The Welcoming Banquet was the event that brought the 15 members of the Korea Joa 2015 project together. We met each other, the lovely translators, the wonderful organizers Minju and Jayoon, and the Director General of KOFICE. There were a few others who also joined us, fellow bloggers from the 15 websites that had been invited. I had the pleasure of meeting early with Jenny from Soompi. Check out her hashtag #adventureswithjenny for her fun travels. Then I met Minju Kwon (the absolutely lovely, talented hard-working mother of two GORGEOUS munchkins) who organized the entire project. THANK YOU, MINJU! With her was KOFICE intern Julia “Jayoon” Choi who is such a delight and if my Korean was as good as her English, I would die happy. She’s so talented.
Freya Bigg from United Kpop (the premier website for UK Kpop happenings!) came up to my room before the banquet and we immediately clicked – an occurrence that would happen throughout the night with the other members. When you meet with so many like-minded people, its hard not to like them, get along with them, and want to be with them. It’s how I would feel over the next ten days with them and it is the feeling that would magnify and stay with me. I’m home without them and I’m so sad!
Here are a few blurbs from me to my KJ2015 chingus who I met this night:
Jeff Benjamin – Fuse TV
- Jeff is a fun-loving, brilliant American writer who works for Fuse and Billboard. He has this incredible insight into music, and this guy also knows how to noraebang (karaoke)! Go read his stuff!
Jenny Zha – Soompi
- Jenny is the first KJ member I met in person and she makes the best faces. She knows a lot about the American Kpop scene and you can find her at all sorts of fun American Kpop events! See if you can spot her!
Daniel Acton – Drama Fever
- Dan is the social media guru for DramaFever, the site that brings Asian drama, especially Kdrama, to the world outside Korea. This is a man who knows who to enjoy all things Korean and make sure that the world gets to appreciate them as well. Go watch a drama! (He also loves to cook, like me! He’s my Korean cooking buddy!)
Krys Khloe, Bonnie, Jimin – Koreaboo
- Krys is a fashion savvy and lovely young woman is from Koreaboo. She is soft-spoken and knows how to pick topics that will fire up her readers. Joining her from Koreaboo were the lively Bonnie, and cameraman Jimin.
Paul Quinn – Hangul Celluloid
- This feisty Irishman loves Korean cinema with all of his soul and he learned to love Korea in the same way. Korea left an indelible impression on the man who knows everything there is to know about Korean film, but who had never been to the country itself. I enjoyed my time sitting behind him on the bus and talking about film!
Freya Bigg – United Kpop
- Freya is the ambitious Scotswoman who heads up the top authority on the British Kpop scene. She’s also fun, a great rapper, and has beautiful pearlescent skin that Koreans would (and do) pay to have!
Adrian Cheng – Hello Kpop
- Adrian is a soft-spoken, eloquent guy with a surprising sense of humor that took me for a loop. He’s so much fun to be around and has a penchant for ballads at noraebang. He had a lovely friend and coworker with him who joined us a bit later, Sng Yun Ting, who I call “Yoon” because I’m a sad white girl who can’t pronounce her name! ❤
Johnny Au – The Au review
- Johnny…is the man. He’s a socially savvy Australian who knows anybody who anybody…which means he’s extra cool ’cause he knows me! 😉 He loves good food, which I can totally get behind, and he might be a CEO in the future.
Jae Tan – Officially K-music
- Jae is also from Australia and has a deft eye for video and photo editing. He loves everything beautiful and likes to show that off in his site, his work, and his outlook.
Rozyyati Mohamad – K-popped
- Rozy and her friend Ida joined us from Malaysia. They love their Kpop and they know their idols. These ladies are seriously sweet and know how to enjoy their Korean food!
Germaine Foong – (x)clusive
- Germaine is the fast-talking, fun-loving representative from Singapore who has ideas to share and shares them well. She is a strong woman who helped me so much while I was there. She shares and cares.
Lucy Kolakhe – Destination K-pop
- Lucy and her guest Rose were the representatives from India. These are two lively ladies who are the energy of the group no matter where they go. Rose has a powerful set of pipes and Lu has a keen fashion sense!
Yannie Ling – K-POP Fighting
- This lady is the maknae of the group who hails from Hong Kong and is wicked behind a camera. She is so sweet and knows her stuff despite her age. Love you, Maknae-yah!
Michelle Umali – PKCI
- The level-headed lady from The Philippines who heads a unique organization: a non-profit collection of fan club affiliates that brings news and kpop to the Philippines. Mish is as adventurous as her site is and one of my neighbors on our bus adventures.
The Translators – Jenny, Jen, Yoonsu, Narae, Kali
- Last, but not least, are the five translators who made everything worth it. They translated, gave us inside into food, people and culture. They befriended us and learned as much about us and our countries as we did about them and their country. I cannot express how grateful I am to these five young women who happily spent time with us. <3<3<3
Stay tuned. I have weeks of coverage for you guys, and so do the other bloggers!
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