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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Golden Child Golden Day Merchandise Review (Part 1 of 2)

Golden Child held their first fan meeting (excluding the one in Japan in March 2018) Golden Day on May 22nd, 2018. My friend was able to help me obtain 5 of the 7 official merchandise items sold onsite. The 2 items missing from my collection are the Postcard Set or Light Stick, which were sold out within 30 minutes. For Part 1, I will be reviewing the Eco Bag, Badge Set, and Patch Set.

Eco Bag
The Eco Bag cost 25,000₩ and comes in a clear plastic bag with the label that includes the holographic Woollim sticker.
Here is how the front of the bag looks like. The design is like Golden Child's navy It's U suits, where the letters that make up "Golden Child" form a diamond pattern. The bottom right has the original Golden Child logo. I love how this overall design is simplistic and can be used anywhere without blatantly screaming that I'm a Goldenness.
The backside of the tote has the same pattern. The letters and straps are navy. The size of the bag, with dimensions 14.25" by 16", is very roomy and the strap length, 10" from the top to the lip of the bag, is long enough that the bag fits comfortably on my shoulder. I can also alternatively put the straps in the crux of my elbow.
Here is how the inside of the bag looks like. The entire bag is made of a durable canvas material, with no lining on the inside. There is also a pocket at the top.
Here is a closeup of the inside pocket, that's like a flap. I discuss more about the tote overall at the end of the post.

Badge Set 
The badge set cost 23,000₩ and comes in a clear plastic box with a simplistic baseball design on the front.
The back of the box contains product information and the holographic sticker.
Here are the metal pins. I'm really happy that Woollim produced some of Golden Child's baseball jersey and logo designs from Gol-Cha! era as official merchandise. The pinstripe jersey is definitely my favorite design, so I'm very grateful to see this design as one of the pins.
Here is the backside of the pins. The pinstripe jersey and baseball/bat logo pins have a silver backing while the green jersey has a gold backing.
The pins have a lot of detail and are very 3D. The wording, stripes, and baseball stitching all are raised. While the dark lines of the pinstripe jersey look black, it is actually silver. The jersey pins are 0.875" wide and 0.9375" tall. The baseball pin is 0.9375" by 0.9375" and the bat is 1.25" long.
The backside of the pins are also detailed. There is a striped texture on the backs. With the pin in the middle, you can also see gauge the gap there is between the pin and the backing.

Patch Set
The patch set cost 23,000₩ and comes in a clear plastic box with a simplistic spring picnic design on the front that matches the theme of the fan meeting. This theme is more apparent in the Poster Set and L Holder Set.
The back of the box contains product information and the holographic sticker.
Here are the patches which have a felt texture. Like with the baseball pins, I'm so happy that Woollim produced some of Golden Child's school uniform logo designs from Miracle era as official merchandise. I'm especially happy to see the Chinese logo design in patch form!
Here is a closeup of the 3 patches. I love how intricate these designs are.
The backside of the patches actually have high quality safety pins attached. So while these are called patches, you cannot just sew or iron them on.
Here is the backside. The patch itself is a bit flimsy but the safety pin is really sturdy with its medal backing. There is a bit of a distance between the patch and the safety pin, so if you use the patch on a thin piece of cloth (such as the eco bag), there may be a gap between the patch and the cloth.

Comparison
Here you can compare the size of these goods. The pins look so much more adorable with their small size!
I decided to add the 3 pins and a patch to the tote. I really like how it looks and can't wait to use my bag to subtly declare myself as a Goldenness!

Overall, I absolutely love these items! The bag itself is minimalist and can be used anywhere. The badge set is really adorable and captures the essence of DamDaDi era's baseball concept, whereas the patch set beautifully captures the essence of It's U era's school uniform logos.

My next post will be to review the L Holder Set and Poster Set.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Kakao Friends Official Goods Review

Here are the two latest additions to my Kakao Friends collection, thanks to my brother who stopped by the Myungdong Lotte Young Plaza location in Seoul. I gave an introduction to the brand here along with my unboxing of the Apeach Travel Beauty Pouch. This time I will be unboxing the Apeach Hoodie Neck Pillow and Apeach Face Eye Patch.
First off, here's the shopping bag (which my brother said cost roughly an extra $1 USD). One side has Muzi and Con.
The other side is an image of all the characters.

Apeach Hoodie Neck Pillow (official product page here)
I really wanted this Apeach neck pillow ever since I saw Golden Child's Bomin have one during their Vlive ("골든차일드의 부산 대구 습격" from September 16, 2017). This neck pillow was given to Bomin by 3 fansites (here).
This neck pillow comes in a nice plastic bag with a handle at the top.
At the corner of the bag is the holographic Con seal.
The backside of the bag has product information in both Korean and English. The neck pillow is made of cotton and polyester. The dimensions are 30cm by 33cm by 10cm.
Here is how the bottom of the pillow looks like.
The side of the pillow has an APEACH tag.
The white tag underneath lists the same information in Korean as on the bag.
At the top of the neck pillow is a subtle, nicely designed handle.
The hoodie is really nicely designed as well! There is an extra strip of fabric at the top so that it fits over your head really well.
There is also a drawstring around the edge of the hood, just like a real hoodie.
And here's me using the neck pillow^^ It's so practical and cute; I can't wait to use it while I sleep on the plane!

Apeach Face Eye Patch

I also wanted a matching Apeach sleep mask like the one Lovelyz' Kei had on in Lovelyz' 2018 Season's Greetings (here)! I wanted a sleep mask with a closeup of Apeach's face, however these styles were no longer displayed on Kakao's website. The site only had the Apeach eye mask with a white body, which is definitely not what I'm looking for. Therefore, I'm so happy my brother found this style at Myungdong!
The eye mask is packaged inside a plastic ziplock bag with the same holographic Con seal in the corner.
Inside is a glossy pink cardstock, with the backside containing product information in Korean and English. The eye mask is made of polyester and has dimensions 21.8cm by 11.6cm by 1.2 cm.
The front side as a soft, velvet-like touch. On the left is a yellow KAKAO FRIENDS tag, with the backside stating MADE IN CHINA.
The backside of the mask is very smooth and satin-like. The elastic is very thin, and seems like it'll turn brittle with age and if left out in the heat.
Here's how the mask looks like on me. I had to make the elastic to the most extended length for it to fit well.

Frodo Coca Cola
My brother surprised me with this Kakao Friends branded cola from Incheon Airport! This cherry blossom themed can is really cute and clever - the Korean text (pronounced kkot - gwa - ko - la) sounds like "coca cola" and means "flower and cola".

Overall, I'm so happy that my Kakao collection is growing with these 3 items! I absolutely love the neck pillow and plan to use it on my travels. I was never one to use sleep masks but now I will because Apeach is just so adorable. As for the coke...I'll leave it unopened and displayed in my room.

Monday, June 4, 2018

My Mini Korean Haul! June 2018 Edition

My friend spent the month of May in Korea, and brought back these items for me!
My friend attended Golden Child's first fan meeting Golden Day on May 22nd, and bought me some official merchandise from the event. Though she arrived in line before sales began, the lightstick and postcard set were already sold out within 30 minutes. On a different note, she also got me the photocard set from Infinite Rally III at a Kpop shop. I will blog about all of these goods, as well as the Snuper album, in future posts.
My friend also got me 2 free banners from Golden Day. The gold streamer is also from the event. And lastly, she got me the Jiae cup sleeve from her visit to NIT Cafe at the end of the month, as it was just Jiae's birthday a few days before.

I'm so happy on this haul, especially when it's relatively difficult to find these goods online! I can't wait to use some of these goods during KCON NY 2018 to represent Golden Child and Goldenness.

[KCON18NY] Buying Tickets for KCON New York 2018

KCON is a Hallyu convention that brings Kpop, Kdramas, Kbeauty, and more to fans around the world. In the US, KCON comes to New York (technically Newark, New Jersey) in late June and to LA in late July or late August annually. Along with the convention, KCON USA brings a big handful of Kpop artists for special artist engagements and for a two-night concert.

KCON has been coming to the US since 2012, however KCON New York 2018 will be my first! KCON always seems more ideal for multifandom fans, which is why I never considered going. On April 4th, KCON began their first round of hints for announcing the artist lineup. On May 3rd, KCON had already announced 9 artists for their NY lineup, the same amount as last year's. On May 9th, they announced a 10th artist - none other than Golden Child! After seeing the first hint for the surprise 10th artist, I knew I had to go to KCON NY this year. All images from this post are taken from KCON's social media.

With Golden Child as the final artist announcement, this is the official lineup for the Saturday and Sunday concerts:
KCON has many flaws, and after going through these past few days of ticketing, I understand what everyone's talking about. KCON NY is on June 23rd and 24th, concert ticket sales began on May 11th at 12PM PDT, and convention ticket sales began on May 14th at 12PM PDT. There is very little communication, and everything is announced on such short notice.

Ticketing System
First I'll discuss this year's ticketing system. The highest tiered tickets are Diamond and Platinum, and include entry into the special pit section of the concerts in between the main stage and extended stage, as well as extra artist engagement benefits. These tickets are so pricey, but seem more worth it for multifandom attendees.

Concert Tickets
Diamond, Platinum, and all other concert tickets are bought via Ticketmaster. For those opting out of Diamond and Platinum, you must buy the concert ticket and convention ticket separately. You can choose to purchase an individual ticket for Saturday, an individual ticket for Sunday, or a combo ticket for both days. The ticket limit per account is either 4 combo tickets OR 4 Saturday tickets and 4 Sunday tickets. Below are the prices and tiers, prior to ridiculously high fees by Ticketmaster.
And below is the original seating chart posted on KCON's website. Based on this chart, I knew I wanted to be in either 7, 6, 21, or 20. I also chose to first buy Sunday's ticket instead of doing a combo in hopes of getting a better seat. Unfortunately I'm still unsure if combo had certain seats reserved that are better than individual days' seats.
Diamond, Platinum, and concert ticket sales began on Friday, May 11th at 12PM PDT. The events weren't up on Ticketmaster's site until after 9AM on that Friday. There are 3 event pages: one for the combo of both days (this includes Diamond and Platinum), one for Saturday, and one for Sunday. 

Prior to noon, I had several browsers open to the Sunday event page which showed a countdown until ticket sales begin. After it hit noon, it brought me to the ticketing page along with a whole list of potentially available seats. Usually the site would just give you the best seat available, so I was pleasantly surprised to see all the available options. 

I opened another browser sometime after ticketing began, and the site would only give me the best available seat. It's best to be accustomed to both methods (as well as selecting the individual seat from a seating map).

I clicked on a seat, and a minute or so later it would be taken. Then the site suggests another seat, or I could choose from the list again, and again the site said the ticket was already taken. At times I'd reach the checkout place, but would get kicked out to the seat selection page again. Sometimes it even said that no more tickets were available. This went on for 35 minutes until I finally had a purchase go through, for Section 6 Row 23. I had so much adrenaline that I chose to also get the ticket insurance, which I didn't know would cost around $12. I later found a way to cancel the insurance online. After fees, my single P1 ticket cost $191.70.

I decided to also go for the Saturday concert. After 10 minutes of going through the same cycle, I got another seated P1 ticket in Section 21 Row 23. I opted out of the insurance, so my ticket cost $184.70. I basically got the same seat for both days, just one on the left and the other on the right, and in Row 23 which is the last row in these sections.

While ticketing, I saw section 19 pop up. I was tempted to select it but because it wasn't on KCON's original seating chart, I neglected it in fear that Prudential Center would reject the ticket. It turns out, KCON's website uploaded a new seating chart to include sections 8 and 19, right next to the stage.

Convention Tickets
Diamond and Platinum tickets include access to the convention and various artist engagements. Diamond receives access to all hi-touches, all audiences, and both red carpets. Platinum receives access to 2 hi-touches, all audiences, and both red carpets. For regular convention goers, the 2-day ticket is $20 plus a $0.99 processing fee. There are also add-ons (without any additional fees): various artist engagement packs that include hi-touch, audience, and red carpet access, as well as Klub Kcon for $25. I'll have more details on my experience of the various artist engagements and Klub Kcon in future posts.
I'll briefly describe the various artist engagements:
  • Hi-Touch: you get to high five an artist from the lineup
  • Audience: you get to be behind the hi-touch people and watch them high five the artist
  • Red Carpet: you get to attend the "Red Carpet" on either Saturday or Sunday to see the artists from that day's lineup
  • All Access Gallery: you get to view all artist engagements (excluding Red Carpet) from an elevated area in the venue
Convention ticket sales began on May 14th at 12PM PDT at www.kconusa.com. As expected of this disorganized operation, KCON USA's official Twitter posted instructions to purchasing these tickets 7 minutes before sales began. I opened the webpage in both Chrome and Edge, and as expected servers were quite slow. Somehow I was able to complete my purchase on Edge instead of Chrome. You first click on "Get Tickets" for the convention, then "Create Registration". You can only create one registration per person (and therefore technically one artist engagement pack per person). You fill out your information, take a random survey, select the 2-day convention pass, then you go to the page with 4 artist engagement options. If one is sold out, the site would say so. I chose A1. Then you have the option of buying a $25 ticket to Klub Kcon, essentially a dance party for all ages that includes a special guest from the lineup. It turns out, you are able to add Klub Kcon any time after you've made a registration, whereas you must buy an artist engagement pack with your convention ticket at the same time. (I think KCON is working on fixing this so that you can add a pack anytime after you've purchased your convention ticket). The total, with the 2-day convention pass, A1 artist engagement pack, and Klub Kcon ticket, came up to $200.99. Adding this to my 2 concert tickets is almost $600...when I thought Platinum was ridiculously priced, the next best options are still quite expensive. I finished my purchase in 12 minutes. Apparently other users were having issues and weren't able to purchase the A1 pack. I checked 9 hours later, and A1 was sold out. However days afterwards, people have been able to purchase A1 again.

The Release of Additional Concert and Artist Engagement Packs
On Friday, May 25th, KCON announced through their live Facebook stream that they would release additional concert tickets and artist engagement packs on the following Wednesday, May 30th at 12PM PDT. The release of additional packs is upsetting to those who had settled for A2. The release of additional concert tickets has been even more devastating...

Ticketmaster has the option to upgrade your ticket for $10 (once per event). Your new seat must be of the same value or higher. I decided to call the fan support center so that a representative could help me with ticketing and upgrading both my tickets. I called the helpline 15 minutes prior to ticket sales, and got a hold of a rep with 8 minutes to go. I explained to her the situation, since she couldn't see that new tickets would be released on her end, as well as the sections that I want to upgrade to. I also continuously checked KCON's website to see if they would slyly update their seating chart again, but even after 12PM it remained the same. However within these 8 minutes, I also went to Vivid Seats and found tickets in section 9, which wasn't in the latest seating chart.

A little bit after 12PM, additional tickets began to populate. Ticketmaster's map still showed sections 9 and 18 in gray, meaning that they're not part of the seating chart. However lo and behold, tickets for sections 9 and 18 were available. I decided not to upgrade to these sections, as the view to the extended stage isn't good. The rep and I were only focusing on Sunday's show first, and we managed to upgrade my ticket to Section 20 Row 5. Afterwards, the rep also helped me to upgrade my Saturday ticket to Section 7 Row 12. We had finished both upgrades at 12:23.

KCON finally updated their seating chart later that day, and you can see with the additional sections 9 and 18, both stages have been pushed further back. It makes me bitter thinking I had to upgrade to get essentially the same line of sight as before the stage move.
Planning for KCON these past few weeks has been much more stressful than it is exciting. There is so much uncertainty (Which artists will hold hi-touch? Will I be able to get what I want for the random artist engagements? Is this the final seating chart?). But at the same time, I'm putting such little expectation to this weekend trip that I'm hoping it'll be much more spectacular than I could ever imagine. I will have more posts about KCON18NY for D-0, D-1, and D-2.