The members of K-Pop Fans Kuwait seem a little blue. The angsty poem attached to their tower of fan rice at the kickoff of Big Bang’s world tour in Seoul was a bit of a downer for a pop show. The fan rice paid for by a club in Indonesia, on the other hand, was more in the spirit of things, adorned with a message to the band that could even double as a tourism slogan: “DON’T THINK TOO MUCH. JUST COME TO INDONESIA.”
What’s a fan rice tower? What’s Big Bang? I asked the very same things when I arrived in South Korea last week and attended my first K-pop concert in Seoul’s Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium. Fan rice is pretty much what it sounds like: rice, from fans. As a way to show their devotion, fans of Korean pop music — or K-pop — buy bags of rice and donate it to their favorite bands, who, in turn, donate the rice to a charitable cause.
In a linoleum hallway in the Seoul stadium, stacks of rice bags festooned with ribbons and signs boasting how many kilograms each club purchased (100kg, 500kg, 1000kg) were lined up like shrines to the K-pop gods that were about to go on stage: T.O.P., G-Dragon, etc. Big Bang is one of the biggest acts on the K-pop roster. For their first show in months, 12.7 tons of rice were donated from 50 fan clubs around the world.
How do I know this? Because there are entire businesses dedicated to making sure the rice gets there. Seung-gu Roh, whose staff took two days to build all the rice bag towers on display for the Big Bang show, got into this industry when fans just bought bouquet towers for the bands. (Passé.) Now he was 24 offices around the country helping source and ship rice from South Korean farmers to venues. For the last five years, his sales have grown 100% every year, though he still insists its not a particularly profitable venture. “I’m not making anything off this,” Roh says. “I just do it because it’s a good thing.”
Idol group Big Bang talked their comeback plans for 2012, and also revealed that YG CEO Yang Hyun Suk is on a diet.
On the March 7th episode of SBS ‘One Night of TV Entertainment‘, the members shared their thoughts on returning to the K-pop scene after a long 10-month hiatus.
“We went through a lot of things last year, but like the lyrics to “Blue“, the winter has passed and Spring is now upon us,” they said. “We hope that 2012 will only be full of warm Spring days for us.”
“This is the first time in a long while that the five of us are promoting together, and we hope this year will be full of abundant promotions and activities,” they continued.
On March 8, CNBLUE announced its comeback with a teaser on its official website! CNBLUE teased its fans with a more interactive approach in announcing its new album title. On it’s website, visitors were asked, “Guess what is CNBLUE’s new album title;” beneath it, a six-sided spinning cube with a letter on each side is placed. Fans have to personally figure out the album title by rearranging the letters on the cube to come up with the correct title. Once they do, they can submit their answers to FNC. The first 5 participants with the correct title name will have the opportunity to take photos with the boys of CNBLUE and receive their autographs.
As predicted last week, BIGBANG and miss A were the two acts to watch as both their new singles made big strides up the K-Pop Hot 100 at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, pushing four-week chart topper Lyn and her soundtrack single, “To Turn Back Hands of Time,” to No. 3.