What It’s REALLY Like to Be a Fangirl

Hint: It ain’t all lightsticks and hair dye.

Yes, yes, I know. It’s been a while. Months, in fact. That’s what happens sometimes – you start something, so motivated, thinking it’s gonna be the best thing you’ve done. Then reality hits and you realize you’re discouraged, unmotivated, and truly questioning your life choices. When you do go back, for one split second, you remind yourself this is why you started in the first place…and then, ten seconds later, you’re like NOPE.

Sound familiar?

Congratulations. You are most definitely, certifiably a K-pop fan. (Or a Liberal Arts major. Whichever one came to mind first).

Now I’m not gonna sit here and claim to know everything about every fandom. That really won’t do considering I’ve only ever liked one (okay, technically two) group ever. EH. VER! You wanna know what it’s like to be a multi-popper? You’re gonna have to ask my friend, Ren.

Moving on.

The reason for this post is simple – I have a lot to say. It’s not gonna be a rant so don’t worry. I’m not depressed or going through a hard time. It’s just there are things I’ve noticed and would like to talk about and invite people to share their opinions. And, while I love Twitter, it’s character limit has its drawbacks.


What is it like to be so deep into a group?

Now most blogs tell you about what it’s like to be a K-pop fan in general. Because who only likes one group? There are so many beautiful people to choose from, so many songs to like, so many derp moments that make you scream “OHMYGOD MY BAAAE!” How is it possible to be a single fan?

It’s not. It’s hard. And in a way, sort of impossible.

I’ve been a fan of one group since 2004. I was born in 1994. I was merely ten years old when I got in (hipster moment: I was into K-pop before it was K-pop) and now I’ve been stuck for more than half my life. At this point, there is no going back. And the first thing I will tell you is: it is expensive.

See the people laughing as they read this? It’s cuz they know. 

If you’re gonna be into it, be aware. It gets pricey. You think a couple of albums will do but once you buy that first box set with photocards that come in three different versions, you’re done. The moment you hit that ‘Enter’ button on YesAsia, there is no going back. Even as a Korean fan, it’s difficult. Cheap delivery fees only save you so much. You have more albums. You have singles. You have concerts. You have to stream. You have to buy this and do that and no, honey, I’m not just talking about money.

It also takes time. 

Watching a couple of YouTube videos don’t cut it. Even if it’s just one group (okay, two!) – you have music videos, variety shows, (if you’re a new fan) old shows, news reports. You think concerts are the only thing you’ll be going to? There are pre-recordings. Award shows. Busking events. Even getting the fangoods can mean getting up to catch the first subway. You thought you would just show up and see them? LOL. NOPE! I can tell you from personal experience – some people show up days ahead for free events (Gangnam Kpop Festival 2014, anyone? Anyone? Hmmmm?)

And then there’s the drama. Soooooo much drama. I can tell you this right now – you pay the price for knowing so much about what goes on in your idols’ lives. Because that means you spend that much time on SNS and see every Tori, Danielle, and Haneul that like to post and express their views on Twitter (kinda like I’m doing. Heh). And you can’t just ignore it. You can’t just scroll past. Cuz we are human. We are curious. We must know. So we read. And we fight. And we argue. And we fight even more.

All. The. Time.

I have my fair share of drama with just one (okay! two!) group! Can’t even imagine what it’s like when you like a lot of them. Even more interesting when two of those groups happen to be rivals (yup. Y’all know who you are. And I salute you.)

And you know what the best part is? Some of that drama isn’t even from just other fans. It’s from family. And colleagues. And other friends. Who don’t understand why you spend so much reading up about pretty Asians who have no idea you exist, and judge you for it. Judge you hard core. It’s okay to be a die-hard fan of Michael Jackson or John Mayer or Hyde. But you like a K-pop group? Oh no. You’re just a sucker who has no life, no ambitions, and will waste away and regret your life choices when you’re sitting in your parents basement at 40.

Yeah. Someone actually said that to me once.

But it’s okay. Because you make friends and meet people who truly get you. You’ll find people who understand and won’t judge you because you guys like the same idols and that’s all that matters…

Ha! Wrong! With a CAPS LOCK W!

It’s not just about who you like, either. How much do you like them? Do you stream their songs? Do you buy all their albums? Which photocards do you have? Which concerts have you gone to? What’s your Twitter ID? How come you do this but not that? Well, why do you follow her on Twitter when she’s this stan? But why don’t you do this? Why didn’t you see that?

Sigh. Yeah…I’d like to say I remember when it was easier but, honestly, it never was.

When you read about becoming a K-pop fan online, you read about the Different Stages of Becoming a Fan, the How You Know You’re a K-pop Fan, the K-pop Terminology, the How to Get Your Friend Into Becoming a K-pop Fan By Stealing Their Soul and Mindwashing Them with Constant Replays and-

…Yeah, okay. It didn’t say that.

But my point is – it’s hard. It’s really difficult. I started this post with the intention of talking about being a fan of one (I’M SAYING ONE!) group, but in all honesty, it makes no difference. Whether you like one group, two groups, five groups, or ten (yes, I know those people, too), you’re in for a looooong ride of turmoil. There’s drama and tears and eye aches from too much LED and you know the worst part?

You can’t get yourself to give it up. Not a single second of it.

And I haven’t even gotten into the part for when your group is popular in a whole different country than Korea.

But…that’s for another time…



Make an Overseas Yes24 Account

NOTE: This applies to foreigners who DO NOT live in Korea. Foreigners who reside in Korea with an Alien Registration have a completely different process. This is for those who reside overseas without an ARC and plan to visit the country just for a concert or event..


Okay, so…

With so many companies adding extra stringent measures on tickets (ugh), the days of relying on resellers and agencies are numbered. One of the ways companies seem to be tackling the scalpers issue is by making it impossible to enter unless your name matches the one on the ticket. If that is the case, you’ll need an actual account because that is the only way to have your name on the ticket.

Luckily, yes24 does have an option for those living overseas. Unfortunately, it’s in Korean.


First, go on the website: yes24.com

You’ll see a blue line running across the TOP of the page. On the RIGHT side, there is a string of words that have to do with accounts. They’re faded and harder to see than the ones on the LEFT:


The three most important in this case are:

로그인 (login)

회원가입 (Make account)

and 고겍센터 (Customer Service <- just in case)

So, what you want to do now is click on 회원가입 (second from the left or sixth from Global Yes24)


When you click on that, it will take you to this page:


Notice the PINK 01 there? Scroll down and you will see the TERMS and AGREEMENTS section. All you have to is check the RED option (this checks them all for you)


Sloppily highlighed in yellow for your convenience…

Now, you scroll further and come to a PINK 02. You’ll see a series of options for the type of account you want to make. For those living overseas, you want the LAST one



After that, it’s simply a matter of filling in the info. From order of left to right:

한글이름: Korean romanization (for this, you may need to get someone who knows Korean to write it down for you)

First name, Last name (as so helpfully written already in the text box)

생년월일: Birthday in order of Year, Month, and Day

성별: Gender (남: male, 여: female)

이매일: Email (again, self-explanatory)

And then hit the red button. They will send you a confirmation email which gives you a link that takes you to a page to set up your username and password (just like any other account website)

What really kills me about this is that this fixes NOTHING. It just makes things extremely more difficult for ANYBODY to get a ticket. Resellers will still go on and offer their services for concerts and other things, and the rest of us with slow internet just suffer. You think it’s just foreigners having a hard time getting tickets? A lot of Koreans rely on resellers, too, even if they won’t admit it (unlike me) because it takes EXTREME skill and luck to get a ticket. And if you’re picky about where you sit like I am, it’s even more difficult.

What I SUGGEST y’all do is go through your regular resell channels anyway but with a TWIST. There’s a lot of people offering to buy tickets for foreigners (with a fee, of course). BUT instead of just having them do it, make SURE they use it using YOUR login info. (Korean sites don’t have bank or credit card information on your account so it’s safe. And you can always just change your password later). Because they’re using YOUR account, your name will automatically show up on the ticket no matter who goes in and buys it, and resellers hire a team of people to get these tickets so you have a higher chance of succeeding.

Best hunting and good luck to you all. I’m gonna go hope and pray to the Eastern Gods that this totally won’t be necessary…

Official Monsta X Monbebe 2nd Gen Fanclub Goods Review

Today was a good day. I woke up to the news that my Monsta X fanclub membership package would arrive. I was super pumped and basically just sat around in my house all morning waiting.
Finally, it arrived! And… it looked a bit small. I had an instant flashback to last year’s ARMY goods and how I was a bit disappointed in it. Compared to the package for Monsta X from last year this one was a lot smaller.



On the right you can see the fanclub box from last year, and on the left the one from this year. Even though it’s small, I was holding all judgement until I opened it. This year’s theme of camping is honestly so cute.


The little artwork was just adorable At the bottom of the box it says “Let’s go camping together” and when you pull open the tab it reads “Monbebe”, so all together “Let’s go camping together Monbebe <3” which is a super cute touch honestly.



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So, opening it fully, you see that despite the small size, the box is FULL of stuff.
This year the box contained a pin, photobook, DVD, photocard and probably my favorite part, a banner of the members. Last year, by comparison, was a bag, a water bottle (which fell out of my bag while running and exploded. rip waterbottle, you were so fantastic and will be missed.), photobook and photocard. My first thought was “That pin perfectly matches the bag from last year!”



The banner features photos of the members on one side, and the anniversary dates on the back.

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The new membership card is pretty similar to last year’s card, and the photocard is cute as well.

Honestly, everything in the box was super cute. I am super pumped to be able to watch

You aren’t even my bias, why are you coming for me like this?

the dvd later and plan to put up the banner when I move to my new place in a month. Until then, I’ve packed everything safely away so it doesn’t get damaged in the moving process. Unfortunately I don’t have access to a scanner or anything, so I can’t provide all the images from the photobook, but can I just say that Hyungwon needs to chill and let me live.

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All in all, it was definitely worth the money paid. (For international Monbebe’s, there is a coupon inside for the official webstore, and while it’s not a huge discount every little bit helps when you ship internationally, right?)  I’m super excited to get the BTS fanclub goods in as well, hopefully sometime soon although last year it took around 3 or 4 months. Monsta X is pretty consistent with shipping theirs quickly after they close the sign up period completely. I hope you guys will look forward to seeing the ARMY goods, and I will be going more in-depth later on fanclubs. If you have any questions about fanclubs, fangoods or  anything drop them below and I’ll incorporate that into my next post!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a dvd.



Unlimited Meat: Meat-ing in in Korea

Meat. Meat is life. I love meat. Give me a veggie salad and I will bite you.

Send me to a place where I can unlimited options for a single price and I’ll consider not haunting you after I die of happiness.

Yup. You read that right. For a single price, you can have much meat as you want, along with the necessary banchan (반찬 ‘sides’) and additional food options as you want. This particular one I always go to has it all: meat, good kimchi, even ice cream and fruit!

This place is Meat-ing. Those who are familiar with Korean culture may be snickering at the punny title but for those of who don’t get it, be patient. I’ll do another post about dating soon.

Anyways, back to Meat-ing.

One of the things I love about this place is how easy it is to get to. Just get yourself to Children’s Grand Park Station (어린이대공원역 Line 7) and walk out exit 4. Just walk straight out and you’ll see this. Like, it literally takes two minutes. 

If you miss this, I really can’t help you.

You go up a set of honestly some dank looking stairs. Don’t worry – no one is going to jump out and murder you with a cleaver. But there’s a lot of dirt on those stairs so try not to fall. 

It’s a short walk up the steps and you’re there! Just walk in and let them know how many there are. 

The one thing I love about this place is just how spacious it is. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when my friends and I had to wait for a table. Granted, there was never more than four of us at a time but I’ve definitely seen large groups while I was there and it never felt too crowded. This has also become quite a popular place for foreigners so none of that “Oh, alien!” stares to worry about. Bonus! 

Now when you walk in and sit down, some of you may be like “So…now what?” Fear not, my darlings. I am here to guide you. 

See? I’m a pro.

The first thing you want to do is decide if you want to drink soda or not. Because this place also has the unlimited drink option. If you look next to the grill, you’ll see a menu with side options. 

The most important part is at the bottom. The one where it says 2,000 won followed by “unlimited beverage refills”

Hell yes.

The best part? It’s only an extra 2,000 won for the entire table, regardless of how many there are. So if you go with, say, 4 people- thats each person paying only 500 won extra for unlimited drinks.

Um, yes?

They have the classic Pepsi and Cider (Korea’s Coke & Sprite) but they also have Mountain Dew and even both yellow and orange FANTA. 

See that big chunk of metal next to the water cooler? That’s the ice.

Now for the most important part: the meat.

Most neat buffets serve pork. This is simply because pork is cheaper and easier to self-serve. They have it in various forms and the classics such as sausages, samgyeupsal, and pork galbi are a given. 

What I love about this place, though, is that they serve duck. Yes, that is correct. Duck

See in the upper right corner? That’s the lovely duck.

I love duck. Like, you have no idea. It’s so succulent and tender and it’s supposedly good for your digestive system as well. This is usually my ultimate reason to come here. I mean, pork you can get anywhere. But duck? Not so. 

In Korea, you share everything. That means you get enough for everybody. I had a friend who made the mistake of only getting enough for herself. I gently guided her back to the meat section (meaning I grabbed her hand and dragged her back hard – plate and all) and stuffed her place with enough for everybody. That’s how you do it in Korea. 

Just make sure y’all don’t get too greedy now. There’s 5,000 won charge for excessive leftovers. Remember: you can always go back to get more if you still hungry! 

Now onto the sides.

When you eat meat in Korea, the vegetarian sides are very important. I, for one, take kimchi very seriously. Luckily, this place has one of the best kimchis I’ve ever tasted. There’s also lettuce for those who like the lettuce wrap, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and onions. They even offer the brown marinade to dip the onions in: a classic Korean side dish.

But I would say the most unique part about this particular restaurant is the fruit. This right here is a huge deal. Why? Cuz when you in Korea, fruit is damn expensive! 

Apples, asian pears, pineapples *sniff* it’s beautiful

The fruit is seasonal and subject to change depending on where you go. I’ve been here all seasons and I’ve seen watermelon, oranges, and even kiwi pass through. The apple, however, seems to always be there.

But don’t worry, my junk food aficionados. There’s also ice cream! 

Strawberry and vanilla~

The buffet also offers a variety of fried foods and, of course, the rice. This is pretty much a given in all meat buffets though the type of fried food they serve will vary. Here, it’s mostly dumplings and spicy rice cakes but I know another place that serves pizza and fries. But quite frankly, I go for the meat so…

Once you sit down, you’re given a limit of 2 hours to stuff your face. Sometimes, during the weekday lunch periods, they tend to be slow which means they’re a bit more lenient with you lingering after your meal. During the dinner rush, though, be prepared to move once you finish that last piece because they will side-eye and judge you out tha door if you don’t (they’re actually quite nice, though. I promise).
This place really has it all: easy to find location, quality servings, and comparable prices (10,500 won until 5pm and then 11,500 won for dinner). So if you and your friends are in the area and got some big eaters in the group, I’d say check it out! 

Hours: 11am – 11pm (NOTE: on Mondays, they don’t open until 5pm) 

Address: Seoul, Gwangjin-gu 179 Neungdongro (서울특별시 광진구 능동로 179)

Phone number: 02-2625-7942

My Go-to Facemasks

I love facemasks. Check my instagram, and you’re likely to see tons of posts about different masks I’ve been trying out. (Alternately, look at my desk or in my fridge where I typically have between 10 to 20 masks at a time.) If a store has a sale on facemasks, you can find me there stocking up. But there are a few masks which I find myself purchasing over and over again. These are my go to masks for when my skin is feeling tired and worn out. I’m going to rank my top 4 masks here.

#4: Medi-Heal Pore Tightening Solution

18944749_10155167526651970_1058190762_n-minThis is a mask I tend to use after I’ve done any kind of peel off mask or deep exfoliation. It leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized as well. I personally feel that my pores do look a bit smaller after using them. It doesn’t have a strong smell, and it doesn’t cause any problems for my super sensitive skin, like some other pore masks have. Medi-Heal brand can be found at LOHB and is a decent price, between 1,500w to 3,000w depending on the mask. You can also catch them on sale sometimes, so stock up when you can!






#3:SkinFood: Propolis and Bee Venom mask

18945084_10155167526571970_2007143161_n-minThis mask is for moisturizing and firming, and while it’s one of my favorites, there is a small disclaimer. As this product uses bee venom, if you are highly allergic to bees, you should steer clear. I have a slight bee allergy, so this mask is one I only use at night time, as my face tends to be red afterwards. You might wonder “Ren, why is a mask you are allergic to one of your favorites?” That’s because it makes my skin feel crazy smooth, and so I can deal with the slight tingling feeling that I get from it. But again, totally not for everyone. It has a light honey like scent.

It’s from SkinFood, which is one of my favorite brands and is also around 1,500w.

#2 TonyMoly Naturalith Goat Milk Moisture Mask Sheet18944542_10155167526536970_1881550360_n-min

This is one of the masks that I have never actually had to buy, but I totally would. TonyMoly has been pushing their Goat Milk line a lot for the past year or so, and as such many times you get this mask for free. It’s great for days when your skin feels super dry, and I like to keep these in the fridge so it’s cool when I put it on. I will say that it does take a little longer to absorb after taking the mask off, so make sure to pat the essence into you skin well. I’m going to assume this mask is roughly 2,000w, because I’ve never actually paid for it since I’m a TonyMoly VIP member. I definitely suggest this one if you have dry skin.

18945351_10155167527081970_2101041643_n-min#1 TonyMoly I’m Real Red Wine Pore Care Mask

This mask has been my favorite mask for around 2 years running now.  It has a really nice fruity wine scent. I find that this one is not only great for pore care but also for moisture, so it’s fantastic. The morning after using this, my skin feels like I could even skip my moisturizer. This is one of the masks that I would 100% recommend as a morning mask because of how nice it makes my skin feel. It’s also one of the ones I prefer to keep in my fridge before wearing it and it’s a huge part of my summer skin care routine. Also perfect for sensitive skin.

It’s around 2,000w, which is a bit more than I tend to want to spend, but it’s so worth it.

And there you have it! My top four masks. I’m going to post a ton of other mask reviews in the future, but at the moment these are my essential sheet masks.  A lot of these you can buy in bulk for cheaper, and if you keep them in the fridge, they last a lot longer! I hope you love them just as much as I do!



Skincare: A Tale of Two Soaps

When I was young, I had a ton of trouble with acne. So much so that at one point in middle school my skincare routine was a $200 face care set from some company I can’t even remember now. For all the money my mother sank into it, the program never worked for me. So it’s no surprise that skincare became a bit of an obsession for me. Over the years, I’ve tried many different face washes and toners, all promising results. Some delivered and some didn’t.  Eventually I settled on using Saint Ives Apricot Scrub and being ok with the fact that my face would never be smooth.

That is, until I came to Korea. Even in Korea I had a bit of trouble at first, mainly because it was extremely hard to find Saint Ives! So for the first few months, I stumbled through my old routine of trying different face cleansers. I found a few that were ok, but nothing notable until roughly a year ago.

Enter AprilSkin. AprilSkin ads began popping up EVERYWHERE for a soap called “Magic Stone”. It promised to be an all natural face cleanser that took care of any skin trouble. So when it went on sale at the local Olive Young, I decided to try it out.

The Magic Stone was my first attempt at using an actual bar soap for my face. Thankfully I had rewatched the April Skin Ulzzang video enough times that I knew to make foam with the soap and then put that on my face for around 20-30 seconds.

(The video in question that popped up on Facebook, Instagram and literally everywhere I seemed to look.)

I was pretty pleased with the Magic Stone right off the bat, as it easily removed all of my makeup. But after about 3 days, I was astonished that a problem patch on one of my cheeks was gone. Gone as in my entire face was COMPLETELY clear.


My only issue with Magic Stone was that it left my skin feeling a tad bit dry, but as I normally used it before bed it didn’t bother me much as I applied a heavy face cream. I mean, who cares about a little bit of dryness when you’ve found the holy grail of skin care, right?

I stuck with Magic Stone exclusively for around 9 months. But then these pesky ads on Instagram started showing up for a new soap.

DailySkin had arrived and their Strawberry Milk soap was all over the place. I held off for a while, as I still very much loved my Magic Stone. But the DailySkin advertisements promised a soap that would leave your skin more moisturized than others and the packaging was super cute. So I decided to try it out. I didn’t have anything to lose, after all.

For a week, I stopped using Magic Stone and switched to using only the Strawberry Milk. As with Magic Stone, my skin stayed completely clear. And DailySkin was right about my skin feeling moisturized. With the Strawberry Milk soap, the website had recommend cutting it, as it easily melts in the heat. So I attempted (poorly) to cut it into 4ths. It, predictably, crumbled a bit. So, do not do this. Other than that, I found myself in love with this soap as well.

So what to do, now that I had found not one but two amazing soaps? Use them both of course. In the mornings, I now use the DailySkin Strawberry Milk soap, since it isn’t as drying as the Magic Stone. At night, I use the Magic Stone before going to bed to really make sure I’ve gotten everything off of my face. I can honestly say that I LOVE both of these soaps, and that my skin has never been in such great condition. Another great aspect of both is that a little goes a long way. The soaps foam up really easily, and one Magic Stone lasted me around 8 months from daily use. So far the tiny piece of the Strawberry Milk soap has lasted around 3 months without getting too small to use.

In conclusion, both of these soaps are wonderful, and if you have sensitive skin I recommend trying them out. Those of you with oily skin may want to look into the Black Magic Stone, as it has added charcoal to help with oil. Skincare is really important, and for those who struggle with acne, finding the right soap can really help. Really expensive soaps and serums aren’t always the way to go. Sometimes, a soap marketed to you on Instagram by Ulzzangs can actually be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.

U-Know Enlistment Time – Military Concerts, Motels, and Meat Soup

I had my soul sapped out of me for a good week. Maybe more.

Military concerts – concerts and performances held by the soldiers during their enlistment period. They’re usually carried out near their division barracks, which puts them outside of Seoul by a good hour or so. They are free, since they are sponsored by the public, and a fun way to meet up with other fans. Not to mention a welcome when le fangirl thought she wouldn’t see her favorite idol for two years.

They are also the bane of her existence.

*DISCLAIMER: I am NOT AT ALL criticizing these military concerts or the idols who partake in them. The whole point of this is to relay my own experiences and point out, though the idea sounds awesome, just keep in mind – it has its bad sides. It’s not for the weakhearted. It takes dedication! It takes strength! It takes a willingness to get up at 3 in the morning just for the SMALL chance that you will make it into the venue. IT. MEANS. WAR!

…just kidding…sort of.

I would also like to point out that this is not the same case for all idols. Not everyone’s oppas will join the military band and perform for the public. In fact, up until now, such cases were rather rare (if any existed). Cassiopeia just got really lucky…or unlucky. Depends on who you ask…

So…the military…

Why do we have it?

Actually, let me rephrase: Why does the South Korean government force every able-bodied adult male go through a rigorous, not-so-fun life of rationed meals, strict roll calls, and strenuous physical training for 21 months?

Well, the answer is rather simple, albeit sad: South Korea is still technically in a war. That ceasefire in 1953 was really just an agreement to not take out the big guns (literally and figuratively) and kill each other. But, you can’t trust nobody in this big, beautiful world so as my mother always says “Be prepared!”

That’s really the whole point of this dreaded enlistment – the idea that IF Korea were to break out into war, the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) will be ready! 😡 (my battle face)

But it’s not just gun-toting and barking orders these boys do. Sometimes, they provide public service as well, like working in government offices, carrying out civil duties (i.e. traffic patrol, clean-up, etc) and even promoting cultural events and social welfare to the general public.

That last one is where the military band comes in.

Now the truth is, I’m not extensively familiar with the South Korean military laws. I am Korean but alas, I am female. I have no immediate male siblings, my male cousins already served their time, and I really had no reason to care until my boys started their time in the barracks. So, if you want a history lesson on where and when the military band was established, I cannot help you. What I am guessing is that it’s fairly recent thing because I don’t recall hearing anything about any other celebrities doing this in the past. Actually, up until a few years back, I think it was even illegal…

What I do know is that the job of the military band is to provide entertainment to the mass while promoting well-being and South Korean culture. And the 26th Division Military Band Unit was no different.

Except they had Jung Yunho.

I’m just going to point out again that this does not mean your oppa will follow the same path and join the military band unit (though for a singer, it kinda makes sense). We were all surprised, too, when it was announced Yunho would be joining the band, and even then we (the fans) weren’t sure if that meant we’d be able to view his performances. I remember that T1Story &… concert – Yunho’s final one before enlistment – and we were all so sure this was goodbye for 21 months. I remember all the tears, the crying, the goodbyes we said to each other because we thought this was it for the next two years: no more performances, no more spazzing, no more reak dance moves, no more U Know Time…

And then it was announced Yunho would be performing in the military band unit of the 26th Division in the city of Yangju. Needless to say, Cassiopeia was hyped! This meant performances, right? This meant we could see him, right? This meant we could enjoy the magic that is U-Know Yunho and it’d be just like seeing him in concert again! Right?

Well…not exactly. And this is where the hard truth begins.

First, and foremost, these concerts are FREE. Let that beautiful word sink in: F-R-E-E – free. No money. No cash. No moolah necessary.

…in theory.

Now, you know that annoying voice in your head? That annoying one of reason that sounds like your mom, or your pretentious sister, or that philosophical kid in your debate class that just wouldn’t shut up about how psychologically realistic he was? You know that voice?

The one that always says: Nothing in life is free.

I know. 

The event was free, yes. You could just stroll right in and be allowed to grab a spot. But that also meant everyone else could, too. I’m sure you can guess what happens as a result.

Lines. Long lines. One with over 1000 fans alone, all hoping to get in and see Yunho. A lot of these fans would come in from China and Japan, too, and come one, two, three days beforehand to line up and wait to enter into the venue. Some fans tried to make it easier by organizing a line-up where they would put up a post and you sent in a photo of it to them, and they would provide you with a number of entry. But no one knows ahead of time who, when, or where that’s gonna happen until it does and once they do, its a rush! 

No, really. Have you seen 300 fangirls running in the same direction? 

My number of entry for the final concert on April 1st. I had gone the evening before. By the time it was time to go in, there were over a thousand fans.

Now these concerts are located about a good amount of time away from Seoul. Most were in the city of Yangju and if you look on the Subway map, its near the very end of Line 1 (Dark Blue Line) and that’s just the station itself. The venues (ya know, where the concert actually is) were all about an hour or so away from said station. That’s even more time trying to get there. And public transportation in these areas is sparse. Buses took a good 30 minutes in between and who knows if you could even get on it. So the obvious answer to me is cabs. 15,000 won and a good conversation to boot…not to mention I cut out at least half of travel time (cabs take a more direct route than buses do). 

Add to overnight accomodations (unless…ya know, you want to sleep outside…where it’s dark…and cold…and creepy AF) and food…lots of food actually…and having to get up at 5 in the morning for attendance check…

The motel room we got. 50,000 won per night for 3 people but we DID GET TEA!
The sun wasn’t up yet but we were. Oy…

And to think, some people come from other countries just for this, too. My goodness.
So, the concert itself may be free, but the time you invest just to get a spot is incredible and the money you spend on room and food and…

Well, that’s just dedication, I guess.

People come from all over the world just to see this guy. There’s six of us in here and four of us came from other countries just for this event. Oh, and that’s my happy face. I swear.

The photo above is from the Ground Forces Festival in Gyeryong. Another huge military event that Yunho performed that. I had my soul sapped out of me for a good week. Maybe more.

And can I just say – country taxi drivers are just the cutest, if not tad predictable. This was usually what the conversation would be like when you get into a cab…

Ahjussi: Where to?

Me: *name place* and step on it, please. 

Ahjussi: Is there some sort of event there?

Me: Yes. 

Ahjussi: Is it Uknow Yunho?

Me: Yup.

Ahjussi: That guy is amazing! People come from all over the world come to see him! You know I just picked up a group of Japanese ahjummas for the very same reason?

Me: Doesn’t surprise me.

Ahjussi: So you’re just gonna stay out all night?

Me: That’s the plan.

Ahjussi: Why do so many people like him anyway?

Me: Would you like the reasons in alphabetical or chronological order by rank? 

I recall another story of a friend who walked out of the station and a cab driver called them over to “hurry up! You have to see Yunho! Quickly!”

Like, she didn’t even say anything. They just knew. Such is the ahjussi way. 

Then there’s the external factors which you have no control over. Weather (rural areas gets really, really cold at night), the crowds (these are for the locals, too, you know), and sometimes, the people themselves. Some people can get cray and just overall inconsiderate when seeing their favorite idol is on the line. Even just getting something with their faces on it is a big deal. You’d think it’d easy to get a flyer or a freakin’ pamphlet and it would be…if people weren’t grabbing stacks of 50 at a time. 

See. I was a good child. I only took 5…though I did have to compromise and take 2 of Lee Seungi’s to make up for it.


But in the end, it’s pretty worth it. Call me biased but Yunho’s performance are amazing! He really puts his all when he performs, even while on duty. I bet he’s been practicing, too. 

And this, too…


And the atmosphere. I’m not gonna lie – after the first one, I mainly started going, not just for him, but for the fans, too. I mean, yeah, we have problems and can be crazy and block each other on Twitter but in the end, we’re all together to support this guy. The cheering, the fan chants, just the overall feeling of being with people who are just. like. you. That moment when you look around and see all those lights flashing. For him. Together. 

And hyper Yunho is always the best. 
What’s not the best is after it’s all over and you have to get home. Hate to say this but the cab drivers at this time are not so cute. They charge an exorbitant amount for short distances or refuse to take you unless you’re going long distances that guarantee enormous cab fees. The other option is to wait for the bus which get packed with other fans going the same way. 

Then there’s the fact that after these performances, you’re starving. You’re tired and sleepy, if you’re like me, absolutely done. Just so done and hangry. Convenient store food can only hold you over for so long.

That’s why I was really grateful for the last concert. That one started at 3 and ended right around dinner time. Took me and my friends a while to get to the restaurant we wanted to go, too, cuz like I said, them taxi ahjussis not so nice. But we eventually managed and celebrated our final time in Yangju with a bowl of pork soup. Courtesy of Pork Soup Restaurant in Yangju~ 

Yes, Yunho did eat here. Yes, that is (partially) the reason why we went. And there may even have been a slight scuffle about who got to sit in the chair Yunho had. Don’t judge us, okay! The food was good. Hmph.

Overall, it’s…a crazy experience. You really have to commit, at least for one night and it really takes so much from you. But what you give up, you get back in spades when you see your oppa giving his all for his fans. So to the question is it worth it? My answer is a resounding YES. With Yunho, at least, I was never disappointed, and the memories are something I’ll always cherish (and probably bore my kids with in the future).

I’m not gonna lie, though. I am so ready for Yunho to come out resume his activities as an idol. And then Changmin, and then…

TVXQ comeback?

Yes, please!

PS: all photos and videos which are not mine are being used with the full knowledge and permission from the rightful owners. Be sure to thank them when you have the chance. You’d be surprised at how hard it is to get good quality images!