Tuesday 28 April 2015

SCANDAL, Live At The O2 Islington Academy, London

April 26th saw Japanese all-girl pop band SCANDAL take the stage at London's O2 Academy Islington in promotion of their new album Hello World. Check out the photos and videos below!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

A Trip To South Korea - Day 1

Yesterday was my first proper day in Seoul, having not really done much on the day of my arrival yesterday. I was pretty jet lagged, so ended up waking at about 5:30am, a couple of hours earlier than I'd set my alarm.

First on the list of things to do was to visit the War Memorial of Korea, just to give myself a bit of background knowledge on the Korean war, which I have to admit, I barely knew a thing about.

Anyway, I left the flat to walk to the subway station, not really knowing where it was. Good ol' Google Maps came to the rescue, although there were a lot of small alleyways and you could easily get lost.

After getting to the subway, all I needed to do was to get to Samgakji station, which happened to be only one stop away. Easy!

The War Memorial of Korea is really close to Samgakji station; on arrival just head for exit 12 and you're pretty much there. Just walk straight on and then round the bend and you'll come to the main entrance.

The first things you probably see are a number of statues and monuments, as well as an area with a load of vehicles, including tanks, planes, boats, and various other weaponry.

You'll also see the museum itself, which is a really grand looking building across from a massive square. So I then decided to go inside.

Much of the museum covers the Korean War, which began in 1950 up until the ceasefire in 1953.

I had been reading online, that you should allow three or four hours to see everything here, however I ended up reading pretty much every piece of information that had been translated into English, and ended up staying there for about eight hours in total!

For me, it was fascinating. I'm not usually interested in warfare and the history of these conflicts, but this museum really covered everything in an interesting and informative way. The only other time this had happened was about eight years ago when I visited the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan.

A few other rooms were devoted to other conflicts in which Korea had been part of, such as the Vietnam War but seeing as I'd spent so long looking at the Korean War exhibits, I could only devote an hour or so to the rest of the museum.

The museum opens at 9am and closes at six o'clock in the evening, although I didn't arrive until about 10am.

So fascinated was I that I didn't even stop for food at lunchtime; there's a cafe/restaurant there, but I never tried it so can't really comment. There are also a number of drinks vending machines dotted around, which I did use just to keep me going.

Come 6pm, I had walked so much that my legs were aching quite a bit and I was also feeling ridiculously tired and sleepy (not from being bored! I think the jet lag had caught up with me at this point).

I had planned on visiting a few other places that day, but in the end didn't have  enough time, so I returned to my accommodation to shower before grabbing some food.

After showering I messaged my Airbnb host to see if she fancied going out for some food, but unfortunately she was still at the office and had to work late. I had read already that when it comes to working, South Korea works the most number of hours per year in the world.

So I asked my host if she could recommend anywhere nearby that was good for food. So I tried this place Si Rae OK, which turned out to be a Korean Barbeque (Bulgogi) restaurant.

Upon entering, I asked for a table but was told that they don't serve single diners, and that maybe next time if I was with someone I could eat there! After looking online, it turns out this is quite common for Bulgogi restaurants, that you would have to buy two plates if you did want to eat, although i didn't get this option. So I opted to go to a steak restaurant nearby, which turned out to be pretty nice.

Anyway, that was my day yesterday, today I'm off for a tour of Panmunjom! It's 6am now and I need to be at the meeting place for 7:40am. I'm fine now while  I'm a little jet lagged, but I don't know how much longer I'll be able to wake up super early and write. Hopefully I'll keep it up!

Anyway, more on the tour later, and I'll have to add photos at a later date. See you next time!

Monday 16 March 2015

A Trip To South Korea

Hey all, I know I've been really quiet lately, but hopefully I'll be posting a bit more. I'm using the Blogger app right now, so I don't have as much control over the way it looks.

Anyway I'm in Seoul, South Korea right now! Just for two weeks. I got here yesterday afternoon after about 15 hours of flying. Such a tiring couple of flights, and I barely got any sleep, although I did try.

I managed to watch four films on the plane; Japanese live action film of "Lupin III" (2014), directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, Korean comedy/drama "Fashion King" (2014), Hong Kong fantasy "The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom" (2014) , and finally Korean actioner "The Pirates" (2014).

By the time I got to Incheon International Airport, I was so tired!

I had booked my accommodation through Airbnb; I booked a private room in Itaewon, you can even book an entire apartment if you wish. I'm paying roughly £20 per night, which is pretty good. On a trip like this, I'd normally stay in a hostel, but since I recently bought a fairly pricey camera and lenses, I wasn't so sure about the security of a hostel, so Airbnb seemed an excellent alternative, and I'd booked with them before, so was fine with using them. Anyway, click here to save £17 off your first booking!

My host seems really nice, and I was greeted by here on entering the building. She had been ill over the weekend, so her mum (and pet dog) was also there.  They offered me some food, which was really tasty, though I don't know what dishes they were!

Anyway after a bit of a chat and a few pointers of what sights I could visit, I was ready to hit the hay. It had been a long day, and I know I would sleep well.

Today, I'm going to visit the War Memorial of Korea; hopefully this will give me a bit of background knowledge on the Korean War ready for my tour of Panmunjeom at the North Korean border tomorrow.

After that I'll visit maybe the National Museum of Korea and a couple other places.

Anyone else been to Seoul before? Any suggestions on where to visit? Please comment below!

Sunday 7 December 2014

Mnet Asian Music Awards 2014 - MAMA In Hong Kong

Wednesday 3rd December saw the sixteenth annual Mnet Asian Music Awards take place at the AsiaWorld Arena in Hong Kong.

Once again, the most popular K-Pop groups and artists were celebrated, with awards being voted on by fans online. As always, it was a star-studded event attended by numerous Korean pop stars.

Award winners plus YouTube videos follow "The Performances" section.
Congratulations to all who took part!

The Performances

The show opened with a performance from Dancing9, with a routine titled "Beat Box", featuring dancers dancing to a medley of songs, including  Bony M's "Sunny", NKOTB's "Step By Step", James Brown's "Get Up", and Michael Jackson's "Beat It".

This was followed by a couple of hip-hop performances "연결고리 YGGR" performed by Illionaire Records featuring rappers BOBBY, The Quiett, and Dok2. They were followed by MASTA WU featuring Dok2 and BOBBY performing "Come Here".

After this came two awards; Best New Artist and Best Dance Performance Solo.

Once these were awarded, we were treated to a performance from Girl's Day and AILEE; this act being called "Last Fantasy". First up was Girl's Day with "Something", and then AILEE with "Don't Touch Me". Both Girl's Day and AILEE then took to the stage together with a joint performance of the song "Problem".

Two more awards followed, and then on came Epik High and WINNER; their section called "Beyond The Screen". Winner performed "Empty", and then Epik High performed "Happen Ending" with the soothing voice of Yoo Inna. They then followed this with the funky sounds of "Born Hater". They were joined on stage by B.I, and then Song Mino of Winner. Soon, BOBBY returned to the stage to perform with them.

Saturday 29 November 2014

SCANDAL Announce World Tour 2015 『HELLO WORLD』

Japanese girl band SCANDAL have announced dates for their 『HELLO WORLD』 tour, which takes place next year. The tour will be to promote their latest album.

They have announced four dates so far, with USA dates to come. These performances follow an extensive tour of Japan.

Tour dates are as follows:

Apr 25 - Le Bataclan, Paris, France
Apr 26 - O2 Academy Islington, London, UK (Buy Tickets)
May 10 - Wall, Taiwan
May 29 - Macpherson Stadium, Hong Kong

For more information visit the Sony Music SCANDAL webpage.

Meanwhile, here is their current single, released 19 November 2014.

Image credit: Header - Sony Music SCANDAL webpage

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Crossfaith - Live - The Library At The Institute, Birmingham, England

Friday 21 November saw Japanese metal band Crossfaith, now on their first headlining tour, "Apocalyze Now", play live to a sell out crowd at The Library at the Institute, Birmingham, England. The tour is in promotion of their latest album.

After support bands Coldrain, and Silent Screams had finished their sets, anticipation for the headliners was huge. When Crossfaith finally entered the stage, one by one, the crowd roared as each member appeared, and what followed was one loud, energy-filled and exciting show!

I only managed to take a few photos; and unfortunately most of them didn't come out so well, as I had to use a compact camera, and the crowd were jumping so much, it was difficult to keep the camera steady. Anyway, here are some of the "least-bad" shots... Apologies for the poor quality...

Coldrain - Live - The Library At The Institute, Birmingham, England

Japanese band Coldrain were supporting Crossfaith on their first headlining tour of Europe, "Apocalyze Now". I managed to catch them last week on 21 November. Coldrain were the first band of the night, and suitably got the crowd going, with a good performance. I thought they were pretty decent; not usually my cup of tea, but the heavier moments of their music sounded good to me.

Unfortunately I could only take my compact camera, so the photo quality isn't the greatest, but I thought I'd upload what few photos I took here anyway... In comparison to the photos of the Crossfaith performance, these are pretty good!

All photos by AZNPopCulture.com
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