2015, At Seoul

From a Fangirl
September 2015

It was way back in the year of 2011 when I already accepted to myself that yes, I am into KPOP - the real reason would be the very first group I stan which is SuperJunior. I never really expected that a day would come that I will be able to travel all the way to the KPOP home country and be able to step on areas wherein the members had their feet on.

Four years after I have became an ELF, I booked a ticket to Seoul and have gotten the very first legit fan girl moments of my life. I have been into their concerts, but what I have experienced at their homeland is quite different I may say.

I have gone to each and every members’ coffee shops and restaurant. I have my ELF friend and travel buddy with me, making it more exciting to navigate going to these shops. Thank you for all the fans who blogged and shared not just their experiences but also the directions going to these shops. You may directly message me if you also wanted some directions, too.

First Stop: KONA BEANS - Leeteuk

Located at Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, we descended at Apgujeong Subway Station, passing through the Apgujeong shopping street we just randomly thought of going straight to Kona Beans. Apgujeong is a go-to place if you wanted to see models here and there, and if you wanted to buy goods, clothes or shoes from branded shops.

With the help of our fellow ELFs and also the help of google maps, we were able to locate KONA Beans with such ease. The cafe was indeed quiet on a mid-afternoon, we saw his mother seating right at the corner and we can barely guess what she’s doing, but she was quite busy.

There were Leeteuk and SuperJunior photos everywhere, our cameras never stop clicking capturing almost all the corners of the cafe.

Second Stop: Gril5 Taco - Donghae

This was located at Seolleung-ro 152-gil, Gangnam-gu which is almost opposite where KONA Beans is, so walking here was not really a problem for us. It was almost dinner time when we arrived at Grill5 Taco and it was way different, it’s definitely not obvious that an idol owns this place, no hint of Donghae oppa in here. It was a normal restaurant where you can eat mexican inspired cuisine. The place is spacious and a lot of corporate people are coming in to eat their dinner maybe. Again, photos are a must. We indeed kind of expect we will see something or someone here since it was dinner time, every time a car stops at the store front, our necks would automatically turn right and left, with our eyes fixed on the car.

Finally, our order is here, dinner time! When you are a cheese lover and korean-mexican food lover like me, you would really love their fries and quesadilla which we ordered, and I just instantly fell in love. I was so full coming out of Donghae oppa’s restaurant. Before we made our way out, we did buy a goodie here which was the HaruOneDay necklace.

Third Stop: Chocolat bonbon - Eunhyuk

My bias time! Located at Guro 3(sam)-dong, Guro-gu, this is the farthest out of the six shops we visited. Exiting from the Namguro subway station, we were a little bit lost since we turned our ways through several alleys since we thought that it was just near the subway station. We gave up trying to decode the instructions we had, and asked for the help of google maps. We walked on a straight direction quite far which made us uneasy, but we still followed the map until we saw a big highway ahead of us, and there it was, my BIAS place - Chocolat Bonbon. The place is super cute, even the space is cute. The place is mainly white and pink in color, it’s giving you a European feeling though, true enough it was his concept. There were mini Eiffel towers everywhere and also a lot of Eunhyuk pictures - bias galore for me!

How his pictures are displayed are super creative, too. I ordered hot tea here, and my friend ordered coffee over ice, and we each bought different crinkles packed in a cylindrical container. The store also offers different merchandise like lipstick, hair ties and others. What I bought was the ID holder which I can use everyday.

Fourth Stop: Mouse Rabbit - Yesung

This marked my very first fan girl memorable moment of my Seoul 2015 trip, you’ll know why if you keep reading. Located at Hwayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, we made our way to Konkuk University station. I am always in awe of how great Yesung oppa is at doing business, his store location is very busy, we went there around four in the afternoon and it was damn a very busy hour. The way going there has different stores/boutiques on the left and small street food stalls on the right, also the huge Konkuk University is just opposite the store. It was pretty easy locating this one.

I am trying to find the right words to explicitly describe this moment, when we entered the store - just right when we entered the store we bumped into YESUNG OPPA! My failed moment was, I was wearing a cap and I was looking down at my bag putting my stuff back, my friend patted me hard and said we bumped into YESUNG OPPA! That moment I was so in despair and shocked, I just didn’t know what to feel since we were not expecting to have any moments anymore and there he was. I cannot even concentrate ordering since I just missed the moment to see him. His store has three floors - basement, first and second floor. You get to order at the first floor and where the comfort room is also located. While my friend is ordering, my eyes was just wandering around wanting to see him. In a split second, he came out of the comfort room, then gone straight to the balcony area of the same floor. He was wearing a black beanie, black mask, with an almost black outfit from head to toe, but that did not stop me to see him closely and damn he really does look way more good in person. I did see him just steps away. I had to calm myself down ascending the stairs going to the second floor of his cafe. His place also has European concept, but leaning towards the vintage feel. The lights are mostly vibrant yellow, there are big horns residing at the corner and a vintage disc player. We ordered the famous korean dessert, patbingsu. Aside from being full, my heart was thumping hard from that seconds long encounter.

Tell me how you feel at the next happenings I am about to narrate. As we are finished eating, we returned our tray to the counter at the first floor, then my friend queued at the comfort room, while I was taking pictures of the fan gifts displayed in one of the cafe’s corner where a mirror is also placed. Just after a minute of waiting there, these next events were too quick but my heart and mind felt like just it happened yesterday. As I was in front of the mirror, Yesung oppa’s brother came in from the floor’s balcony through the door positioned on my back, on my 5 o’clock, little did I expect at any rate, Yesung Oppa came in after him, he walked forward coming towards where I was, I literally panicked and did not know what to do, so I turned my face towards the mirror, and him just being right on my back! I felt stunned and stoned like I was glued to the floor not knowing what to do, really! After almost a minute, I ran to my friend who was waiting for her turn to the comfort room, and there I just stared at him while fixing his hat and his clothes. When I was about to take a picture which I kind of hesitated since I am not sure if I was allowed to, he made his way outside the cafe, but before that, he shook hands with the two girls who were waiting beside the door. And there it was, the story of my very first encounter in Korea. I have all these in my memory, but yes, I cannot deny the feeling of disappointment since I should’ve grabbed the opportunity to make a simple greeting to him and if I was lucky enough got to have a picture with him right on his cafe, and me, once in a blue moon, being in Korea. But the turn of events just turned the way it was and maybe next time, my heart would be more prepared and maybe I should prepare a simple spiel to just guide me when I ran out of words to say and things to do. But needless to say, that was a legit fan girl moment!

Fifth Stop: Wiki Cafe - Sungmin

At this time, Sungmin oppa is currently serving the army, so we do not expect to see him here at all. His cafe is located at Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, just around the hanok/buckchon village and meters away from Gyeongbokjung palace. This was our last stop for the day so it was already dark when we traveled there. Our way there was like hitting two birds in one stone, since it was around the area of a tourist destination, our eyes were also feasted with great a scenery, only the deducting point is, it was already very dark. At this specific time of the day, it was surely not easy spotting his cafe, we went through several small alleys again, then we saw a palace right ahead, instant picture right there, then again, we eventually gave up and asked help from google maps. There were one or two right and left turns before we saw a wooden label saying Wiki Cafe with an arrow turning right. To the very end of that small alley, we finally arrived at Wiki Cafe, and it was pretty much dinner time already. His cafe has two floors with a very big and beautiful facade before you enter. The cafe’s structure is almost like a american inspired country home. The first floor will welcome you with a lot of Sungmin pictures, fan gifts, fan letters and very big picture of him on a red carpet pasted on the wall.

His pink guitar is also there and a classical piano placed in one of the corners. The second floor is the actual cafe, we saw his family there, they were dining at the balcony area minutes after we arrived. When we are about to go, we met his father at the yard, right before you exit the cafe’s gate, he was very welcoming, he greeted us then talked to us for a while. Sungmin oppa got his cute smile probably from him, since his smile felt so warm.

Multiple Stops: Mom House - Kyuhyun

Kyuhyun’s parents’ guesthouse and coffee shop is quite near to where we go almost every night - at Myeongdong. This is situated just right the opposite of the Myeongdong shopping street making it very accessible to make multiple stops into. We went there on our first day and the feeling of finally being in Korea, breathing the same air with our oppas made it really real. We saw pictures at each and every corner, Kyuhyun’s specially and the whole group. There is also a big LCD which plays Super Junior videos. This was the very first KPOP stop we have taken after arriving in Seoul, thus the overall feeling is so surreal. I can feel all the chills in my body realizing the moment that our oppas are just here at the same land we are stepping on.

We also stayed at the guesthouse for two nights, making the trip more memorable. Now, you realize why I did say multiple stops, right? We ate breakfast for two days here and also this has been our last stop for several days when we get our days done after going around Seoul. It was indeed very memorable because we also celebrated the Chuseok Festival here, with Kyuhyun’s parents greeting us with their smiles, treating us with good food in the morning. His father is super friendly, asking each table where they come from, including us. We also ended up taking a good picture with him. Such an experience again. What a way to start a morning like this right.

And there it was, these stores being part of our itinerary took our two days from our 9-day trip to Seoul, Korea - life of a fan girl, but it gives you so much happiness. It was our first time, and just when we landed, we know that we are going to get back here. It was so surreal that time, I have been a SuperJunior fan for so long and I have never imagined that these days would actually come.

From Walkin’ by SuperJunior

I’m walkin’ 높은 언덕마루 I’m walkin’ 낡은 운동화로
I’m walkin’ 매일 걷겠지 나는 언제까지 나는 언제까지나
One Step 넓은 파란하늘 One Step 멀리 보이는 끝
I’m walkin’ 내일 닿게 될 거긴 어디까지 거긴 어디까질까

I’m walkin over the tall hills
I’m walkin with these old sneakers
I’m walkin every single day
Till always, till always
One step toward the vast blue sky
One step toward the finish line far ahead
I’m walkin till that someplace that will come tomorrow
Where is that someplace?