Hi hi dear sisters …… I am sorry that I have been so quiet after the Osaka Event. I am really impressed with the pictures, video clips and articles posted by bb and xiaoyi in their blogs. To be honest, I think fans really get a much better perspective watching all those than me sitting inside the Dome. I didn't get to see the tears swelt up in his eyes nor the pain he endured for his family. I came back with a very different outlook of my relationship with HRH. I'd like to let the details sink in a bit first, so I can write something that stays true to my own feelings. Sorry this may bore you out, here it goes ......
After much uncertainty, anticipation and preparation, this weekend has finally arrived. I am dragging my luggage through the deserted streets in this early Saturday morning, to go and see a man who has so far only existed virtually to me. This small luggage seems unusually heavy not because of its contents, but what I am carrying in my heart. To describe myself as just being ‘happy’ or ‘excited’ would have simplified the whole experience. My longing to feel the aura of this man, to witness the love of his fans, is also shaded by a tint of guilt leaving my beloved family behind. Surely it’s been my dream since day one to be able to see HRH’s ‘real’ self with my very own eyes. But no matter how much I prep myself psychologically, I have really underestimated how mentally and physically draining an encounter like this could be.
I meet up with cloudnine, kiyomi and reko-san at Shinagawa Station to board the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. Shinkansen is one of the fastest rail systems in the world. It only takes 2.5 hours running between Tokyo and Osaka and there are many runs every hour. The type of train that we take is called Nozomi meaning ‘hope’, it sure echoes how we feel in our heart.
As the bullet train pulls out of Tokyo heading towards the Nagoya direction, we are in very good mood chatting about how handsome Yonsama looked when he landed at Kansai. I am so excited that I don’t even feel like eating breakfast (big mistake, as I learn it the hard way). The very efficient kiyomi-san is busy planning our day’s schedule while the kind reko-san is diligently studying the merchandise ‘orders’ list from her many friends.
We are greeted by 2 Osaka sisters at the station to escort us to ‘the’ hotel. By hotel, I don’t mean just any hotel, it is Yonsama’s hotel!
From the moment I arrive at Osaka station, I knew we are in ‘heightened alert’ mode already. When the hotel shuttle bus approaches the front entrance, we see there are 200-300 hundred sisters lining along the opposite side of the street.
Someone said Yong Joon is still inside the hotel and will leave for Kyocera Dome soon for rehearsal. Our original plan is to have an authentic Osaka lunch and a leisure tour around the city, maybe checking out the route to the Dome. As soon as we hear that Yong Joon will be coming out, all the grand plans (no need for unanimous consent, who would argue?) fly out the window. Without even 1 second delay, we all just drop our luggage to the first ‘uniformed’ man we see (for all we know, that man could have been just a pizza delivery guy!) and immediately dash across the street to join the league.
Then there ....... We just casually pick an empty spot and begin our ‘standing’ marathon, not knowing when, where and how he’ll emerge. The first hour passes by pretty easily - I am still fresh and new and in high spirit, as this could very well be my first encounter with Yonsama. We are surveying (with our eyes) around the hotel exterior and the crowds for familiar faces (hehe, as if I know anybody :). A generous Kobe sister treats us with some delicious scones from the hotel cafe so we will not go empty-stomached, so thoughtful! Hehe, we are joking about kiyomi-san’s umbrella and admiring Yong Joon’s faces on it.
The second hour – The weight of my belongings starts to have an effect on my back but the thought of catching a glimpse of Yong Joon (even for 2 seconds) keeps my strength up. I am getting quite tired and bored, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder and turn around, "are you Jaime? I’m Korachan." Oh Korachan, her striking artworks in Quilt always leave a strong impression on me. Oh my, she’s so gentle and sweet, how happy I am to finally meet her. She even hands me a can of coffee, so sweet. Korachan is talking to some Chinese sisters, I then find out that mishio is also among the crowd too!
There she is, the articulate blogger whose unique and sharp-witted style has gained herself so many loyal followers. Mishio looks totally like a pro (hehe, quoting her own word), dressed in a dark trench, rain hat and running shoes, armed with a camera and sharp eyes; she is definitely ready for Yong Joon. I walk up to her introducing myself and cloudnine, she greets us with a warm and sweet smile. At that moment, our attention is diverted by the tightened security - more guards are gathering near the garage exit, some start to put ropes in front of the crowd line-up (like we are teenage fans). We quickly exchange contact information, promise to talk more later and dutifully return to claim our waiting spot.
The third hour – Well embarrassingly, there is really nothing worth claiming as nobody is waiting there anymore. Everybody has left for the speculated route that Yong Joon’s car will come out. As all the ‘front view seats’ are taken, cloudnine and I just kind of stay at the back. Occasionally, there is a black mini-van with darkened windows swooshes by and fans would exclaim and wave hoping Yong Joon is inside. Next to us, there is this young Japanese man in a dark suit standing quietly and as patiently as if he’s one of us. He introduces himself as a reporter of ‘Koreal’ magazine and he becomes an instant mini-celebrity among the ajummas. As more and more black vans swoosh by us, my heart starts to beat faster and faster to a point that I feel so weak and have difficulty breathing. It’s been over 3 hours and I guess fatigue, hunger, dehydration and anxiety all come down on me. To make the situation worse, rain starts to come down and I (as usual) never carry an umbrella!
That is kind of like the last straw, I say quietly in my heart, "Yong Joon, I know you love your family very much. I know you do not want us to suffer in the rain like this." The Japanese sister in front of me opens up her umbrella and invites us to join her. At that time, a black van comes out from nowhere so fast and speeds in front of us. I can see Mr. Shin’s stern face clearly at the front seat. Everybody says Mr. Shin is always by Yong Joon’s side, that means Yong Joon is also inside that van?! No slowing down, no rolling down the window, no waving; the black van just makes a quick turn at the green light (as if they time it that way) and disappear, all in a few seconds! We are still in shock, not sure if Yong Joon has really left. But when we see the security guards start dispersing and taking down the rope, we know that’s it, that is Yong Joon inside the van. He has left, leaving just a trail of dust, confusion and disappointment. (later on we found out that the Japanese police do not allow Yong Joon to roll down the car window :( )
Lesson learned so far :
1. Eat, drink and go to washroom when you have a chance even if you don’t feel like it cause you never know when’s the next time.
2. Bring a parasol for rain and sun.
3. Always carry snacks and drink in a lightweight bag.
4. Be alert – have quick sharp eyes and the camera ready.
Next ...... In the hotel