that weren't bad enough, most law students haven't spent their 3 years memorizing law since that's not really the nature of the practice of the law, unlike, say, medicine.  We aren't ever going to be in a "law emergency" where we have to come up with a solution or answer off the top of our heads.  But for the bar exam, it all has to be stored up in our brains, which IS FUCKING AWFUL.  I grew up in America, I am NOT used to memorization.  I need to learn some tricks or something cuz this is SO not going to happen as it stands.
Anyway, enough bitching on my part.  
The reason why I wanted to post was because I had sort of a "oh, that's really obvious but it never occurred to me" moment regarding drummers.  
I was watching CN Blue perform and it occurred to me that they didn't have a conductor.  Okay, I can hear the question marks popping over your head, but as someone who only performs classical music and is mostly a classical music listener, the conductor is someone who is almost always there, especially if you are performing as a group.  If you're playing a piano sonata, sure, you don't need a conductor.  Even if the beat gets off or something (and often you are supposed to vary the beat anyway according to the composer's instructions) it's not a problem since you don't have to worry about keeping a group together.  
But in non-classical music, bands don't have a conductor and instead rely on the drummer to keep a steady beat so that the group can stay together.  That's a lot of pressure on the drummer.  I mean, I  guess in standard pop/rock music, the beat is going to be in 4/4 anyway, so it isn't exactly rocket science keeping a steady beat, unlike in classical music where you have much more difficult rhythms that often change, sometimes with each measure.  But still, it means the drummer has to have a really good internal metronome to resist the urge to go faster and faster, a phenomenon you see all too clearly when a group of non-musicians start clapping to a beat. 
I guess I shouldn't be so amazed since I have a sense of pitch and can sing notes on command (not always perfectly but pretty close), and my amazement that someone can do something like that for a rhythm instead of pitch is just proof of how much of a singer (aka NOT a musician) I am.  (if you don't know, singers are notorious for having significantly weaker mastery of rhythm than people who play instruments).
And with that concludes my all too boring entry.  Why, this is rather embarassing...

*pants from screaming that out loud*

Seriously, lump in my throat right now cuz I love him so much.

I hope this is just an infatuation that will pass because I honestly don't think I have become this obsessed in this short a period of time before. I think part of what is fueling it is that I cannot satisfy my craving for him like I have been able to with past infatuations *dbskcough*
There is very little out there on my dear Jonghyunnie since everyone and their mother is obsessed with Jong Yonghwa, for whom I feel absolutely nothing lol.  It's funny how I got into CN Blue through "we got married" and used to be like awwwwww Yonghwa is so cute but now that I am a Jonghyun fan, I get kinda annoyed at how much attention and screen time Yonghwa gets at the expense of my dear Jonghyun. 
It's funny because I first was exposed to Jonghyun through episodes of We Got Married, but I thought nothing and felt nothing.  I have no recollection of what I thought of him, even though I remember Jongshin and Minhyuk.  Jongshin because he is funny and Minhyuk because he's so adorable.  Jonghyun was just "the other guy".  But then I heard him singing in Loner and I was like "WHO IS THIS MAN!!!!????"   WAIT A MINUTE, THAT'S HOW I FELT ABOUT OH-CHAN!!!!!  And Junsu.... Huh... sensing a pattern here.  The people I end up falling for are never the people who got me hooked in the first place, but one minor detail is enough to get me infatuated.   Interesting.
Anyway, god Jonghyun. He's 6 years younger than him and yet I am the most sexually attracted to this man hahah.  It's not like with Ohchan or Junsu, towards whom my default mode is "awwww he's so cute, I just want to hold him and care for him."  a form of motherly love, if you will.  (except I do perv towards them, but only rarely).  Nope, not with Jonghyun.  No motherly feelings at all towards this man even though he is the youngest.  I never really know if I am an S or M but man does this man bring out my M side.  To put it bluntly, I want to be his slave.  LOLOLOLOL.  Like, totally be messed around by him and put through emotional hell.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? I JUST posted about needing emotional support and affirmation, and here I go only a couple of inches short of asking to be emotionally abused.   So there is apparently a Korean word, mildang, which according to my understanding is like tsundere in Japanese.  OMG if he were to go all mildang on me I would die.

His voice is SO smooth and warm and silky sweet like chocolate but also has this rougher, throatier quality on the lower notes (or depending on how he vocalizes) and I AM JUST SMITTEN BY HIS VOICE.  And once I fell in love with his voice, I fell in love with his cold, aloof stare from the Loner days (I think I became so M towards him because my initial exposure to him was through the Loner performances and not, say, Love Light).   And now that I am in love with him, of course I love everything about him, even his face, which is kinda weird in a way since all the people that he looks like (Heechul from Super Junior, Jaejoong from DBSK) at their best don't do anything for me and at their worst, kind of repel me.  I don't think his face is one I would generally go for, but if there is one thing I am now sure of, the face seems to be the last thing that matters for me in terms of falling for guys.  
Falling for CN Blue has made me realize how fortunate I am to be an Arashi fan and a DBSK fan.  These two groups have longer histories so there is more first-hand material on them and also much more fan activity.  I can't find many subbed talk shows for CN Blue, even though I know for a fact that they have done some.  The CN Blue fanfiction community on LJ is very small.  The Japanese blogs that do exist on CN Blue are for the most part very low in activity.  I can't scratch that itch that I SO desperately need to scratch, so I ended up writing a SUPER sappy, super self-indulgent fic of Jonghyun and an older woman, who I am just going to admit (since it will be obvious to anyone who knows me at all) is me, idealized.  LOLOLOLOL I wrote one of those fantasy fics in which I end up with my crush, which is something I owed to NEVER do.  I still don't know if I ought to post it since it honestly is kind of embarrassing, but I do want to energize the CN Blue fanfic community.  Don't know what to do.
So like I was saying above, I definitely feel romantically attached to Jonghyun, right from the start, which wasn't really the case with Oh-chan or Junsu.  Or, to be more accurate about it, it's that I would love to be romantically attached to Oh-chan or Junsu in my fantasies, but I just can't imagine it.  I can't imagine how I would interact with these two on just a normal social level, let alone a sexual level.  But it was SO easy to fantasize about Jonghyun, and I am kind of perplexed as to why.  One thing that might help is that Jonghyun has written these very sad songs about lost love and it just made my imagination go rampant.  Oh-chan is obviously very tight-lipped about his love life, so there are very little ingredients for fantasizing, and Junsu, while a bit more open, I think would clearly NOT go for an older woman.  I think he has hang-ups on being treated like a man, and an older woman who would yield the power that comes with older age would probably NOT make him feel good about himself.  
But Jonghyun, on the other hand, has said he prefers older women he can lean on!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Being 6 years his noona, I almost fell off my chair sobbing when I heard him say this.  other things like the fact that he is tall (hence nicer to imagine standing next to me) and he can play guitar (so he can teach me!) also helped.   And finally, but maybe most importantly, I love the music that he writes.  I like Yonghwa's catchier, more upbeat tunes, but nothing pulls at my heart like the mellower, gentle melodies that Jonghyun writes.  For all of his seeming coldness, it's obvious this man has a very sensitive side.  He said himself that he can express with music what he cannot otherwise express, and I think the true core of his nature is probably someone who is very gentle and feels too strongly.  
On an aside, Jonghyun was CN Blue's leader before, and I believe used to have a bigger role as a vocalist (need to do a bit more research into their Japan days).   His comments make it pretty clear that he isn't 100% happy that Yonghwa's songs get much more attention than his and that he doesn't have a lot of songs where he is the main vocalist.  He's said that Yonghwa's songs express CN Blue's color more, so he accepts the fact that Yonghwa's songs get more love, but he openly admits to wanting more singing parts, even if they are performing more standard CN Blue material.  
I think he's right in that the public's image of CN Blue, created mostly through the songs Loner and Intuition, fit more closely with the songs that Yonghwa writes: catchy, generally upbeat but with a certain chic, cool quality to it.  Jonghyun's songs don't sound right unless Jonghyun is singing, and they are either 1) very light on orchestration and fanfare or 2) much heavier, rock material.  Be his emo guitar solo type music or his rock music, neither fit CN Blue's pop-rock image.  I just hope that these differences in musicality don't cause a rift in the band.  On Soundplex, Jonghyun explicitly said his and Yonghwa's musical styles are extremely different, but that CN Blue's color can be that they have many colors.  I appreciate that sentiment, but I hope it will actually come true.  I think Yonghwa is better suited to being the leader (he has talking skills, a lot of charisma on stage and a stronger, more "generic" voice that can handle a wider repertoire) so I don't begrudge them the leader change, but I hope Jonghyun gets more recognition.  I hate it when he is introduced simply as "guitarist" while Yonghwa gets introduced as "leader, vocal, guitar and rap".  I get that Yonghwa is the most popular, but I don't want to see CN Blue turn into a one-man band, even though this seems to be coming true to some extent.  If Jonghyun gets too disgruntled and leaves CN  Blue, I don't know if he will make it on his own.  As true as it is that Korea doesn't have a band culture, it has even less of a solo, singer-songwriter culture, and I don't think he will be able to maintain his popularity.  While I want him to choose whatever path will allow him to be the kind of musician he wants to be, I do want him to continue to be popular so I can continue to follow his activities.   Argh that age-old dilemma between musical integrity and popular success.  
okay, feel better now that I have gotten a lot off of my chest.  My conclusion is: I love Lee Jonghyun and want MOAR!!!!  


CN BLUE~!!!!!!
So all I knew of this band was it's name.  But then I saw several clips of the show We Got Married in which SNSD's Seohyun and CN Blue's Yonghwa entered into a pretend marriage.  The short clips I saw made me fall in love with the couple, but since it is impossible to find full episodes on Youtube, I kind of gave up.   Then I found french-subbed clips on dailymotion and I was like OMG~ I can practice both my korean and my french at the same time! excellent!  (turns out it takes too much energy for me to read the very fast french subtitles that I barely pay any attention to the Korean, so not much Korean practice there unfortunately).  But as I was watching, I was like oh ok so this guy is part of a band.  So out of curiosity, I youtubed it and got this:
EDIT: turns out a lot of the videos on youtube have embedding disabled.  if interested, just look up cn blue loner and you will get it. 

THIS IS SUCH A GOOD SONG!!!! NEVER MIND THAT ALL OF THE GUYS ARE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD LOOKING!!!!   Seriously, if you haven't already heard this song, please PLEASE check it out.  It kind of reminds me of Maroon 5, so if you like them, you will definitely like this band.  I have checked out their other songs and I like some of their other songs but this is by far the best. 
It's really cool that they write a lot of their own songs, though I don't think Loner was written by them.  Apparently, Loner has had some plagiarism controversy surrounding it (see http://www.allkpop.com/2010/03/lawsuit-to-be-filed-against-cnblues-songwriters-for-44000 if interested).  I don't consider myself well-versed enough in either composing or copyright law to pass judgment on this, so I am going to just be an irresponsible consumer and say I love the song and continue to listen to it.  (Although the frequency with which plagiarism comes up as an issue in K-Pop does worry me sometimes). 
Anyway, the men of CN Blue are super hot and also are actually musicians, which makes it so much easier for music snobs like me to support them.  I also really like the fact that they are an Indie band who actually debuted in Japan under an Indie label first before going over to Korea.  They apparently went to Japan with the understanding that they can better train as a band in Japan, which they believe has a much larger and more mature band scene than Korea.  They performed on the street and in live houses to hone their performance skills.  AHHH I love it.  People who seriously are into music and are actual musicians but also happen to be amazingly good looking.  They generally perform Loner in suits, and they remind me of the Beatles!  Their suits have English cuts and they have moppish, Brit looking hair-cuts. I LOVE the British suit look (white shirt, dark skinny tie, very slim cut in understated fabrics) so I obviously have to go ga-ga over this.  I generally don't like to advocate for skinny men, but I must say, the best physique for suits is tall and skinny. And all of the members of CN Blue are 180cm or more!  GAWD i love it (but then again they are all SUPER young. But I have gotten so used to this happening to me in K-pop now that I don't even care, I just let it bounce off of me haha) And there is just something inherently sexy about men manipulating instruments.  I don't know if it's because the way they manipulate the instrument alludes to they way they ....er... manipulate women, but that might be it, even though I don't think that consciously.  But they do say the shape of the guitar is modeled after the women's body, and if they are dexterous enough to precisely hold down the strings for all of those chords, well.... heee heee.  
So yeah, currently I am very happily exploding my ovaries at CN Blue and my heart at Arashi.  I realized that as I was watching the Shiyagare episode with Matsuoka that I was grinning widely the whole hour.  Not kidding, and I am actually feeling pretty sick today (temperature fluctuations always get me).   I was discussing how seriously I am in love with Ohno with my mom the other day and she told me I should write a fan letter.  She made a really good point that I have a much better chance at making enough of an impression to get someone to actually read my letter if I send it from the U.S.  She was like why don't you send it in your university's envelope, but I had to point out to her that that might get me in trouble with my school for unauthorized use of their name XD.  But trust me, I have thought about this before.  I have now worked at two law firms and each time I would send out a letter on firm letterhead, I would think "Man, if they got a letter from a lawfirm I am SURE they would read that" lol.  But again, that might get me in trouble, so no can do.
Speaking of school, classes have ended and now all that stands between me and the end of law school is two exams!!! That is assuming that the two pieces of shit that I handed in are actually recognized as academic papers worthy of giving credit to.  But barring failing my two seminars, I should be golden since one of the exams is for a Pass/Fail class and the other I heard is super easy~!!! It's all great and good that I am graduating from law school but honestly, the real deal is the bar exam which isn't till July so I can't really get all excited.  I guess since law school is a vocational school, there isn't much point in graduating from law school itself if you fail the bar... So I better not slack off this summer as I study for it.
But I guess I should give myself some credit for surviving law school.  It was a rough ride but I somehow made it out alive, and I am proud of that.  
Ok, gonna go to bed early since not feeling well.
Night night!



I just finished reading this book about the difference that birth order makes on your personality.  well, to put it more precisely, the book I was reading was about first born children and their specific strengths and weaknesses, so the information on other birth orders was pretty scant.   that said, it was still an interesting read and it made me think about arashi and dbsk's personalities based on their birth orders.  i think we look at blood type, horoscopes, zodiac etc. to determine personality traits, but we rarely look at birth order, and that, frankly, is a much more scientifically sound basis for determining one's personality, in my opinion. 

first, let's look at the different personality types.  Credit to "The First Born Advantage" by Dr. Kevin Leman.

First borns and only children are:
-black-and-white thinkers
- keen sense of what is right and wrong and believe in a "right way" to do things
-natural leaders and achievement oriented
-can be bossy, hypercritical (of self and others), perfectionist, not sympathetic, feel over-pressured and hurtful of others' feelings
-most difficult to pin down
-opposite of the child above them in the family
-competitive, loyal, big on friendship
-negotiators, peace-keepers
-can lack in ambition, be a bit wishy-washy
-social, outgoing
-high on people skills
- can be irresponsible, low on initiative, irreverent, frivolous
Now, the book does say that it's not just birth order but more about if you have other siblings of your sex.  so even if you are a last-born, if you are the first son, you are going to have some first-born traits.  Also, I think it's really interesting to think about the interaction between their innate personalities formed by their family structure and the personalities they take on according to their position in the group.  For instance, Ohno is the big brother of Arashi but is actually a baby in his own family.  
So, with that in mind, let's look at the members of Arashi and DBSK.
Arashi is split between 2 first borns (Sho with 1 younger sister and 1 younger brother and Aiba with 1 younger brother) and 3 babies (Jun, Nino and Ohno all have one older sister each).  While we can't be pinned down just by our personality types, I do think Aiba and Sho have similarities that they don't quite share with the other members.  Sho clearly fits the profile of a first-born (ambitious, organized etc.).  He is a first born in his own family and is second-oldest in Arashi, after Ohno.  I think Sho acts younger-brother-ish (or at the most same-age-ish) to Ohno.  He definitely doesn't treat him like he's younger than him.  Sho has said that Ohno is a senpai and will always be a senpai to him.  I think Sho respects Ohno a great deal and assumes the role of de facto leader only because he feels Ohno's blessing.  As for Aiba,  even though Aiba might at first glance seem a bit all over the place, I think he is a lot more caring and protective and encouraging towards his members than people give him credit for.  He often yields to the other members (especially Jun and Nino, who are younger than him) and indulge them in a rather big-brotherly way.  As for the babies, they really do seem all over the place and don't seem to fit the "baby" personality really well.  That said, I stand by my observation that Sho and Aiba definitely have a somewhat different vibe than the rest of the group.  Somehow, they seem more protective, more paternal than the other members, who, ambitious or driven as they may be, still somehow exude a self-centeredness (I don't mean this critically) that may come from their status as the babies of their families.  Like, I have always thought that Ohno is actually pretty self-centered.  I don't mean he's selfish, I just mean his focus is on his self.  He's admitted that he is probably an S because he can't really adjust to other people's paces.  And everything he does is out of a struggle with his self.  It's always a battle with himself, he says.  (this doesn't translate well into English - he doesn't mean he's internally conflicted.  It just means he isn't competing with anyone other than his own self.)  I don't know, maybe it's because it is not true, but I just can't imagine Jun, Nino or Ohno being a big brother whereas Aiba and Sho I can.  No matter how crazy Aiba might seem, when I hear him talk fondly, protectively and a bit paternally about his younger brother, it makes sense.  And no matter how driven and ambitious Jun seems, when I hear him talking about his big sister, I can imagine how he would have grown up under the influence of two stronger females in his household.  Their common status as being first-borns might explain the bizzare friendship that Aiba and Sho have.  
As for DBSK, we have three firstborns (Yunho, who has a younger sister, Changmin, who I believe has two younger sisters, and Yoochun, who has a younger brother) and two babies (Junsu, whose twin brother acted as his older brother, and Jae who has like a bazillion older sisters - i know Jae has a biological younger sister but because we are talking about developmental psychology, what matters is who he grew up with).  Again, Yunho is a firstborn in real life and is second oldest after Jae and so he fits pretty squarely into the firstborn personality type.  Jae, on the other hand, is pretty clearly a baby and that's probably one of the reasons he wasn't named leader even though he is the oldest.  I think Changmin also clearly acts like a first-born, and Junsu very clearly acts like a baby.  Yoochun is the enigma in this group.  Yoochun might be one of the "failed" (please take those as HUGE quotation marks) firstborns.   Firstborns are subjected to enormous pressure from day one, and that pressure causes some to become discouraged and feel incapable of rising to the challenge.  Yoochun has expressed how he felt like he failed as an older brother when he left his mother and younger brother back in the U.S. when he joined SM.  I think that event might have really scarred Yoochun, causing him to react against his own firstborn tendencies and become frivolous and irreverent.  I am not saying Yoochun is either of these things, but just using them to indicate where he would lie on the spectrum.  Between uptight and lacking in any sense of humor to frivolous and irreverent, Yoochun definitely is more the latter.  I think Jae and Junsu's shared status as being the babies in their families might be why these two seem to butt heads the most in the group.  They both have strong senses of self and are used to being the center of attention.  Whereas Yoochun, Changmin and Yunho had to learn how to step back and relent, Jae and Junsu share a certain stubbornness that might come from them being spoiled as the babies of their families. 
Hmmm, this was an interesting exercise.  Sorry it's a bit all over the place and doesn't really flow well narratively.
Now, what birth order do you think I, this blog author, am?
I am re-watching Saigo no Yakusoku as a way to distract myself from writing my paper, writing my other paper, preparing my presentation, preparing my other presentation and filing my taxes *big smile*

I am nearing the end, but I have to say, this story is so good and interesting until you find out who the culprit is.  It's really too bad.  First off, I don't like the idea of adding a sixth member to the Arashi group.  We don't know him and we don't care about him, so we can't really sympathize with Arashi in their pain.  It really should have been that there were 5 and one was killed and now there are four.  Like, have Oh-chan be the one who died.  Can you imagine how much more heartbreaking it would have been if Ohno was the one this all revolved around?  We can imagine how painful and wrong it would feel for Arashi to be 4, without Ohno.  Sure, it would have meant that Ohno would have had no part in the actual drama, but I think it would have made a much better plot.  Then again, this was a special drama to celebrate Arashi's 10th year anniversary, so I guess it is all-important that all five play a role.  But why celebrate such a momentous occasion with such a flimsy plot?  
Second, this is a legal point, but this all centers around the company president not knowing about the side effects of the drug.  First off, it is highly implausible that a rational actor would have made the choice to sell the drug without government approval to patients that he knows will DIE if they take it. I mean, what benefit is there to that?  If the side effect is as harsh as DEATH, and the injury isn't latent (both Arashi's captain and that woman's father died while taking the drug, not years after), then it would have been really easy to see that the drug was the one causing the side effect and that the side effect was not trivial.  that kind of bad press, not to mention illegal activity, would not be beneficial for a company.  So it would have made much more sense for the president to sell it with a warning for those who had a liver problem. A more realistic situation would have been a side-effect that is latent but lethal when the drug is taken over a long time.  Like, the captain could have had some condition that required medication since he has 10 or something, and the drug was slowly harming him but in a way that didn't manifest to the patient, and he could have died when he was 17 or so (last year of high school, as in the movie).  It would be a lot more difficult to pin the blame on the drug, but that is how these cases are in real life.  And it really could have been that the president (and the original manufacturer in northern Europe) had no idea about the side-effect.  Sure, it wouldn't have made the evil vs good divide so black and white as it is in the film, but is that really what makes good story-telling?  Wouldn't it be more interesting if it's more nuanced?  
Further, even if we were to keep the plot as is, I must point out that a president can't just get off scott-free by denying knowledge of the harm of the products his company is selling.  He has a duty to be informed about the side effects of his products, and if he didn't know that, then he is negligent at the best and reckless at the worst.  Sure, because there is no scienter, he would probably not get as much punishment then if he willingly and knowingly harmed his consumers, but he would definitely not get off scott free.  Obviously, I don't know Japan's consumer liability laws regarding pharmaceuticals and I don't know the details of this (fictional) case.   But the legal conclusion would certainly have been more nuanced than "oh well if you didn't know, how can we blame you?"
Also, in the end - how did that cleaning van make it out of the building?  Even assuming that Nino unlocked the parking garage door before he left the control center, this building is surrounded by police who are waiting to catch the terrorists.  How could a van just come out of the garage, unstopped? 
And how exactly did the police a) know that Arashi were the perps and b) figure out they would just be chilling on a random hill?  Assuming one of the other characters (the president, the daughter, the female employee or Nino's boss) told the police who the perps were, how did they know where they were heading?  Did Arashi tell them this too?  That seems like it would be helping the police a bit TOO much, no?
Some other random notes:
- it's cool that if you watch the movie knowing that Arashi is the perp, you can actually figure out who is talking even when they are using the voice changers.  This was especially true of Oh-chan in the scene where they confront the President and reveal themselves. 
- i am claustrophobic so watching all of the scenes of people crawling around in the ducts freaked me out lol.
okay, shit, i am so screwed for my papers and presentations. arrrrghhh
p.s. apologies for not writing for so long and then popping out of oblivion to write about something so old.  


Quake in Japan

Since some of you know me personally and I have gotten some inquiries (thank you!) I wanted to let you know that my family is safe.   We can't call them but somehow (magic?) my dad was able to communicate with my mom and he says everyone is safe.

My family is fortunate enough to be alive and safe but there are many who won't be so lucky.  If you are the praying type, please keep the people in Japan in your prayers.   

JYJ, SKK scandal, and Shinee

JYJ performed in HK the night that I came back from big China trip. I didn't go. Was this a bad decision? I saw clips and the English stuff (as a native English speaker) sounded kinda weird (I think it was also because it was them singing in English rather than Korean) .  But I am currently obsessed with SKK scandal and a lot of the music for that is also JYJ.  So if they had performed songs like Chajatta or Too Love, I would want to shoot myself for missing it. ARGH. Maybe I don't want to know what their playlist was.

So yeahhhhhh SKK scandal.  It's SOOOOOOOOOOOO good.  And omg the kiss scene. I want to kiss Yoochun.  the Japanese DBSK blogs have always been talking about how kissable his lips were but I didn't really GET IT until now.  OMG it must feel amazing to kiss him.  Sigh.... 

Other than that scene, though, I am not really fangirling Yoochun.  I think he's really cute with the girl but I can support them without getting jealous lol.  Geol oh is who does it for me. I have a thing for second lead males.   I like Mercutio more than Romeo if you get what I mean.  And the whole prickly on outside, soft on inside and kinda dorky is a guarantee home run for me.  Add dark, mysterious, brooding, and amazingly skilled martial artist/archer to the mix and you have me sold. OH WAIT! that's Aragorn of LoTR fame.  HAHAHAHAHAHA i am so predictable.  I got into fan fiction through LoTR.  I was a huge LoTR geek in college.  I memorized Elvish phrases and stuff.  But Aragorn was not dorky or all mushy on the inside so he didn't do it for me as much as Geol Oh. Aragorn was too perfect, too superhero.  Geol Oh is very human and I love that about him. 

Other than SKK scandal, I was obsessed with Shinee's Juliette dance pv for a while and had to see it at least 4 times a day or else I felt like I was going to go crazy.  Lydia can attest to this.  Problem was, we were in China during this period and youtube is blocked in China.  Until I remembered Tudou, I seriously thought I was going to lose it.   I don't see myself getting really into SHinee since their looks do nothing for me but I do love this song.  I watched it because a japanese blogger i really like likes them and i was floored by the guy in the blue pants.  Did some research, turns out his name is tae-min.  Whenever I watch the dance, i am pretty much just watching him.

Here, have a mv:
OMG i need to do a dance analysis of this.  SO good.   Well, why the delay! I will do it now.

First, some disclaimers:
1) everything I say will pretty much be about tae-min. sorry, rest of shinee lol.
2) i might be comparing taemin a lot to the other members (especially Key who is imo the second best dancer in the group) but please don't take that as hate towards the other members; it's just to make things easier to understand.  i think they all do a decent job, but taemin actually dances while the other follow the steps. It's a crucial difference.  
3) this analysis might be really hard to understand since I don't have a lot of the terminology for this kind of dance.  I only know ballet terminology since that is what i am primarily trained in, so sorry in advance for the vague descriptions.
4) since the other members of shinee are good dancers, the difference between them and taemin is really hard to put into words.  they don't do anything blatantly wrong like Arashi does, which is what makes Arashi dance critique relatively easy. 

second, some general notes:

- like all amazing dancers, what sets taemin apart is how deliberate and precise his moves are.  he is in control of every move his body makes and he never loses that control.  that's why his dancing is so much cleaner and well defined than the others.  He also has that energy thrumming him and beaming out of him that untrained dancers can't really get. 

- between Yunho and Ohno, he is definitely the Ohno type.  By that I mean, Yunho is really tall and has amazing body proportions that make him look even taller (small head, very long limbs).  So he has this majestic, towering presence on stage and that benefits him a lot.  even if he weren't as good a technical dancer as he is, he would still be amazing.  Ohno, on the other hand, is very small and doesn't exude that same aura that Yunho has.  So he needs to be a more technically skilled dancer to achieve the same, awe-inspiring effect.  Tae-min is like Ohno in that he is short (i dunno how tall he is but he doesn't look very tall) and doesn't have a strong presence (probably partially due to his young age).  But his technique is amazing.  It might even be better than Ohno, although I don't know if he has the same flair and choreographic skills that Ohno or Junsu have.  To judge that, I'd have to see some of his improv or something choreographed by him. 

third: a random comment - i look at taemin in the first half of the video and all i see is chinen.  Dunno why but can't help it and it makes me lol at imagining this being chinen instead. (ha! as if he can do such a difficult dance so well)

Okay, onto the moments of amazingness:

0:02-0:07: i can already tell how good taemin (blue pants on the far left) is by how he walks. this guy is a dancer.

0:11: the move where they move their center of gravity to their right foot while straightening their left arm down towards the floor.  the other members just sorta just move their body over to the right but taemin does this shoulder hitch and really snaps his whole body to the right.  this is what i mean by his movements being more precise and sharp.

0:30-0:32: the choreography during the word "boneun" -> i love the headsnap.  I especially love how Taemin does it.  I can't quite place my finger on what makes his so much better than the others, but i think it's a combination of the following: 1) timing (not too fast like key but not too slow like Minho (pink pants) or Onew (yellow pants)); 2) how his axis (his neck) says perfectly plumb. Like his head doesn't tilt at all but revolves cleanly with his jaw parallel to the ground at all times; 3) his hair just flairs out in a cool way lol.  hey, dancing is not ALL about technique.

0:34: the move in the pause between "machi" and "neol" where they step out to the side with their right foot.  i love how taemin really slides his ribcage over to this right and snaps it back in (difficult considering how quick the move is) whereas the other members just step their foot out without really following the move with their upper body.

0:44: ack ninja dancers in black! it's like magic, they appear out of thin air!

0:50:  the see-sawing move in which taemin comes forward while the others go back. this is SO cool and taemin executes it really well.  he really lets his center of gravity jump from side to side, which is what lets him get his legs out from under him, allowing him to really get off of the floor and cover distance.  the other members are a bit heavy on their feet and it's because they can't control their torso as much as taemin.  like, they are afraid to let their hips move that much because they are afraid their legs will fly out from underneath them and send them sprawling.  that IS what would happen if the move is uncontrolled, but taemin can manage it.

0:55: there is something about how taemin does this shoulder shrug/neck tilt with hands clasped in front (awfully wordy description sorry) move that really kills me (in a good way). i think the key is the non-working shoulder (the one that's not coming forward to meet the ear).  the other members are a bit lazy about the other shoulder (take key (green shirt) for example) so both shoulders are both moving up around the neck, diluting the effect of the working shoulder.  but taemin keeps the other shoulder immobile, stretching it far away from his neck so that the shoulder that is moving up to meet his ear really stands out.  dancing really is not about the moving part but the contrast between what is moving and what is not and he does this very well.

0:58: the hip thrust. it's awesome even though it's just a hip thrust. i think it's because his arms are lowered to the sides and tucked close in as well as his legs which are straight and tucked under him. usually, hip thrusts are accompanied by arms up over head or in the "show off my biceps" pose and legs in a second position plie (legs apart, feet either turned in or out) so i think it's why it looks so cool.  i also like how his necklace bounces up from the thrust lol.

ooh set and costume change.  taemin (vertical stripe pants on the far right); minho (rapper with green jacket); key (baseball cap); onew (grey pants); jonghyun (black and blue pullover)

minho's rap: since he's tall and lean, minho looks good in skinny jeans and highcut sneakers. oooh his jeans have sparkly knees. weird but looks good on him. at the end when he's saying "ppalgan sinho" and he does that arm thing - i like that move. i also like how he looks with his back turned and his legs straight and spread. nice, long, straight legs and pointed finger. mmm. oh wait this has nothing to do with dancing. focus, self, focus.

key's part: i like how he comes skipping out. like he's skipping but manages to look bad ass while doing it. the hat grab helps. and i LOVE that part in the "oooh ah" during the pause between "nal" and "milgo" where he stretches his arms out and then clasp above his head.  he did it well, angling his neck and really stretching his hands out.  he pulled his whole body taut and then pulled everything in tight and quick, giving that really awesome "shooop!" effect (does that make any sense?)  in combination with what everyone else is doing, it is a wonderful moment, gets me really high tension.  i also love the way the rest of the line is sung high and quickly with no background music.  it's the musical high point of this song for me.

taemin's part: i LOOOOOVE how he comes out.  he hops out to the side and then does this amazing slinky walk over.  i think it's a move that would look absolutely hilarious if done by someone who couldn't make it so smooth yet springy.  it could look lazy or really jerky, neither of which are good. i also love how at the end of his line, when he is extends his right hand out, he rolls and snaps his whole body (like a wave that starts at his left foot and travels up his body and leaves his body out of his outstretched right hand) to accent the end of his line.  because he's so good, you can see the wave travel through him, making it look really cool but it could easily look like some weird convulsion if done poorly.

2:30: after jonghyun's ridiculously long note, all of the members come to the front each in their own way, and the over all effect is really cool. but look at taemin!  he does that sliding thing (again, no knowledge of terminology) that Ohno likes to do sometimes. it's where you slide across the floor propelled only by the rolling motion of your ankles.  it looks really cool too since he changes orientation. his shoulders face our right first and then our left, so his body looks like some coiling snake and it's really awesome.  i also love how he comes to this clean stop and doesn't move for a split second, right at the end of the "hoo" after "juliette".  it's timed really well with the music and makes a great contrast with the other members, who are still moving. my eyes zoom right to him here, i can't help it.

2:37: the step touch move is a really basic and kinda boring move.  but taemin combines it with a body roll, shoulder shrug and finger snap and resists the urge to swing his arms around too much (really easy to do since your center of gravity is shifting during this move so your body naturally wants to counteract it by swinging the arms) so it looks really cool. i aspire to do my next step, touch like him.

2:40: the move where they take two steps but the moving leg is kept stiffly straight. i think the way taemin does this move is the best way to make this somewhat awkward step look good.  he keeps his body super stiff and really slams his working leg down. if you are kinda dainty about it like jonghyun, it just looks uncomfortable and indecisive. 

3:06: the move during the dadada-s is really fun and i love it.  for some reason my eye is drawn to min-ho during this.  could be that his arms are the longest so there's just more to swing around and draw the eye (the advantage that taller dancers always have).  but i think it's more because compared to key who doesn't put any emphasis anywhere, when min-ho pulls his arm up and back so his hand is by his ear, he really pulls his arm back and opens his chest up and adds a bit of a neck tilt in there and lets his arm linger back there for a tiny lag.  that kind of emphasis is important - it works as a punctuation mark in what would otherwise be a long run on sentence, if  you get what i mean.

3:07: during the side steps, tae-min really shows his skill. side-steps, like step touches, are really basic steps and can be boring as hell. but taemin makes it interesting by leaving his center of gravity behind till the last minute and then whipping his whole body over to follow his foot,  so instead of just swaying back and forth, he zips from one side to the other.

3:14: AHHHH i think this is my favorite dance moment in the whole pv. i call it my favorite because the other moments are made up of taemin's awesome moves, but this moment only works because they're a group, so it really shows off the group well.  the whole shifting your position by using the momentum of swinging one leg around while your upper body does something else entirely is a really cool move, but it looks especially cool since there are 5 people doing it at once but in opposite directions. i love how they just seem to be moving randomly but then all of the sudden they align and as soon as they do that, they stop doing the move.

ending: i love how taemin ends the song, lifting one heel off the ground as he revolves another foot inwards by putting weight on the toe and revolving his heel around it. 

...and that ends my analysis.

it's very cool choreography and done very well.  i've checked out their other stuff but nothing has really grabbed my attention so far.  but i really like Shinee.  They are very good dancers and singers and remind of DBSK in that way.  If only they were as good looking.   Aw shit, i am going to get hate from Shinee fans for this, aren't i?  i think the other thing is how young they are.  they're even younger than DBSK so it's really starting to get into creepy territory if i were to be attracted to them as guys.

ok this took like 3 hours as these dance analysis posts always take and i am long past my bed time.  night night!

Look Sho!

Look Sho you WERE a fashion prophet after all!

Teukie-oppa (yaaaaaaaaaaay one of the few korean guys i like who i can call oppa!) looks much better though, gotta admit. XD



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