Sunday, April 26, 2009


Hi Hi sisters .... I hope you had a relaxing weekend. I read an enlightening post in Chinese Baidu by YJ影之国 about '一期一会' which triggered me to look a bit more into this phrase. Wondering what I am talking about? Just to refresh your memory, remember sometimes Yong Joon would include this message in his autograph?

He used it quite a few times during his visit in Japan, especially to people whom he personally knows of. 一期一会 (pronounced ichi-go ichi-e) is a Japanese expression meaning 'one chance in a lifetime'. It dates back to the rich culture of Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu) symbolizing each tea meeting (chakai) is a unique experience. Through the calm settings and formal rituals of chanoyu, the host and guests accomplish a spiritual harmony and appreciation for tea. This unique hospitality which may not be recreated again is being treasured as 'ichi-go ichi-e'.

My poor memory only supplies me with 2 incidents of Yong Joon writing 一期一会 : one is to the Japanese reporter after their April Snow interview in the Tokyo Grand Hyatt (still locating that picture). The other one is he wrote in this hotel (which one?) guest book during his secret visit to Gosireh in 2007. I think to Yong Joon, every meeting he has with every person is so precious and unique to him. He probably realizes that in his present position, it is highly unlikely that he will be meeting with the same people under the same circumstance again. 一期一会 reminds people to treasure every moment and give all of ourselves because that could be the only chance, the only meeting we have. When we think about the wonderful people we meet in our daily lives, is that also 'ichi-go ichi-e'?

Pictures from BYJgallery by daisukibyj

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In 4 years ...

Hi Hi sisters .... our princess has blogged earlier about a Keyeast announcement that the plan is Yong Joon will begin shooting 'Drop of God' in late 2010, implying airing could be in late 2011 – so this may very well be a 4 years’ wait after TWSSG airing. This thought suddenly pops up, just for fun, I’ve come up with a list of what can happen in 4 years :

In the grand scheme of things
- the Earth revolves around the Sun for 4 times
- 1 term of US presidency
- 1 summer and 1 winter Olympic Games
- construction of the world’s tallest building Burj Dubai

Personal achievements
- complete an university undergraduate degree
- meet someone, propose, marry and divorce
- give birth to 3 bouncing babies (consecutively)
- move to a new country, have a life-altering experience and return home

For our prince
- became a Tourism ambassador, received a cultural medal, wrote a book and looking younger and younger

For his fans
- gains 40 pounds, wrinkles and white hair multiply 4-folds, neck grows 4 times longer

The consolation is
- the recession will be over by then!
Gambatte, Yong Joon and kazoku :)

picture from Quilt by Joanne (original from BOFi)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meguro Gajoen II

Hi Hi sisters ....... before continuing our tour in Meguro Gajoen, I’d like to quote Shim Shim’s March 4 diary from the BYJ Mail Magazine (April 14 issue) describing Yong Joon’s departure from Morioka to Tokyo – kindly translated by tomato :

"We were scheduled to get on Shinkansen at about 20 o’clock, we had to say goodbye to Mr. Jun at Morioka station. I believe all the staffs were feeling the same...Mr. Jun had welcomed us very warmly and Bae Yong Joon looked very sad upon parting. Mr. Jun standing outside the Shinkansen window and Bae Yong Joon’s greetings from Shinkansen looked like a scene from a movie and felt so pathetic.

Mr. Jun had accepted all staff as his sons and daughters. In middle of the night, he would visit our rooms to allow fresh air to pass, he would prepare our meals ... he was like a father to us. Obviously, Mr. Jun and BYJ is more attached to each other than us. Various articles noted that he enjoyed his ride on Shinkansen, but there was some sadness inside Shinkansen when we departed from Morioka."

So now we know why Yong Joon had this long sad face on the Shinkansen and no doubt shortly after arriving in Tokyo, he’d come to Gajoen to reminisce that warm feelings he had with his sensei. Understanding their relationship and Yong Joon's passion towards Lacquer art makes this Gajoen tour even more meaningful. Now, where were we? ..... Leaving Hirayama Ikuo’s exhibition and the old era of Hyakudan Kaidan, we were back to the modern world in Gajoen. We quickly proceeded to the Club Lounge as our lunch reservation was at 1:30 pm, the passageway is adorned with endless array of beautiful art panels and object d’art.

The moment we stepped into the restaurant, our imooto-chan exclaimed in joy when she saw the running chocolate fountain with strawberries, bananas and marshmellows by its side, hehe I know then she must be very hungry. The buffet offering was actually quite light - salads, soups, pastas, sushi and roast beef, perfect for ladies. Sorry, guess I was hungry too, totally forgot to take any pictures! Hehe, eating before blogging :)

After our tummies were fed, we saw everybody was heading to one direction - where else? Washroom of course! Now Olivia had been telling me this is one washroom I got to see. I was puzzled, “Well, a washroom is a washroom and there’s only one purpose being there, so how many differnt variations can you build a place for answering nature's call?” This is the entrance to both men and ladies’ rooms, we started noticing some of Mr. Jung’s inlaid work. I wonder who’s really in the mood to admire such precious artwork when you are hurrying to go? Hehe, maybe just Yong Joon and his fans?

We walked into this fancy room with ancient Chinese architecture, complete with a pond and curved wooden bridge! This is the main washroom serving the 5 large restaurants on the ground floor. Picture this, There are only 3 stalls inside (beautiful stalls, but still they are toilet stalls) and 50 anxious women waiting in line. Now I am no interior designer or anything, but you really think having running water under the bridge is going to help with their bladder situation?

Hehe just kidding, I am sure the patrons appreciate the artistic details installed, maybe taking their minds off the long wait? I am actually more curious if the men’s counterpart is of equal elaborateness, maybe our prince had checked it out already. We began to explore the airy atrium ...

There were quite a few weddings that day, the bride and groom were gracious enough to let me take a picture .....

The outer garden
and the soothing waterfall

Throughout the Gajoen ground, Mr. Jun’s works are visible everywhere, this is the entrance to the formal banquet halls

Look at the intricate detailed work, each feather on the peacock is mother-of-pearl inlaid work.

Even on the elevator doors

Other very magnificent banquet halls which contain some of the most beautiful Japanese paintings, too bad we didn't have a chance to visit ......

Every time when I went out with my Bae sisters, it’s always a feast for the eyes and mind. Not only do I learn more about the spirit of the Japanese culture, but more so, the sensitivity and benevolence of the Japanese people. I have already lost count of how many times I was so deeply moved to tears since I joined our BYJ family. It can be trying at times when we do not hear any news or see any acting works from Yong Joon, but knowing he's at a position in his life now that he is free to do what he enjoys is also comforting for us who love him so much, eh? Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kick the Habit

Hi Hi ..... ok ladies, we only have this one teensy weensy picture since how-many months from HRH, of course we are not just going to leave it like that. We have to scruntize it from top to bottom, and then back from bottom to top, right? Thanks to bb, josefine and hyds, we all know now his cool pointy shoes are LV. I always wonder who would splurge on $1000 pair of shoes and brush them against dirty concrete pavement? Now I know :) Hehe of course, HRH does not have to go up and down the subway everyday, elbowing with thousands of people, stepping on each other's toes like me!

Apparently this is not the first pointy number he wears. Here's another pointy shoes he wore at the April Snow's Japan press conference in 2005

and he loves pointy cowboy boots too

Next comes that controversial pair of ribbed jeans. This slim look is really very hip as many trendy young men in Tokyo also go for tight jeans. I guess it's HOW torn and tight this pair of jeans are! Well, the campaign did say 'Kick the Habit', so maybe the message will come across stronger if these celebrities do not present their usual image to the public. What surprised me is not the jeans, it's actually how slim HRH's royal legs are! I always thought Yong Joon has strong muscular legs, especially after his Image training. Hehe, please don't get me wrong, if my elephant legs can turn into toothpicks like these, even I don't mind wearing those jeans. Allow me to refresh your memory, breathe easy, huh? Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Hi Hi dear sisters .... how are you? Guess what it takes to bring a dead fish like me to surface. Yes, a cool dude like this one! I may be imagining, but my pain was gone momentarily when I saw him! You know we miss you right, Yong Joon? May we dare to dream of more :)

Thanks tomato san for posting in Quilt

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meguro Gajoen I

Hi Hi sisters ....... Thank you so much for your warm and comforting words. I am trying to write a little at a time, as physically allowed, so my brain and fingers won’t become idle :) You remember when Yong Joon was in Tokyo last month, he went to Meguro Gajoen (目黒雅叙園) to look at his teacher Mr. Jung Yun Bok’s art restoration work?

As the name suggests, Gajoen means ‘elegant meeting place’. It first opened in 1928 (Showa 3rd year) as a fairytale wedding palace adorned with beautiful paintings and decorative panels. It underwent major reconstruction and was re-opened in 1991 (Heisei 3rd year) with a ryokan-style hotel, traditional banquet halls, modern conference rooms and fine cuisine restaurants. A small original portion of Gajoen was preserved – Hyakudan Kaidan (100 Steps Stairway) and is incorporated as a Heritage Museum.

Since Meguro Gajoen is meant more for Japanese functions, so it does not make it into a busy tourist’s top 10 must-see attractions in Tokyo. 2 weeks ago, Olivia, cloudnine, our imooto-chan and me picked a warm sunny day to visit Gajoen and hoping to trace our Yong Joon’s footsteps. You can conveniently include Gajoen in your itinerary while visiting Gosireh and Park BOF. It is off the Meguro station, just 2 train stops from Gosireh at the end of the Namboku line or on the JR Yamanote line, then walk 5 minutes downhill, voila ......

Yes, this modern glass-paned highrise is the new Meguro Gajoen, totally different from the old Japanese architecture that I expected! Knowing me, as I walked in, I was already like ‘a monkey has its leash loosened’ and started wandering off, clicking happily everywhere. Our dear Olivia had arranged a sumptuous buffet lunch for us at 1pm in the Club Lounge, so we had 2 free hours to enjoy the heritage treasure Hyakudan Kaidan. Hehe, just in case you wonder why this is of interest to you, please let me translate an excerpt from a BOFi staff’s journal, who accompanied Yong Joon during this 12 days’ Japan trip :

"March 4 evening, Yong Joon arrived in Tokyo and checked into his hotel, he and his staff went straight to sleep. The next day, Yong Joon went to Meguro Gajoen to look at the renovated lacquer artworks of Mr. Jung Yun Bok. The mother-of-pearl inlaid artworks handcrafted by Mr. Jung can be seen everywhere in the banquet rooms, elevators, restrooms, even on the handrails. The art personnel described Mr. Jung’s work as graceful and refined, which attract many tour groups to visit.

Yonsama walked through the entire ground of Gajoen, fixating his eyes on these magnificent lacquer artworks. It also happened that the renowned traditional painter Hirayama Ikuo (平山郁夫) was hosting his art exhibition in Hyakudan Kaidan. Yong Joon inquired politely, "if I am not causing too much inconvenience, please let me look at the exhibition ....." Since shoes are not allowed inside Hyakudan Kaidan, he took off his shoes and wore one of the white slippers provided. He stayed inside the museum for 1 hour, enthusiastically going through the art exhibition."

So, 2 things we learned from this story :

1. You got to have impeccable pedicure at all times, because in Japan, you never know when you have to take off your shoes! OK for men, better make sure no holes in your socks :)
2. I should have tried on all 100 pairs of their white slippers, since I didn’t know which 2 HRH had put his royal feet into!

Enough nonsense from me, sorry no camera is allowed inside Hyakudan Kaidan, so I will use the pictures from Meguro Gajoen’s official website ( Btw, if you ever need to navigate through any Japanese website, you’ll find that they offer a lot more information and pictures than its English counterpart. I find these are extremely beautiful and elaborately decorated rooms by Japanese standards, I didn't even find these in Kyoto palaces!

Hyakudan Kaidan, there are 6 rooms off various levels along the 100 steps. Hehe, no time to count if it’s really 100 steps :)

Juppo no ma

Gyosho no ma

Sohkyu no ma

Seisui no ma

Seikoh no ma

Kiyokata no ma

Hirayama Ikuo’s paintings were displayed along the walls in all 6 rooms. I heard from Olivia that he is renowned for his paintings depicting the Silk Road in China. In this particular exhibition, he chose all Japanese water colors with modern landscapes in mostly cool blue and white. Eventhough I felt that they were not in harmony with the rich ornate décor of Hyakudan Kaidan, however maybe it was the artist’s intention not to compete with such heritage beauty.

From Hirayama Ikuo’s museum website (

Time flew, I really wanted to go around one more time as I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of Hyakudan Kaidan, but our lunch reservation could not wait plus we still haven't seen any of Mr. Jung's artworks ......

Friday, April 3, 2009

5 years ago today

Hi Hi sisters ...... just post this quickly, you know 3 April 2004, our prince paid his first official visit to Japan. As they say, the rest is history ..... Hehe, thanks cloudnine for reminding me and it is also printed in the BYJ Diary as a date to remember :)

from byjgallery by tomochang