[** This will feature a series of interviews of K-pop idols that are currently making their official debut overseas.]

exclusive-k-pop-idols-go-to-japan-infinite-part-1
Before getting known for their ‘scorpion dance’ and synchronized performances, INFINTE — composed of members Sung-kyu, Woo-hyun, Dong-woo, Hyoa, Sung-yeol, L and Sung-jong — made their first appearance on television through Mnet’s reality TV show “INFINITE! You are the One” in April of last year which featured the hardships and trials that the boys went through before making their official debut with their single “Come Back Again.”

Then after following their activities with “She’s Back” from their first mini-album “First Invasion,” the seven-member boy band broke away from their boy-next-door image and returned with “Before the Dawn (BTD)” through which they displayed their growth in terms of both music and appearance. After promoting “BTD,” INFINITE returned with a softer image with “Nothing’s Over” and ballad “Can U Smile.”

Now INFINITE is focusing on breaking into the music market in Japan, having held their official showcase in Osaka on Sunday and set to hold another in Tokyo today.

The boys had already caused a stir before their official debut in the country with the ringtone version of their singles “TO-RA-WA (the boys’ Korean song “Come Back Again” whose title was changed for the Japanese release),” “She’s Back,” “BTD (Before the Dawn),” “Nothing’s Over” and “Hysterie” placing atop Japan’s mobile music chart in April.

The boys are also leading a busy schedule in Korea while preparing for their return to the K-pop scene with the release of their first full-length album which will hit stores on July 21.

10Asia talked to members Sung-kyu and Woo-hyun, currently in Japan, on their thoughts and feelings about making their official debut overseas.

exclusive-k-pop-idols-go-to-japan-infinite-part-1Sung-kyu
10: How do you feel about making your official debut overseas and what are some of your expectations?
Sung-kyu: I just want to say that it is a great honor and experience to make our official debut in Japan. I also want to express my gratitude to the senior singers that have paved the path for us in the different countries. We were also able to perform at the Tokyo Dome for the Hallyu concert and it was great sharing the stage with them. We will work hard and would someday like to hold our own concert there as well.
10: What were some of the unforgettable and memorable moments from your showcase?
Sung-kyu: The most memorable moment was holding the high-five event after our showcase. We stood in front of the door after our show and high-fived all the fans that were there. It was a fun experience but it was tiring as well because it didn’t seem to end. My hand was swollen the next day. I would agree to do it if we were given a chance to do it at our showcase in Korea.
10: What are some of the things that you’d want to do if you were to visit Japan again?
Sung-kyu: Our priority for this visit was to perform but if I was given another opportunity, I want to visit the hot springs with the other members. I would also like to visit several tourist spots because we don’t have time to do anything this time since our schedule is really full.
10: Can you tell us about the best food that you have tasted in the country?
Sung-kyu: I know that Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki and it was really good eating it in the country.
10: What do you think is the difference between fans in Korea and Japan?
Sung-kyu: First of all the language is different. Fans in Japan would scream and cheer but become real quiet once we start talking. I thought that was interesting. Our fans in Korea and Japan are both enthusiastic when they cheer. Our fans in Japan were yelling our names during our songs just like our fans in Korea. I feel that all the fans share the same mind.
10: What are some of the fun or exciting things that has happened during your visit in Japan?
Sung-kyu: I was just excited to eat good food and just be in Japan. Still, I had the most fun while performing on stage and during shows.
10: Who do you think was the most popular member among the fans?
Sung-kyu: I felt that L was the most popular among the fans since he is shooting his drama here and had several articles written about him. (Who would you say is the most popular on a scale of 1 to 10) I don’t think I can reveal that directly. (laugh)
10: Can you tell us what it was like performing at the Tokyo Dome for KBS’ “K-POP Festival Music Bank In Tokyo” last week?
Sung-kyu: It was a great honor and opportunity to perform on such a stage because it isn’t a common occurrence. I just felt really honored to have been a part of it. I feel a sense of satisfaction and it was my dream stage.
10: So when do you think that INFINITE will be able to hold your own concert at the Tokyo Dome?
Sung-kyu: Maybe within two years. (laugh)
10: If you were given a chance to visit another country where would you want to go and why?
Sung-kyu: We haven’t gone to China yet while we have performed in other countries. I would like to hold a show in China since our performance last time was cancelled.
10: Is there anything that you want to say to your fans?
Sung-kyu: I want to say thank you for always welcoming us where ever we go and we will return your support and love through our performances!

Woo-hyunexclusive-k-pop-idols-go-to-japan-infinite-part-1
10: How do you feel about making your official debut overseas and what are some of your expectations?
Woo-hyun: I want to first start off by saying thank you to the senior singers who have made their debut in the country and have led the way for us. I heard of how TVXQ had a hard time performing in the country at first but because they did such a great job, we were able to successfully wrap up our showcase. My biggest expectation is meeting our fans in Japan and I’m being greedy but I would really like for our fan base in Japan to grow.
10: What were some of the unforgettable and memorable moments during your showcase?
Woo-hyun: The most memorable moment was when our Japanese fans sang along with us in Korean. They were actually singing all the lyrics in Korean and I was a bit surprised by that.
10: What are some of the things that you want to do if you were to visit Japan again?
Woo-hyun: I would like to travel with the members. I also want to go shopping and make special memories with the fans in Japan. It would be great to have an opportunity to become close with them outside of the showcase.
10: Can you tell us about the best food that you have tasted in the country?
Woo-hyun: We have tasted several foods in the country such as takoyaki, yakisoba and okonomiyaki. It had a salty taste but there was a certain texture to it. Okonomiyaki is the popular food in Osaka and the taste of actually eating it in the country is a different experience.
10: What do you think is the difference between the fans in Korea and Japan?
Woo-hyun: I can’t really tell the difference between the fans. I just feel that fans in general have the same mindset. Their synergy and heart are all the same. They really show their love for us and I can see how passionate they are by looking at their eyes when they cheer.
10: What are some of the fun or exciting things that has happened during your visit in Japan?
Woo-hyun: It was really funny seeing the nervous expressions on the members’ faces since this was our very first showcase in Japan. They looked different from how they look during shows in Korea. Nothing was different about me since I usually talk a lot and L is usually quiet but he was even more silent. The nervous and anxious looks on the other members’ faces were really cute.
10: Who do you think was the most popular member among the fans?
Woo-hyun: All the members are popular. Sung-jong is popular and so is L since he is here shooting his drama. I can’t say which single member is the most popular… I feel that we receive equal shares of our fans’ love.
10: Can you tell us what it was like performing at the Tokyo Dome for KBS’ “K-POP Festival Music Bank In Tokyo” last week?
Woo-hyun: We were extremely nervous. There were a lot of fans at the concert and performing in front of them was just a great feeling and it was an honor to share the stage with the senior artists. It was quite an experience. I felt like we didn’t deserve this opportunity to perform on such a great stage.
10: So when do you think that INFINITE will be able to hold your own concert at the Tokyo Dome?
Woo-hyun: There are a lot of other senior singers that have yet to perform there but preferably it will happen for us in a year or two. The sooner the better. (laugh) We are always prepared.
10: If you were given a chance to visit another country where would you want to go and why?
Woo-hyun: I would like to go on a world tour. I know that not a lot of people know who we are but I want to visit each country that has at least one or two of our fans. I also want to create awareness about INFINITE to those who don’t know who we are. It would be nice to also visit any country in Europe and South America.
10: Is there anything that you want to say to your fans?
Woo-hyun: I appreciate all the love and support that you have shown us.
I really appreciate all the love and support that you have shown us. I will dance and since till my body breaks down. I can’t live without you INSPIRIT!

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Reporter : Lucia Hong luciahong@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@