Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Friday marked the last day of Fall term at school...6 months with the same kindergarten and elementary classes...and now 6 more months with all new classes. It's been such a rollercoaster of emotions lately, dealing with the stress of Festival preparation, and then the overwhelming pride and excitement of Festival, and then the bittersweet last days with my kinder class. Friday was one of my most difficult days here...I couldn't believe how attached I felt to this class. I could barely even bring myself to announce that they'd be starting new classes with a new teacher in the following weeks...I didn't want to admit it to them, let alone to myself! So of course, I took a million pictures of them in the last week and implemented many "fun days" with hour-long playtime sessions and lots of coloring, singing, and stickers. Here was one of my favorite moments on my last day...Irene pretending to give me a manicure with a dolphin-shaped squirt gun, during playtime.
That should give you an idea of the popularity of K-Pop (Korean Pop) here...it is literally the genre of choice for everyone from 5 year old boys and girls, to teenagers, to my 30-something Korean supervisors at school, to the middle-aged women grooving to it at the gym while working out beside me. K-Pop is Korea's contemporary culture at its best! (and that's sort of a joke). It's pretty comparable to bubblegum pop in the US, such as all the boy bands of the 90s, but it's much more clean-cut and just...cutesy. You won't see any Britney Spears imitators here...these singers are totally wholesome in their lyrics, their dance routines, and their stage outfits (think: Mickey Mouse ears, big hair bows, ruffled skirts, and even furry animal gloves). And that's what really struck me about it, after seeing my own kindergarten girls imitate K-Pop singers for so long...that kind of thing is okay here, because it's not Britney Spears. It's not risque, or suggestive, or a blatant display of poor role models for entire populations (if you're not convinced, check out this clip... pretty sure we would NEVER see a girl group in America dressed like this for a Christmas performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aF797hHtiE)
Super Junior, one of the premier boy bands in Korea. There are posters, keychains, mugs, etc. of them at every tourist shop here. Their song is called "Sorry." Watch the video, and then you will understand why every time someone says "I'm sorry" in my classroom, at least 5 students start to chant, "sorry sorry sorry sorry, nicka-nicka-nicka-nicka!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAWqnA8PdcY&feature=fvst
2NE1 (pronounced like 21), with "I Don't Care." This song was EVERYWHERE when I first arrived in Korea...every cell phone ringtone, every soundtrack in every store... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xduaDvFWKd0