Friday, 13 November 2015

영국여행 | England (Day 8)

What a terrible day we're having. Ugh. Sunny.
Day 8! Day 8 was a bit of a whim because we found out a bit last-minute that there was going to be a Korean Culture festival in London, and it would be a good chance to share our current home with people. The weather was really great! So hot and sunny and, unlike Korea, not humid at all, haha.

We went with Ann-Marie and Chris, with the promise of meeting up with a few more friends throughout the day depending on their schedules, including Yasmin and a very brief, fleeting hello with Jerlen and a few of the other Filipino kids from home. If we met anyone else, I'm sorry, my memory is bad and it was 3 months ago, haha.

I also took the opportunity to be a massive tourist a) for the sake of showing my students later, and b) because I haven't been touristy in London since I was about 17, so I needed an update. Plus, look at all the sun I have to document! Sun? In England?!

Skeleton butt.
We got there a little too early so the whole place was blocked off while they finished preparation, and the sun was already really hot. After what felt like ages milling around on the narrow pavements they removed the barriers and hundreds, if not thousands, of people flooded in.

Kimchi display!
We picked a spot with a good vantage point and clear view of the stage and planned our day using a schedule we'd managed to grab from an organiser in the sea of people.

As we were waiting and guarding our spot, self-titled 'Korean Englishman' (or as one of my students calls him, "English Gentleman") 영국남자 appeared on the big displays and was introduced by the MCs to be roaming the festival conducting on the spot interviews, which was exciting, but I'm not sure why his pronunciation of words like 'hanbok' and 'kimchi' were suddenly really poor compared to his usual self?

Anyway, snide remarks aside... ;p

Throwing my own shade, badum tishhh
After the opening ceremony, we had a wander and played tuho, kind of like darts in that you throw small javelins into a sort of umbrella stand several feet away. We were all terrible, if I remember rightly.

There was a little introduction for a few UK performers who would be singing and dancing to some k-pop hits. They were chosen because they were finalists in the KBS K-Kpop World Festival London finals, and it was a fun surprise to see our friend Adam up on the big screens, because he'd hosted the finals earlier this year. Various clusters of people were cheering for their favourite participants whenever they came on screen, so I think the people around us were confused when we cheered for him instead, hah.

At 4pm, the not-so-secret main reason we'd come to see the festival arrived. K-pop group f(x) were performing! At a free festival! So lucky and so wonderful for a lot of people. They've hardly done many shows in Korea, let alone the rest of the world, and certainly there's not really enough people who are k-pop fans in the UK to make a solo concert viable.

It was really night to see a load of purple balloons and banners around the stage, of people singing along and calling out a few fanchants, even though they only did a few songs. Also, just the sheer number of people that suddenly crammed into Trafalgar Square around the start of their set. People of all ages and genders really seemed to be enjoying them and taking pictures.

I hope SM could see k-pop and f(x)'s global appeal. I think it must have been nice for the girls, too, to experience a Western crowd. It was fun that Amber and Krystal ended up centre stage and doing the introductions because they're from the US, and Hot Summer was so perfect for the day, because we definitely all got sunburn.

Once the festival was mostly over, we headed off to try and visit some shops before they all closed (damn you, UK closing times!) and then got some dinner in a nearby American-style diner. I can't remember the name, but it's opposite Forbidden Planet and far superior to Ed's Diner so stop going there, okay? :p

We finished up with a trip to the cinema to see Antman, and had a moment where Nick had to block his ears and hum to avoid seeing the Star Wars trailer in his ongoing mission to know as little as possible about the film before seeing it. (This is a bonus PSA for you all to not tell us ANYTHING until we've seen it. No character names, no actors, no "omg did you see the bit in the trailer where xyz happened?". It doesn't matter if you say "it's not a spoiler though!", if it's about the new movie, it's a spoiler :p)

It was quite possibly the tiniest cinema screen I've ever been in, and I've been to a tiny indie cinema in Ilfracombe. Not exactly a buzzing hub of movie-goers. This next photo is legitimately pretty much the entire thing:

Antman was great, by the way. I do wish we could see Edgar Wright's vision of it, but it was good enough regardless. And always nice to sit in silence in a darkened room with good people for a few hours :p

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