Thursday, June 26, 2008

Osaka - the Event II

Finally the curtain rises, all 5 characters are standing there in their costumes. I admit I am quite fond of EJA and Philip Lee too, but where is our MAIN MAN? Then, a small door opens in the center and there ….. HE STEPS OUT! Yong Joon, a man I have been watching, reading, thinking, talking, writing, drawing, dreaming about in the past 2 1/2 years is right in front of me. Ok, miles in front of me, but still we are both existing in the same space, same instant, same air! I try to use my binocular to look at his facial expression, his eyes, his lips, his smile, but he’s really really too far from me. I can only see a little tiny figure of Damdeok, so I decide to abandon the binocular idea. I rather see him in flesh with my own bare eyes, no lens (well more or less, I confess I’m pretty nearsighted), no screens between us, just the air which transmits the sound, breath and hopefully my thoughts.

Yes, he lifts his beautiful head and looks at his cheering family, he waves and starts to smile but I cannot see his misty eyes. We are all applauding, cheering, waving back, anyway we can do to show him how much we love and miss him. Everyone there only has this one single man in their minds, imagine all these energy being channeled to him, you think he can feel the vibes?

Then the stage is taken over by the Hwachun and Guemool people fighting, so all 6 stars retreat to the backstage. When MSR steps backwards, she trips; luckily our Yong Joon and Jumoochi react fast enough to lift her up.

Then the 2 MCs come up to introduce Joe Hashashi and the orchestra. Now I love the soundtrack of TWSSG and admire composer Hashashi’s talents, but this mini-concert lasts for a good hour and 15 minutes! I keep thinking : Is Yong Joon coming out soon? At this point, I am very thirsty and hungry already. Luckily, I still have a bottle of green tea and dear liezle has given me some dried mango, these sustain me for the day!

Next, all 6 stars return on stage again. As you all know already, they sit on the barstools and being interviewed by the MCs. By now, Yong Joon has changed into a suit and white shirt, very handsome of course. This interview lasts for an hour and HRH gets his even share of 1/6 of the time. Sorry for keeping watch of the time, by now 2 hours and 15 minutes have passed in this supposedly 3 hours event and Yong Joon has only spoken for 15 minutes max?! Excuse me for being so close-minded, but whenever HRH is present, anyone around him just dissipates. Hehe, but I have my survival strategy, I take out my binocular again and just aim at that gorgeous man as I can’t understand the interview anyway.

You know what follows the interview already? Right, The costume guy comes up and talks about, what else? The costumes! Let’s say I give up tracking the time by now because I practically doze off in this segment. The highlight (at least to me) is this young singer performs one of the theme songs ‘Approval’ and his voice really captivates me. The melody of ‘Approval’ conveys this feeling of sadness and hopelessness, which is pretty much how I feel at this point.

I am just about to give up, after all it’s almost 5 o’clock now. Suddenly the walls down the left side of the stage open up and the sisters in that section start to scream. I can’t believe my eyes, I saw a float type of thingy moving out very slowly. I mutter to myself, “Am I seeing it right?” I look at the wide passageways between the sections, then it dawns on me that he’s going to go around the stadium. The float is so high, it’s obvious that it is constructed at the same level as the second floor. Lucky lucky sisters on that level and also near the aisle.

Yong Joon is up there, smiling, waving, holding his heavy-duty camera and start clicking away! He looks so beautiful in his ‘funky’ outfit, I swear it’ll look tacky on other guys, but he looks so classy in it, boy are we prejudice or what? I am still very very far from him cause my seat is not near that wide passageway at all. Still I realize this is possibly the closest distance I will ever be able to get to HRH. So I tell myself, “Jaime, glue your eyes on him, remember this moment. This is the closest you’ll ever get. Take a mental picture of him and keep that image in your memory forever.” So I freeze, blank out all the noise and everything around us, fixate my eyes only on him – his glowing face, CLICK; his luscious hair, CLICK; his sincere gaze, CLICK; his genuine smile, CLICK; his gentle waving, CLICK. I capture all these images and imprint them in my mind that I will not allow myself to forget. Up to today, whenever I close my eyes, this image of him will come up in front of me.

Now having said all these, this moment really lasts for only a few seconds before he turns away to wave to the sisters on other side again. The float slowly moves farther and farther away from me. I can only see the back of him, waving and nodding to his family and their overwhelming response. Whenever he turns to one side, the fans on that side all scream, jump and cheer. Any little gesture coming from him will generate a huge reaction, that’s how commanding his presence is. Of course when you are inside the dome, you only get that few seconds of him passing by your section. The rest of the time, you just cheer with everybody else, all those precious blowing kiss, heart gesture, victory sign, thumbs up, pointing and teary eyes scenes are only known to me afterwards.

This lasts a good ½ hour, I think. Next PD Kim and each star come up individually to talk about their future plans. Yong Joon comes on last to talk about his plan on WLS animation and ‘Kami no Shizuko’, then joined by everyone to bid the audience goodbye. I thought the show ends quite abruptly as I expect Yong Joon will spend more ‘alone quality’ time with his longing family. I dare say 99.9% of the women entering the Dome only have him in mind, but I guess after all this is a TWSSG Premium Event, the title says it all, doesn’t it?

As I am walking out of the dome, 2 sisters behind me are talking in Cantonese. I get curious so I say ‘Hi’, as I remember bb said something about a big group coming from Hong Kong BYJFriendsForever for this Osaka event. They are so friendly and immediately take me to meet their fellow sisters. They look surprised when I introduce myself and everyone greets me very warmly. I love to linger on and talk some more Cantonese but I am supposed to meet cloudnine like, 10 minutes ago? So I bid them goodbye.

You know there are so many fan groups’ gatherings around Osaka in these 2 days? Since most fans are converging at Osaka from all over Japan and overseas, this is the most convenient time for these fan circles to hold their gatherings. Unfortunately cloudnine and I have to miss kiyomi’s ‘April Snow & Now’ party. There are really so many reasons to stay but only 1 reason to go – Home! (personally I think this is a strong enough reason)

I remember bb once wrote about she wasn’t sure about returning to Seoul knowing Yong Joon was still staying in Samchoek. I think I can understand it now, my heart lingers knowing Yong Joon is still staying here tonight. Will he go out to look around Osaka? Will he take a casual stroll along the riverbanks? I think of Cinderella having to run out of the castle leaving her Prince Charming behind when the clock strikes midnight. Now I am not saying I am Cinderella, but cloudnine and I really have to run for our lives to catch the Shinkansen. Hehe, the Shinkansen is like our horse carriage, if we miss it, we will really be left with a pumpkin and 4 mice on the street! So we run and run and run (in heels and dragging our luggage along), cutting through crowds, keep apologizing ”sumimasen” to every person I bump into. Towards the end, we practically make an Olympic 100-meter record dash and narrowly jump on the last car just 2 minutes before the train pulls out of Shin-Osaka station! Suffice to say, after no food and drink for the whole day, we grab everything that’s edible from the food cart and I present to you, our dinner! sorry, not very appetizing, isn't it?

I lean back, look out the window as the train moves further and further away from Osaka (and Yong Joon); my body is weak, my mind is blank and my heart is empty. I know I will have a lot of to digest - my first sight of Yong Joon, my first encounters with a lot of Bae sisters, my first star chasing experience; and where do I go from here? ........

Osaka - The Event I

Hi Hi ….. excuse me for the long absence. I guess by now, every details in the Osaka Event has been revealed and savored by the fans over and over again. I really don’t feel I have much juicy stuff to add, but I have this urge to complete my journal (not that anyone cares). So if you can’t sleep and resort to counting sheeps to take you to lala land, save it, this human tranquillizer is at work here ……

June 1 Sunday, we get up very early that morning, or should I say it we didn’t have a deep sleep? Cloudnine told Pallet and I that there are already thousands of fans waiting outside the Dome and the souvenirs tents will be opened earlier than scheduled. Being the ‘laid-back’ me, I am half afraid that we’ll have to march over to the Dome for our next round of ‘standing’ marathon again. I breathe a sigh of relief when the thoughtful cloudnine decides that we’ll pace ourselves accordingly today, phew!

Another reason is I am looking forward to meeting someone special this morning (no no, not Yong Joon. I wouldn’t even dare to think of that possibility! It’s our lovely liezle!) Mariko and liezle are supposed to arrive from Tokyo this morning and I am sooooo hoping that she’ll call me. We go down to the hotel café for buffet breakfast and there are really not many fans around anymore, so we can safely assume that Yong Joon has already left early for the Dome. Since I am not much of a ‘buffet’ person, so I just have some fruits and bread (BIG mistake as I learn later that you should eat when there is food, drink when there is fluid, ‘go’ when there is a ladies room in any BYJ event.)

I get a call from liezle while walking out of the café, I am so excited and hopefully my piercing volume does not scare the graceful Pallet off. Liezle and mariko rush from the Dome to meet us, so the 7 of us congregate in our tiny hotel room. Liezle is everything I expect her to be - pretty, pleasant, warm and always with a sweet smile on her face. Of course there is our cheerful mariko and 2 other nice sisters – Corina and Christy (hope I spell their names right). We are busy chatting, taking pictures and exchanging gifts till we realize it’s check out time as cloudnine and I are returning to Tokyo right after the Event.

The plan is kiyomi has reserved a restaurant near the Dome for a group of sisters to enjoy an (authentic Osaka) Okonomiyaki lunch before the Event. Since we have to go to the Shinkansen station to store our luggage (we can’t really drag it around the Dome, can we?), by the time we accomplish everything, this is the crowd situation we face in the train station!

I don’t think the staffs anticipate volume like this on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The ‘normally efficient’ ticket machines keep breaking down, the staffs look stunned (still very polite and patient though) when they see so many women swarming out of Taishoo station.

Of course we miss our delicious lunch, but there’s no time to dwell over it. We bid goodbye and thank all the sisters for their hospitality and companionship. We still have a long walk under the intense sun to the Dome. You don’t really have to know your way at this point, just follow the enormous crowds of women marching in one single direction (I feel like I am going to a pilgrimage!) Along the road, I can see some men in pairs holding something like tickets shouting out to the crowds. It’s pretty obvious these are scalpers, I jokingly tell cloudnine this is the first time I see bad guys in Japan (as Japan is such an honest and safe country). Further down the street, I spot a fashionably dressed girl in her 20s holding a paper board obviously looking for a ticket. Sigh!

As we are approaching the Dome, you can already feel the power of Yonsama. Average passersby in Osaka are probably wondering what sort of parade or demonstration that mobilizes so many middle age women on a Sunday? You can’t help but be proud that you belong in this strong force which creates the Yonsama phenomenon. It seems that everything that relates to BYJ is turning eyes and making history everywhere.

Cloudnine and I sit in different sections of the arena, but lucky we still enter through the same gate. Cloudnine makes sure that I am settled in my seat (kamsumphamnida) and hers turns out to be not too far from me. I start to look up and around the gigantic Dome and its very unique composition of audience. This really is an amazing sight of 35000 women with such hopeful faces and longing hearts to meet one man they love so much. The air inside the Dome actually looks very misty and the noise seems to have dispersed so far away rendering the atmosphere even more dream like.

While I may not have much luck with HRH, I have to admit I am very lucky with Bae sisters. As soon as I sit down, a gentle looking Japanese sister diagonally behind me comes up and starts speaking in perfect English! She introduces herself as an English teacher from Fukuoka and we start chatting about Yong Joon as if we are old pals. Then I notice all the heads around me keep turning to the aisle. Ahhhh, I spot bb’s Manager Yang and President Bae (of BOFi) are standing over there chatting casually. Manager Yang looks dashing as in the pictures, smiling gently and occasionally glances around the Dome. No one really swarms them for autograph or handshaking, I think all the sisters’ hearts are waiting for that other gorgeous man in the backstage!

Monday, June 23, 2008

AERA - 06/2008

Hi Hi .... Remember HRH went through 10 interviews straight in one day upon returning from Osaka and Nagoya? I was debating if I should bother posting any of those pictures cause they probably all look the same, so far I like this set the most from AERA. The only complaint I have is, how come so few? You know I am very demanding when it comes to HRH's photographs. I love to see those beautiful shots like the ones that Leslie Kee took - him in many many many different poses, expressions, outfits, props, backgrounds and even stories. Well, in other words, I guess I never get enough of HRH, hahaha :) Please enjoy .....

original in byjgallery/miemi
reposted in baidu/wlbyj

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pastel again

Doesn't HRH look dapper in his crisp black suit?

I guess I can't deny it. Even though he looked ultra cool and sexy in his favourite B&W everything while in Japan, I still love HRH in pastel @@. Now please don't SCREAMMMMMM at me! Remember I am a MinHyung kind of gal? I just feel that he looks so soft, gentle, relaxed and happy here .....

Of course not every man can carry these colors, what a visual pleasure!

After looking at this warm sunshine smile, who isn't ready to go out and face the day?

original post byjgallery/style
reposted by baidu/choguan

NHK Special

Hi Hi .... just to remind you that the 1 hour NHK special on Yong Joon and TWSSG will be aired tomorrow at 5pm. I hope you can watch it using TVants. I haven't used it since watching the MBC award last Decemeber, so don't know if it works for NHK? If not, we can always wait for the video clips from our wonderful Japanese sisters.

Remember NHK constructed a special 'historical' set for this interview?

Hurray, so we know at least there is some time set aside just to interview HRH. Notice he has his own chair?

so he can talk .....

and talk and talk .....

Hehe, do you notice both ladies have a hankie on their laps? This is what I notice about Japanese ladies always carry a pretty all-purpose hankerchief with them. Just in case .....

I really like EJA's style - feminine with an edge. Her multi-braclets look - wonder if each one of them means something special to her?

Dear Yong Joon, hope you are enjoying your carefree days in NY :)

original in byjgallery by style
reposted in baidu by choguan

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine

Hi Hi sisters .... sorry for the long absence. Yes yes, I'm still very much alive. Just have been taking it easy in the HRH department :) Why? Because after an overdose of handsomeness 2 weeks ago, I need time and a big stomach to digest, don't you? Anyway, I hope Yong Joon is enjoying his peace and quiet in the US now. No more reporters, interviews and flash lights under hundreds of pairs of eyes, just a carefree and relaxing stroll around the art galleries in New York maybe?

I had a really good time tonight watching an American movie 'Little Miss Sunshine' with kiyomi and some Bae sisters. The story is set off with a young girl's dream to win the 'Little Miss Sunshine' pageant. It then leads onto how her dysfunctional family, which is forced to go on the road trip with her, resolves their differences and comes to terms with their own lives. It is a heart warming story exploring today's very realistic family relationships.

Now this movie is not a blockbuster, but it has received numerous awards in the Tokyo International Film Festival. The most brilliant part is the exploration of the deep characters, serious social issues and painful life experiences in a hilarious approach, we were kept laughing (to tears) for 2 straight hours! Boy, I really miss these American humour, we feel what a pleasant change from watching Yong Joon's serious drama :)

Now having said that, it doesn't mean that we don't miss Yong Joon huh. In fact I think, like all harmonious and fruitful relationship, we need to give the other person time and space to breathe. Absence makes the hearts grow fonder, agree? I am sure when we see HRH re-surface after this break, we'll love him even more, right? Haha, maybe even vice versa :)

Btw, I haven't forgotten my Osaka and Korea trip report, hehe just being slow and lazy, miahnae :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yonsama's Message

Hi Hi .... I read a lot of sisters are very touched and even cried after reading Yong Joon's message before he left Japan. I think for sisters who've attended the Osaka Event, this is especially bittersweet for us. This sensitive man really understands how his family feels without us even exchanging any words. He can sense our disappointment of not seeing and hearing him enough (I know it's not his style to leave a message lightly), but he cares enough to leave us some comforting words before he departs to the States again.

He even mentioned CANADA! Now I wonder if there was a smart Canadian sister holding up a CANADA sign instead of this dumb one here who just sat in the arena pouting :( Oh my dear HRH, you win my heart all over again!

Hehe, thanks princess for your quick translation despite your busy schedule. I know you don't mind me post it again here :)
original in korean: BYJ / KOB
translated into chinese: chogun / loveyongjoon
translated into english: happiebb / bb's blog

Hello everyone, I'm Bae Yong Joon.

Without me realising it, I've already been in Japan for ten days. Now, all my planned schedule for Japan has been completed, and I will be leaving Japan today. After the public activities ended, I went to visit a few places in Japan, and I managed to enjoy some wonderfully relaxing times which I had not been able to enjoy for a long time now. Now that I will be leaving soon, the good times that I had had with the family during this visit flashed through my mind again and again.

From the moment I stepped out of the airport that first day (of my visit), the family's passionate screams and warm eyes captured my heart so intensely, so much so that perhaps I will never forget them in this lifetime. It was certainly not an easy thing to do for me to walk out of the airport whilst leaving the family behind, the family who had waited for a few days in the airport. I would like to take this opportunity to express the gratitude that I was not able to show you at that time.

On the day of the event, I had wanted to show you more of my gratitude, but I ended up receiving even more love from the family.

In the huge stadium at Kyocera Dome Osaka, as I was looking at each and every face of the family, the family who had filled up every single seat in the stadium, it was then that I realised how blessed I really am. In that instant, I was wondering how I could ever repay such love; words failed me, I could not utter a word. My family, can you understand these feelings of mine?

When I was going around the stadium and was able to get closer to the family, I then understood that even without words, I could express my feelings with my eyes, and I could understand what the family was feeling through their eyes. To the family who have given me so much to thank for, so much to feel moved and touched for, I really thank you.

I also know that in order to attend this event, many families had travelled from places afar to come here, from Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Canada and other places. Have you all gotten safely back to your home? Although you have all travelled far to come here, I was not able to greet you. I feel that I was not able to even speak with all of you, I only hope that you will not feel unhappy that I only used words (in this form) to say 'hello' to everyone.

Although my schedule was very hectic with interviews and other broadcast programs, although it was tiring, I had also gained strength from the very thought that I was able to go closer to the family through this activity.

I feel truly blessed to be able to see all of you who have shown so much care and love to TWSSG directly. And to be able to participate in Hide Nakata's charity event, to partake in such a meaningful event with the rest of the world is also something that means a great deal to me.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the family who have walked alongside me every single step of the way with such sincerity.

I hope that everyone will be healthy and live happily.

Sarang hamnida (I love you).

Bae Yong Joon

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fashion then & now

Hi hi sisters .... I'd like to move onto a lighter topic before going back to the Osaka Event. You read the princess blogged about that some people thought his clothes at the NHK interview being too somber. Maybe it's just me, how come I also have this impression that he is always wearing the same jacket, T-shirts, jeans and boots in this trip? In my own ignorant ways, I can only conclude the followings :

1. HRH must have lost his luggage on the way to Osaka, that's why he still has the same outfit that he arrived at Kansai on his back! (don't smack me, just kidding :)

2. I blame it on those ridiculous airline restriction on luggage weight. Just that darn Damdeok armour alone has already gone over the 50 lbs weight limit! What? They expect HRH to wear his birthday suit on stage?? (hehe, actually I don't mind at all @@)

3. Ms Hong & team must have been blinded by the beauty of HRH and can't tell one color from the next. That's why he's always wearing black - greyish black, brownish black, light black, medium black, dark black .......

Now if you don't believe me, please take a look at the contrast of his wardrobe during his Saitama trip in Aug 2005, can you see the big difference?

Haneda Airport - 2005Incheon 2008

Interview on stage - Saitama 2005 Osaka 2008

Farewell on stage - Saitama 2005
Farewell outfit on stage - Osaka 2008

Press Conference - Saitama 2005
Tokyo NHK Press Conference - 2008

Tokyo movie premiere - 2005

Yokohama Charity Soccer - 2008

And how can we not love his cool & sexy look in fedora :)

Seriously, I do see a change in HRH's demeanor and appearance in this trip. He looks extremely relaxed and very confident in every occasion. As he said it himself, he is very comfortable in front of his family and feels like this is coming home. I think at this stage in his life, he wants to show us more of his natural self. He wants us to look beyond the fancy clothing, to see his works and hear his words. He trusts that we will love and support him no matter what he wears. Hehe HRH, you know us so well, we have already fallen under your spell :)