Growing up I wasn’t like most girls. I didn’t do all the girly things most did. So when it came to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC it wasn’t my thing. I didn’t swoon over boy groups or go crazy for the Spice Girls. I did listen to pop music but only if it was on the radio. I found myself listing to different genres of Rock like Evenecense, Trapt, Green Day, Linkin Park, but that is just to name a few.
But when I went to college a whole new world opened up. I started listening to more Japanese pop music than I had during high school. Friends introduced me to groups that they enjoyed. In turn I started listening to a ton of ARASHI, Bump of Chicken, and GREEEEEN. There would grow to be over 1,500 Japanese songs on my iTunes play list.
Today my playlist is a little different. The change first started two or three years into college career. A really good friend and number one bro (story for another time) Sara Nelson introduced me to KPOP. I want to say we stumbled onto it together, but I am not really sure how it happened.
The bro and I had been sitting in the JP Network office just hanging out like any other day. I was board member at the time and needed to complete my office hours for the week. The two of us had been watching random YouTube videos like always. This time however she wanted to show me a Korean TV program. I want to say it was the TV program UKISS Vampire, but to this day I am not sure. We have now watched so many programs that I can’t remember what had been our very first, Sara might remember better than I.
From that moment in time I would begin listening to more KPOP and watching more TV programs, dramas, and movies. My playlist and knowledge of things Korean and KPOP grew. But there was one group in particular that caught my eye.
UKISS debuted back in 2008. That year many KPOP groups debut and UKISS fell a little short. The title song ‘Not so Young’ off their debut album couldn’t stand its ground against its competitors. Still they continued to work hard. They finally got a break in 2010 with their hits “Bingeul Bingeul” and “Man Man Ha Ni” off their album Only One.
I stumbled upon the group back in early 2010. Right before the two members Kibum and Alexander left the group. From then on UKISS went through many trails and changes. Still the group has gained popularity. Today members are active doing solo actives in Korea and overseas. The group has also held concert tours all over the world. One of these tours happened to be to America back in 2014. I was able to see them live in San Francisco as a VIP tick holder that year.
Yesterday UKISS held a special release event for their 5th Japanese album One Shot One Kill in Hiroshima. There was over 250 people in attendance for the mini concert and high touch (high five) event. There was a Q&A session about the new album to start everything off. Then UKISS performed two title tracks live, “Kissing to Feel” and “Illusion.” Along with an encore song “One Shot one Kill.” After was the high touch event.
I had two tickets for the high touch event because I bought two CD’s that day. I was able to go through the line twice because of it. The first time the members had a slight surprised look on their faces, but when I said “おつかれ～” the surprise was quickly replaced with a smile, “ありがと!” My favorite member Soohyun was at the end of the line. When I came face to face with him I smiled wide and said “すきです!” He smiled big and replied with a wink and “すき!” back at me.
The second time I went through the line I told them all thank you in Japanese. Kevin almost laughed when he said “OH! A second time?” in Japanese. I stood out form all the other girls who went through the line more than once. For lack of a better term, I was the only white girl to go back multiple times. This made me feel all the more special. There had been two of us at the event, but only one of us went through twice.
In the end the event was very special for me. Not in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined being able to do the things I have done. Attending a concert and getting my picture taken with them in 2014. Almost 2 years latter I see them once again for a mini concert and high touch. Being able to do all of these things like it is all just a dream. A dream I hope I don’t wake up from anytime soon.