Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cabinotier Exhibition

Hehe, following our dear sister gosijo’s advice on BYJ ‘Freedom’ Day, I too have gleefully given myself some ‘freedom’ days off. This past weekend I attended a ‘Cabinotier’ Exhibition. Cabinotier (by Geneva) actually refers to clocksmith, derives from 18th century craftsmen who produced mechanical type clocks in small attic called cabinet. The cabinets usually had maximum daylight to allow these skilled craftsmen and engravers to create detailed decoration on unique timepieces for royalty, aristocracy and the affluent. It does sound boring, isn't it?

It was a relaxing, pleasant Saturday afternoon, we met up with our long time friend in the stylish Harrods for lunch first to do some catching up. This ‘Cabinotier’ was just a small scale private exhibition, so only a few patrons were present. Did I ever mention how spoiled you can get by Japanese’s courteous and impeccable service? As usual, we were outnumbered by the staff, hosts, servers and many who just stood there to make sure you are taken care of. So after many rounds of nodding, bowing, smiling and ‘irrasshaimase’-ing, we finally got a glimpse of the display.

The Engraver Meister, Keiji Kanagawa san was doing a demonstration of his very unique engraving techniques. We are told that there are very few Meisters with his ability in Japan and Switzerland. The host directed us to the delicate details that he hand-engraved into the mechanical parts, face and case of the watch via a microscope. I noticed he always started his stroke, for example the paisley shape, from the tail with a light hand and then carved backwards to the top applying more pressure, see how beautiful the details were :

Only selected watches are eligible for engraving. Well, I know for sure they have to be hard and strong, otherwise how many watches can you afford to break while engraving? I guess it also has to be BIG, or else the Meister will go blind staring at a teensy weensy little watch 24/7, right? Hehe seriously, I think the size, surface and value of the watch would be the determining factors to warrant such precious engraving work.

My eyes were caught by the watches inside this case the moment I walked in. They are understated and yet each piece emits such distinct character.

The host explained to me that each timepiece tells a unique story – like this Pierre Kunz watch on the left is about ‘love’. It has cut outs of hearts on the dial and a serpent in the mechanical parts seen through the back signifying Adam & Eve, just exquisite.

Hehe, I have to mention that : as exquisite as these engraved watches are, I couldn’t help but get distracted by our host’s glaring diamond encrusted watch flanking before our eyes. I hope his was also part of the exhibition, see how many diamonds are on the face, the knob and even the rim of these watches, and they are big! I think you also have to hire a guard like Mr. Shin when you buy an attention-grabber like this.

Maybe it’s the excitement of seeing some beautiful timepieces, or just my eyes were blinded by the sparkles of those multitudes of diamonds; we decided to sit down, rest a little and enjoy our champagne. Look at these cute light snacks they served, I didn’t eat any though :

smoke cold cuts and olives

Bonbon on a stem

Next, I decided to check out the Franck Muller collection in display here. Remember, HRH owns several styles and colors of FM. Not sure if this is his real taste or of Ms. Hong’s. I always think Yong Joon would favor the more masculine and sporty type of watch, no?

I love this black Muller, cool!

Well, typical Franck Muller here:

See that one with multi-colored numbers, the sapphire blue is so brilliant

My friend asked me what number would I pick for the necklace? I immediately thought of 4, hehe Yon for Yonsama!

Well, all good things come to an end, this Cabinotier Exhibition has opened my eyes to the exclusive world of mechanical watch engraving. HRH always craves to experience new knowledge, wonder what kind of art or photography exhibitions he patrons while in Soho? Hope he had relaxed and enjoyed the last 10 days. Oh btw, you’d better head back to Seoul next week, ok? Yours truly will be very disappointed if she cannot breathe the same air and look at the same sky as you. Just kidding, pleae stay happy and healthy :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hallyu Research Interview

Hi hi sisters ..... done something a bit unusual today, hehe you can even say, on the verge of being 'serious'. Remember a few months ago, a US Phd student has posted in Quilt asking for subjects (specifically Japanese fans) to participate in her research on the Korean Wave? Well, after finished conducting her interview with some N. American and Korean subjects, this past week Hyejung has arrived in Tokyo to interview some volunteers from the Japanese family.

Dear cloudnine is nice enough to ask me to join them for the interview. I know I don't really fit into the subject category that Hyejung is targeting, but as a diligent blogger (or you can say, a nosy body), I welcome any interesting topic that I might come across. So armed with my camera and a lot of enthusiasm, I rushed to where all the sisters were supposed to meet - Shin-Okubo Station. Now for those frequent Tokyo visitors like bb, you know this is the famous Korean town where you can practically find any BYJ goodies; CD case, tissue holder, socks! You name it, they have it. Ok except BYJ himself of course.

You know another reason that compelled me to go is Kiyomi has reserved a 'Yong Joon' room for our lunch! Yeah yeah, I know it's the decor that gives it the name, not that HRH has graced that eatery. After a short walk, we arrived at a small restaurant on a narrow laneway. Frankly, I have no idea how to return to that same spot again, so I took a picture of the front entrance. Hehe, I feel like those little rabbits making a mark in the forest to avoid getting lost :)

The restaurant is posted with pictures of Korean hunks. Not that I am complaining, wink wink ;)

But this is the only one I have my @@ for. The walls of the 'Yong Joon' room :

May I borrow your interior decorator, Mr. Restaurant owner?

Now before I get carried away with too much HRH talk, I should say a little about Hyejung. She is a Korean student studies in University of Oklahoma working on her Phd degree in communications. Her research study is to examine the globalization and localization of Korean Wave in E. Asia (haha told ya, it's serious stuff!). She is obviously a very intelligent and open-minded young woman. She came focused with her objectives in mind, so the questions are very logical in terms of order and flow.

She started with asking how we get attracted to BYJ/Korean drama and what qualities do we treasure him most, the impact of BYJ on our daily lives, to what extent does this lead us to Korean culture ....... etc etc. Well, I'm not going to summarize or conclude all the Q&As here, why? Because if I do, I might as well get the Phd degree myself! Hahaha, just kidding, the truth is I haven't really asked Hyejung for her permission to write about her research.

What I want to applaud also is our Japanese sisters came very well prepared. Of course the smart and quick cloudnine has done her homework and translated some related JOB posts for Hyejung. The calm and cool Kiyomi obviously has all the information clearly processed in her mind, and the wise and diligent moichan even has notes for her answers! The other 2 sisters YonYon-san and OK-san are so sincere and sweet, I can feel their genuine hearts and love for Yong Joon in their responses. Hyejung is amazed at the calibers of the Japanese BYJ fans and thier unwavering dedication to Yong Joon. What strikes me is a few of them mentioned that Yong Joon captured their hearts the moment he put his hands close to his heart on his first visit to Japan 2004, so touching!

The interview lasted for an amazingly long 3 hours without us even feeling it. What's interesting about it was amid the Q&As, we had a lot of offline discussions on the Japanese-Korean political relationship, Korean family values and this new generation's culture. Hyejung shed some lights on how Korean traditional values still shape the family behaviour while our Japanese sisters also share the recent history of Japanese entertainment. I am sure all the sisters present will agree that, we have indeed witness a bilateral exchange in culture.

HyeJung ssi, I wish you all the success in your future endeavours.

Hehe, one cute thing I want to share is : when I bid my sisters goodbye after the interview, we all waved to each other and said, "See you in Osaka!" and stuck our thumbs up!! Hahaha, see how positive and confident we are!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shinhan Financial

Hi Hi sisters .... You've heard that HRH has signed on as the CF model for Shinhan Financial Group. In fact, another famous Korean MC Yoo Jaeseok will also be co-starring with Yong Joon in the TV commercials. Both BYJ and YJS have won the MBC Grand Awards in Acting and Broadcasting Entertainment respectively in 2007.

Quoted in an article by reporter Koh Hongjoo in My Daily :

An official in advertisement at the Shinhan Finance Group told reason for casting BYJ, "Mr. BYJ showed stable acting ability and professional appearance as an actor in the drama 'TWSSG'. We judged that the thorough self-management as a public figure at ordinary times and dignified apperance match well with the image that the Shinhan Finance Group are pursuing."

Hehe, enough said, our man is regarded as a leader in his industry and is recognized for his sharp vision and integrity.
If you are interested, you can check out the Shinhan Financial Group website here, it also has an English user interface.

A BIG welcome to the BIGGEST star in the fahion show :)

Hey Mr. MC, control yourself, ok? See how calm & cool our HRH is.

Incidentally, Lee Young Ae is also the current model with YJS, you can watch their TV CF in this site too. The background of LYA's CF is she and this MC guy in an award ceremony, could BYJ's CF be attending a fashion show with him this time?

Those lucky models, got our HRH's total attention @@

I guess even though BYJ and LYA haven't worked together for so long, yet they are each regarded as topnotched stars in their own rights. Remember they were both the Hallyu Expos Ambassadors in Jeju? Too bad LYA never showed up in the Expos. I so so so wish that they can collaborate on a project in the future. May I suggest to Shinhan, ever consider pairing up the handsome BYJ and beautiful LYA together? :)

Pictures and excerpts from Joanne in Quilt News

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Image Volume 2?

Hi Hi sisters ..... You know the latest Megane Ichiba TV CF is out? No no, not that controversial picture of him in the beige tuxedo. The other one that he is in a black pinstripes tuxedo sitting in front of a piano.

original screencaps from Quilt by Makishi
repost from Soompi by cancer cher72

Link to CF video :

I read from Mariko in Soompi that BOF has posted a notice in KOB :

Photographer Kim Tai Hwan has signed a contract with KeyEast and travelled with HRH to New York. Apparently they are planning on a new photo album and will go on different locations in Korea, Japan, Europe and USA for about 1 year from April 2008. So looks like US is their first stop of many world destinations. Innolife wrote that the album will feature some of Yong Joon's private moments, I guess meaning lots of candid shots (oooh, I like him natural...). Hehe now, please don't go running out to look for a second job yet, there will be many many more moons before we can get our hands on Image Volume 2 :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sleepless in New York

Hi Hi .... It's been 2 days since HRH arrived at NYC. Wonder if he suffers from any jetlag? New York is having some beautiful sunny weather this week, wonder how's he enjoying his carefree life so far. HRH, if you can't sleep, try going up to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. Maybe you'll meet the girl destined for your life :)

2 new pictures on BYJ phone :

original post by byjgallery/miemi

Monday, April 21, 2008

Classic Scenes Concert - Spectacle

Hi Hi sisters ...... hmmmm, wondering at this time, is HRH roaming around the streets of Manhatten? Will he try to catch a show later tonight in Broadway? Ohhh, lucky lucky New York sisters, what are you doing staring at the computer? Go out and look for HRH, he's in YOUR city now!!

Hehe meanwhile, I'm trying to catch up on my writing of places and events that I've attended in the last little while. So behind, here it goes ..... April 8, 2008

It was a very gloomy spring day, heavy rain coupled with strong wind and chilly temperature. The grey sky looked so soaked that I thought it’s about to fall down on the city any moment. Normally on a day like this, it’s best to take it easy, cover your head with a blankie and go zzzzzzzzzzzzzz ………. However I couldn’t, cause I had BIG plans that night - it’s the BYJ Classics concert!

I do enjoy soft soothing music with beautiful melody, may it be western, Chinese, Japanese or Korean. But I have to confess that my knowledge in classical music is just about as good as my Japanese, which is - no matter how loud, how long and what tune it plays, it will just go blank on me :) Therefore I was quite hesitant to attend a classical concert, especially on a dismal day like this. What if I really doze off and snore out loud like a pig? Well, it’s not like JunSang is sitting next to me with his shoulder ready in case I bop my head sideways :)

This was the fourth theme of the Classical Scenes – ‘Spectacle’, which was held in the Tokyo Opera City, Shinjuku. The ‘Art’ concert was held earlier that day at 2pm, this last concert was scheduled at 7pm the same evening. Again, kiyomi and cloudnine were so kind to include me in their outings.

Since we had to wait for the tickets from kiyomi, cloudnine and I were lingering outside the reception entrance. By now, most sisters have already gone into the hall to purchase the BYJ goodies. As I glanced over sideways, I noticed a cluster of sisters were gathering around a man. I checked again, that man was no other than the ‘almost as famous’ Mr. Sohn!

You say, c’mon, it’s only Mr Sohn, not HRH! Yes, I know I know, but I read about this man and saw his pictures with Yong Joon 1000 times, and now he was just a few feet away from me! Mr. Sohn actually looks better in person than in pictures. He is very courteous and never stopped bowing to Yong Joon’s fans. He finally left the ‘cluster’ and made his way towards the entrance. As he walked by me, cloudnine told me to go up and say ‘hi’. My logical mind was holding me back telling me to stay put, but my instinct suddenly took over as I didn’t even know where my courage came from. I stuck out my hand and said, “Hi, Mr. Sohn, nice to see you. I’m from Canada.” He looked a bit surprised and repeated, “ah, from Canada!” TWICE, I suddenly felt very self-conscious and retreated. Cloudnine started chatting with him while my mind was wandering .... “will it feel something like this if I have a chance to meet Yong Joon?” Anyway right after us, Mr. Sohn was surrounded by crowds of fans and he needed security guards to guide him away.

At this time, kiyomi appeared with the tickets and it’s time to go inside the concert hall :

The yummylicious concert programme, what a treat to the eyes :) It's huge too, you know?

The cheerful Ikko-san, who always gives a hearty laugh, sat beside me. She proudly showed me her US $1 bill, bid from an auction. Hahaha, wonder what happens if Yong Joon uses it in New York now??

As we all know, there are 6 classical music pieces in Spectacle. Maestro Kim SeiKyo came on to the stage. To be honest, since we were so far away, I couldn’t really see him that well. Thanks to the diligent effort of heippieh who linked all the classical music pieces with associated movies and shared her views in her blog. Dear flowerbossa has also graciously translated the thoughts of Yong Joon on each piece of music so we can appreciate his preference and taste in classical music. Without flowerbossa’s introduction of Maestro Kim SeiKyo after the Saitama event, I’d never have enjoyed his conductorship as now.

The lively and animated conversation between MC Ms. Kim Tei and Mr. Sohn has also livened up the solemnity of the concert. From what cloudnine has translated for me, it’s mostly about teasing Mr. Sohn for not prepared enough to speak to the family. Poor Mr. Sohn, he looked so uncomfortable and appeared off-guard by the questions. After all 6 classical pieces were performed, Maestro Kim gave BYJ family a nice finale - Winter Sonata's ‘From Beginning to Now’. Wow, what a pleasant gift to our ears :)

Hehe of course, knowing how much our BYJ sisters know how to enjoy life, this was not the end of a fantastic evening yet. The classy kiyomi and tamatama have already reserved a table for us to wine and dine up on the 54th floor of the Tokyo Opera City. We sat by the window in the romantic Sabatini restaurant, which I felt more like I was vacationing in an Italian villa. The evening Shinjuku sparkles like a crown encrusted with colored jewels under our eyes. At a time like this, at a setting like this, with sisters like these, how can I not be grateful for what I am experiencing?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Keangnam - 4 seasons

Hi ... I think everyone has seen these new print ad pictures by now. Hmmmm ....what do you think? Yong Joon is handsome and fresh as usual, but somehow I feel the advertising people could have been a bit more creative and original. Don't these pictures give you a sense of dejavu? Boy, I miss those Taster's Choice TV commericals, so warm, cozy and relaxed! Well, as long as HRH is here, that's all it matters :)

reposted from Quilt by Joanne