Favorite Song: “Gashina” - Sunmi
I have been absolutely obsessed with “Gashina” since it was released, so much so that any other song that has come out since hasn’t captured my attention as much as this one has. Chances are you’ll catch me blasting this song at full volume in my apartment at some point during the day. I never feel like a more powerful woman than when I’m listening to “Gashina,” and I love that Sunmi has presented us with such an iconic power anthem. I adore female K-Pop artists who come out with songs that push strength and confidence, so it’s no surprise that I totally fell in love with “Gashina” immediately. It’s great to see her continue to slay as a solo performer after the disbandment of Wonder Girls.
Favorite Album: 7 for 7 - GOT7
GOT7 has a very special place in my heart, so I am obviously always excited whenever they announce a comeback. I wasn’t sure where the group was going to go after concluding the Flight Log series, so I didn’t know what to expect from the latest mini-album. I was pleased to find that 7 for 7 was another great release full of songs written by the boys, even including the title track “You Are,” one of leader JB’s creations. I believe the key to success for this group has been the members finally getting to participate in the songwriting, so I’m happy that this trend continued in 7 for 7, and the boys once again delivered.
Favorite Music Video: “O Sole Mio” - SF9
Listen, I have literally not shut up about “O Sole Mio” since it came out. I have never stanned faster than I did upon the release of this masterpiece. The reason I chose it for favorite music video instead of just favorite song is because of how gorgeous the video aesthetics are and how well they complement the musical aesthetics (plus, you know, my man Taeyang truly kills it in his solo performance in the music video). As one of your local Hispanic K-Pop stans, I absolutely adore the use of Spanish cultural elements in this track. Plus, the fact that the SF9 boys cover Spanish, English, and Korean all in one verse is truly amazing.
Favorite Performance: MIC Drop - BTS (Show Champion)
BTS is all over the news and all over our favorites, and for good reason. In my personal opinion, “MIC Drop” is the new ultimate bad b*tch anthem, and the delivery of the performance by BTS just drives that point even further home. The choreo is high intensity and relentless, building on top of the boasting lyrics and fierce vocals, making me feel like I could successfully fight the entire world. Plus, Suga gives the absolute best mic drop at the end of this performance (be still, my beating heart). I adore nothing more than BTS boasting their achievements and making me feel like I can boast mine as well.
Favorite Drama: Father is Strange
If you’re not afraid of a major time commitment (let’s face it, if you’re a K-Drama fan, that’s not one of your fears), Father is Strange is a great drama to invest time into. The story centers around four siblings and their parents, each with their own unique storylines. Lee Joon’s character Ahn Joonghee joins the family after learning that father Byun Hansoo is his biological father. The main love story revolves around Ahn Joonghee and Jung Somin’s dorky third child character Byun Miyoung, but side stories of her siblings are as equally compelling and interesting. I won’t include any more information to keep this spoiler-free, but the drama delves into the important concept of family ties and the strength those ties have, even in certain crisis situations. Not to mention the drama contains some of the cutest interactions that I’ve seen to date. I love the realistic elements and problems that each sibling faces on the road to their future, so if you’re looking for a pragmatic plotline with some emotional and angsty elements thrown in, I highly recommend investing time in Father is Strange!
Favorite Variety Show: Knowing Bros
JTBC has quickly found their way as my favorite broadcasting outlet, so it’s no surprise that I’ve come to absolutely adore Knowing Bros. The main cast of the show is made up of some of the best in the business, including but not limited to Super Junior’s Kim Heechul, Kang Hodong, Lee Soogeun, and Seo Janghoon. The concept of the show involves the high school concept—the show members acting as current students while the special guests are new transfer students. My favorite aspect of this show is the overall tone and the absence of formal language, despite seniority and the constant roasting of every person taking part. The open mocking of idols and cast members isn’t often seen in entertainment shows, and I’m always here for a good roast. If you’ve never watched your faves on Knowing Bros, I highly recommend it!
Favorite Book: The Korean Mind
I don’t have much time for reading nowadays (what with managing multiple positions for multiple outlets), but I’ve slowly been trucking my way through The Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture by Boye Lafayette De Mente in my spare time. The 461-page book organizes concepts alphabetically, covering big aspects of culture, including the abstract force of “Han,” to big points in history that have shaped modern culture. The most interesting aspect of the book is that it is written by a French foreigner who has spent extensive time living in Korea, so he has the ability to explain the differences between Western and Korean culture. Though it can sometimes be difficult to get through big chunks of the book (especially if you’re not big into abstract concepts), the vast amount of information on Korean culture contained in the book is totally enriching for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Korea.
Favorite App: Memrise
For the past two years I have taken what little spare time I have to teach myself Korean. This is obviously not an easy feat for a Latin-alphabet based speaker, so additional help is definitely needed. I began using Memrise mostly because it was an app that was totally free and had many different courses to choose from. Courses begin from the ground up, even offering lesson on how to read Hangeul before delving into important vocabulary terms. The app will also send notifications for you to get in your daily practice so that you don’t grow rusty, making the lessons stick better. I’ve successfully managed to learn to read Hangeul because of this app, and I am quickly moving onto sentence construction and vocabulary. Definitely look into Memrise for not just Korean, but any other language you’re looking to study!