2015 Trip: Los Angeles, CA
I can’t believe it’s already the one-year anniversary of the time mr nakanit and I went on our L.A. trip! Well, what better way to commemorate this auspicious occasion than to write a blog post about it?
Let me set it up for you: mr nakanit had surprised me with tickets to see one of my favorite Korean boy bands of all time – BIGBANG – who was making an L.A. stop on their MADE World Tour. I was hesitant to go because a) it meant $$$ flying down to L.A., and b) I also really wanted to see Epik High who was doing a few shows in North America at the time. But as the mister said, BIGBANG is getting older, and they need to do their mandatory military service, so the chances of us seeing them together again is getting slim. That’s how we ended up in L.A.!
This trip was also a way for the mister and I to take a much needed vacation since I graduated from school, as well as to pick up some wedding gear for our wedding. I have family down in Cali, so it was a great way to wrap up everything into a sweet and relaxing 7 day trip.
I really did grow up with BIGBANG. I remember when they first debuted, it was stuff like this which I wasn’t so attuned to:
But then they came out with stuff like this:
(So. Good. I did make fun of BIGBANG in this era for making music videos that involved creeping women on roller blades or in shopping carts. Weird.)
Almost a decade and so many hits and accomplishments later, BIGBANG is still going strong with an evolved sound:
For me, BIGBANG holds a special spot even though I wasn’t always into the music they came out with. Basically the whole they’ve-been-with-me-through-thick-and-thin bit. I do have to emphasize that I do not know what they’re saying (most of the time).
When I first met mr nakanit, he was all about #uncledrake and EDM. I do believe BIGBANG is the only Asian band that I’ve introduced him to that he is “okay with”, so imagine how I thrilled I was when he was like “let’s go see BIGBANG”!!!!@@!!!
BIGBANG did two shows in the L.A. area – one at Staples Center and the other at the Honda Center. We were staying pretty close to Anaheim so we got tickets at the Honda. I cannot stress just how busy and CRAZY this place ended up getting.
The start time for the show was at 7 pm, but I asked the mister if it was okay for us to show up early. Like at 6 pm. I wanted to get merch and I mean, if I was going to go to a K-pop concert I should go big or go home. Right?
Well it turns out that this is actually normal for K-pop fans. By the time we got to the Honda Center, there were huge lineups that curved around to the back of the building. When the doors were finally open, everyone rushed to the merch tables, and by the time yours truly got to the table, the hats were in short supply and the light sticks (in the shape of a crown, you can see one in the middle pic above) were SOLD OUT.
No matter. I did end up getting a hat and shared a beer with my boo. The atmosphere was insanity – the pictures above do not do justice as to what was really going on. During the pre-show, video clips and music videos were played to hype up the crowd – and boy were they effective. When T.O.P.’s video clip came on the entire crowd screamed like crazy, and I seriously rushed back from the bathroom because I thought the show was starting. Lol.
Anyway, it was a great show. Aesthetically, it was a treat, and the energy coming from the crowd was something I had never experienced before. It was unforgettable and I’m looking forward to the next Asian band I’m thinking of seeing next!
We were hungry post-concert, and In-n-out was down the road. There were so many young people here on a Sunday night, we wondered how their parents were okay with them seeing BIGBANG, grabbing a late night burger, and having school the next day. My parents would’ve locked me up.
A quick note on In-n-out. It’s really good, and it’s pretty cheap.
Actually, a lot of food in L.A. is really good and cheap. Here’s a smattering of what we ate, which was mostly Vietnamese food. Bye-bye, wedding diet.
For nammer food, it’s easiest to just hang around Little Saigon (in Westminster), where we had some classic drip coffee and subs. We also went to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Irvine, which serves up some pretty awesome and cheap Japanese food. Last but not least, we really enjoyed this restaurant in Koreatown called Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, a Korean BBQ joint that we would definitely visit again!
What I really like about L.A. is that I never feel like I have to be someone else. There are some cities in the world where you feel like you need to dress or act a certain way to fit in – but in L.A., I can wear my crappy flip flops with no regard and bum into a local mom-n-pop shop for some good eats.
Let me know in the comments what your favorite haunts/things to do are in L.A.!