Archive for the ‘spotlight [focus]’ Category

heavy beats

I can’t dance. Only half of me knows how to have fun with music because I seriously have no idea what to do with my hands.
So I get really excited when I see smooth dancers ūüôā

I would definitely have to learn to be like that. The girl in the hat is amazing. I would probably be like the girl in the white sweater crawling on the floor ūüėõ

My FAVORITE dance video!

Dancing is kind of like following the human inclination for order. It’s just fascinating to see movements match with the music. Two different things coming together so well. That’s why I think dance is in every single culture, although it’s not anything necessary like food and law. Or maybe it is life sustaining. Maybe the supplementary aspects to life could be the very motivation and reason to continue on?

Anyway, I’m looking at the dancing clip again. The best thing about good dancers is their thrust. It’s like a burst of emotion here, another there. I think it usually follows the heavy thump in the background of literally every hiphop song. But then again there’s the everyday-action dancing, where people dramatize normal things like putting on a coat and make it seem like a completely new thing. Dancing seems to be a perspective of seeing life–here, the people can express actions in aspects that you miss when you actually do them.

So…are some people naturally good at dancing? Could all the moves be ever brought out innately, without any training or study?


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the power of scent

Most of my friends know how much I am in love with the book Perfume, the story of a man who has a genius sense of smell but no scent of his own. He devotes his entire life to creating the perfect fragrance for himself–only to see the irony that only he, the creator, is unaffected by it. He tries to love himself by getting a scent that had also enthralled him, but he felt nothing while others were swooning over him.

I feel like I’m going a bit tangent from the point of the book when I’m talking about scent itself, but it interests me how powerful scent can be. Scent is inescapable. You can look away from something but you can’t block its smell that easily. In a world that humans perceive mainly through vision, scent could be seen as the more subconscious entity. Something that people have less control over.

In Tom and Jerry, or any other cartoon in fact, the characters are dragged by the smell of food. It makes then stop and drop whatever they are doing, and seduces them into following wherever this thin trail of something goes.

In today’s world, we have aromatherapy. According to this science, smell can control how you feel–something that even I can’t take care of by myself. It has also been said that what you smell is most directly connected to your memory, and that smell is even a way for people to find partners. All these jobs that I can count for the sense of scent, something that is easily ignored and thought of as insignificant, is amazing.

I usually need to feel like I’m in control of myself, but I am a serious sucker for scents. Whenever I’m hanging out I have to drag whoever I’m with into the Body Shop. When I was in the airport after BEIMUN last year, I spent my whole time sniffing around in the perfume department; I felt bad for being in there for so long that I bought a Calvin Klein. And it smells SO GOOOOD.

Maybe I like scents so much because it feels like a simple happiness and not something extravagantly gaudy–which can’t really be established in any other way that the visual sense. Maybe it makes me proud that I’m overcoming a sense that is so dominant in my life and prioritizing another sense over it.

Either way, I LOVE SMELL. I would raid Bath and Body Works if it opens in Korea…arggg come here already…

A few examples of Bath & Body’s wonders:

something special that found its way into my purse! i get really happy when I'm opening my purse because of this.

This thing makes me REALLY happy whenenver I open my purse ūüôā

my all-time favorite!

this feels like



this little treasure feels like:

Maybe scents are so powerful because they connect with your memory, and let you relive moments in life that you love. Or hate.

One of the most thoughtful presents would be something that has a scent that lets you remember a memory you cherish.

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You see the candle protest on the streets, blocking traffick. You see the posters stuck on the subway walls, people waving signs. I admit that they do leave an impression. In fact, they had my school talking about it. At first, it was definitely scary. A disease in something that I eat practically 3 times a day? A disease that I wouldn’t know about for 10 years? A disease that hides in my veins and by the time I find it, that kills me within a week?


But let’s think about the past diseases that kicked up panic. I can remember allll the way back to SARS. My sixth grade school trip was¬†canceled because of that thing ūüė¶ so we were scared. and nothing happened. i never got the disease i was so scared of.

i’m not going to say anything about bird’s influenza because it’s still a hot topic and I don’t want to jinx myself, but tying it back to the mad cow disease. I lived in England when mad cow was around. I left when I was seven. I’m seventeen. Ten years passed, and I’m still fine. I don’t think this is such a huge issue to worry about, especially since there have been NO cases of mad cow disease in Korea. At least a bird influenza incident happened in a bird farm IN KOREA. The whole media coverage of mad cow disease could easily be a cover up of that bird incident.

As for the FTA agreement. Koreans should know that no matter how many demostrations they organize, the president will not destroy Korea’s political and economic ties by not agreeing to trade with the US. Heck, Korea did nothing when the terrorists took Koreans hostage and demanded troop withdrawal from Iraq. The government has to see things in the long term. In the greater good. And the government will willingly risk a few lives to keep hundreds of others and the posterity from economic poverty.

After being part of the student council, and being part of debate, I learned that people will find a fault in everything. What matters is if a bad outweighs the good–the longer-term it is the better. And seeing the whole greater good concept, I can see these issues with a clearer, yet colder view. Of course Korea has to agree with the FTA.

Do the demonstrating Koreans know that their efforts are futile? Do they just do it because if they don’t, this issue would just pass by too quickly? Maybe to show that they actually ARE watching the government and ARE aware of what’s happening? To confirm the will of the people to make a difference? That could actually be the roots of democracy, not the result of the power of the people.

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I’ve left a lot of people in my life. I’ve left my Japanese nursery chums, the cool friends I made amongst the posh British pupils of my all-girls private school, the Korean community¬†I met in England,¬†my Korean school friends… When they sent me letters asking how I was, I just tucked them in my drawer and looked at them in fond remembrance of my past.

But I really shouldn’t have. I should have realized that distance does not matter–that they’re still alive and that I am definitely going to see them again.

Since last year, I started to reply to those letters. I sent out e-mails and arranged reunions; so far I’ve met a few of my Korean school friends and a best friend from England. But because of the long span of seven or eight years, we were a little awkward, a little far apart. If I had replied to their letters in the 90’s, our chains of friendship would have been less rusty.

But it was really good to meet them. Last year, London, in a little Starbucks table, chatting away about how life is now, picking up details from our childhood, pausing in awkward breaths of silence…but the Sana I knew when I was seven seemed much too faded to link with her now. We basically had to start our friendship over again. All those days trying to cartwheel on the grass, role playing Pocahontas (a minority-character movie for an ethnically¬†minority group?),¬† and what other thing we might have done that I definitely can’t remember; all those memories that we stacked up together just rotted into the ground.

At least that’s what I thought first. Bitterly.

Maybe the past did mean something? It could have been the reason why there was a quiet, happy ring about our conversation.  Or why it felt so bittersweet when I hugged her goodbye.

By meeting my old friends, I realized that true¬†friendship can be timeless. If you don’t see a close friend for a long time, your bond is just frozen in time. A little withered, yes. Needs some nourishment, definitely. But it’s still there. I guess that’s what people sometimes use to see if their friends really last.

Someone once told me to “collect” these kinds of friends, friends who will stay friends after the horrible storm of what life can be, friends who will do anything for you no matter what. To me, this process is more than “collecting.” It’s dragging myself up a random floatsam after the storm, dehyrdated, drenched, close to death, and seeing life. That’s the feeling I get when I realize that someone is really, truly, always there for me. I don’t get it very often, and I might be too young to make any conclusions, but it is definitely one of the best feelings in my life.

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Many times, I’ve told myself that I just cannot live without music.

I couldn’t understand how my mom and dad could go through their days without having a pair of white Apple cords plugged up their ears. I would ask my brother where his iPod was every time I see him curled up in a sofa or rolling around on his blankets. He would shrug, and I would shake my head in disbelief.¬†¬†¬†

I have long since considered my¬†iPod¬†a second heart.¬†¬†But when the Recently Played finally gets old and I have to hunt for iTunes Top 100 titles¬†on naver (Limewire hates me), I¬†wonder why. We all seem to need¬†a background music for whatever we’re doing. Just¬†like in a movie. The main character never gets into a car, meets someone, or rides on an elevator without a tune tagging him along.¬†Is this all a subconscious want to make life feel hollywood?¬†People wanting to exaggerate their lives with¬†music? I remember a Calvin and Hobbes comic where Calvin adorns¬†his entrance with a “dundududun!!” and tells his mom,¬†“I thought my life would seem more interesting with music and a laughing track.”

Listening to music could also feel like talking to someone. My friend told me that she wished her birthday was September 19th so that Kwon JiYong from Big Bang would be¬†really singing to¬†HER in “This Love.”

This Love by Big Bang

When people aren’t feeling good, I think this is why some listen to sad music–they feel understood. Or if the song’s about a similar problem, they would feel that their problem is important enough to have a song written about it. Me, I listen to happy music when I’m moody. That could also be a someone cheering me up. People would find a friend in music, and they would always want to because many are afraid of being alone. I’ve only seen¬†one or two people¬†who truly enjoy spending time with their own self, walking around downtown or a city street full of strangers, with no supplementary¬†company.

Maybe it’s because of my inability to multitask, but I end up ignoring myself and the rest of the world when I listen to music. I’m listening about someone else’s life, someone else’s world, and Rachel who is sitting at the way back is just hidden in the shadows. Only when I relunctantly press the iPod button and wait for the screen to darken can I really talk to myself.¬†I haven’t been doing that a lot, so I still have a lot of unanswered questions about myself.¬†What do¬†I care about? What¬†kind of person am I? What’s my favorite food? Heck, what do¬†I want for dinner?¬†¬†

I guess it’s healthier to not have music in my life. But it’s such a big part of it that I can’t stop. Like some theory I read about a while ago, music acts¬†like a drug.

but then if…


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