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304 pages, Hardcover
First published June 9, 2015
He’s the hottest Korean I’ve ever seen.
Not that I have much experience with Koreans, but all the ones I’ve encountered couldn’t even be considered in the same realm as Sophie’s brother.
“She doesn’t play any instrument,” Yoon Jae provides. “She just knows everything about music.”This book is the k-pop equivalent of The Last Samurai. Let me explain. The Last Samurai is widely held as the movie that displays a prime example of Western superiority. Long story short: white guy goes into Japan without knowing anything, the language, the culture, the combat styles, out-Samurais all the Japanese dudes, wins the heart of the fairest Japanese woman in the village.
“That’s not true,” I say. But I can’t help smiling at his blind confidence in me. “I only know a few things.”
“Would you be interested in helping me with a new song?” Jason asks.
“Why are there so many different levels of formality?” I ask Jason, praying he’s feeling gracious. “I don’t get it.”
“It has to do with respect,” he says, shocking me. “You want to give respect to people who have authority over you or are older.”
“Okay, I get that, but seven levels? Really?”
He doesn’t answer.
“It’s dumb” pops out of my mouth before I can stop it, and I mentally kick myself. Just what I need—to insult the language of the country I just moved to.
I don’t have the nerve to tell him his music is heartless, mass-produced fluff.The main character's superior attitude towards K-pop and Korean music makes me want to gag.
“But you think I should make it more like your American music?” he asks.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
I go through the entire periodic table of elements three times, the repetition numbing my brain and slowing my pulse, emptying my mind of any anxiety. My AP chemistry teacher taught me the trick, told me it helped him calm down. I discovered this summer that it works for me, too.
I still have no idea why I decided we needed an entire ocean between us or why I even chose Korea—it was just the first place that popped up on Google when I typed in “international boarding schools,” probably thanks to Jane’s search history, since I’m not the only one who considered getting out of Tennessee.
Does that mean people play music here? I mean, normal music, like rock or hip-hop or folk. Or is it only traditional Korean stuff?
So I’m thinking about studying chemistry in college—basically, the furthest thing from music you can get. Of course, it helps that balancing chemical equations and performing experiments that could potentially blow up the lab rings my bell.
I’ve never liked listening to music in a different language or watching movies with subtitles. Why would anyone listen to something they can’t understand?
Well, if you really want to know, I think you guys have talent, but it’s wasted on empty songs. Your music is clean but conventional, nothing that can’t be produced by any wannabe with a guitar and Garage Band. I’m guessing that if you guys are famous like Sophie said, it’s mostly based on pretty faces instead of actual quality of music.
You’ll need to be more culturally intelligent if you want to live here.
A million protestations build in my throat, but I don’t let them out, afraid of being that girl, the whiny American who can’t cope with a new place and new culture.
It may seem hard to believe, but I’m actually sort of transitioning into life here in Korea, although I do miss sweet tea and Southern boys who hold doors open for you.
Anyone would sound smart to you. You don’t know anything about languages besides English.
Yeah, well, I can’t really see why people like Korean boy bands (...)
"So people do play Western music"
"I’m not sure what I expected--that they would be good? Pop is in the name of the genre. That never bodes well for the quality of the music. But I guess I’d hoped since they’re a big deal, they would be more than your average bubblegum band. After ten songs, my brain is ready to explode."
On one hand, it's an addictive book for a fan of kpop, I suppose. On the other, I am severely insulted. Consider me fuming and watch this space for an in-depth review.
“All the bills are the same color and have old white men on them.”
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout seems coldly calculated to offend and insult. It is racist, poorly written, and inexplicably plotted. Its understanding of Korea seems to be derived from watching Boys Over Flowers and like, two Kpop videos.