[Exclusive] Sweet Sweet Insider: Meet the KPOP Jacket Lady

K-Pop has made its impact around the world, working the Hallyu wave in even the smallest parts of a country. Among the influence, many have stories to tell about their experience with the culture. Brought to you by Sweet Sweet Kpop, we were able to arrange an interview with the k-pop enthusiast, Debora Marzec also known as the KPOP Jacket Lady. Starting with just one white jacket, this k-pop fan has put a new meaning to the appreciation of Korean culture.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind what started the KPOP Jacket Lady blog?

A: I first found K-pop, and Big Bang, in 2009. After watching an episode of Family Outing Season 1 in which Daesung was a regular cast member and GD was a guest, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about so I tracked down their MV’s on YouTube and got hooked. 2009 was a great year to get into K-pop, with songs such as SHINee’s Ring Ding Dong, Super Junior’s Sorry Sorry, and Brown Eyed Girls’ Abracadabra, plus a whole lot more.

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By 2013, my daughter realized K-pop wasn’t a passing fad and decided I should have a K-pop Christmas, with all the presents K-pop related. One gift was a jacket with a machine embroidered Big Bang patch on the front. Once I started going to concerts, B.A.P 2014 in Dallas, I decided the jacket should have more patches. Finding them was near impossible so I started hand embroidering my own, and I haven’t stopped since.

People started recognizing me at events because of the jacket and not knowing what else to call me, started calling me Kpopjacketlady. In April 2016, my daughter helped me start my blog and I’ve had so much fun with it since then. 

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So in some ways, my not really K-pop daughter who has seen over 25 K-pop groups live because I’ve dragged her with me, was the one who got me started on the jacket and the blog. 

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Q: You’ve had quite the share of experiences visiting South Korea and exploring the culture firsthand. Do you have a particular memorable experience that you’d like to share?

A: There are so many fantastic stories to share it is hard to pick just one. The late night bonding in a ‘pojangmacha’ (aka soju tent) with newly made Korean friends, or having tea in a cafe on the side of Hallasan Mountain watching a storm roll in from the ocean, the clouds rolling upwards towards us like waves on the shore. 

Maybe all the street food experiences where, seeing our interest, the ladies would start from scratch to show us how something was made, and take our camera from us to get the best photos for us.

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Q: You also got to try out a lot different types of food over there in South Korea. Of all the things you tasted, what was your favorite food?

A: Another tough question. In many ways in Korea, food is tied into their culture to an extent not usually seen in America. So although the food should taste good, it is more the people, the atmosphere, and the experience of eating together that holds importance.


So having Chicken and Beer with friends, eating unknown sea creatures in the ‘pojangmacha’, and of course anytime sharing a meal with others all ranked high for me.

Never having been a fan of cold soups, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed various types of cold noodle soups while I was there.  I also loved the huge variety of street food that was available pretty much everywhere. Eating street food is relatively cheap and allowed us to try lots of different things. Many times eating at the food stands involved interaction with locals as they helped us with the correct things to add to the food and how to eat it. Yes we got laughed at a lot, but in a friendly way, as we all struggled with the language barrier.

Hotteok is my favorite sweet street food and the best was in Insadong, although the variety they make in Busan, which is slightly different, was really good too.

We also ate things that had no name, in that we tried some local restaurants where there were photos on the wall with numbers and you chose the food by number. We had some very tasty dishes that way.

One hint is that in quite a few restaurants you are meant to go get your own glass and water so subtly watch what other people do and then copy them.

Q: For newcomers visiting South Korea, do you have any recommendations for what type of food to try out and what places to visit?

A: Try all the food, no really, there is so much variety and choices it would be a shame to travel to somewhere as far away as Korea and not really experience it. No I didn’t eat the live octopus, and don’t expect anyone do so unless they want to, but I did eat some things in Korea that I have never eaten before and I enjoyed most of them. So be adventurous, even if it is just with the street food or snacks.

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Visiting EMart or a grocery store can also be a lot of fun and if you time it right you can try lots of free samples, plus you can stack up on snacks and cans of all types of unusual flavored drinks.

Korea is a beautiful country with an amazing amount of things to see and do. Home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites and intangible cultural assets Korea offers some great opportunities to enjoy their culture. So a short list would be that at the very least you should see a palace, temple, gate, fortress, or city wall, a market, plus a night market or fish market, a traditional restaurant where you sit on the floor, a museum, an art gallery, etc. Try and take a class, make kimchi, watch an expert show how things were made in the olden days, or dress up in a Hanbok. Do things. Make friends.

Actually even my short list would include a lot more. Do and see all the things.

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We enjoyed the Seoul Zoo, breathtaking in springtime with the cherry blossoms in bloom, the Han River parks, and Seoul Forest, partially because we always try to do some of the things that the local people do, not just what tourists do. So do the tourist things and then find a day to get off the beaten path, have a picnic, rent a bike, or just hang out in a city park.


I know for most Kpop fans they want to go to the entertainment companies, do lots of shopping, and try to get to one of the music shows or a concert, and we did too. But remember that idols are a product of their country and culture and I’m sure they would want you to also experience the environment that they were born from. They are proud of their country and no doubt want you to see and do as much as possible.

Q: What are a couple tips you can give for those wanting to visit South Korea?

A: Always say a greeting when you enter somewhere, and a farewell when you leave. Subway trains are often fairly quiet and passengers have rules on where to stand etc. So don’t huddle in a group chatting and talking and being loud, it is disrespectful. There are special seats for the old, the infirm and pregnant moms, don’t sit there. If you are sat somewhere else and you see an old person you can chose to stand up and give the seat to them or not. My daughter always stood in this circumstance and got lots of smiles for doing so.

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Follow rules. Seoul is a mega-city which means it is huge. In order for things to work everyone follows a basic set of rules (there are always exceptions in any country) which helps things work more smoothly. It is not like there’s a lot but just try and fit in, rather than standing out.

Too much cleavage showing is not always a good thing, you might be asked if you are “Russian” aka a prostitute.

Show respect to older people, even if they push you out of the way. (This sometimes happens if you are too slow walking around a market when they are trying to get on with their shopping.)

Your social and cultural norms are not always normal somewhere else, learn to appreciate the differences. Watch what the locals do and act in a similar way.

Q: Last time I checked, you had filled up your first jacket with patches and started working on a new one. What is your progress as of right now?

A: I loved my first jacket and was sad when I had no more room to add more patches. It went on one last trip to Korea before it was deconstructed and a new jacket was bought in Korea. The new jacket is a much larger ‘canvas’ and was made in Korea of a natural fiber so is better in many ways, but I don’t yet have the feelings for it that I had for my first one.

The second one is filling up fast, and who knows what I’ll do then.

Q: What concerts/fanmeets/events have you attended in the past four months? Of those recent events, which one was most notable to you?

A: I guess CL’s Hello Bi+ches Tour might be just more than 4 months ago, but I went to that one, then HyunA’s, and SHINee’s recent concerts.

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I also attended Kpop Night Out @ SXSW which was probably the most notable for multiple reasons. Firstly, the wait time plus the concert added up to 14 hours total so we were all totally exhausted by the time the concert ended.
jk 21Secondly, I was able to attend the Industry Party beforehand so got to have free drinks and food while hanging out with some of the artists and staff. I met some really cool people and the jacket received a fair bit of attention as different groups wanted to find their patch on it.

Hoody also showed up and gave a live performance just for those of us at the party. Thirdly, the concert/showcase was amazing. It started off with Big Phony, followed by No Brain and then Galaxy Express. The highlight for me was the next act which was MFBTY who were amazing. They sang lots of great songs including Sweet Dreams which is one of my favorites. Then came Hyolyn, with the final act being Red Velvet. What a night.

Q: Are there any concerts/fanmeets/events you plan on attending soon?

A: K.A.R.D is having a fanmeet soon so I’m hoping to go to that. I’m still not decided on KCON. For about the same amount of money I can go on another trip to Korea, so that’s a tough choice.


Looks like we’ll be seeing the KPOP Jacket Lady again soon! We hope this valuable info will help you start your own story from experiencing not only K-pop, but also the Korean culture as well.

Check out the KPOP Jacket Lady‘s blog for updates on her visits, food reviews and recipes, concert reviews, and more!

[Comeback] Eric Nam – Interview (Highlight medley)

Korean-American singer Eric Nam is planning to comeback soon with a new album.

It was confirmed a few days ago that Eric Nam was going to make a comeback with his first ever mini album entitled “Interview“. The album will be composed of five songs, including three songs written and composed by Eric Nam. The album is set to drop on the 24th of March 2016 and it will be Eric’s first comeback since his last full album “Cloud 9” was released in 2013.

“Interview” – Tracklist

  1. Interview
  2. Good For You
  3. Stop The Rain
  4. No Comment
  5. Good For You (English version)

Eric Nam posted on his official YouTube channel a highlight medley for all four songs on his album. I’m sure you’re all happy to hear Eric’s voice again **

Stay tuned for more information!

Your Korean beauty guide with Erica Kim

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This is our first cosmetic article on the blog!!!

For our first cosmetic article, I thought it would be fun to interview one of my Korean friends and ask her what kind of Korean cosmetics she uses and why she likes them. I really hope it will help some people choose their Korean cosmetics.

Erica Kim, 18 years old, grew up in Gangnam, just south of Seoul in Korea. She moved near Boston two and a half years ago and is now living and studying in the United States. She’s a huge fan of BIGBANG and loves Super Junior. She is a big fan of road shop products and she’s still using them here, in America.


Korean Road Shops

Korean road shop cosmetics stores have a lot of varieties you can choose and I love how they have super cute designs. It’s not even that expensive and many students can afford to buy cosmetics. So if you go to Gangnam station, tons of road shop cosmetic brands will welcome you. They give out free samples and sometimes they have a huge bargain like 50% off for membership. I remember I used to make a bucket list before the bargain day and I would go to Gangnam to buy everything I wanted. I know a lot of Chinese tourists love Innisfree and they literally buy the whole store’s shelves *jokes*. That’s how popular it is.

Now you know where to go next time you visit Seoul. She also added,

It’s hard for me to keep up with Korean products nowadays, so I have to buy stuff from Sephora.

For people that do not know what a “Road Shop cosmetics stores” is, she defined it as:

All these cosmetic shops on the street like Etude, Innisfree, Nature Republic, TonyMoly, Skin Food, The Face Shop…. It’s less expensive there, than in department stores.

Now, let’s get to what kind of makeup and brand she uses for her daily makeup.


What kind of cosmetics do you use for your daily makeup?

Lotions and toners I use Innisfree and I also use Innisfree for makeup base. For lip tints, I like Etude House.

Because she uses an American brand for mascara and eyeliner, I asked her to recommend us a Korean brand that she would use for these items. She answered that for both she would use TonyMoly. She said she was also planning on getting TonyMoly cosmetics for her eyebrow.

A recap of what she uses or would use:

Mascara – TonyMoly

EyeLiner – TonyMoly

Eyebrow – TonyMoly

Lips – Etude House

Foundation – Innisfree


Her recommendations

  • For lips

I would recommend Etude for lips, obviously, because they have a lot of different kind and they have a really cute designs.

  • Lotions and Skin Toner

Innisfree is more of like lotion, skin toner and foundation because they really have a lot of colors and skin types. It’s really good, but it’s kind of expensive.

  • For cheap products

If you want to find cheap products, I would recommend Etude or Nature Republic.


Websites where you can buy Korean cosmetics

Newtle – They have a reward program with points and shipping is free everywhere in the world!

If you have an account on Kpopmart or Kpoptown you can check their cosmetic section and maybe use the points you have to get discounts. They often have promotions on their cosmetic articles.

Yesstyle (cosmetic section) – They have a huge variety of cosmetics and some are very cheap.

You can also check the official websites of Innisfree, TonyMoly, Nature Republic, Etude House, The Face Shop and others….

You can also try the K-Beauty boxes of MemeKorea Box and Birchbox. These boxes are monthly box coming with 5-8 different kind/brand of cosmetics.


Hope you enjoyed this article!

 

Meet the Kpop Fanboy…..

The Kpop Fan Boy

Hello to all you Kpop fans out there!

Before I get started on anything, I just wanted to let you guys know that this post will be a little different and special from our other ones!

Just recently we were able to chat with a group Kpop fans that love Kpop just as much as we do, but here’s the catch, this group of Kpop enthusiasts, are not only super outgoing and hilarious, but they also have not been recognized as much in the Kpop industry……..And they are your KPOP FAN BOYS!

With Skyler Jung, the founder of their page “The Kpop Fanboy”, the group (which consists of both fangirls & fanboys) have been writing Fanfic narrations, Hallyu News, Daily Idol Posts and much more (You can check them out here and here, SO DON’T MISS OUT!), and so we decided to ask a couple of questions to see/get some different perspectives and opinions on how they experience Kpop themselves. 

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So tell us a little about your group.

S: It’s a place for where fangirls and fanboys to come together and freak out over their loves for kpop and biases together. It is also to recognize that fanboys exist for male groups as well, just like how there are fangirls for girl groups too. We fanboys also quarrel with each other over our favorite male idol groups as well.

 Okay! So first question, how do you pick your bias in girl and boy groups? What do you pay attention to the most? (Looks, personality, type of voice, genre?)

K: Mix of everything, from the looks to the talent to the personality. I love it if they have a good personality as a person and take care of their fans well.

S: A mix of who steals him from his previous bias and captures his heart

N: I usually end up choosing by personality, looks and talent as well. But somehow I almost always end up having the rapper of the group as my bias *Zelo*

H: I try not to keep biases in groups only because there’s the bias wreckers making it pointless to even try having one. I tend to love and respect all members of the group.

 

#2: Do you prefer boy groups or girl groups?

K: I prefer boy groups more to be honest. I only like three girl groups, which are G.G, 2NE1 and F(x) and a little bit of Red Velvet

N: I definitely prefer boy groups but I can’t help but be a Twice trash at the same time

S: Boy groups are the best. They just have a more attractive aura to them, more charismatic and attention grabbing.

H: Boy groups. There are very few girl groups I enjoy and that’s only because I’ve found many of the girls groups to be a little too cutesy for me.

 

#3: How does it feel to be a fanboy when most of the Kpop fans are girls?

There are definitely pros and cons to being a fanboy, but first of all, there’s no way that a fan boy would ever be picked for an event like “win a date” or be brought up to the stage for the “intimate” fan sessions or even just the regular ones. Anything kpop related always only mentions girls. Even at events when they’re addressing the audience, they would usually say “Hello ladies…” but like, I’m not a lady??! Second of all, sometimes fangirls would get super creepy around us (fanboys) like when I used to have a hairstyle like Luhan, girls would repeatedly ask me if they could pretend I was him. Not to mention they also don’t respect the personal space at times, and be touching me as if they’re my girlfriend or something, which really really makes me uncomfortable.

The pros though, you get treated like a celebrity simply because you’re just a fan boy and they sometimes give me free food too.

 

#4: Do you feel comfortable being around/ dealing with fangirls?

S: Most of them are awesome, it’s just the ones that are a little creepy that make me a little iffy.

H: To be very honest, I’m totally fine with the sane ones, but the ones that sometimes go a little overboard, I’m not so okay with.

 

#5 : How do you feel when only fangirls are being addressed?

At this point, frankly speaking, really annoyed. Since it happens so often. Even at KCON people will say “Are you guys ready to fangirl” and if I say it annoys me to any girl, they’ll just say “Oh they’re still including you, it’s just an expression that they use…” or something along those lines. But sometimes they still do tend to at least mention us, but only after a thought, and we just wish that they would remember us male fans as well.

 

#6: If you had to pick a favorite concept for girl groups, would it be cute or sexy?

Instead of choosing between cute or sexy, the badass concepts are the ones we prefer; Neither cute nor sexy. We find that this concept suits our preferences way better, since sometimes the cute concept can be a little to cringeworthy for us and the sexy concept can go overboard and make others feel uncomfortable…

 

#7: Why was our group created?

Our group was created to give the awesome fan boys the same recognition that the fan girls get!

 

#8: Do you talk about your biases/favorite groups with non-kpop friends?

S: I don’t actually have non Kpop friends haha, unless if you count the people in my school, my family, and the cashiers at grocery stores.

K: I do, and they usually just listen to me and try to be interested even if they don’t know the group and I’m usually good at getting them into Kpop too.

H: Yep, I’m trying to spread the good word around.

 

#9: Why do you think fanboys aren’t recognized as much as fangirls?

H: Fangirls are the majority, and technically speaking, Kpop is still pop music, which is generally garnered towards pre-teen to teenage girls majority of the time. BUT, fan boys, older fans (people in their mid-twenties+) and younger ones still exists too.

K: Maybe because fangirls stand out more so the idols tend to see them or like it cause it seems more “normal” for girls to be freaking out about these kinds of things.

 

Last Question! If you had to choose between boy groups and girl groups?

H: Don’t do this to me.

K: This is hard.

S: My ultimate is just G-Dragon. He is all that matters. ❤

 

Aaand this concludes our interview! We had tons of fun interviewing them and seeing what their response was!

Don’t forget to check out their pages once again!

The Kpop Fanboy: https://www.facebook.com/thekpopfanboy/