Hi Hi sisters ..... are you having a relaxing weekend? It's another damp and windy Saturday afternoon in Tokyo. With my son suffering from his 3rd sports injury (again!) since we came here, we opt for some quiet family time at home in lieu of Tokyo-ing (hehe, my invented word :)
The Japanese weekly magazine Josei Jishin (3/24) had an interview with Mr. Jun Yong Bok, the lacquer artist of Iwayama Urushi Museum, whom Yong Joon visited 2 weeks ago. Thanks to Snowkin's (from Loveyongjoon) Chinese translation, we are able to have a glimpse into his journey of apprenticeship on traditional lacquer art. Excuse my laziness, I am just going to extract and translate the portions related to this topic.
According to Mr. Jun, his first meeting with Yong Joon was back in Dec 9, 2008. He was expecting a superstar with all the egos that come along with it, but instead he was amazed at Yong Joon's modest and sincere attitude. The purpose of this initial meeting was for Yong Joon to learn about Korean traditional lacquer art as part of his 'Beauty of Korea' book. By the end of their 3 1/2 hours conversation, Yong Joon expressed that he wanted to learn the art and be Mr. Jun's student.
Mr. Jun reacted that he did not just accept anyone to be his student. He told Yong Joon if he was asking for the purpose of simply experiencing the life of a lacquer artist or for furthering his acting skills, he would refuse his request. However if Yong Joon really had the desire to be a skilled artisan, then he would welcome him. Afterwards, he heard Yong Joon's detailed account of his view on life and philosophy, Mr. Jun was deeply touched. They shook hands that day and established their teacher-student relationship. From then on, Mr. Jun addressed Yong Joon directly without 'ssi' (meaning a closer relationship).
To be honest, all along I thought this 'Beauty of Korea' book was nothing more than another business venture of Yong Joon - maybe boosted by his patriotism and a mere promotion of Korea's tourism industry. However the longer we wait for his acting works (in vain if I may add) and the more details of his foot coverage unveiled, I started to realize this is not just a tour guide book. Yee's comment sort of opened me up : "I can imagine how excited he is to do something different from what he's been doing for more than a decade and a half." YES! Acting in 1 more drama or movie is not as much a challenge to him now, especially after that mega-production TWSSG. This book will actually be another one of his ‘pride & joy’, much like ‘Image Volume I album'! In 2005 after Untold Scandal, our prince spent 90 ‘blood & sweat’ days (much longer including pre-production and post-production works) to transform himself physically to what he felt as the image of an ideal man – strong physical presence with gentle mannerism.
This time, Yong Joon is pursuing his other dream to be an artisan, a talent probably has been hidden inside him waiting to be surfaced now. We know he is not satisfied to be just an actor, an entrepreneur, a celebrity. He is still an artist at heart, he is using his eyes to capture the beauty he witnessed (photography), his bare hands to interpret it (lacquer art) and his mind and literacy to express it (book). I am sure he understands that 1 week of intense training would not qualify him to be even a beginner. To achieve expert craftsmanship, he will be required to spend months and years to perfect his art. So dear Yonsama, may I assume you will come back to Japan at least once a month to continue your apprenticeship? Hehe preferrably in a class format, so that we can all sign up to be your classmates, daijobu desu ka?
Oh oh, before I forget, there is a little cute side story : it happens that Mr. Jun's wife is a also Yonsama's fan. When Mr. Jun told his wife that Yong Joon has become his apprentice, expecting her to be jumping with joy from the news. Instead she reacted with a disappointing face, saying "Oh, I am his fan. You mean I have to address him as a son now!" (Note that in Asia, a teacher's wife is being respected as mother and students are being treated like her children :) There is also another interesting incident from the same Josei Jishin interview when he attended a tea ceremony in Chusonji, I'll translate and share with you later.
Thanks again Snowkin from Loveyongjoon for your Japanese to Chinese translation.