The K-pop lover's guide to Seoul - Lebanon news - أخبار لبنان
Connect with us
[adrotate group="1"]

Latest News

The K-pop lover’s guide to Seoul

(CNN) — The past few years have been huge for South Korean pop music. Although the nation’s music industry has been going strong since the 1990s, more recently K-pop has managed to make serious inroads in other parts of the world. The year 2017 in particular saw history made via the seven-member group BTS. They…

Published

on

The K-pop lover’s guide to Seoul

(CNN) — The past few years have been huge for South Korean pop music.

Although the nation’s music industry has been going strong since the 1990s, more recently K-pop has managed to make serious inroads in other parts of the world.

The year 2017 in particular saw history made via the seven-member group BTS. They became the first South Korean act to top the Billboard album charts.
Last year, they won the “Favorite Social Artist” prize at the 2018 American Music Awards, beating out Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and Shawn Mendes.
K-pop group BTS performs at the 2017 American Music Awards.

K-pop group BTS performs at the 2017 American Music Awards.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America/Getty Images

Conventions devoted to K-pop and concerts from top-level acts have become commonplace abroad.

But many folks consider a trip to Seoul the ultimate way to experience their favorite music industry. Even stepping out of arrivals, you’ll be met by ads featuring stars and hear hits playing off in the distance. It’s becoming a cornerstone of inbound tourism for South Korea.
Just this week, the Seoul city government announced it will open the country’s first K-pop arena in 2024 to attract more foreign travel.
“We plan to start the work to construct the concerts-only complex, Seoul Arena, in September next year on a 50,149-square-meter lot near Changdong Station for completion at the end of 2023,” a city official was quoted by the Korea Herald.

Can’t wait five years? In the meantime, there are plenty of places for devotees to swing by in South Korea’s capital to get their K-pop fix. Here are a few of our favorites.

SMTOWN

south korea k pop

SMTOWN, the institution that makes K-pop what it is today, is a must-visit for any K-pop fans.

Patrick St. Michel

SM Entertainment is one of the biggest Korean music companies around and helped make K-pop what it is today.

Fittingly, they’ve built themselves a massive structure in the heart of Seoul targeted at K-pop superfans.

SMTOWN at COEX Artium houses a variety of attractions centered around their roster of K-pop superstars (including Girls’ Generation, Exo and TVXQ among others). Billed as a “theme park in the city,” visitors can check out six floors of Korean musical history.

The centerpiece for K-pop fans is the museum. It features a comprehensive archive along with famous outfits worn by various Korean pop artists. Visitors can also take photos with augmented versions of their favorites, or even see what a recording studio looks like.

Elsewhere, people can enjoy a variety of sweets and drinks at their cafe space (complete with impressive ice cream selection) or take in a daily show on the top floor. And of course, they have a comprehensive gift store catering to every SM fandom.

SMTOWN at COEX Artium, 513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea; +82 2-6002-5811

20Space Cafe

Most major K-pop company headquarters are a snooze to visit. The majority are just simple corporate offices offering little for visitors, unless you don’t mind camping out in the off-chance you’ll catch a glimpse of a star.

Even the spaces boasting cafes tend to have little connection to K-pop.

CUBE Entertainment’s 20Space Cafe, however, strikes the right balance and is a highlight in the capital.

The interior is spacious and relaxing, the soundtrack made up of mellower numbers from CUBE artists such as G(I-dle) and BtoB. They even have a corner featuring some agency-related goods.

But it doesn’t go overboard and functions as a solid cafe serving up tasty non-themed coffee beverages. It’s the best space to indulge in some K-pop fandom, but also just chill.

20Space, Seongsu 2(i)-ga 3(sam)-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea; +82 2-548-7720

K-Star Road

south korea k pop

K-Star Road honors the biggest giants in the K-pop industry.

Patrick St. Michel

K-Star Road features a series of statues devoted to Korean music superstars. Follow the route and you’ll encounter bear-shaped installations honoring heavyweights such as BTS, SHINee and Wonder Girls, among others.

While those will look fantastic on any Instagram page, they aren’t the real draw for this attraction.

K-Star Road serves as a gateway to Gangnam, the center of the K-pop industry. Wandering around the backstreets and side alleys dotting the path will reveal all sorts of musical points of interest, from agency buildings to cafes owned (or frequented) by the performers themselves.

Use K-Star Road as a jumping off point for a deep dive into the neighborhood. Though, hey, snap some pics with the bears too.

K-Star Road can be accessed via Apgujeong Station on Subway Line 3, exit 1.

Club I LOVE K-POP

Many spaces in Seoul offer tourists a chance to listen and dance to K-pop. Few are as lively as the aptly named Club I LOVE K-POP.

This Hongdae-based establishment plays Korean pop numbers from the 1990s until today. Given the wide range of tunes played, it attracts a diverse set of punters.

Unlike most clubs, the folks here actually take breaks at certain points. The DJ will step away and revelers sit down to drink and enjoy food.

When the tunes start up again, expect everyone to rush back to the floor (the one time this writer went, he saw a group of people flip over a table when Crayon Pop came on).

Club I LOVE K-POP, 362-2 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Hongdae street performers

south korea k pop

To watch future K-pop stars in action, head to Hongdae Street.

Patrick St. Michel

You might be able to see a K-pop concert while you’re in Seoul. But if that’s not in the cards, catching a street performance can be just as good.

At night, the streets of Hongdae fill with young people dancing and lip synching to K-pop hits. Big crowds gather around these amateurs to watch them pull off the same sharp choreography of bands like BLACKPINK or NCT 127.

Besides dancers, you’ll also see rappers, singer-songwriters and all sorts of entertainers doing their thing.

But it’s the K-pop re-creations that draw the biggest crowds. Head here on Friday or Saturday night to see them out in full force.

To get to Hongdae Street, take the subway to Hongik University Station on Subway Line 2 and go out exit 8 or 9.

Gangnam Style statue

south korea k pop

“Heeeeeey, Sexy Lady!”

Patrick St. Michel

Sometimes, you need to give credit to those who set everything in motion.

PSY’s 2012 song “Gangnam Style” was K-pop’s first international smash hit. While it is mostly remembered for the horse dance attached to it, the viral sensation set the gears in motion for South Korea’s current global golden age.

Pay your respects at the statue of Gangnam Style, located outside the east gate of Gangnam’s Starfield COEX Mall. It’s a big-sized version of PSY’s hands from the famous video. Sometimes, it plays the song. An info screen next to it offers the history of it, too.

Most of all, it’s a reminder of how important K-pop has become.

Starfield COEX Mall, 513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

Latest News

Barbadians celebrate the birth of a republic and bid farewell to the Queen

Official festivities marking the island’s historic transition from realm to republic took place in National Heroes Square in the heart of the capital of Bridgetown. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had come from London for the occasion and watched as the Royal Standard flag was lowered from the flagpole and the new Presidential…

Published

on

By

Barbadians celebrate the birth of a republic and bid farewell to the Queen

Official festivities marking the island’s historic transition from realm to republic took place in National Heroes Square in the heart of the capital of Bridgetown. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had come from London for the occasion and watched as the Royal Standard flag was lowered from the flagpole and the new Presidential Standard raised in its place.

Moments later, the Queen’s own former representative, Governor-General Sandra Mason — a well-respected 73-year-old former jurist — was sworn in as President by the Chief Justice. It was exactly 55 years to the day since Barbados declared independence from Britain.

After taking in a 21-gun salute to mark the historic switch, Mason later bestowed the country’s highest-ranking honor, the Order of Freedom, upon the Prince of Wales — a move designed to highlight the continued close relationship between Barbados and the United Kingdom.

Barbados’s decision marks the first time in nearly three decades that a realm has opted to remove the British monarch as head of state. The last nation to do so was the island of Mauritius in 1992. Like that country, Barbados intends to remain part of the Commonwealth — a 54-member organization of mostly former British territories designed to foster international cooperation and trade.

Prince Charles, who had arrived late on Sunday as Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s guest of honor, told the people of Barbados it was “important” to him to witness the ceremonial changeover.

He also reaffirmed “the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the UK as vital members of the Commonwealth.”

Some in Bridgetown, however, questioned why the Queen’s son had come at all, pointing out that the island’s historical relationship with the crown was rooted in slavery.

“No member of the royal family should participate in our major freedom day,” activist David Denny told CNN.

“The royal family benefited from slavery financially and many of our African brothers and sisters died in battle for change,” added Denny, general secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration.

An expedition for King James I of England claimed Barbados when his ships first arrived on its shores in 1625. A settlement was established two years later.

“It was the first laboratory for English colonialism in the tropics,” Richard Drayton, professor of imperial and global history at Kings College London, told CNN.

“Barbados also provided an important source of private wealth in 17th and 18th-century England,” he added, noting that many English families made substantial fortunes from sugar and slavery.

Entertainers perform during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 29, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Citing that history, Denny described Prince Charles’ participation as “an insult to our people” and called for financial reparations from the royal family, as well as the British government and other institutions that profited from transporting people from Africa and enslaving them on plantations across the Caribbean.

Denny said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year “created a consciousness across the world” and sparked solidarity protests on the island. One outcome of the demonstrations: an empty plinth now sits in Bridgetown’s main square where a bronze statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson — a defender of the island’s slave trade — once stood.

A stone’s throw away from the site of the ceremony in Swan Street, a popular shopping area among locals in downtown Bridgetown, many Barbadians also welcomed the change .

Roger Goodridge, a 59-year-old toy seller, described the move to a republic as “a long time coming” and said he was unsurprised by Charles’ visit.

“The time has passed for ‘Little England.’ We are now on our own and on to our biggest success — breaking the waters and moving onto another stage in our life.”

Victoria Norvill, a 16-year-old student enjoying the public holiday with some girlfriends told CNN: “I feel very good about Barbados becoming a republic because we get to be free and independent.”

Others expressed support but wondered if transition had been “a bit too fast.” The government created its 10-member group tasked with helping manage the transition from a monarchical system to a republic in May this year.

“It’s too hasty. Everyone hasn’t think about it yet and there’s so many people that don’t even know what is a republic,” said Andre Moore, 36.

“I think they should at least have taken a whole year to deal with this or at least two years. I think two years to really think about it, get the mind settled for what they have prepared for this whole republic thing.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Tropical cyclones in Asia could have double the destructive power by the end of century, study finds

Using data from nearly four decades from 1979 to 2016, researchers found that the destructive power of tropical cyclones had dramatically increased, with stronger landfalling cyclones lasting longer and tracking further inland.The study, by researchers at the Shenzhen Institute of Meteorological Innovation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and published in Frontiers in Earth…

Published

on

By

Tropical cyclones in Asia could have double the destructive power by the end of century, study finds

Using data from nearly four decades from 1979 to 2016, researchers found that the destructive power of tropical cyclones had dramatically increased, with stronger landfalling cyclones lasting longer and tracking further inland.

The study, by researchers at the Shenzhen Institute of Meteorological Innovation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and published in Frontiers in Earth Science, said that tropical cyclones now last between two and nine hours longer and traveled an average of 100 km (62 miles) further inland than they did four decades ago.

The study looked at cyclones over east and southeast Asia and found the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and the southern China region were hardest hit between 1979 and 2016.

Researchers also found that by the end of the century, the average landfall wind speed over Asian inland regions could increase by two meters per second, or 5 miles per hour. Small increases in top wind speeds of a cyclone can bring much higher levels of destruction.

The study suggests an average cyclone by then will last around 5 hours longer and will travel 92 kilometers (57 miles) farther inland, nearly doubling their destructive power.

Tropical cyclones are among the most dangerous natural disasters, with flooding rainfall, damaging winds and storm surge. Over the past 50 years, these cyclones have led to nearly 780,000 deaths and around $1.4 billion worth of economic losses globally.

People cross the street in the wind and rain in Ningbo on July 25, as Typhoon In-Fa lashes the east coast of China.
In June, Typhoon In-fa and Typhoon Cempaka brought extreme rain of more than 150mm per hour to China’s Henan province, breaking a record in the city of Zhengzhou. More than 300 people were killed in the floods that ravaged central China, officials said.

And in September 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused torrential rain and flash flooding in New York, leaving at least 50 people dead.

“Both disasters caused huge economic and human losses,” the study’s lead author, Dr Chi-Yung Tam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said.

Tam and his colleagues are calling for more action to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions and increase disaster preparedness in Asia.

Intensifying storms

Several studies suggest that warmer ocean temperatures are intensifying tropical cyclones.

One of those studies, from researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), looked at nearly 40 years of satellite data of global storms. The study, published last year, found that global warming has increased sea surface temperature in regions where tropical cyclones form. The combination of these warm temperatures, along with changes in atmospheric conditions, have allowed storms to more easily reach higher intensities.
La Niña to batter Australia with rain over the summer in a wet and windy holiday period

If a cyclone intensifies in strength at landfall, it will travel further inland, amplifying its destructive power.

While human-caused global warming is likely fueling the increase in the severity of the storms, natural weather cycles and events can also strengthen — or weaken — the intensity and frequency of cyclones.

Tam said numerical models predict the climate crisis “will likely continue the increasing trend in landfalling typhoons and their impacts on inland regions.”

“More Asian inland regions may be exposed to more severe storm-related disasters in the future as a result of the climate crisis,” he said.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Travel to Japan during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 29.(CNN) — If you’re planning…

Published

on

By

Travel to Japan during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 29.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Japan, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Japan was initially lauded for containing the virus during the first wave but has since seen several surges in cases.

Following the identification of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Japan shut its borders to all foreigners except those visiting the country on humanitarian grounds, effective November 30.

Currently there are no exceptions for students or for people visiting family members. The government will revisit these rules if and when the new variant is contained.

What’s on offer

A heady mix of the cutting edge and deeply traditional, Japan remains a major draw for travelers from all over the globe. Whether participating in a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, scouring Tokyo’s Akihabara district for tech bargains or soaking in a hot onsen in the forests of Tohoku, this is a country that leaves its mark on all who visit.

Who can go

Japan has some of the most stringent travel restrictions in the world.

Consult MOFA for the latest information.

What are the restrictions?

Those traveling under Japan’s revised business travel rules will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, signed and stamped by the laboratory where it was taken. While they will not need to self-isolate, they will need to provide details of their movements for the following two weeks and not use public transport.

Japan is entirely free of the “state of emergency” or “quasi-state of emergency” designations as of October 1. That is the first time since April that not a single prefecture will be in one of the categories.

Under these states and quasi-states, prefecture governments were allowed to make restrictions about things like crowd sizes and restaurant hours. With those designations lifted, it is possible for venues like bars, malls and cinemas to reopen.

What’s the Covid situation?

As of November 22, Japan had reported 1,725,850 confirmed cases of the virus and 18,343 deaths. These numbers don’t include any positive cases connected to the Olympics or Paralympics. More than 76% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato confirmed to local media that his team is exploring options for “vaccine passports.” Business travelers would be prioritized for these at first.

What can visitors expect?

While much of Japan remains open for business, cities are far quieter than usual and the government has the right to request the closure of businesses in areas of high transmission. Masks must be worn in public.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Osaka is now home to the world’s first — and so far only — Super Nintendo World, where visitors can put on virtual reality glasses and play a real-life version of Mario Kart.

Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Lilit Marcus contributed to this story

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!