It’s really quite fitting that I left for Korea on Valentine’s Day, and my one month anniversary be White Day–and one of the most epic days of my life.
We started off in Myeongdong because there were some things I wanted that I didn’t buy last time.
While walking around I noticed there were an unusually large amount of men wandering through the makeup shops. Now, we know that these shops are largely advertised by male idols, but last time I never actually saw a guy shopping there. Not only were there a lot of guys buying makeup, there were also a lot of guys carrying around bouquets.
Then I noticed that there were a lot of girls walking around with bouquets too. It made me feel slightly better that it wasn’t just the males who had suddenly taken an interest in herbology. But it also made me feel a little left out.
Then I noticed all of these “color festival” sale signs outside the doors, and my click lipgloss was 4000 won cheaper.
Wait what day was it?
Ahhhhh. I knew about this, but I had forgotten.
In Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, Valentine’s Day is when the girls give the boys candy/chocolate/love. And exactly a month later is White Day–when the boys give the girls chocolate/flowers/love.
But–I wasn’t feeling that sorry for myself. I’m doing my dream job in an amazing country what else could I possibly want?
I was also feeling somewhat better. I still had sporadic coughing fits and a scratchy throat, but I found a 약 and pointed to my throat and the lady pulled some lozenges off the shelf, held them up, and rung then up for me. No words were exchanged.
Then we thought we’d go somewhere new. Just a couple subway stops down from Myeongdong, are two HUGE 24 hour markets. One of them, Dongdaemun, was technically open but no one was there. We wandered into a giant building and found an entire floor dedicated to lingerie and another to costumes. I carefully filed this information away, ready for a co-worker to say, “hey I need a cheap bedazzled corset,” and then I can inform them of the exact place. Also a warehouse the size of 7 DSWs with enough shoes to clad all the Ethiopian children.
Then we went to Namdaemun, which was much more exciting. This place is actually Canal Street–a tiny road packed with street vendors selling stuff from tiny shops and garbage bags on the ground.
Although, I didn’t see any fake stuff. Then again, I wasn’t looking for it.
Out of the 7 billion people currently on this planet, and of the billions of people to ever exist, only two of them a) know me and b) understand. Those two people know who they are and need to skype me. Immediately. Everyone else can stop reading now with the happy thought of a country where is love is celebrated not once, but twice a year.
For those two people and whomever the blessedly curious are: There was one last item on our list. This item was bold, risky, and quite frankly, insane. But at the same time, it needed to happen. It was destined to happen. It was White Day!
But first, let’s go on a journey back in time, to January 20, 2015. At this time, I had just accepted my job at Avalon and just wanted to jump on a plane, when I saw a news article that EXO was having a four day concert in Seoul over two weekends at the end of March. (FYI every gif in this post is from this group, and about 75% of all of my gifs).
I can’t even tell you how close I was to buying a ticket. I had no idea where it was exactly or even my hours or if anyone would be crazy enough to go with me all I knew was that I wanted to be there. In the end, all I could imagine was me getting stampeded by thousands of thirsty fangurls, like Simba by the pack wildebeests.
So while I did go to the ticket website, make an account, and know exactly what to do…I didn’t do it.
Only to meet my K-Pop friend, one month later, and find out that she did the exact same thing. She had an account and for some reason didn’t do it. Last weekend, the first weekend of the concert, we were kicking ourselves–full of regret and self-loathing when we saw all the gifs and stills.
But then we got paid this week and I just had this feeling. I don’t know what you want to call it–it was just something in my gut. We deserved this. So I posed the question to K-Pop friend, do you want to just go, like, check it out? Just…go to the venue and see whats there? I mean…you never know…
As the subway got increasingly stuffed with fangurls, we realized that perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea. Looking around, everyone looked so freaking excited because they were going to the concert. And we weren’t. We did not have tickets. We got off at Olympic Park Stadium with the herd of fangurls, fanboys, and fanahjummas (yes there actually were some). We walked to the top of the subway exit as everyone went off for the venue there was a point where we looked at each other like,
Why did we do this to ourselves?
Everyone was walking forward to check out the merchandise and we were just going to have to turn around anyway…but we kept walking. I don’t know there was just…something.
And then I saw him. An ahjusshi with a visor and a blue fanny pack chatting suspiciously in a corner with two girls. I looked over my shoulder and saw two more grandpas on the other side of the park, dressed exactly the same. Maybe it was the matching outfits. Or the devilish grin, but it felt like an encounter with the mafia.
He looked up from the girls, we made eye contact. He made a quick nod. The deal was made.
I won’t go into much more detail, but that’s how we ended up at an EXO concert.
In the end, the tickets were only $30 more than the ones online. And still, only $20 more than my stupid health check (this was not me signing my entire paycheck away for only 3 hours of epicness). And, while I thought it was possible for foreigners to buy tickets, upon further research apparently the ticketing website blocked foreign servers for this concert because they were worried about their servers. According to Yes24.com’s site, the “Happy Family” section of the arena (the part at the stage’s feet) sold out in 0.4 seconds. 0.4 seconds.
And even more amazing?
Over 120,000 fans, just from Korea because overseas got blocked, logged on at the same exact moment. For the first time in K-Pop history, fans crashed the yes24 server and the ticketing time had to be rescheduled until the next weekend, giving them time to upgrade.
What I’m trying to say is, this concert was kind of a big deal.Even though you may not think so. It was.
And our seats?
I’ll spare you the actual details. Those two people need to contact me asap seriously because we have some discussing to do. But to everyone else: in the end, I’d say I celebrated White Day quite well.
Happy White Day everyone.