Eels, Pansori, and KARA
Our adventurous group went to catch eels in a giant seaside mudflat in Ganghwado in what amounted to an incredibly sloppy mud wrestling match. Who catches eels bare handed, anyway? Jong Ok, Nana, Young-ji, Jackson, Dong-wook, and. Min-woo, that’s who. The eel farm owner offered half price on the eels to do so. Nana had a tough time holding onto the eels while screaming, Young-ji jumped right in and grabbed them with gusto like she does with everything, and even Jong Ok bravely tossed a couple into the barrel. Jackson couldn’t have been wilder which, for him, is the norm, waddling like a seal across the surface of the mucky mire. Min-woo was close behind, knee-deep in mud, but somehow he managed to still look handsome. At least the atmosphere was lighthearted and our younger male roommates seemed relaxed. The eel harvesters roasted their catch over an open fire. Guess it was pretty tasty and eels are promoted as a health food. Eels, not my thing, though.
That sure is muddy!
Sunny imitates Young-ji’s laugh perfectly.
Group 2, Joon-hyung, Ryohei, Sunny, and Gook-ju headed to the National Classic Music Center for the day to find the spirit in Korean traditional music. Although the trip was planned with Ryohei in mind, they all expanded their cultural awareness and appreciation of Pansori, a traditional Korean genre of musical storytelling through song and drum accompaniment. Teacher Lee Joo Eun taught the group techniques to practice with expression. The explanation of the importance of audience response throughout a Pansori performance was fascinating. I laughed out loud when Ryohei brought up to the teacher that he was told he had potential as a trot singer because that now makes four episodes where his rendition of There’s Nothing Wrong With My Age was mentioned. They’ve really milked this one, but since it’s Ryohei, he gets a pass because he is just such a great sport and tries so hard. Like today, his efforts were supreme, but his results were minimal. Ryohei will have to go home and practice Pansori techniques a whole lot. On the other hand, Gook-ju was a natural and sang an impromptu solo of Arirang with passionate emotions and graceful movements. Even Joon-hyung got the hang of opening the fan with one smooth swoop; poor Ryohei struggled as his fan stuck halfway every time. Practice makes perfect, Ryohei, don’t despair. The four roommates enjoyed a shared experience that enriched their understanding of the unique and rare Korean music tradition of Pansori.
I love it when everyone gathers at the house. Gook-ju invited her brother, Lee Sun Kyu, who is eleven years younger and a second year high school student. Like his older sister, Sun Kyu’s dream is to become a comedian. He was endearing as he spoke highly of how his sister has taken care of him and gives him encouragement and an allowance. The two siblings look amazingly alike, but I have to say that Sun Kyu resembles Seho just as much! When the eel hunters arrived from their day trip, he shyly shook his favorite member Young-ji’s hand and did a quickie KARA dance for her to show his love of the girl group.
Everyone outside – eel barbeque party! Another guest arrived and this time it was Jackson who showed his love for Ha Ra, another member of KARA, who came to show support for Young-ji. Jackson got flak the rest of the evening, and rightfully so, for asking Jong Ok to switch spots with him so he could sit by Ha Ra. It put the eldest member of the roommate family back in the corner a bit, which was rude of him. Anyhoot, everyone applauded the rib eye gift that Ha Ra brought and introduced themselves around the table. Ha Ra had some thoughtful words for Young-ji and said she had watched her as a trainee and rooted for her to become a member. Young-ji was teary-eyed in between large mouthfuls of wraps. By the way, she met her match in Sun Kyu who could eat wraps every bit as big as the monstrous mouthfuls Young-ji is known for. Food showdown! Sun Kyu’s wish was to do KARA’s Mama Mia dance with Ha Ra and Young-ji and of course it was a bit hit. Next up – dance battle! Young-ji, Ha Ra, Nana, and Sunny versus Gook-ju, Sun Kyu, Seho, and somehow Ryohei was in the mix with along announcer Jackson. The battle was no joke ~ Ha Ra seduced Seho with rib eye and Gook-ju and Nana went for the win with plenty of attitude and challenging moves. It was a special evening for little brother Sun Kyu whose charm and confidence were impressive. He seemed liked such a personable guy. I think Sun Kyu will be successful in whatever he does – look forward to it!
The Roommate family and guests wound down in the family room with Young-ji’s reenactment of her audition for KARA. Mock panelists and judges asked her questions, and she sang and danced her audition pieces for them. One last time, the KARA moments between Young-ji and Ha Ra brought tears, as the guests bid farewell after a day filled with shared memories.