Today I thought I’d do a little Kpop haul for you all – these aren’t your typical Kpop merchandise items but I didn’t really know what else to title the post so I felt like calling it a Kpop haul would be okay – enjoy .xx
You may remember a couple of months ago in my February book reviews post I mentioned this book, but didn’t really say much about it – I didn’t feel like I had the words at the time and I wanted to explain it properly somewhere else so, here it is.
This is a book written by Jonghyun from SHINee. I was watching a Korean TV show called Knowing Bros and the guest artists for this particular episode were SHINee, the premise of the show is that it’s set in a classroom and the artists that guest on each episode are exchange students who are joining the school, therefore they each have to fill out an individual fact file and answer questions about themselves which will then be talked about during the show. One of the questions on the form was which job each member would like to have when they grow up and Jonghyun said he wanted to be a writer – they asked him about this and he told them he’d already written a book in 2015 years ago called Skeleton Flower, and this is when I went and bought it.
One of the most poignant things during this part of the show which, in hindsight, is incredibly haunting, is that Jonghyun was asked to repeat his favourite line from the book. He gets embarrassed and doesn’t want to say because he says it’s cringy but eventually he gives in and tells everyone that his favourite line (this has a few different translations but the general consensus) is “He never imagined he would meet such an atrocious depression.”
A lot of people have spoken about it after the fact, but looking back on it now…it’s incredibly alarming and incredibly sad. I don’t feel like I have sufficient words to even discuss it.
The book is fictional but given the content it’s very obvious Jonghyun didn’t just pull these thoughts and feelings out of thin air, to me this was his way of transforming his depression into art, poetry and music, and projecting these emotions onto the characters he created in the story. Reading it for me was a way of being able to see inside his mind and know how he was feeling, and it was very difficult yet beautiful to get through before he did what he did.
If you’ve been on my blog for a while you’ll know my feelings towards all of that and how much it affected (and still does) affect me, this was just another piece of him I felt like I was getting to keep. To be able to get inside his mind and really listen to what was going on, I couldn’t deny myself that. I felt like he was with me as I was going through each page, and it was nice to feel like he was still here for a while, it was comfort.
The whole book is written in Korean, naturally, but there are English translations of the whole thing. I wish my Korean ability was good enough to be able to analyse the book in my own way, the way I would have done had it been in English, but nonetheless, everything about it was beautiful, raw and very emotional. It’s very obvious how much he put into this book and how much time and effort he spent creating it, it felt like he was baring his soul on every page.
What makes it even more special is that Jonghyun also released a mini album to go along with the book (a combination I’ve never really seen before) – at the end of each chapter are the lyrics to a song – that song then corresponds with the ones on the album, so as you’re going through each chapter you can listen to the song at the end of it and really immerse yourself into the story – the whole thing is very emotional. The album, JONGHYUN The Collection “Story Op.1”, is on Spotify if any of you want to listen to it.
The actual physical copy of the book is equally as beautiful, there are transparent pages filled with words and phrases, lyrics at the end of each chapter, as well as beautiful photographs (taken by Jonghyun himself) featured throughout. So much time and love went into this book and it’s now one of my most prized possessions, because the whole thing was truly made beautifully – both physically and emotionally.
Because it was released in 2015 and not by an official publisher, SHINee’s company no longer sell it therefore it’s a little harder to find on the internet but luckily I managed to get myself a copy which I’m really grateful for, thus this then became my first ‘Kpop’ purchase – I’m very grateful it was this one.
BTS have an ongoing storyline throughout their music videos (in the BTS universe) where each of them play themselves but have a character and a storyline to go with it – it’s very hard hitting and they tackle a lot of very deep and serious issues and this is essentially the whole storyline from all of the music videos put together into a book. If you purchase the individual albums they include notes from the stories of the specific music videos and eras and I guess this is just the whole collection of those put together with the addition of new ones that haven’t been released yet. There’s a Korean version, a Japanese version and an English version (God bless) and of course, each version has a different cover.
The issues that they depict and tackle in their music videos are very serious and hard hitting so this is definitely not some kind of light hearted fairy-tale, which I’m extremely happy about. One of the reasons I love BTS is because they’re so real about who they are and what they do, and this is a piece of art – a collection of notes and journal entries that show each of their characters going through the motions that a lot of us go through in real life, it tackles the issues in a respectable way and I really liked the way it was written.
BTS are very serious about what they do and they work extremely hard to ensure that everything is the best it can be, they push themselves to the limits and scrutinise every detail to ensure everything turns out perfect for the people who support them – more often than not companies will just throw out random merchandise left, right and centre because they know that fans will buy it regardless of what it is – BTS could have released any random book and the sales would have been ridiculous regardless of what it was but they didn’t, they made sure it was something worth the money and full of actual content as like I said, companies will stick a brand name on just about any old random thing these days and sell it because they know it’ll do well. Considering BTS’ audience is also of the younger generation, I’m extremely impressed that they’ve released something that caters to an older audience given the subject matter and the extent to which it’s written – the issues in this book are not catered to your average 13 and 14 year olds.
I bought the English version (obviously) and because I pre-ordered it it also came with a cute little notebook of the same colour theme, it’s super beautiful and a book review of it will be coming shortly!
Jonghyun’s Birthday & Music Awards Rings
I actually discovered this ring through an unboxing on Youtube when I was on my homepage one day and the video came up in my recommended, so instantly I was intrigued. After watching the unboxing and thinking how beautiful the rings were, I looked into the story behind them.
On the front of the ring is an engraved soundwave, and this soundwave is from Jonghyun’s speech when he had his first win as a solo artist at Music Core on 17th January 2015, so as you can imagine, this was such a milestone and such a significant moment for all of us everywhere. The soundwave says “샤이니 고맙구요, 샤이니 낳아주신 부모님들 감사하구요, 샤이니 월드 사랑합니다” – “Thank you, SHINee. Thank SHINees’ parents for giving lives to us. I love you, SHINee World.”
On the inside of the ring is his birthday – 8th April 1990, engraved on the inside.
The creator of these rings made them because she wanted to remember this special day for him and therefore thought she would do that in honour of his birthday.
And now, here’s the really special part.
One day, the creator of these rings logged onto Twitter and saw that her mentions were blowing up, she had endless notifications and couldn’t figure out what was going on, until she went onto Jonghyun’s Twitter and saw that he’d tweeted her saying he loved the rings and was wondering if he could have one – in the end, he had a black one, but I’m pretty sure she sent him one of every colour.
Even more people started buying them because of Jjong’s interest and after he passed I think it became even more special to own one, not only because of how beautiful and significant they were in the first place, but because of the fact that he himself had seen them and had therefore come to own one.
I bought mine in rose gold because my every day jewellery is a silver set so I thought having a random rose gold band in there would make it stand out the way I wanted it to, because it was special. It’s now like my comfort blanket because I wear it every day and never take It off, it feels like I have a part of him with me always and that I carry him wherever I go.
At the time Jjong himself tweeted about the rings they sold out straight away and (I believe) it was months before they were re-stocked again, everyone wanted one but no one could get so I was glad that when I went to buy one they were all in stock and I was able to choose what I wanted – I feel very grateful that I own one now.
It came packaged in a beautiful gift bag and box, along with a QR code of the soundwave so that if you scan it, you get taken straight to the clip of Jonghyun saying what’s inscribed on the ring, which I think is really beautiful – it just gives that extra connection to the buyer because you can actually hear his voice saying it. I really love the idea for all of it and I think it was such a beautiful thing to do, the whole thing is very special and I’m very grateful that I now get to carry a piece of Jonghyun around with me forever.
Music Awards Ring
After discovering the birthday ring I realised there was also a music award ring for each of the SHINEE members so of course, I wanted to see the story behind those too and naturally after looking into it, I bought Jjong’s.
The soundwave engraved on this ring is from the Melon Music Awards in 2013 when SHINee won Artist of the Year and it also happened to be their 2000 day anniversary at the same time so again, it was a really special day. Watching their acceptance speeches broke my heart because they’re so overcome with emotion they literally cannot even speak, it’s so humbling to know how hard they worked for it and to see them receiving something they deserve 1000 times over is the best feeling. It was such a beautiful, emotional and heartwarming moment, you can’t help but feel like the proudest person in the world.
Like I said, there was a ring created for each member and so depending on whose you choose, the soundwave of their acceptance speech is engraved on the ring. Jjong could barely even talk he was crying so hard and I’m surprised he wasn’t on the floor, but this is what he managed to say – “엄마 사랑해요. 너무 감사합니다. 정말. SM타운 감사합니다. 정말 너무 고마워요. 샤이니 월드 사랑합니다” – ““I love you, mom. Really appreciate it. Really. Thank you, SM Town. Really thank you. I love you SHINee world.”
Engraved on the inside of the ring is SHINee’s debut date – 25th March 2008.
Each of the members were sent the rings in the colour silver and I decided to buy mine in silver as well – I wear it next to the birthday ring band but I wanted that to stand out on its own, hence why I bought it in rose gold. I wear both of them every day and as I said, it feels like I get to carry around a piece of SHINee and Jjong with me forever.
Rest in peace, little angel. You did well.
All my love,