Today, April 11, 2020, the song of the South Korean boy group called Block B, “Toy”, completed the fourth anniversary since its release.
It means it has been a little bit more than four years that I have been listening to Korean music. The song, that is part of the album “Blooming Period”, was one of the first Korean songs that I listened to and left a huge mark on me. I remember listening to it for hours, enchanted by the kpop universe and mainly by the Korean language. I didn’t and still don’t know how to explain the unique way in which it amazes me. I believe that the intense feelings such things generate in us, which are really hard to put into words, are exactly the ones that allow the birth of moments that makes life worthwhile.
Therefore, with all this magic around my Korean music discovery, the will of studying Korean was born inside me. Something that fortunately I could accomplish with success during my second year of high school. I was very dedicated to it and every phrase I understood in Korean or every new word that I learned turned into a beautiful smile drawn in my face. However, in the next year, due to having to study for the university entrance exams and having to dedicate myself to college studies after getting into it kept me from studying Korean with the assiduity I had before.
Looking back on it, I think it is very curious that the album is called “Blooming Period”, because from my discovery of the track “Toy” I was able to bloom in different sections of my life: be open to immerse in a new culture, try new diverse cultural products, polish my personality, create a sense of organization and routine so I could manage to conciliate studying Korean with school and at last, dream more, and dream high, something that since I was a kid I was very fond of doing.
All of this experience helped me to get the courage to do some of the biggest changes in my life: to switch my major in college. I made my previous choice, Computer Science, seeking a profession that would give me financial resources and possibilities such as traveling and comfortable life. Yet, the more I was studying, the more I realized that it would not be worth it having money if I would not have the spirit to perform my daily activities and enjoy opportunities that I was given. I missed studying with the appetite of knowledge and being filled with joy for doing so, as was studying Korean for me. I chose my new major aware of the fact that Law also wouldn’t be a hundred percent pure joy, but the motivation that could come from my happy moments surely was going to be a leverage to boost me up through the rough phases.
On this transition time, my mom reminded me of a video from Clóvis de Barros Filho, who is a journalist, lecturer, doctorate, and teacher of USP’s (University of São Paulo) Communication and Arts School, in which he claims that happiness is useless. In his words, “Happiness is perfectly useless. A good life is perfectly useless because its value lies in itself. The more in our life we find things that have value for themselves and therefore are useless, the more the likelihood of living well increases.” For me, consuming Korean culture and trying through the most diverse sources its language is magic. It is what fills me with pleasure and delight. It is perfectly and completely useless. It could even be useful to get a job which requires language skills, but I was and am not doing it with this goal, but just to celebrate the fact of living one of the things that I am satisfied in doing, that gives me pleasure for itself.
In conclusion, I always think about how much I would like it if life allowed everyone, equally, the beauty of living the fullness of useless pleasures. If life did not suffocate each particular universe with the unceasing need of money, never-ending works and meeting others’ expectations. If we could, even for precious and symbolic moments of our daily lives, be able to wake up the useless dreams, life would be so much happier and easier. And in this quarantine times, social isolation, and sometimes hopelessness, I truly believe that it is crucially important remembering things that give us the energy to live, remembering how important it is living our dreams, so we can have the strength to fight for better days.
Júlia dos Santos Acerbi