Friday, June 6, 2008

Osaka - Arrival

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


bb said...

you know i've heard lots about such waiting... reading yours, i tried to think back about my own bae-encounters. think the only time i really waited was after the AS superlive concert, and even then it wasn't that bad... maybe a couple of hours? but it was cold... but i wasn't as 'pro' as everyone else, i walked around alot, talked to people, friends and strangers alike, roamed far in search of a warm can of coffee, and i also didn't think twice about leaving my 'station' to go to the washroom.

and oh, the other time has gotta be when i was waiting for him to come out from hanhwa in jeju. but i suppose that wait was probably not long, since i don't remember much about it at all, except that it was raining (?)

but i've heard so much about the endless waiting that goes on and on and sometimes the waiting doesn't surmount to anything.

but... look at it this way... as he sat in the car, he would have seen all of you all in full force waving at him. surely his heart would feel something? even if he may not see each and every one of your faces, but the sea of faces he sees... surely that means something to him? i thought he would feel comforted that his family hasn't deserted him despite him being away for 2 years 9 months.

but of course... i can talk, and i can only talk, since i wasn't the one to stand in the heat or the sun waiting for... just a slip of a chance to see him...?

you know, some fans come away from such encounters wanting to go again. and some fans come away from such encounters telling themselves they won't do it again, coz hehe, the view's apparently much clearer from the pc screen :p

whichever way one chooses, i guess we all have our own ways of expressing our adoration and admiration.

as much as i'm sooooo... looking forward to your story, i'm also itching, really really itching to hear your true feelings after this osaka experience. take your time, we'll be here :)

p.s. what a coincidence that both mishio and you chose to blog today :)

my two fave bloggers!

jaime said...

hi hi princess,

I remember your attendance at the AS Superlive concert. You had a picture taken in front of the Range Rover, right? I guess a lot of fans still lingered afterwards to wait for him to leave, just like the Osaka event.

I think compared to the waiting at the TWSSG filming site, this is a walk in the park. I think about it the same way too. Even though he is not allowed to roll down the window for us to see him, but he could clearly see us! (I mean not our faces, but as a crowd waving at him) If that makes him happy, then I am happy.

Yeah, I want to write my impression even if others may not agree with me, but I want to stay true to how my heart feels. But my understanding of the whole event has improved a lot more after reading your articles and his interviews - at least I am not as disillusioned.

Hehe, it's such a coincidence that mishio and I have kept silence until today. I was planning to blog after Yong Joon leaves Japan, but what do I matter anyway? :)

Thanks for your support.

love ... jaime

Anonymous said...

Hi Jaime,
I'm a frequent visitor here, but this is my first time to write a comment. I really enjoy your witty accounts and I'd like to thank you for your sharing.
I expected this sort of account that you and mishio shared. As BYJ becomes increasingly popular, it will be more difficult to see him up close. Particularly in Japan, security will be very tight. I work in Tokyo and these past few days, I keep thinking, aahhh, he's so near, yet I can't see him in person. I don't kid myself by saying that it's enough that we're breathing the same air at this moment, because I do so want to see him in the flesh! So I can just imagine your disappointment after all the waiting. But think of it this way. Through BYJ, you've made wonderful friends and will continue to do so.
I'm looking forward to reading about your impressions of the event - both positive and negative.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jaime,

You posted finally! Though we had
experienced almost the same thing, it is so interesting to read your account. Btw dear Mishio also wrote about that long waiting at the Imperial Hotel posting some pictures, did you spot some familiar figures?

cloud nine

gosijo said...

Is there a name for phobia about waiting in a crowd? I'm sure I have that to some degree and only passing the time with friends helps.

Thanks for sharing your impressions, dear friend. Looking forward to the next instalment.

mishio said...

hi jaime,

thanks for an "honest" post about the event. I'm sure it was difficult to do. I clearly saw your expression afterwards and was a bit worried about you, hence all those nagging calls I made later. Anyway, I am glad to see you are feeling better.

If I may, there is one thing I wanted to clarify however. I sometimes get way too comfortable amongst this family and expect that you all can pick up bits and pieces about my personality from what and how I blog. (my mistake generally of assuming too much!)

I cannot recall the exact context of our conversation, but when I joked that "I am a professional" with you and cloudnine, I was just drawing a reference to the famous BYJ line he once uttered (when asked why he is always so able to fend off scandals). I certainly did not meant to sound or be cocky, but I can tell how I would come off as such, esp when reading the story you recounted. Hope you and cloudnine did not take it the wrong way ;0 !

Anyway, AJA!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinggu!

At last! You have posted about that wonderful trip to Osaka. What I find very interesting is to how our dear Japanese sisters have shown you their warmth & hospitality to you. Though I envy you for getting to see our HRH, just reading this blog have made me feel as if I was also there with you waiting in line for the KING, sans the long wait while standing(okay, I am delegating this job to you to save my knees & legs from rheumatic & muscle pains, hehehhhe!).

Will be waiting for more but please take your time, we want the details & then some more of your wacky & Jaime 'humor' non-stop!

Take care & avoid stress, okay?

Love yah!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dear Jaime,

I loved reading your post, I really do appreciate your honesty. I know I would feel the same way, watching his van speed away without even a glimpse of his beautiful face....

I can also imagine his own disappointment at not being allowed to roll down the window (remembering what happened in Japan during his last visit) -- and I'm imagining him hoping that his Family will understand why he didn't and not feel upset with him...

Jaime, I hope you will continue to post honestly without trying to please us or make us feel a certain way. We love you and just want to hear your experiences.

I'm sooo glad you were able to meet Yuko and Mishio! Of course, I haven't yet met Yuko, but I had the great pleasure of meeting Mishio when she came to Vancouver to see April Snow. What a delight she is! We had some fun times together that I'll never forget.

Anyway, dear sis, please post the rest when it's right for you -- we'll wait for you, haha!

Love to you and everyone,

Anonymous said...

Go ahead
I like your honesty and they way you write
and take your time we will read it
on your own time.
Plus reading it like this it makes me feel almost there.

It is such a wonderful and king comunity that has form around that amazing man.


bb said...

just a side note, something that i didn't say in my first comment here.

yea, pls pls pls express yourself in whatever you want to in your own blog. when i started my own some three years ago, the whole reason was so that i would have my own platform to blog out whatever it is that i choose to blog on. without worrying about how i was using other people's space to ramble on with my silly thoughts, without worrying about how i was 'intruding' on others' reading pleasure by raising at-times-sensitive or less welcoming stuff on a more public domain.

i think it would be sad if we have to even censor the very topics that we wanna talk about in my own blogs.

but granted, we always have to practise abit of self-censorship.... such is the real world... although our own little blogs, we still deny the fact that for so long as we choose to let anyone access our blogs, it's still out in the public for all to see. but within the parameters of being reasonably politically correct and not abusive or infringing on others' whatever rights, i think it's wonderful if we can stay true to ourselves. if we cannot even be real and honest in our own blogs, then...?

but usually, my own 'guideline' is to be true to my thoughts and value system, and not to say anything that i wouldn't admit to saying offline :)

i guess i've always enjoyed mishio's and your blog entries coz i thought your online persona is probably quite true to your own real self. most people tend to be more (daringly) vocal online, but i still like to think that my two fave bloggers ain't all that far off from their offline selves. so yea, like what the others have said, do feel free to share whatever you want to share.

'add oil add oil'... :)

jaime said...

Hi Bethaimi,

Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for your 'realistic' viewpoint. I am learning to convince myself now with HRH's exploding popularity, the chance of seeing the man we admire in person is greatly depends on fate and luck. No, I am not discouraged, just have to adjust my expectation.

thanks for dropping by.

love .. jaime

jaime said...

hi dear cloudnine,

I hope you don't think I am ungrateful. I still love BYJ very much, it's just that this Event adds a bit more excitement to this entire BYJ experience.

Sorry, I don't recognize anyone in mishio's pictures. I have such bad memories.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hehe gosijo,

I think you're so right. Just like a lot of activities, it makes days and nights whether you are doing it by yourself or with a group of friends. I think we are actually drawing strength from each other during the wait.

love .... jaime

jaime said...

my dear mishio,

Excuse me for the late reply. I am sorry if the way I brought up the 'pro' made you feel uneasy. I certainly meant it in a respectful way, not with the intent to tease.
It's funny when I meet a blogging or artistic sister, one I pass that initial 'labelling', I feel that they are as 'normal' as anybody else. Thank you for the candid account of your Bae experience.

I really enjoy the time I talked to you.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hehe chinggu,

I can always count on you to put a smile on my face :) Hehe, why don't we both wait for HRH together? A few years from now, we both go and have hip & knee replacements together.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

dear coco,

thanks for your understanding and support. I am really not upset with HRH, I still love him very much. I actually think he feels bad seeing women standing outside for many hours waiting for him. But he knows that will make his family happy, so he just tries to have more chances available for us during public events.

Hehe but we can never get enough of him, what to do?

love ... jaime

jaime said...

dear moontime,

thanks for reading although my trip report is really not spectacular and filled w/ BYJ adventures. I hope to share what a Bae fan goes through with you as if you were there :)

love .... jaime

jaime said...

dear princess,

thank you so much for your thoughts as an experienced BYJ blogger. I hope I don't sound like a 'cry baby' who complain about the first encounter she has. I just feel staying true to my heart and even digging a little deeper into my feeling will certainly helps me not to regret my Bae days later on in life. You know what I mean?

love .... jaime

bb said...

nope, you don't sound like a crybaby at all... haha, not yet anyway :p

but seriously, i think in blogging, it's more important to stay true to your own heart, than to dance to the masses :) me with you all the way!