Go Away With... OMEGA X
After finishing up the Latin American portion of their “Connect: Don’t Give Up” tour, OMEGA X is now playing shows in the United States. This segment of their tour includes an Oct. 10 concert at Chicago’s Concord Music Hall, as well as dates in Dallas and Los Angeles. “I’m still in awe of the great passion and amazing support by Latin American fans,” said Jehyun, one of the South Korean group’s 11 members. “I’m truly thankful for them enjoying our concerts as passionately as we do!” The entire group participated in this interview from Bogota, Colombia.
For more information about OMEGA X’s tour, check for their updates on Twitter.
Q: How has your time been in Latin America?
Hwichan: I love it! I’m very happy to be able to learn new things and enjoy the region.
Xen: It’s my first time in Latin America, but I’ve always wanted to visit because I listen to a lot of Latin American songs. I’m very happy to come to the region with a great opportunity. I also felt a great level of passion from our fans and K-pop fans in general.
Kevin: It’s my first time in Latin America, and I’m really excited to visit the countries that were on my bucket list. Most of all, I’m happy to be surrounded by views and cultures that I can’t witness in Korea.
Q: I know that some of you have been to the U.S. before. What are some of your memories?
Yechan: When I was a trainee, I went to Los Angeles for about a month to learn dancing. I visited famous dance academies, including Millennium Dance Complex, and made a lot of good memories around Venice Beach and downtown L.A. I would love to visit again because I enjoyed the city’s all-time amazing weather. I think I can learn and understand more if I visit now than I did when I was younger.
Sebin: I was in Dallas for a concert and I still remember a steakhouse in Dallas. Everything was so good and the restaurant was like a factory! I stuffed myself there.
Q: Are you nervous about touring when COVID-19 is still a very real worry?
Hyuk: I’m very happy to meet our international fans, but it would be a lie if I say I’m not concerned about COVID-19 at all. But it makes me happy to meet our fans, even if it means constant sanitizing (our hands) and wearing masks.
Taedong: We’re taking maximum precautions to prevent it since we’re meeting and communicating with our fans on this tour.
Q: Have you ever lived overseas?
Junghoon: I lived outside of Korea until I was six years old and went to so many countries due to my father’s business. I would love to revisit those countries, perform there and feel the nostalgia.
Yechan: When I was turning 12, I stayed in Oregon for three months to study English. I stayed at a home with a Korean mother and an American father. I went to an American school there and learned English, so I have no communication problem in other English-speaking countries. I remember that the town had a lot of trees and big land. It rained a lot and was always a bit chilly, but my host family and school friends were so kind. I still miss them a lot.
Q: Other than interacting with your fans, what do you hope to do while in the U.S.?
Junghoon: I just want to stroll the streets and really experience American culture and daily life.
I also want to go shopping and eat a good burger.
Jaehan: I’d love to see the Statue of Liberty.
Xen: I want to visit an American football stadium.
Yechan: After watching “A Rainy Day in New York,” I’d like to just walk around New York streets by myself without any plan.
Q: What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
Yechan: I traveled to Italy, Egypt and Israel when I was young. I stayed at a hotel the whole time in Israel because the weather was so hot. Now that I think about the time, I should have walked and explored more even though it was hot.
Junghoon: I went to Bali as a family vacation when I was in middle school. I have such good memories that I want to go back.
Hyuk: My family lives on Jeju Island, so I feel like I’m on vacation every time I go home.
Q: Where are some places you have traveled to that stand out in your mind?
Hangyeom: I remember swimming at a hotel pool, hanging out at a beach with friends and eating delicious food in Pattaya (Thailand).
Kevin: I visited Hong Kong when I was younger. Back then, I was just tired and didn’t enjoy the trip much because I was young. Looking back, there are moments from that trip I still remember and I now realize that it was a happy time.
Sebin: I used to go to Sokcho (South Korea) with my family at least once a year. Thinking about it, I really want to go now!
Jaehan: The first foreign country I ever visited was Japan. Since I had a great time there, I started dreaming of visiting many other countries.
Q: Where have you enjoyed some favorite meals?
Taedong: I really liked nachos that I had in Merida, Mexico.
Yechan: I really liked spicy food from Mexico and I also liked the meat and burgers I ordered for room service in Colombia. I also remember having pizza and pasta in Italy when I was young, but I don’t remember the flavor, so I definitely want to go back.
Hwichan: My favorite food is galbitang (beef short rib stew) near Hongik University in Seoul.
Jaehan: I’ve always enjoyed Japanese food. Everything I ate in Japan was very good. My favorite was sukiyaki.
Q: What are some things you always travel with?
Taedong: Pajamas and a first-aid kit.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
Hyuk: Study various languages!
Hwichan: Pack smart because you’ll end up only wearing the same clothes anyway.
Q: Is the language barrier an issue between you and some of your fandom?
Jehyun: When I saw our fans singing along to our Korean lyrics, I realized that music is just music. There is no language barrier when communicating through music.
Junghoon: I haven’t met our American fans yet, so I don’t know what they’re like. When I met our Japanese fans, they were a little shy, which I actually found cute. Our Latin American fans have great energy, just as I expected.
Q: What are your five favorite cities?
Hangyeom: Osaka, Irkutsk (Russia), Stockholm, London, Prague.
Hyuk: There are so many great places in Korea that I’d like to recommend - Jeju Island, Yangyang, Haeundae, Gapyeong and Onyang-oncheon. I love water, so my favorite places are usually beaches, hot springs and valleys.
Kevin: Jeonju and Anseong (in South Korea), Osaka, Tokyo, Merida.
Jaehan: Busan, Osaka, Sao Paulo, Guadalajara, Bogota.
Yechan: Portland, L.A., Melbourne, Tokyo, Seoul!
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
Xen: Kyoto and Sapporo!
Jehyun: I want to visit the moon. (Laughs)
Yechan: I want to visit Spain. My older sister traveled there and sent me pictures and the country’s atmosphere looks very lovely.
Kevin: Anywhere in Europe.
Hyuk: Los Angeles!
Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow “Go Away With...” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.