HUENINGKAI listened closely to each question with his hands neatly folded as if in prayer. He would always nod along as he listened to them, waiting for the very last word to finish before answering. He knows he must wait so that he can fully absorb everything. HUENINGKAI has always waited like this, and he’s waiting now as well—for the roots to take hold, firmer and deeper.
Did you enjoy the photoshoot?
HUENINGKAI: I like Weverse Magazine because it feels new and fresh every time we shoot. Like last time—we were all connected through hands. I liked how this time it captured Neverland in all its dreaminess.
It’s winter, your favorite season. What have you been doing this winter?
HUENINGKAI: I spent Christmas and New Year’s with my family, which was great. I made mini cakes with my sisters. I ate tteokguk on New Year’s, so I’m a year older now. (laughs) I usually get up around seven or eight and go for a morning jog. I like the morning winter air and I don’t really feel the cold. I’m a morning person, so I usually wash up as soon as I get in and sleep, even if work runs late.
You did a Weverse Live with the other members to mark the holidays. You gave a pet rock as your Secret Santa gift, right?
HUENINGKAI: I chose that because I have a pet rock already and wanted another of the members to raise one with me, and then I got BEOMGYU. My pet rock was originally a gift, too. They’re cuter than you think—you can draw a face on them. I’m still raising it—Lionel Mbappé. It’s doing a shoot for a moment so it’s going to be a star soon. (laughs)
It sounds like you did a lot of small but fun things. (laughs) You must have been really busy getting ready for the year-end awards ceremonies.
HUENINGKAI: There was supposed to be a vacation in between, but we all turned it down and practiced the choreography instead. We really wanted to do a good job, so we tried to bump up how often we practiced. You’re always going to feel nervous when you get on stage if you haven’t practiced enough. It makes you anxious. We decided to practice more because we wanted to feel relaxed when we got up on stage. We put on a high-quality performance so I was satisfied with the result. I think it’s particularly amazing that the dance break we did at MMA [Melon Music Awards] managed to contain our whole storyline in just five minutes.
On Weverse Live, TAEHYUN said, “Do you want to plant a tree in the spring?” You replied, “I think I’ll be a little sad whenever the tree grows. If 20 years passes and I see the tree grew, I think I’d feel so proud. Proud, yet sentimental.” What made you feel that way?
HUENINGKAI: I think because I would feel time passing by. I feel like I’m still a fairly new artist, and if I saw that tree growing, I’d think, Wow, it’s already been that long. Time really flies.
You said you were sad when Ash became the Pokémon champion, too.
HUENINGKAI: I was already showing my true colors when I was little (laughs) and I liked the anime ever since I was a kid so it made me sad to hear someone I spent so much time with would be retiring. I looked it up and Ash and Conan are the two longest-running main characters. While the main character kept changing in other shows, Pokémon’s always been Ash. In the context of the story, the fate of everyone who becomes champion is they end up retiring somehow. I already knew it was going to end that way, but it’s still really sad. It’s just like it would feel looking at a tree if we planted it—sentimental and moving.
At least Ash must be happy. (laughs)
HUENINGKAI: Because he became the very best. Now we can reach the top, just like Ash did.
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