The first time I got to know what k-pop was, it was around 2006.
I was a senior in high school, and my friends and I were really into Japanese pop culture.
I don’t remember who between us was the first to stumble upon
Korean dramas on the internet, but before we noticed we were already religiously
watching Goong every week.
Still, even though I enjoyed that bit of Korean entertainment,
my interests at the time kept being mainly about Japanese and Taiwanese shows and music,
especially because I was learning Japanese and Chinese back then too.
Fast forward to September 2008, and my dream of studying abroad in Japan finally came true.
I lived in an international student dorm with about 15 people from all over the world,
and I became friends with a girl from Indonesia almost instantly. She liked k-pop a lot,
especially the boy group Tohoshinki (DBSK).
As soon as I saw a music video of theirs, I was hooked.
Even though I’m still a big fan of Japanese entertainment as well,
from then on I’ve always been a k-pop fan too.
I always thought how interesting it was that I, a Brazilian girl,
got to know Korean pop music through an Indonesian girl, while living in Japan
and recently, I started thinking about this again. Last June, I went with some friends
to a live show of a group called B.A.P.
We were one Brazilian girl and two Spanish girls, living in Japan, going to
a Korean pop group concert, and speaking in a mix of English/Portuguese/Spanish/Japanese to each other.
I mean, I don’t think it gets any more international than that.
This time, I went together with 2 Japanese friends and 1 Spanish friend!
These experiences, combined with my work at the ICC, made me realize
how integrated global society has become. As the world changes with globalization,
means of communication and transportation evolve, making it easier for us to know
and interact with people from other countries, be it by travelling or
through the internet. To not be left behind by this evolution, learning new languages
and interacting with people of a different cultural background becomes a necessity.
Not only that, it is also a great way of making new friends and expanding your knowledge.
In my opinion and personal experience, a country’s entertainment industry is a great way
of getting yourself interested in its culture and language, or
even more serious topics such as economy, society issues or politics.
That may sound cliche, but there’s a whole amazing world out there, so don’t be
stuck only in your own country’s cultural bubble!
TF (Student Staff Leader)