Part 1: Living on two separate floors at a mixed-use building with strict security

“It has really been a long while since we’re gathered like this.” The Super Junior members gathered together at their dorm for the Sports Seoul interview. From left to right: Leeteuk, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Sungmin, Siwon, Ryeowook, and Yesung. Amongst the nine members who are doing activities, Kyuhyun had to film for a broadcast and was thus unable to be present on that day.

The K-Pop wave is sweeping across the world. K-Pop songs, with its unique performance and stylish melody which cannot be found anywhere else, is spreading its influence not only in Asia, but also in the North American, South American, European, and Middle Eastern regions. Amongst the many idol singers who are leading the K-Pop influence, SM Entertainment’s Super Junior is the one spearheading it. Having debuted 8 years ago in the year 2005, they have captured the hearts of fans worldwide through their songs and performances which can be easily followed by anyone at all, as well as their friendly image. In acknowledgement of these contributions, they received the ‘Daesang’ accolade at the 21st High1 Seoul Music Awards’ that was organised by Sports Seoul in January this year.

In order to commemorate Sports Seoul’s 27th Founding Anniversary on the 22nd of June, we went in search for the ‘Representative Star of K-Pop’, Super Junior’s dorm. How exactly are the living conditions of the most popular idols? Super Junior’s fans, as well as fans worldwide who are interested in K-Pop, will surely be curious. To unravel the fans’ curiosity, Sports Seoul has recently made a surprise visit to Super Junior’s dorm.

Siwon (right) and Leeteuk sharing their stories in a laid back position. Siwon’s pink pants stands out.

The dorm which was once lived in by 23 people, now there’s only 4

Ryeowook talking about his dorm life while hugging a cushion bearing his own photo, which was given by a fan.

A mixed-use building1 in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul. It wasn’t easy to access the building beginning from its entrance. At the entrance, the guards would check each and every car entering and leaving. It’s a system where visitors would have to state the house number and the purpose of visit, and can only be allowed entry after receiving the residents’ confirmation. It gives the feeling that ‘Mm, it’s for the strict control of the fans’, and was better than expected. The wall next to Super Junior’s dorm on the 11th floor is covered with the graffiti of fans that have passed the ‘strong security’. It’s as though it was printed as evidence of a fan’s feelings (where they felt that) ‘I have passed such strict security control and came to meet my oppas’.

Finally we have entered Super Junior’s dorm! The dorm which has 4 rooms, living room, bathroom etc. spans a space of about 65 pyeong2. An ivory3-coloured sofa stands in the living room which has an impressive unobstructed view. 8 members – Leeteuk, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Sungmin, Siwon, Ryeowook, and Yesung – were gathered and seated there. Although Kyuhyun wasn’t able to join due to his filming schedules, the members marvelled that “How long has it been since we have all gathered like this?” They have a lot of individual schedules, so having all of them gather like this at the dorm is like picking the stars from the sky4. (Our) first impression towards the dorm was that ‘This is a place where 10 men are living in, and in particular it’s the top star Super Junior’s living space; it’s not really that wide’ .

“If you don’t wake up I’ll let you smell my feet.” Eunhyuk is the biggest sleepyhead amongst the members. He has never woken up on time. While Eunhyuk pretends to have overslept, Sungmin took on a kicking gesture to wake Eunhyuk up”

– How are your living arrangements? How do you use the rooms?

Leeteuk: Ah, it’s not only here; there’s another dorm upstairs. We live separately upstairs and downstairs. Eunhyuk, Yesung, Kyuhyun, and Sungmin lives downstairs while Leeteuk, Ryeowook, Donghae, as well as Heechul who is currently serving in the army, lives upstairs. Also, Siwon and Shindong, who live in their own houses in Apgujeong-dong and Jamshil respectively, do not stay in the dorms. The company doesn’t make it compulsory for the members to stay in the dorms. Whether we would like to stay at our own homes or the dorms, it’s our own freedom.

Somehow there is a preconception that the dorms of idol groups would be located near Seoul’s Gangnam. Actually, it is also a fact that there are a lot of idols living in Gangnam. However, Super Junior said that they had decided on the dorm in Gwangjin-gu as they were able to obtain a place with a wider space at the same price5, and it is geographically quite close to Gangnam as well.

‘What is present in the most abundant amount in Super Junior’s fridge?’ It’s the various enriching foods such as herbal medicines and juice given by the fans.

– Your dorm isn’t located in Gangnam.

Eunhyuk: In the beginning I started my dormitory life at an apartment in the vicinity of Chungdam-dong. The one who has experienced dorm life for the longest time is Donghae, whose hometown is in Mokpo.

Donghae: I’ve been living in a dorm for 12 years now. I started off my dorm life at the S Apartment in Chungdam-dong in the year 2001. It was about 32 pyeong6 wide, but 23 of us lived together. There were 23 of us, but we still lived like that as our living patterns were different. Summers were the most difficult. There’s only one air conditioner in the living room, and everyone wants to sleep there so… hahaha.

‘Slam Dunk’ and various other comic books are the members’ favourite reading materials.

– Then this is your second dorm.

Sungmin: No, it’s not. We switched dorms in 2006, at the time when ‘U’ became a hit, to a 50-pyeong7 villa in Gangnam. Dong Bang Shin Ki achieved a huge success at that time and went to a better dorm… The members and manager-hyungs, 20 of us in all, lived together.

The fans always come to the dorms where the idols live in. Because of this, the neighbours would always file complaints. Super Junior is like this as well. ‘Security’ is the biggest factor behind their move to their current mixed-use building.

The individually-designed cups given by the fans. There are writings to cheer on Super Junior and pictures engraved on them.

– When did you move into this place?

Yesung: We have lived here for 4 years since moving here in 2009. At that time, there were a lot of fans who came looking for us at the villa that we were living in, and it brought a lot of inconvenience to our neighbours. Some of the neighbours even splashed water at the fans. There was nothing else we could do so we moved here. The security here is really good. Although we’ve been living here for four years I really like it here.

The presents stand out everywhere in the dorm. The portrait, origami cranes, and stars that were carefully folded and given as gifts by the fans.

Footnotes:
1 A mixed-use building is a building which is made for both living and business purposes.
2 ‘pyeong’ is a traditional Korean metric system for the measurement of size of rooms or buildings, and is equal to 35.586 square feet in the S.I. units. In other words, Super Junior’s dorm is about 2,313 square feet in size.
3 Ivory = yellowish-white/cream in colour
4 “Picking stars from the sky” – An idiom which expresses something is very difficult to achieve.
5 Meaning at the same price to pay for the rentals/unit, their dorm at Gwangjin-gu has a larger surface area as compared to the ones they could find in Gangnam.
6 32-pyeong = about 1,139 square feet.
7 50-pyeong = 1,779 square feet.

Source: Sports Seoul (1) (2)
Chinese translation by 朴海希=海朵 @ 海时代 http://www.onlyhae.com {Part 2}
English translations by eternalsnow {Part 1} & KyU Is L♥Ve {Part 2} @ SJ-WORLD.NET
Please take out with FULL and NO ADDITIONAL credits.
Do not hotlink images.

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