Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When SNSD welcomed me to Korea

SNSD: The more, the merrier
When I came to Korea in October of 2010, I hardly knew anybody here. My Korean friends were either doing their military service or studying/working in the US. I had a few cousins who were around my age, but we hadn’t seen each other in nearly ten years. And my brother was still in college.

With an immediate future that looked lonely and uncertain, I was desperate to find something that would connect me to my new home. Before, I had never been too keen on Korean pop culture as I saw no real need to be. Back in high school, I remember a lot of the Asian kids were into Boa and Hikaru Utada, and a lot of the white kids were into AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. I thought both groups were painfully ethnic in their musical tastes.

But since I was going to be in Korea for a while, I decided to check out what all this Korean pop stuff was.

And within about a week after arriving, I found myself in love with SNSD, or Girls’ Generation (in English). Though they’re megastars in Asia, they’re not as well-known in the rest of the world, so I’ll quickly explain. They’re a female pop group, and they’re probably the most famous K-pop stars of the last five years. 

They’re the kind of group that I’d consider myself too cool to listen to if they were American, but since I was in Korea, I got into them under the excuse of “cultural research” and other similarly self-serving BS. Hey, I was friendless and they were really pretty and personable and some of their (early) songs were cute and catchy, okay?

I downloaded albums and listened to them almost exclusively. I went online and found variety shows that they had been on and watched all of them. My favourite was “Hello Baby”, in which the girls from SNSD were tasked with taking care of a toddler (I assume that some kind of childcare professional was supervising behind the cameras).  

Yoona: Yeah, there's kind of a reason why
everybody picks her
I had trouble deciding which member was my fave. Predictably, my first love was Yoona, but everybody picks her. Then I liked Tiffany, then Yuri, then back to Yoona, then Taeyeon… Needless to say, it was quite entertaining.

I hardly listen to them anymore, especially since their last few songs have just been ugh. But I’ll always fondly remember my first few months in Seoul when I didn’t know Sinchon from Sincheon, or Gyeongbokgoong from Cheongyecheon. At least I had those nine beautiful SNSD girls to keep me company and ease my transition.

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