Let’s Start The Week Right #1

Some stuff to help you get through the week.

An article to read:

What the cleaner saw: secrets of strangers’ apartments (Guardian)

A book to read:

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

Matsuda’s book is a collection of stories, translated from Japanese, that take Japanese ghost stories/folktales and retell them – often in a modern setting. Each story stands alone, but as you read the book, there are threads that connect the stories together. I am not a huge fan of short stories, but I am a big fan of Japanese ghost stories and this book did not disappoint. Although ghosts are often associated with horror – this book is not a horror novel, though there are some slightly suspenseful aspects. There’s an added bonus at the end of the book: there’s a short summary of each the ghost stories/folktales referenced in the book, as well as which story it pertains to.

Rating: 10/10 – would recommend to everyone who likes a good retelling.

Music to listen to:

NU’EST’s new release – The Second Album ‘Romanticize’ (Spotify | Apple Music)

YouTube video to watch:

ARIKITCHEN – How to make Cherry Blossom Sweet Dream Cake 🌸 (use the CC button for subs)

Something nice to look at:

Music Sundays: VAV

A boy group today! VAV is a group I’ve been a fan of for a while, in fact I got to see them in concert a few years ago. They were wonderful! One of their members, Baron, just enlisted in the military (it’s mandatory for all Korean men) and the song I’ve selected is the last song they released before he left. It’s really good and the more I listen to it, the more I like it.

VAV have been around since 2015, though I’ve only been a fan since 2017, after their lineup change. They are very fun, all of the videos on their YouTube channel are subbed in English and they have great music.

You can find them on Spotify and Apple Music.

Music Sundays: H&D

Sometimes you listen to singers and you like their music, but it doesn’t speak to you. Instead it’s just something nice to listen to. Sometimes, though, a song just runs you over and you’re completely taken aback by how good the song is. That’s what happened with Umbrella by H&D. This duo, made up of Lee Hangyul (the ‘H’) and Nam Dohyon (the ‘D’), who were part of the winning group X1 on a survival show. Their debut album was pretty good, but Umbrella is an exceptional song.

As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of survival shows (they are stressful, my favorites never win, and the winning groups already always temporary). However, I have been a fan of a lot of groups that came from these shows – whether temporary (such as RAINZ) or permanent (like AB6IX and CIX). I might hate the shows, but much to my dismay, I like the product.

Anyway, please enjoy this song by H&D! You can find them on Spotify and Apple Music.

Music Sundays: OnlyOneOf

Today’s artist is the kpop group called OnlyOneOf. They debuted in May of 2019 and something about their music appealed to me almost immediately. Their debut music was fantastic and they have continued to release excellent music consistently, including their last two releases.

The two videos that make up today’s post are their two most recent releases, part of their “Produced by []” series. All of the songs on this album were produced by famous producers. a sOng Of ice & fire was produced by GroovyRoom and angle was produced by Gray. I’m a fan of both of those artists.

I hope you enjoy these songs! Please check out all of OnlyOneOf’s music on Spotify and Apple Music.

Oh, also, if you’re wondering, my favorite member of the group is Junji – he’s the one with hair in his face (it’s blond in angel and silver in sOng Of ice & fire).

Weekend Reads – Friday, August 30 2020

This week’s post is a collection of articles that span a lot of topics. There’s no theme, except that I found all of these links interesting. If you’re looking for something a bit more pandemic related, check out my Wednesday Links post from earlier in the week – it’s all about COVID/SARS COV2.

How to Outrun a Dinosaur (Wired – $$)

If, through some scientific malfunction, you found yourself transported 70 million years into the past, you might be safer from certain hungry reptiles than you think.

The K-Pop Fans Who Tweet Fake News (Paper Magazine)

Why some K-Pop fans obsessively “clear the searches”

Black ‘The Sims 4’ Players Are Changing One of the World’s Biggest Games (Vice)

The Sims has been an industry leader in terms of diversity and inclusion, but black players have been fighting to see themselves in the game for years.

Transparent Public Toilets Unveiled In Tokyo Parks — But They Also Offer Privacy (NPR)

The project’s eye-catching toilets are part of a plan to put people at ease when visiting a public bathroom – a prospect that can trigger a number of responses, from relief to trepidation.

Note: I love these bathrooms. They are absolutely gorgeous – especially when seen at night. It makes me want to move to Japan.

Anatomy of a Photograph: Authoritarianism in America (The Atlantic – $$)

When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shows up at a peaceful protest in battle fatigues, it’s time to pay attention.

The Prince of Georgia Is Big on Instagram (Wired – $$)

The musician BERA is the son of the country’s former prime minister and richest man. When street protests arose in Tbilisi, I went to check on him.

Confessions of an ID Theft Kingpin: Parts One and Two (Krebs on Security)

At the height of his cybercriminal career, the hacker known as “Hieupc” was earning $125,000 a month running a bustling identity theft service that siphoned consumer dossiers from some of the world’s top data brokers. That is, until his greed and ambition played straight into an elaborate snare set by the U.S. Secret Service. Now, after more than seven years in prison Hieupc is back in his home country and hoping to convince other would-be cybercrooks to use their computer skills for good.

And finally, a cartoon that sums up a lot of how I feel. Tag yourself: I’m Too Direct

COVID Risk Comfort Zone (xkcd)

Music Sundays: Bibi (비비)

Please enjoy this short break from the dumpster fire of a planet. Today’s singer is Bibi. She’s a recent debut and every song of hers is exquisite. This includes her covers as well. Here is her most recent release, Kazino (which is also the name of a boy who I like).

Want more? Find her music on Spotify and Apple. You can also watch a few more videos behind the cut.

And, while you’re here, consider donating to a bail fund near you.

Continue reading

Music Sundays: HA:TFELT

HA:TFELT is a former member of the girl group Wonder Girls and although I am a fan of Wonder Girls, I am mostly familiar with her as a soloist. Two years ago I shared another one of her songs (a duet), because all of her songs are good. And her newest release is no exception. The full-length album, titled 1719, is tremendous. I love every single song on it and she’s released music videos for four (!) different songs. I recommend them all, but we’ll start with Satellite:

If you like this, please check out her full album, which you can find on Spotify and Apple Music. The rest of her music videos are behind the cut, if you’re curious. Please, give her a listen – she is amazing!

Continue reading

Music Sundays: Jackson Wang – 100 Ways

First, let me start this off by saying that I am a casual fan of GOT7, though I’ve liked all 3 of their most recent Korean releases (Spinning Top, Call My Name, and Dye) and would recommend checking them out (Spotify). I’ve also enjoyed some of the solo/duo work that the members have done, but most of Jackson’s songs haven’t really done anything for me. However, a friend of mine suggested that I give 100 Ways a try and boy am I glad that I did. It’t unlike anything either GOT7 or Jackson has released (as far as I know) before.

It’s really, really good and even if you don’t think you like pop music, give it a listen. Actually, you should watch the music video too. Why? Because it’s gorgeous and Jackson’s backup dancers are the Kinjaz, an extremely talented dance group. Anyway, I hope you like this song and video as much as I do.

Also, Kinjaz posted a behind the scenes video on the Facebook page and it’s also worth a watch. You can find it here. I would really like a full movie based on this music video, thanks.

Music Sundays: Imfact – Lie

It seems fitting that the first time I update this blog in ages, it’s with a song by Imfact? Why? Because the last time I posted was September of 2018 and the song I shared was also by Imfact (see that post here). The song I posted last time (나나나 | NANANA) is one of my favorites and I am happy to report that Imfact has done it again. Lie is exceptional and the only problem is that Imfact only release singles, but I shouldn’t complain because I’m just glad they keep releasing music.

Lie was released on April 20th and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like this song, please go listen to their other stuff (Spotify). It’s great.