[kpop] SHINee popped up in post-apocalyptic manhwa, Lessa

I am happily reading a new manhwa, Lessa, about a demon-hunter Rano who is trying to find his sister. On his mission, he comes across Lessa, someone who has the same sharpened teeth as demons, but does not possess their horns.

To my surprise, in the first few pages of this manhwa, Rano dreams about Lessa, only to be woken up by a SHINee alarm, to the tune of Sherlock. 

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Totally not expecting that! The last time I saw a kpop reference in manga was in Kuragehime, where Kuranosuke wears a BIGBANG t-shirt.

Just a bit about Lessa it can be categorized as shounen, seinen, supernatural. The art is passable, but I especially like how the character Lessa is drawn, which is the main shallow reason why I persist in reading this manhwa. The storyline is not bad, but can be quite unsatisfying because there is still a lot unexplained at this point. If you are rather impatient, do not begin reading Lessa until spring, where there will be many more chapters to sate your impatience.

[kpop] best rookie groups 2012

This very biased selection is based on quality of members–mostly dance and singing, but looks are considered as well, debut track(s), and live performances.

EXO was easily the most anticipated group to debut this year. Though not of epic proportions, their tracks are slickly produced and the groups are well-balanced with many talented individuals in each. At any rate, their debut was more solid than f(x), Super Junior, and even, SNSD. If SM plays their cards right, 2013 could be a very large year for EXO.

NU-EST played their cards extremely well, despite holding a few weak cards. A well-written debut song, one of the first to capitalize on the ‘new’ europop invasion, and including one very intriguing member, Ren. Dancing and lives are unspectacular though, and the shock of a pretty face will not last forever.

Regarding true singing talent, Lunafly and Busker Busker, in this respect, are both promising.

I hesitate to include BAP, but I see way too many BAP fans around me to think of them as a minor rookie group. They did have a nice, unified concept in debut; but alas, their track to me was stuck in the 2005, way too brassy and heavy, trying out a 2PM concept that barely fit.

A.cian‘s whole debut album is a beautifully crafted imitation of europop. That’s about it. Due to the constantly changing nature of kpop, I doubt they will release a europop album like this next time– if there is a next time.

Like A.cian, Cross Gene delivered an amazingly crafted imitation of europop for their debut. The facts that they have Japanese, Chinese, and Korean members and released simultaneously in Japanese and Korean are very nice bonuses. Another great bonus? Their live singing is A-OK (but please hire another choreographer).

Rounding out the last of the europop imitators, we have A-JAX. Someone fetch them a new stylist.

[handwritten/kpop] thoughts on SHINee disbandment.

First let me dispel any rumors that come of this post– SHINee is NOT disbanding. Yet, given the track record SM has with disbandment and my being a huge SHINee fan, this topic is fascinating to think about. Please note that everything I wrote or drew is for poking fun and making light, not to be mean or offensive.

I recently found my original legal notepad version, which I intended to scan. However, I also recently received an iPad 3, so I decided to try writing out the post on a beautiful notebook app I downloaded, Paper. Warning: my handwriting is atrocious, because the iPad, its apps, and accompanying styli, still suck tremendously for handwritten notes.

[lifestyle] I don’t get the obsession behind banana milk

Apparently, banana milk has been around Korea since the 1970s, and has enjoyed enduring popularity to today– even Lee Minho and SNSD have done commercials for banana milk and SHINee macros are all plastered with references to banana milk.

SNSD promoting Binggrae banana milk.

So, as I spied this particular brand of banana milk, Binggrae, in the refrigerated section of a supermarket in Shanghai, I decided to try one for once. However, I was totally unimpressed. Coming from a Western taste palate, it did not taste like a true banana at all. Bananas naturally are not terribly sweet, but Korean banana milk is terribly sweet, in the style of candy. In other words, blech. Though it did not leave an unpleasant aftertaste, while I was drinking it, I could not stop thinking I was drinking liquid candy and thinking how terribly unhealthy that would be. The milk base was rather thin, as well. If you have ever tasted Vita Soy soymilk, the consistency of Binggrae is a bit like that, except a tad weaker.

Despite this disappointment in banana milk, I do rather like the Korean aloe drinks and 2% Apple, a fruit flavored water (other flavors include: peach, lemon, grape, and pomegranate). Have you tried any Korean drinks? What were your impressions?

[lifestyle] pro tips: how to look Korean even if you aren’t Korean

(1) Look at least vaguely Asian. Sorry, I know this precludes a lot of people, but if you are Asian(-looking), then people will have a much higher chance of perceiving you as Korean; you just probably come from a far-away province with funny genetics.
(2) Have pale to lightly tan skin. If you are tan, forget about it. They can so tell you do not use BB cream religiously.
(3) Wear bold glasses. The bigger, the more hipstery, the better.

While in China, I have gotten a lot of questions about my ethnicity. I always am mistaken as Korean or perhaps Japanese. Here’s how the conversation goes:

Michelle: “Why did you think I’m Korean?”
Person: “It’s your glasses.”
Michelle: B(