My K-pop Attachment
Before, my life revolved around waiting for comebacks of my favorite groups, watching the performances on music shows and constantly replaying the part where my bias was the cutest. My group of friends consisted of K-pop enthusiasts who consistently updated on the whereabouts of our favorite idols through Twitter. Our fan accounts were filled with pictures of our favorites groups’ photoshoots, and videos of our them joking around. The days were filled with simple joys of talking about our favorite songs in each album to watching variety shows where our favorite groups appeared in. Yet, even if I was already experiencing so much joy with all my fans and albums, why was I so unhappy?
The days were still the same, with different idol groups but with the same routine. Attend class for free wifi to watch videos, eat lunch, maybe cut class to watch more videos, hang out with friends to update each other with what was happening with our favs and then go home. The days were starting to feel weirder and weirder as if reality wasn’t part of it anymore. I felt like I was starting to get locked inside the realms of plain, straightforward K-pop entertainment, K-pop idols based on appearance, liking groups because of the hype and creating a fake persona of only liking Korean pop, dramas, and culture. In short, I was the dreaded K-pop fan people talked about.
Masking Unhappiness with Entertainment
Maybe I used K-pop to mask the undeniable truth that I wasn’t happy with the degree I was pursuing and these simple joys were a way to save me from the hatred I had with the subjects I was struggling with. K-pop, no matter how it offered glorious videos of idols and poppy music, is not something I should focus my life on.
The next thing I know, I wanted to learn another language, and I wanted it to be other than Korean since the thought of studying something easy (turns out Korean was harder than I expected thanks to a grueling and tiresome, taught in Japanese, Korean class I’ve taken in my university) was going to put me deeper into the hole of pseudo-joy. I wanted to learn, be challenged, remember and use everything I was learning in my life. So for once I thought that studying Japanese was a great choice.
Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone
I honestly believe it was a great choice. Moving to Japan and learning the Japanese language, with all its mistakes and strenuous workload, was a good choice for me. K-pop blinded with the momentary happiness of only relying on celebrities who will never know me, without paying attention to what was happening in the real world. Learning Japanese brought new experiences to me while living in Japan, and renewed my appreciation to liking the small things offered by the world, like two different kanjis put together to form a word similar to a compound word. I had finally started to find my true calling.
Japanese Saved Me
Japanese made me become a better me, not by only doing what I love, but by challenging my perspectives on genuine knowledge, no matter how difficult it can be. Despite the constant need to study grammar books, read/write essays, and speak Japanese to catch the nuances of the language, I am willing to constantly make mistakes to learn. Unlike Korean, which is driven by my motivation of wanting to speak to my idols that I’ll only be able to meet in my dreams, Japanese gave me the motivation to talk to real people and to challenge myself to communicate. Using a language so different from the languages I spoke, accept the mistakes I constantly make while learning, and to create a better life in a country that could offer more opportunities to explore my capabilities. I feel like I’m living, finally brought back to the reality of life.
It doesn’t mean I’ll give up the K-pop life I’ve grown to like though. You might catch me listening to the Japanese version of a Korean song.