Saturday, March 14, 2009

Journey to apprenticeship

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.


bb said...

hi hi jaime,

you know, i kindda think you couldn't have chosen more apt a title for your posting.

let's take a walk down memory lane abit. remember in WLS how yujin and sang hyuk discussed about whether the journey or the eventual outcome is more important? i remember sang hyuk feels that the journey is more important, whilst yujin thinks that no matter what the journey is like, it's the eventual outcome (of who wins and who loses) that is more important.

i've a feeling wuri yong joon is someone who treasures the journey probably as much as, if not more than, the outcome.

and sometimes, i even think that he's the sort who feels that a win ain't a satisfying win unless he's sweated and toiled sufficiently for it :)

thanks for sharing this and for the trans-in-brief.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chinggu!

Thanx for posting this. So sorry to read that Sean had another sports injury. Wish he would be well in a few days.

Hehehhe, I truly enjoy the part where Mr. Jun's wife said that she should address YJ as her son(?)!!!It now makes me think a million times if I should consider myself as his grandmom??? Hahhahaha!

Take care & enjoy the weekend!

Love, judy

Hyds said...

Thanks Jaime.. I admire his perseverance and doing what seem to be he really wanted to do in life..the arts.
I am so looking forward to this book.. as I believe this will help those who don't know much about BYJ, to know more the person/artisan himself.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime and Bae sisters:
You have a new title for Bae Yong Joon now. Through his journey towards the Good Life (Aristotle), he transforms his interest in the arts and sciences, even his physique and gentle manners, to work for the best things in life . The prince is a being-for- humanity, becoming a Renaissance man.
Sarang Hamnida,
josephine pasricha

Anonymous said...

Dear Jaime

So sorry to hear that your son is injured again. Is it serious?

Thank you for translating for us. Yet another who meets him and goes away impressed. We're so proud of him.

You know, your comment that he may be tired of acting after more than a decade abd a half will send a shiver down many backs. Sigh. I'm in a dilemma. I want to see him act and yet I don't want to encroach on his life's choices.

As for Mr Jun's wife, at least she gets to see him and chat with him.

Best regards
S'pore fan

jenny said...

Hi Jaime

How is your son now? Hope he have a speedy recovery. Thanks for the translation and all the people being interview will always have good comment of Yong Joon. Really proud of him and love him more.



yudi said...

Dear Jaime,

I am so surprised to know that you know Chinese, and apparently you know it very well. It is a good news for me, since next time if I can't express myself very well in English, I may write to you in Chinese.

I especially like your analysis of Yong Joon's artist heart. I never connect these three things together, but how true it is after you brought it up. I want to say thanks Jaime, reading what you posted here is such an enjoyment.

Hope your son will soon be recover from his injure, and then all of you could start Tokyo-ing again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jaime,

Omo! I didn't expect that I get to read a Japanese weekly magazine on your blog. Thank you, thank you.
(I know I'm so lazy. All I need to go is just go to a neaby supermaket for this mag., hehe.)

Like bb wrote, he is "nothing venture, nothing gain" type for sure.

cloud nine

jaime said...

Hi Hi princess,

welcome back! With Yong Joon's background and upbringing, he definitely is someone who values hard work. Nothing really seems to come easy for him, I am glad he is being rewarded handsomely at the end.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi HI chinggu,

thanks for your well wishes for my boy. He has a bone fracture in his fingers, but he is already very restless :)

Hehe, somnetimes I think Yong Joon actually looks too young now. Like you, I feel like his grandmom and I don't like that, hahaha!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi Hyds,

Me too. I am very much looking forward to this book. I believe it will have an elegant external package and beautiful contents. It'll be a collectible @@

love .. jaime

jaime said...

Dear Josephine,

I remember one of BYJ's philosophy is to lead a humane life. So your reference to him as a prince for humanity is very appropriate. I am so glad we know about him.

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Oh dear S'pore fan,

sorry for misleading you. I actually was referring to Yee's comment that this is probably the right timing for him to pursue whatever he loves. Sure he will bring along all these experiences to enrich his acting skills. I don't think he will give up acting, especially he mentioned many times he wanted to show his best to the fans who support him.

Hehe, he may be selective and very slooooooow in coming up with a drama or movie, but he's still here :) Please sleep well now :)

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Oh btw S'pore fan ... thanks for asking about my boy, he's fine. just has to be bandaged up for a few weeks. cannot do house chores & his basketball and kendo now, but doctor says he sure can study, hahaha! please take care!

jaime said...

Hi HI Jenny,

Thanks for your kind wishes about my boy. He's fine, even playing his drums! Young men these days :)

Yes, these good words coming out from his teacher means a lot, huh? Please take care!

love .. jaime

jaime said...

Dear yudi,

Hehe yes, I am from Hong Kong but have my schooling in Canada. I feel very blessed to know Chinese as Kanji is a very crucial component of Japanese language.
Your English is very good, but if you like, please feel free to write to me in Chinese.

Thank you for reading my ramblings, sometimes I worry if I am making any sense :) My son is doing fine, thanks for your kind thoughts. Please take care!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

Hi HI cloudnine,

Hehe, me too. I only went to the bookstore for Josei Jishin after I read this translation from Snowskin. There are so many Korean Wave magazines out there, most have BYJ on the cover page, I don't even buy them anymore. I'll send you an email later about tomorrow, ok?

love ... jaime