I Have Been a K-pop Fan For Five Years

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Five years ago, around the end of August, I was hungry for new music. I started College in a few days and decided that it was time for a new hyper fixation. K-pop was something that a few friends of mine have asked me about in the past, so I looked at some K-pop music videos on Youtube to see if I was interested in this genre of music. I watched the first music video that popped up, and that was The Boys by Girls’ Generation.

Best decision I have ever made.

K-pop has helped me change my life in so many ways since that day back in 2015. This post will serve as a timeline of my time in K-pop and the personal growth I have experienced since becoming a K-pop stan.


2015

After watching The Boys MV, I was obsessed with K-Pop. Girls’ Generation, EXID, F(x), and Red Velvet were groups that I listened to on repeat for months. Then something happened on October 22nd, 2015.

As I was scrolling through my YouTube feed, I saw an upload from Mnet, and it was the debut stage of this new girl group named TWICE. I was instantly drawn to the group because they had nine members, something that SNSD had for a while. I clicked on the video, and unknowingly sold my soul to TWICE.

The rest of that day, I read their wiki page, watched their debut MV (multiple times), watched the MV teasers, and clips from Sixteen. Their 1st mini-album, The Story Begins, was on repeat for MONTHS, and I spent my first winter break from college binge-watching all of the TWICE TV episodes. My first semester of College was the most challenging. I had to adjust to many changes, changed my major, and changed my workload due to my mental health; I thought about transferring, I wasn’t eating right, and I was incredibly lonely. TWICE gave me joy during my first semester of College.

2015 Faves:


2016

First music Video I watched in 2016 and Severely Underrated.

During the weekend of New York Comic-Con, I saw a girl wearing a BTS hat while attending the convention. I was SHOOK. Like, I knew of BTS, but I was not an ARMY. (I also never seen a K-pop fan in the wild) I liked a few of their title tracks. I wanted to talk to her about BTS’s new song, Blood Sweat and Tears since I didn’t listen to it yet.

A Literal Masterpiece

A few days later, I watched the music video to Blood Sweat and Tears, and I was BLOWN AWAY. To this day, Blood Sweat and Tears is one of my favorite music videos of all time. (I’m incredibly biased because I am a Michelangelo stan) I bought the WINGS album and proclaimed myself as a fan of that album and their title tracks. I did not take a deep dive into their discography until September 2017.

2016 Faves:

One of The Best K-Pop Songs of All Time

 


2017

First Music Video I Watched in 2017

I remember being bored to tears while watching the Billboard awards because I was not familiar with any of the artists since, but I was waiting to see BTS and hoped that they won the Billboard award they were nominated for. When they won, I was extremely happy for them. I did not know their names, but I knew their music and knew that they deserved it. I supported any K-pop act that was getting the recognition that they deserved.

Now here is when EVERYTHING started to change—September 2017: when I became an ARMY.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was hyped for BTS’s comeback for Love Yourself: Her. I did not know much about them, so two days before the music video for DNA dropped, I decided to learn their names.

And then I fell into the rabbit hole.

I preordered the album, bought the rest of their discography, then watched hours upon hours of BTS content for about two weeks straight. They gave me happiness. I connected with their music and the members, and I just felt like I found them at the right time in my life.

2017 Faves:


2018

First Music Video I Watched In 2018

This was the year I attended KCON NY for the first time, and I also attended a K-pop concert for the first time. I saw NCT 127, EXID, WANNAONE, Fromis_9, and Golden Child.

This year was not the best, I did not see BTS when they came to Newark, and my mental health was really bad. But 2019 was so much better. Honestly, I think 2019 was the best year of my life.

2018 Faves:

FAKE LOVE is one of my Favorite BTS songs
Best Summer Song

2019

First Music Video I Watched In 2019

In 2019 I was able to go to six K-pop concerts and KCON NY 2019. I saw Sunmi, BLACKPINK, BTS, TWICE, MONSTA X, and SuperM live in concert. I went out more, explored the world, and met new people.

Being able to see my favorite groups in the same year was a blessing. BTS and TWICE have changed my life for the better. I wish I could tell them how they helped motivate me in my life.

2019 Faves:

I cried when I saw this for the first time. The lyrics are heartbreaking.
I also cried when I saw this music video for the first time.

2020

First Music Video I Watched in 2020

I had so much planned for this year, and every single thing was canceled or postponed. I planned to see BTS on both MetLife dates, NCT 127, and possibly Monsta X. It sucks that none of it was unable to happen, but I hope next year is a better year.

2020 Faves As Of September 2020:

My Favorite Music Video Of All Time
One of TWICE’s best music videos
This Song Couldn’t Have Came At A Better Time.
The Most Underrated Song of 2020

I know I keep saying this, but K-pop has genuinely changed my life. Before K-pop, I went out maybe once every three months, and I barely socialized or adequately cared for myself. I had no motivation for my life.

K-pop gave me happiness during some dark times, but ultimately BTS and TWICE helped me the most. BTS taught me how to love myself. I did not like myself AT ALL before getting into BTS. Now I learned to accept myself for who I am with all of my faults and flaws.

I was so inspired after watching Jungkook’s GCF in Tokyo. I bought a DSLR in 2017. Now I am a college graduate with a degree in Media Studies and Production, hoping to travel the world and capture it through my unique style of videography and photography.

Jimin Day In NYC

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AKA The First Time I Spent a Questionable Amount of Money on Drinks

Chococino From Caffe Bene

vlog: 191013 Happy Birthday Jimin [지민] 💜 | [Cafe Hopping For Jimin in NYC]

cinematic film: Jimin Day in NYC


[ OCTOBER 13, 2020 ]

After debating for 24 hours, I ultimately made the decision to go cup sleeve hunting for Jimin’s birthday.

I planned on going to five cafes but ultimately ended up going to four cafes and this was the first time I have dedicated an entire day hunting for cup sleeves in NYC.

I had to make a quick stop at HMart on 32nd Street to find the BTS edition iced americanos.


LOVUE had a cool event for ARMY and had little tiny Jimin’s posted around the store.

I was super excited to go to Matcha n’ More. As a big fan of matcha, I considered it a rite of passage and this was the day I would get a drink from this cafe.

That was until I arrived in Lower Manhattan only to see the line for Matcha n’ More extend down the block. I heard from others that the wait was about 90 minutes, but after waiting that long at Caffe Bene I couldn’t do it again.


Luna Coffee

Hosts: THICKJIMIN, @omg_its_yelly and @jiminchuckles

Drink: Orange Lemonade


Idea Coffee

Hosts: @honeywater_jm, @nw_lovely1991 & @nekotama_design

Drink: Hot Tea


Caffe Bene

Host: @fate_jimin

Drink: Chococino

I waited about 90 minutes in line, but it was worth it because there were a couple of army giving out freebies and the cafe was playing BTS songs. The time went by fast. This was also my first time having a chocolate cafe drink. I had to do it for Jimin.

Oh and the fried dumplings? *chef’s kiss*


Sweet Moment

Hosts: @Organic_twt

Drink: Iced Tea


Thank you to all of the people that organized each event. Your hard work made this day very memorable and fun!

Taehyung Day in NYC

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Cafe hopping in NYC for Taehyung’s Birthday

Photos at Caffe Bene by Winter Strawverry

vlog: 191229 Happy Birthday Taehyung [태형] 💜 | [ +Times Square Before NYE]

[DECEMBER 29TH, 2019]

The final cup sleeve crawl of 2019 was a success!

I started off the day by going to Times Square. I have never been to Times Square so close to New Year’s. It definitely feels different. You could feel the excitement for the new year in the air and you can also feel the excitement for BTS’s performance.

The stages were set for the performances and I got in my feelings. It was surreal to know that in less than 72 hours BTS would be in NYC and they would be performing on that stage for New Year’s Eve in front of millions of people.

I’m going to be honest here. I thought about going to Times Square for New Year’s Eve, I mean it’s only natural, but I knew that if I hated going to Times Square on a Saturday afternoon, I definitely wouldn’t survive New Year’s Eve. 


Bibble & Sip Midtown

Hosts: @goldenprincetae & @sadboivinxen & @VShock1230

Drink: Black Iced Tea


Caffe Bene

Hosts:  @winterVerry1230 x @gglui18

Drink: Strawberry Lattee w/ soy milk


Luna Coffee

Hosts: @elisabeth_bynum & @omg_its_yelly

CONNECT, BTS

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When BTS & Art Collide in Brooklyn.

New York Clearing – Antony Gormley

vlog: 200226 CONNECT BTS NYC [#CONNECTBTS]


[FEBRUARY 26TH, 2020]

A dreary day in NYC did not stop me from going on the adventure of traveling to Brooklyn to view the CONNECT, BTS New York City exhibition by Antony Gormley.

After a quick stop to LINE FRIENDS (in which I walked out empty-handed, thank goodness) and eating lunch at Mullanes, I made my over to the exhibition. 

The twenty-minute walk to Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3 was worth it. You have the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline of Manhattan. 

View of Manhattan From Brooklyn Bridge Park

Friday The 13th In NYC

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The Last ‘Normal’ Day in NYC

Views from The Vessel

vlog: 200313 Friday The 13th [My First 4K Video?]


[MARCH 13, 2020]

Friday The 13th turned out to be very interesting…..

My friend and I had a plan. Go to NYC early to hang out, make an unnecessary purchase at the LINE FRIENDS store and then attend a concert in Brooklyn that evening.

Our plans slowly fell apart.

The concert was canceled due to COVID- 19 concerns and we decided to still go to NYC to hang out.


Times Square was not crowded.

[DISCLAIMER: Social distancing practices were not enforced by our local government at the time of our trip. If they were, we would have canceled our trip.]

I have never seen NYC so empty.


After impulse buying baby Tata, we decided to go to The Vessel. I wanted to test out the 4K capabilities of my phone (spoiler alert: IT IS BEAUTIFUL).

Views of Hudson Yards from The Vessel

After searching for bandages in Kmart we eventually found some at Hudson News in Penn Station. I also found hand sanitizer in the same store for $4.99.

Price gouging was just getting started.

When we stumbled upon a Duane Reade we decided to go inside to look for hand sanitizer and was met with empty shelves.

Empty Shelves at Duane Reade

And that was the day. One of the shortest and most memorable trips to NYC.

I hope everyone is staying at home and staying safe.