A leap of faith


Can you hear it? can you see it? Can you hear me calling out to you? I’m not so invisible aren’t I?

A thousand miles’ a light year, chasing endless dreams all vapor. Where you at, where I am, is it impossible?

If I take a leap of faith, and chase you farther than my breath could reach, would you see me? Would you hear me? Take my hand my love, and pull me closer, I am yours.

How possible is it to become a black (or foreign) Kpop idol?


Becoming a kpop idol has rapidly become a huge deal among most young kpop fans from around the world. As a result of this, questions keep popping out in forums from all over as young aspirants constantly search the internet for the littlest bit of light at the end of the tunnel to give them hope that their absurd dream is feasible.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but chances are you are currently reading this blog post because

  1. You were just curious to see what my new post was about. Or
  2. You are looking for some confirming hope just like I had suggested earlier.

I have been meaning to write about a topic like this for a while now, but I’ve been putting it off for reasons I too am yet to figure out. Nevertheless, today I’ll be talking kpop, and how possible is it for a foreigner to actually break into the industry.

I love kpop too, I love the sound, the language, and the music style, which is unique, even though it had taken a lot of its foundation from Western and Japanese music.

I’m not really much of the classic fan type in general. Somehow, I’m able to separate the artist from their work, I pretty much just see them for who they are, and that is people, with every single characteristics which makes a person just another human.

This is why I can be interested or in love with a person’s work, but not so much of the person as an individual, at most I respect them.

This habit of mine cuts across all genres and industries.

In the Korean pop music industry, there are bands whose work I love for various reasons,

I think Exo still remains my all-time favorite, I love their music, choreographies, and vocals most especially.

Exo

More recent bands for me are Seventeen, Ikon, and NCT. To be honest, even though I know BTS has existed for a while now, their music has only recently started growing on me, thanks to dynamite and some of RM’s 2015 mixtapes, “joke”, and “do you”. Listening to these made me go back to their previous works and actually try to listen to them. As a result of this, BTS has now made its way to the list of bands I respect.

Bts

For female groups, it’s currently just Red velvet, and Mamamoo, especially for their vocals and image. I heard a couple of songs from 3ye and Weki Meki, and I think they are also cool too.

How to succeed as a black kpop idol
Red Velvet

Nevertheless, when we are talking about the all-time female Korean pop artist I utterly respect and are humbled in front of, IU takes it all home, without any competition!

So back to the topic,

Is it possible to become a foreign/black kpop idol?

I’m going to try to be as objective as possible here, as a lot of the replies I see people getting from online contributors in forums tends to be overly subjective and emotionally backed.

Point blank, becoming a kpop idol as a foreigner will not be easy by the slightest bit, this is not because Koreans are “racist purists” as I had made a point of in my previous posts How the first black kpop artist failed in Korea and what you can learn from it.

As the younger generation (gen Zs and millennials) grows and with the rapid globalization, this dismantling of racial barriers would become even more so, this would happen not just in Korea, but also on a global level. I mean, if you don’t see BTS, a South Korean boy band which sings 90% of its songs in Korean making a big splash in the west, middle east, and even Africa, as a sign of impending globalism and an acceptance of diversity, I really do not know what else could convince you.

How to become a foreign kpop idol
Chung ha

Becoming a foreign pop artist would be hard, not just because of social resistance par sé, but because of South Korea’s society’s core values and beliefs, as well as your delusional thinking and the social norms you’ve been brought up with in your own native country.

If we are all honest with ourselves, we would admit that 80% of all foreign kpop idol aspirants want to be so out of an obsession with the exotic and a very dangerous “the grass is always greener on the other side” mental approach to life.

As with every other thing in life, our fantasies of what could or should be would be the very thing that ruins us.

*fair use

The purpose of this blog post is to not just serve as a confirmation to the inevitable, but also as an eye-opening food for thought that should make you question your motives, your abilities, your dreams of what you think life would look like for you as an idol, and just life in general.

You should benefit from this even though you do not plan on taking the public route.

Before you jump on the kpop bandwagon and start auditioning to companies, there are possible pitfalls you will need to avoid if you plan on going down this path, as well as certain viewpoints of yourself and the society in general that you may need to revisit if you do not want to dig your own grave.

In this post, I will be dismantling common viewpoints foreign aspirants tend to have of themselves and about Korea and it’s pop society.

The common pitfalls of the “foreign kpop idol” trope

There are reasons why I said being a foreign idol would be hard, some of the basic reasons builds on people’s naivete and lack of research. Now, I am no social expert, neither am I an exclusive insider to the industry, some of my points are just universal common sense, nevertheless since most of the readers of this post would most likely be hot-blooded teens, there Is a good chance of them omitting all the critical details to suit the narrative they want to believe as they get distracted by all the glittering lights and idols.

How to debut as a foreign kpop idol
Red Velvet

But here’s the thing honey,

You are NOT going to be successful because you “stand out”

You’d be surprised how many people think that the moment they step off the Incheon airport every single Korean would be in awe by them and want to take pictures with them because they look so exotic and different from all the “single-faced” Koreans.

You are not going to get magically scouted off the streets, neither are you going to magically get modeling or tv show offers.

Not to say such scenarios aren’t possible, but the chances of that happening on its own are one in a billion. Which brings me to my next point,

You are NOT special, neither do you have the “golden touch”

Just because you could do a few moves, and hit a couple of notes here and there, even if it’s just in your head, and it “feels right”, doesn’t mean that people would be clamoring to have you at their agency.

Like I said before, remember that an agency is also a business, and what do businesses want? Growth, money, and success. You are not just going to be an idol, you are going to be a business, an investment.

You are an independent contractor (an entrepreneur) and your product is your face, your talents, professional skills, and a possible image that SELLS.

Before an agency sees you as a person, they see as an investment.

No business would want to throw their hard-earned limited cash on a venture they think has no future, or on a product that has no market.

This is not to say that as a non Korean, you have no chance in the Korean music business, the world is changing and integrating at a rapidly fast pace, agencies are aware of this, and so are becoming more innovative and inclusive.

Nevertheless, being talented or/and pretty is not enough to get you anyway in the long run. They are a lot of talented and beautiful Korean idols who disappear in less than a year, there are a lot of talented rookies and trainees who never get recognized.

This is why,

Debuting in a group will NOT guarantee you success

A lot of people think that the moment they début, then it’ll just be a smooth sail to the end, but honey, your problems are just beginning.

What’s even baffling, is that a lot of foreign aspirants have this delusional thought of being the most famous, the most sort after, the most favoured of the group they are in because well, they are foreign and exotic, and so everyone should be nice to them and give them stuff on a golden platter.

Everyone wants to be the group leader, main dancer, rapper, vocals, and even visuals. They want to be the most successful and most popular out of the group, they want to be the “golden maknae”, in summary they want a kind of “Suzy and friends” scenario, even if it’s supposed to be an integrated group of equals.

Tips to become a foreign kpop idol
3ye

But here’s the thing love, while you came into the group wanting all these good stuff for yourself, so did every other member. And what happens when a group of people have conflicting interests and their own sinister agendas for domination? There would be back biting, sabotage, gossips, quarrels, and sinister gang ups and betrayals, God help you if you are at the receiving end of it all. It’ll far from the sisterhood you had envisioned.

To add some more salt to the wound, there is also a very good tendency of you becoming bitter and hateful when your secret desire to play the role of the favored golden child gets given to another person.

Hatred, envy, a feeling of being inadequate, robbed from, and overlooked would be the very demon that would make your life a living hell, seeping out whatever good or fortune you already have at your disposal.

depression would be your soulmate

speaking of soulmates,

You are NOT going to marry or date the oppa, neither are you going to be best friends with your favorite idols

I won’t even bother going in depth into this, but it truly amazes me how a lot of young female kpop aspirants think that once they get off incheon, they will not only get scouted off the streets, and be the golden maknae, but somehow, their favorite Korean popstar would fall in love with them and they would have a steamy dramatic Korean drama sort of romance.

If you secretly desire and believe such things, then you really have no idea of how the world works and the nature of the Korean entertainment culture.

I kind of feel bad for you.

Never take people’s public image as an absolute truth, as a reality, especially in the entertainment industry. It is called an entertainment industry for a reason.


At this point, I hope your illusions have been shattered,

At this point I hope I have filtered out the real go getters from the delusional wannabes

If you are still willing to continue down this road with me, let me tell what you really need to prepare for, what you really need to have under your arsenal if you are ever going to have any kind success in this industry, because success IS possible.

If you have been paying attention to the streets, you would know it will only be a matter time before a non Asian breaks the industry, we don’t know who it is yet, but it just might be you.

Head on to the next page when you’re ready!

Mass effect art book getting expanded and released again


Mass Effect has some of the most memorable sci-fi visuals in gaming. Next year, you can soak in the aliens, technology, and environments of the trilogy with a new iteration of an art book showcasing the series’ iconic designs.

The book is an expanded version of The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, which released in 2012.  As reported by Eurogamer, preorders for the new hardcover recently opened up. It costs about $40 and is scheduled to release on February 23, 2021.

According to its official listing, this expanded edition adds art from DLC including “The Lair of the Shadow Broker” and “Citadel.”

The last game in the original Mass Effect trilogy came out in 2012. So why re-release this book now? Hopefully this points to some new Mass Effect-related developments, like a new game or the long-wished-for remasters.

[Source: Eurogamer]

A Gamer’s review of the Ghost of Tsushima


The story opens with Japan on the brink of war. A small group of samurai has gathered on a Tsushima beachhead to repel an invading Mongol force led by Khotun Khan, a fictional descendant of Genghis and Kublai Khan. While the Mongols attacked Japan on multiple occasions, Ghost of Tsushima liberally combines various historical and cultural artifacts for an entirely new narrative. As was the case in the late 13th century, the samurai find themselves unprepared to deal with the invaders’ overwhelming military tactics and get almost completely annihilated.

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Ghost of Tsushima puts you in control of Jin Sakai, one of the island’s last remaining samurai. A half-dead Jin is pulled from the battlefield by a wandering thief named Yuna, only to rush off in an attempt to free his captured uncle. Jin makes it his mission to save his home from the invaders, who have wasted no time in running roughshod over Tsushima as a prelude to their attack on the Japanese mainland. For the player, this would translate to a heck a lot of random battles throughout the countryside and liberation villages occupied by the Mongols. Sometimes this would be done with Jin’s allies but most often than not, you were on your own.

Jin is presented pretty much as an enigma in the early hours of Ghost of Tsushima and only through brief flashbacks to the time he spent with his uncle does the player get an insight into what’s really underneath Jin’s rather gruff façade. As an idealized image of the samurai warrior caste that existed in Japan at the time, he spends a lot of time worrying about the dichotomy of honor and shame. But it soon becomes abundantly clear that Jin must adopt new tactics, even those he views as “dishonorable,” to liberate Tsushima, adding a thin layer of internal strife to the more overt conflict against the Mongols.

Ghost of Tsushima gaming techniques
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The classic Samurai have been extensively mythologized in modern times no doubt, which was why in this reimagination what was essentially the paramilitary arm of a system of feudal land ownership were seen as noble, as superhuman dispensers of justice. Before playing the game, a lot of people had expected that this stereotypical concept might tie into some sort of weird, Mass Effect-Esque morality system by which the main character would vacillate between “honor” and “shame” depending on how he approached every situation.

Thankfully, that was not the case, even if the game’s narrative tunnel-visions on that concept. There’s no penalty for approaching battles in Ghost of Tsushima stealthily, which Jin considers a violation of samurai code. You don’t get locked out of any skill trees or storylines depending on how you decide to fight. While Jin is forced to take a more stealthy approach for both tutorial and narrative reasons early on, there’s also nothing stopping you from proudly walking into an enemy encampment and challenging dozens of Mongols to a straight-up fight. Granted, the best approach would always be a mixture of traditional katana skills and more “underhanded” tools like smoke bombs and firecrackers, but the game never punishes you for living out your own personal version of Seven Samurai.

That enduring image of a lone warrior surrounded by foes becomes a neat gameplay mechanic in Ghost of Tsushima. When approaching a group of enemies, Jin can call out to them with a challenge for a one-on-one combat against their strongest fighter. Here, the game asks you to hold the Triangle button and keep a close eye on your opponent. When they make a move, that’s your cue to release the button, which causes Jin to unsheathe his sword and unleash a deadly, one-hit kill. By the end of the game, a combination of skills and armor made it so you could slice through five enemies in a row before actually starting a battle.

Ghost of Tsushima’s swordplay is basic and engaging, a mixture of light and heavy attacks, parries, and dodges, tied to specific buttons or button combos. The combat system is very easy to grasp if you’ve played any recent video game, perhaps as a way to indicate, through gameplay, that Jin has been learning to fight with a katana since he was a child. As the game goes on, you learn various stances—combat styles that you can shift into at will—by observing and killing Mongol generals. Stances are meant to deal with different types of enemies: The stone stance, for instance, is better suited to taking down swordsmen, whereas the water stance’s flow of bludgeoning strikes is perfect for decimating shields. These stances, much like the rest of Jin’s repertoire, can be improved with skill points earned from defeating enemies and completing missions to unlock more combo strings and increase damage.

The “ghost” in Ghost of Tsushima could refer to Jin’s transformation from a rigid samurai warrior into a guerrilla vigilante willing to do anything to save his home. Where a samurai might focus entirely on his katana and bow, the covert tactics Jin learns over the course of the campaign gives him access to a multitude of more subtle weaponry. This starts out with some basic kunai, which can be thrown to break an opponent’s guard from a distance, but quickly expands to include tools like smoke bombs, explosives, and even wind chimes that draw enemies’ attention. Jin’s most important tool, however, is his tanto, a short blade that allows him to perform quick, violent assassinations from the shadows. It’s rare to enter a fight where you’re not vastly outnumbered, so it’s best to balance the scales as much as possible from the relative comfort of stealth. The only time where stealth really feels required is when the Mongols have taken hostages. If an enemy spots you, they’ll start to cut down prisoners unless you can stop them.

These two aspects of Jin’s arsenal combine to make every battle in Ghost of Tsushima fluid, ever-evolving affair. While you might initially sneak into a Mongol encampment, one wrong move can turn the mission into an all-out brawl against the camp’s entire garrison. I usually found myself picking off high-priority targets like bruisers with medieval shotguns and explosive-throwing support troops with my bow before wading into battle, where smart usage of my stances was key to surviving. Eventually, the Mongols begin to employ the services of animals like hunting dogs and hawks, which can sniff you out or spot you from above. I never found myself tiring of the basic flow of combat, but I quickly got so strong that stealthy approaches were just a waste of time when there weren’t any hostages to protect. Why assassinate Mongols when I could just walk up, challenge them to a duel, and mop up the stragglers?

Ghost of Tsushima review

Besides combat, much of the game is dedicated to exploring the island’s lush environments. Jin strides across vast fields of flowers, the muck and mire of swamplands, and even the icy northern reaches of Tsushima during his adventure. At one point, he dropped his hand to feel the foliage as I raced along on a horse, mimicking my exact desire at that moment. Tsushima also features a weather system that, while not offering much apart from rainstorms and rolling fog, gives the beautiful scenery an additional coat of aesthetic flair. Over the course of the game, Jin can learn songs on his flute that change the weather at will.

Ghost of Tsushima tricks

Ghost of Tsushima has an almost insatiable desire to remind you of its influences through its visuals. Each mission opens with a title card that draws inspiration from old samurai films. An optional black-and-white visual filter is literally named after legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Important duels are preceded by a lengthy, tension-building cutscene that ultimately functioned as a minute or so to check my phone while waiting for it to playout for the tenth time. Every attempt at infusing Tsushima with these cribbed details feels like a wink and a nudge for recognition rather than true homage.

Ghost of Tsushima spoiler

Ghost of Tsushima fills its expanses with multiple diversions. Tall, white flags indicate the presence of a bamboo strike mini-game, which asks you to quickly tap out increasingly difficult button sequences to increase Jin’s resolve meter.

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In combat, this meter allows you to heal, use special techniques like a series of devastating slashes that homes in on opponents, and even revive yourself. Hot springs can be found beneath trees with orange blossoms, giving Jin a chance to decompress and extending his health bar. Swarms of fireflies mean a fox den is nearby, the denizen of which will lead you to a special shrine that lets you carry more charms, accessories with bonuses that range from simple stat boosts to more interesting mechanics like regaining arrows on a headshot.

Ghost of Tsushima overview

While it’s fun to listen to Jin’s internal thoughts while at the hot spring and to pet the foxes after their guidance, I never found myself excited to see one of these landmarks on the horizon. They were merely there to complete for a reward, a far cry from the dynamic intensity of battle.

~Ian walker

Spilling the tea on what I think about the game

Ghost of Tsushima review

Although some people may argue that It feels very weird having to save a peasant from a group of Mongol soldiers, only to have them turn around and reward Jin with whatever meager possessions they were able to hide away. This and also the fact that game had no problem with allowing you to raid homesteads for materials like iron and leather which could then be used to upgrade his gear, this in my take ran a little bit counter to who Jin was and what he was trying to do for the people.

Ghost of Tsushima storyline

According to the game’s narrative, Jin Sakai is the head of his clan, an aristocratic warrior who never lusted for anything in his life, so why then was he so eager to squeeze out every last bit of resources from the people he was supposed to be protecting?

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Life was hard before the Mongols arrived, and now villages and farms are burning. People argued that those supplies would be much more useful in attending to refugees rather than a man whose sole ambition is reinstating the power structure that enforced these hardships in the first place.

Ghost of Tsushima gamers tips

I guess the underlying message there could be that Jin was just secretly another imperialist all along who was fighting under the guise of mass liberation to bring back the old world order which had favored him, wouldn’t that be a plot twist? This probably could be one of the reasons why he had no problem looting from the very people he claimed to be protecting. A sense of entitlement, I guess.

Jin was also shown to be somewhat unsympathetic to the plight of the locals, any growth he shows over the course of the game usually deals entirely with his approach to warfare, rather than the imbalances within the society he seeks to protect or even his own responsibility for maintaining them.

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This lack of empathy was also evident when a childhood friend betrays him, Jin did very little personal inventory on his part on how he might have contributed to his friend being motivated to betraying him, rather he went on a “holy” quest for revenge. All of this could have been entirely prevented if only he had been a little bit more compassionate.

Ghost of Tsushima release

“Another open-world game” has been my problem this generation. With more and more games coming out all the time, it’s become more of a problem picking out what games to play and when. This generation has been rife with open worlds and live games that are only getting bigger and demanding more and more of our time, helping to fuel our video game addiction.

I quickly got tired of open-world games as soon as they truly became a thing (I believe this was around grand theft auto 3) I noticed early on that these games sacrificed tight narrative, which was what really stuck to the mind long after a game has been finished. But when the game begins to get elaborate for the freedom to do anything in the world, You start to see inconsistencies and holes in the plot as a result, with some missions or quests seeming all too repetitive.

Ghost of Tsushima

BACK OF THE BOX QUOTE

“Press R2 to compose haiku.”

TYPE OF GAME

Open-world samurai simulator

LIKED

Fluid combat, gorgeous landscapes, charming side characters

DISLIKED

Tedious missions, uninspired protagonist

DEVELOPER

Sucker Punch Productions

PLATFORMS

PlayStation 4

RELEASE DATE

July 17, 2020

PLAYED

55+ hours to finish the story and 100% the map


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Here are some of my Amazon.com selections!

Every single product recommended here have been personally curated by me and is found to be reputable. These are also affiliated links, meaning if you use them to make purchases I would earn a little stipend but at no extra cost to you.

Ghost Of Tsushima collector’s edition PS4 by sucker punch production. $265.98

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ghost of Tsushima Launch Edition – PlayStation 4. $64.27

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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SOMIC G951pink Gaming Headset for PC, PS4, Laptop: 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Detachable Cat Ear Headphones LED, USB, Lightweight Self-Adjusting Over Ear Headphones for Girlfriend Women. $65.99

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Defund the police and put funds into black communities!” Jane Fonda


When I first started this blog I made the decision that I wouldn’t get political because I didn’t want to isolate any of my readers, however, with the current frenzy less pandemic going on, social media has seen a good-sized amount of stupidity openly displayed in a bid to appear “pro-liberal” and “politically correct”.

I’ve not been one to keep up with social media trends, I find it quite exhausting really, however, I do try nevertheless, so I don’t appear like a bot to my blog’s readers and followers.

Regardless, nothing quite prepared me for the triggering I would receive on Twitter today, I practically went on a rampage because of that!

follow my twitter account to stay connected!

We get that people are angry, and we know about the painful link between police brutality and racism against people of color in the united states, this is a reality we all wish only happens “in the movies” especially in the black community.

However, with the rising emotions everywhere it’s kind of easy for bad people or opportunists to use the mass’s vulnerability to acquire quick fame, recognition, and political support on things people would have written off as preposterous had it been suggested people were a little bit calmer.

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At times like this, it takes divine grace to not get caught up in the viral effect!

Liberal Jane Fonda being dumb again

After the viral video of George Floyd, an African American man who was murdered by a group of police officers out on the streets, the words “I can’t breath” became a battle cry against police brutality and the reality of racism in the united states.

The whole story sparked up an unquenchable rage all over the US, creating unification of people in protest of the likes which have never been seen in the past few years. suddenly self-isolation and the possibility of contracting the coronavirus became trivial.

Hundreds of thousands of green dollars began pouring into funds which claimed to do justice to the ills affecting people of color, as celebrities like the Weeknd donating half a million dollars to the cause.

But then as other people were finding ways to be of support to the cause, what was the smartest thing Lil ol’ Jane Fonda could come up with??

Even though the police department does have its “bad cops”, what miss smarty pants could have suggested is for the restructuring of the police force and the eviction of police officers who have proven to be people who do not regard the lives of civilians that do not possess the same skin color or are not of the same ethnicity as them. It doesn’t matter if they or the victims are black, white, Hispanic, or whatever. Racism is racism!

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Saying that the police needs to be defunded is putting the lives of honest police officers at risk, it is making room for vile opportunists to get away with crimes, it is putting the lives of the everyday man, woman, and child, the people who really need their everyday cop on stand by at risk!

But of cause how would she know that when she is safely tucked away in her California mansion in a gated community surrounded by her very own team of security agents?

Support black communities? Yes. Defund the police or create a police free community? Honey, you need some stitches to your lips!


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