Hello! My name is Karen, I am (was, currently 24 at the time of these edits) a 21 year old college student who lives in the United States with a passion for Asian pop culture.
This all started when I was six years old, and a little boy named Kenny introduced me to Pokemon. I would first off, like to thank Kenny. I don’t know where he is today, but without the initial introduction, my life would be vastly different. Thank you, Kenny.
From Pokemon I went to Digimon, Sailor Moon, Hamturo, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Inuyasha, Kekkaishi, Durairairai, Midori Days, and pretty much any anime done by Hayao Miyazaki.
When I was in middle school, I was watching an animated movie called “The Swan Princess”. I let the credits go because, well I can’t remember! The point is, I saw that there was a music video at the end, and watched it. It was “Eternity” by Dreams Come True. If you don’t count anime theme songs, this was my first exposure to J-Pop. I didn’t have any access to J-Pop outside of hearing it on television, so I slowly began to forget the song.
Around that same time, I had a friend named Josh. He introduced me and my brother to Final Fantasy. This too changed my life. Final Fantasy is my favorite video game franchise, and I hold every game from 1-12 that is for the Playstation console (which means no 11). I’m not going to pay out my ass for a PS3 or PS4 (coming out sometime next year I think?) so I’ll stick with the classics. 10, 9, 7 and 10-2 are my absolute favorites in the series. Back to the subject, I found a demo of FFVIII, and began to play it. I fell in love instantly. Final Fantasy has some of the best music for video games that I have ever heard.
When I graduated high school, my best friend took me on a road trip to see a friend we both went to high school with. While we were there, I found Final Fantasy X-2. I really wanted to find Final Fantasy X, but they didn’t have it at the time. So, I took it home with me. I fell in love with the soundtrack, especially the songs with words, “Real Emotions” and “1000 Words”. These were the first J-Pop (would you classify them that way?) songs on my iPod. After that, I remembered the song from Dreams Come True. When I finally DID get my hands on FFX, I fell in love with “Suteki Da Ne,” the only song on the soundtrack with words, and in Japanese (Hym of the Fayth really doesn’t have words, or that would count too) nonetheless.
Lots of people like to put music to Final Fantasy battles and such, so while I was watching that, a of FF7 popped up. When I clicked on it, it was actually FF7: Crisis Core. So, I started from the beginning, because this person had recorded ALL of the video clips, video game and movie clips. After I finished it, a song played at the end when Cloud screams to the heavens as Zach dies at his feet. I fell IN LOVE with the song. Seriously, THAT song, literally changed my life. I asked who sang it, and was given a name, a wonderful, life changing name: Ayaka.
Ayaka has 1 album on North American iTunes, and it’s “First Message”, from 2007. I can’t read a lot of Japanese, and at the time, I couldn’t read ANY, so I took a chance, thinking “Why” was on there. Needless to say it wasn’t, but I loved the entire album anyway.
While I was looking for Ayaka, iTunes still had Ping, which recommended this artist, BoA. I am a stubborn, stubborn girl. I didn’t WANT to listen to BoA at first, and ignored it. But it showed up again. As hard as I tried to fight it, I couldn’t help but look. It was her English debut album: “BoA” my first BoA song was “Eat You Up”. I bought the entire album. After I looked more, I saw she had Japanese albums, and turns out, she sang my favorite Inuyasha theme song, “Every Heart”. Then, while watching her music videos, I learned she was actually Korean.
My first Korean song of hers, was “Hurricane Venus”. It was a bit strange at first, but I loved it. After a while ,( I was actually listening to 2NE1 when this happened) I thought I heard a word, that I wasn’t too particularly fond of. At the time, I thought I was hearing things. So I listened closer. There it was again! I started to panic. There was no way they were racist, right? I heard it in too many songs, EVERYONE couldn’t be racist, right? So I decided to do some research. Best decision EVAR! It turns out that “niga” means “you”. Boy, was I ever relieved.
(4/15/17) that sounds terrible. I wasn’t just relieved that everyone wasn’t racist (though, black people DO have a hard time in the entertainment industry, even if you’re half Korean. I was relieved because I KNEW what it meant. I knew that it was just a mundane vocabulary word, but that knowledge also comes with the fact that some people may assume it IS racist and refuse to listen to K-Pop further, and you can’t convince them with facts otherwise. And you’re gonna have to deal with it, especially with Korea’s history of treating foreigners, specifically dark skinned people not so nice.
I went searching through YouTube, finding artists, shows and EatYourKimchi. After a few months, I began to want to understand them, so I began to teach myself Korean. I remember my first word too >.< geokjeongma=don’t worry about it. From SHINee’s “Ring Ding Dong,” also the first SHINee video I watched, which was the first Korean boy band I ever listened to.
(4/15/17) wow, that was super cringy. Yes, Jonghyun’s beautiful smile made me want to understand him, and eventually, I bought a book with the Korean alphabet in it so I could read the song titles on my iPod. It was very frustrating not knowing the name to the song titles I wanted to listen to.
Later on, after submerging myself in K-Pop, watching EYK videos, dramas, learning more about the culture, I decided that I was going to learn Korean, and very possibly, teach English in Korea. Another option is to work at a newspaper, magazine or ad company translating the English (hear that SM? I’ll come work for you anytime!) Now, I plan on going to a university that teaches Korean and Japanese. After all, this DID start with Japan. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll work there instead!
(4/15/17) I’ve decided to major in an English teaching program at a local university. I’ll be earning my TEFL/TSOL later through Korvia, or so I plan. I tried it through my UNI, but it was too much as once, especially since I’m practically a full time student with a full time job.
Now for the basic breakdown of who I am, and why I do what I do:
College Major: Journalism (Graduated!) Working on my B.A. in Teaching English
Speaks: English, Spanish, a little German, some Korean though because of my background in Spanish, I can understand bits of French, Italian and Portuguese.
Hobbies: Listening to Asian pop, watching Anime and Asian Dramas, reading, writing fanfiction and about Asian pop culture, taking pictures, playing videogames. I also like watching stand up comics, reading JK Rowling, Libba Bray, Koji Suzuki, among a variety of other literature, including Edgar Allen Poe.
My favorite shows include “American Horror Story,” “Hana Yori Dango (Pretty much every revival that I’ve seen of it),” “Inuyasha,” “Un Paso Adelante,” and “Roseanne” off the top of my head. Not to mention the best thing to happen to K-Drama evur, “Goblin,” IT’S A MASTERPEICE, OKAY!?!?!?!
K-Pop Related Hobbies: Writing FanFiction is one of the most rewarding things I have done. I used to love to write when I was a kid and in high school, but adulthood put a hold on that. Now that I do this, I can share my creativity with the world! The best part is, there are people who actually anticipate what I’m going to write next (my subscribers)! And I appreciate every single one of them!
Moderating EatYourKimchi’s Facebook Page: I started doing this on my own. There was no incentive, no one asked me to do it, I just did it, and I have never regretted doing this. These people work hard for us “Nasties”, and I love helping them out anyway I can, whether it be by moderating the page, or making videos explaining how to use their website (which I should update since they updated their website). I used to try to moderate their YouTube videos, but since they have grown tremendously, it is all but impossible now.
(4/15/17) I’ve stopped moderating the Facebook page. Once I had to focus on my math class and was too busy with work, I had to give up stuff, like moderating EYK. It used to be daily, but now I just run the USNasties Facebook page, updating Nasties on their SNS and video updates. I’m a lot better at it than I used to be, to be honest.
This is just a portion of who I am, and I hope I can be of some help to you if you have any questions about EYK, K-Pop, K-Dramas, or perhaps J-Pop or J-Dramas, T/C-Dramas.
Want to know more? Follow the link(s)!
*USNasties Contact Page can be found on my Tumblr!
All content such as music, videos and pictures are taken from various sources on the internet. Unless specified (such as an interview or exclusive article) I do not own the rights to these.
For any dramas or movies I review, I would like to state that I am not a paid spokesperson for such sites as Viki, DramaFever, etc.
Nor am I spokesperson for any site I use to reference lessons for the segment, “Learn Korean With Me!” or any online website that I mention frequently when it comes to purchasing music/merchandise (ie, iTunes, eBay, Amazon, etc).