Saturday, October 31, 2009

A week to cherish - V

Dear sisters ...... sorry for the time lapse again, I really don’t have much sense of continuity, miahnae! Hmmm ....... last time I mentioned, I would be very content if the event just ended after he mailed the postcard cause that was at a high note, but it seemed like Kim Tei ssi and Miyamoto san still an agenda in their hands. Just as I was wondering, loud traditional Korean music started playing in the background, and to the right side of the main stage, a procession of imperial guards was marching slowly out to the main aisle. Now I thought the balloon ride yesterday was a big blessing already. I wouldn’t even dare to dream that Yong Joon would go around the Dome again, knowing that he is not likely to repeat the same act twice.

But there he was, standing by an emperor type of chair on a moving car, looking fittingly like a King amid the solemn guards. Since I sat very close to the front on the first level, I couldn't believe I would be able to see Yong Joon this close. ‘Excitement’ was not the right word to describe my reaction at that time, my mind went virtually numb but I could feel my hands and knees were shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t know how I should prepare for this epic moment in my BYJ journey - should I wave and cheer like everybody else, or should I remain calm so I could retain some sense to remember his face? But hehe, call me patriotic or simply idiotic, I instinctively dug out the little Maple Leaf flag from my bag and held it close to my heart. I guess as a dutiful Canadian abroad, it is my responsibility (well, besides voting and paying taxes) to proudly display our presence in any public event, right? Haha, just kidding, how is Yong Joon able to see the tiny me in the dark anyway?

As Yong Joon’s car pulled closer and closer towards our section, the commotion was getting really high. I swear I could feel the vibration of the screams (including my own) in the air, and maybe Yong Joon did too. He turned his face from the Arena to our section and there he was – the star of all stars, the king of all kings was right in front of my eyes!

Just for that moment and that moment only – my world turned soundless, my surroundings became motionless, appeared before me was only a dark hole. At the end of that dark hole was this angelic human being - the delicate features on his pale face was as exquisite as a Greek sculpture, his eyes so compassionate as to comfort the loneliest soul, his smile so tender as to melt the coldest heart. My whole universe just stood still for that instant, the only movement was the flying dust dancing in the air accentuated by the extraordinary bright light surrounding him, I was in seventh heaven!

It was pretty hard to pull myself back to earth, but I was awaken when Yong Joon suddenly stopped, stood up and stared directly at the next section. He kept waving and nodding at them, then tears began rolling down his beautiful face. We all exclaimed as we witnessed what was happening from the giant screen. His eyes still red and teary, but he quickly wiped the tears away and turned around to the arena.

Three and a half hours only felt like an hour, it’s time for Yong Joon to bid farewell to us. I know we should be very grateful to have him ‘alone’ for so long already, but I really didn’t want to see him leave. Where will he go from here? Will he carry on that torch fulfilling his duties as the tourism ambassador? Or is he really going to hibernate and become a farmer? Or will he think about acting again, as we all hope for? Little did I know then, what our Yong Joon really needs the most is rest, rest and more rest.

I didn’t have much time to stay behind and reflect as we had another exciting engagement followed. PESASA, the successor of one of the largest Japanese fan circle BSJ, held a dinner gathering in the Tokyo Dome Hotel restaurant, and the organizers had graciously invited the overseas fan groups to join – let’s see, there’s the Singapore family, Malaysian family, Taiwan family, Hong Kong family, Korean family and our Canadian family - all as one big happy family. Thanks flowerbossa, satovic and marinet san for your hospitality, the dinner was a perfect closure to our 2 days event – both emotionally and nutritionally (gosh, I was starving!) If you are interested, please check out the pictures posted by flowerbossa in her blog, it brings back wonderful memory. As you know, Style nim is a very well-respected BYJ fan for her contribution and sharing of Yong Joon’s news and pictures. She and her team generously showed us the BYJGallery banner which Yong Joon graced with his autograph. That’s enough to pull us away from our delicious food to swoon over the banner and savored the handsome one’s handwriting.

See the date? It's right before Yong Joon left for Japan!
As the night was drawn to a close, I dragged my overstrained body and rain-soaked bags through the deserted Tokyo subway trains. For the fourth night in a row, I returned home passing the bedtime of my family. As I bent down to kiss my sleepy boy goodnight, I whispered in my heart, "Yong Joon ah, thank you for sharing the most 2 precious days in my life, chonmal hinbok ne! Now I have to go back to be with my family as you will go back to your own busy life. Mata ne, aishitemasu (^:^)"

The End ...... thanks for reading, my dear sisters.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Strummin' my pain with his fingers

Hi Hi sisters .... it's really late now and I have to get up early tomorrow morning for my Japanese class, but I just can't resist posting this super cute gif of our handsome prince. This is from Sukapa (SkyPerfecTV) CM making clip. We know already this naughty prince likes to puff up his cheeks once in a while, but just look at how mercilessly he poked that cute finger onto his precious face! Aiya, be careful my prince, you're hurting me :)

Hehe, how come Roberta Flack's "Strummin' my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words, ........ " comes into my mind? Have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks to vento from BYJGallery

Friday, October 23, 2009

Caught by surprise

Hi Hi sisters .... just found this little precious gif, hope this will brighten up your weekend :) I didn't even realize Yong Joon made this 'startled' reaction when the cameraman sneaked up behind him. Hehe, I guess he was expecting him from his right, instead he found him on the left @@


Can't believe he is still so camera-shy after all these years in the business. He looked like he's being caught in the act and is embarassed that someone was watching over him write a love letter. You can't help smiling when you watch this, right? Hehe, me too :)

from shie's little room

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nikkan Sports 08-09

Hi Hi sisters ..... just like to let you know that Nikkan Sports has released the cover of its annual Yong Joon's special issue. Hehe no surprise, it's about the journey that he went on in the past year. The only disappointment is they didn't choose one of his close up shots, as they did in the past issues :(

If you are interested, you can order it through HMV or Amazon Japan. It retails for 1500 yen, and is due out Nov 13. If there is only 1 Yong Joon magazine that you like to buy each year, maybe you can consider this one. Enjoy :)

original from byjgallery by style

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A week to cherish - IV

Hi hi sisters ...... You can say the next segment was really the business side of this event – to promote Korean tourism. I think it fits well with the theme of Yong Joon’s travel book and his role as Tourism Ambassador. Yong Joon came out from the back with the President of Korean Tourism, Mr. Lee Charm. Yeah yeah, the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ guy!

Yong Joon seemed to enjoy an amiable friendship with Mr. Lee, he smiled a lot when Mr. Lee was addressing the audience. There was a lucky draw for air tickets to Korea, Yong Joon was reading out the winning seat number in Japanese, so cute! I had a feeling 99.9% of the fans were hoping to win, not because of the tickets, but the slim chance that Yong Joon ssi might glance at the direction of the spotlight that shone on the winner's face! Hehe of course, I was nowhere near any of the winning seats :( Oh oh, you know Mr. Lee promised that if you visit Korea and mention you are Yong Joon's family at Immigration, he will give you a bottle of makori; so don't forget, huh?

What follows was the ‘lengthy’ speech by the Ambassador of Korea to Japan and his recognition of Yonsama’s influence on Korea-Japan relationship. Since this was a formal segment, Yong Joon seemed to be quite solemn and in deep thought. In hindsight, maybe his high fever was getting to him and he was dazed and tired, sob sob :(

By now 2 hours had gone and it looked like the show was still going strong, not that I was complaining. The turntable slowly rose up again, and our prince was sitting on a park bench holding a pen and his book, next to him was an old fashioned red mail box. He smiled to us, put his handsome head down and started writing. The camera zoomed in from behind and we saw him writing on a postcard in Japanese!

With his slow but smooth pen strokes, he was cautiously sculpting each word, then each sentence. For me, I was amazed at how Yong Joon could memorize a passage with so many kanji and hiragana! Yes, I was very moved and felt so much closer to him by the fact that I could actually read what he was writing this time. I notice tears started streaming down some of the Japanese sisters' faces. Even though we were not on the road with him this past year, but we had read wonderful little stories of how diligent, humble and tiring he was during his journey. We understood and ached for him, now we breathed a sigh of relief and were happy that he has come back to us :) I have extracted flowerbossa’s translation of his postcard here, thanks flowerbossa :)

"Completing a long journey, I have come back.
When I was seeing , listening to, or eating good things,
the very first thing that came to my mind was you, my family.
I would like to continue dreaming the same dreams with all of you."

Hehe, I think his act of mailing the postcard symbolized that it was sent to all our hearts, so sweet! He then began reading a poem from his book written by a monk where he learned about tea (p. 171). I was totally lost again even though he read it in Japanese. Afterwards Yong Joon went backstage, the MCs appeared and gave us instructions to make a little pouch with the colored bojagi cloth we had in our loot bag. FYI, when we entered through the Dome ticket gates, we each received a loot bag containing some promotional pamphlets and a colored handkerchief for waving. Haha, I guess that furoshiki lesson does have some use :) The MCs asked us to keep very quiet when Yong Joon came up again, then he would signal us to surprise him with our 45000 colorful bouquets.

Look at how curious he was wondering why it was so dark and quiet, hehe he usually is greeted with thunderous applause and cheers .....

hehe, thinking where were they all hiding?

Then all of a sudden, the light came back on and we cheered at the top of our lung and waved our little bojagi pouch with all our might, disregarding our arthritic shoulders and arms. That was quite an impressive scene inside the large Dome, you could imagine how touched and happy Yong Joon was. Haha, later Olivia told me the MC Miyamoto san joked that lucky he could only see the 45000 colorful floral bouquets and not the faces holding them. He was probably teasing about how 'not young' our faces are, haha so mean! I always have a good impression of Miyamoto san because he was the first Japanese TV interviewer of Yong Joon in 2004 and just love his sarcastic sense of humor :)

Next Yong Joon drew 10 ultra lucky fans who could receive a personal autographed book from him, so envious! Sigh, I knew I would not win since I didn’t even fill in my entry, I almost want to bang my head on the ground at that time! By now, we really didn’t know what kind of luck we were having, but were very fulfilled even if the show would just end this way because Yong Joon had spent so much 'alone' time with us already. What more could we ask for from the man we love? But NO, there’s more, not only more, he saved the best for last
! to be continued ........

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A week to cherish - III

Hi Hi sisters ........ it’s been a while, I hope you have been keeping well. I am embarrassed that this is a long overdue report but hope you are still interested in Yong Joon’s book event. On the morning of Sept 30, there was a BYJ Winter Sonata Anime Exhibition held in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro. A lot of our overseas sisters had planned to attend, but somehow I made a booboo and missed the boat, sob sob :( Back in summer 2007, I visited the Hallyu Expo in Tokyo Dome and saw the Winter Sonata display, so I sort of comforted myself that this would be similar. Heard that there were displays of some Anime sketches, Yong Joon’s figure and clothes, and more event merchandise for sale :

Hehe, recognize when and where Yong Joon wore these? Sorry, no prize :)
Still, I was happy at least I could join our overseas sisters for lunch before heading to the Dome. Today’s book event started at 4pm but the rain lingered on from last night, it made us extra awkward to maneuveur among the crowds carrying so many bags.

The set up of the stage remained the same as yesterday, they had replaced the sparkling trees around the center stage with a silk screen canopy of Korean foliage patterns, very poetic.

The event started with a video of Yong Joon’s journey around Korea in the past year. It took us to different masters and their respective arts. It was like a trip back in history showing us the traditional way of living in the remote mountains, villages and temples of Korea. Then the turntable in the center stage slowly rose up and no surprise, we saw Yong Joon again in less than 24 hours!

Our handsome prince was dashing in his dark suit, carrying his book in one hand, he looked formal and prudent. He greeted us with his usual gentle and warm smile, often holding the microphone close to his heart.

He proceeded to open up his book and started reading a paragraph - p. 257. From my Japanese version, I think it’s about Hwangryongsa-ji of Kyungju and his thoughts while admiring the thousand years old stone tower under the moonlit sky. As you can imagine, just looking at his elegant sitting posture, listening to his velvety voice echoing around the Dome and feeling his emotions, which language he spoke didn’t seem to be pivotal anymore. It’s his sincerity that led us to share his enthusiasm about the beauty of his country.

While we were still mesmerized with his voice, the next performance on Korean traditional dance was already underway. Hehe, usually I will skip any non-Yong Joon part. But the surprise factor in the middle of this act was a beat boxer and a break dancer came out and switched the beat to hip hop! I heard that this mix of traditional and techno was Yong Joon’s idea, very cool!

Next, the expected interview on Yong Joon and lacquer art master Jun Yong Bok by MC Miyamoto san and Kim Tei. As you know, Yong Joon is very respectful to his sensei, he kept looking at Mr. Jun like a son admiring his father. Before Mr. Jun left the stage, his advice to Yong Joon was to “allow yourself to loosen up”. He must have witnessed that extreme dedication and ‘perfectionist’ work attitude during his apprenticeship at Iwayama Urushi Art Museum.

I'd like to mention that I really like the MC Miyamoto san and Ms Kim Tei. Miyamoto san is very smart and has this quick wit, he commented that the revolving stage was like kaiten-zushi. Hehe of course, they were the zushi on the table. Ms Kim Tei always said what the fans like to hear, she responded quickly, then everyone would want to pick Yong Joon for sure :) We were very lucky to have fabulous MCs like them.

Then hanbok designer Lee Hyo Jae was introduced. Yong Joon personally walked over to help her up on stage, you can see Yong Joon is very attentive to this sensei. She is very shy and soft spoken, I thought her embroidered blouse and green pantaloon were kind of bohemian-looking. I later found out that Ms. Lee is also a lifestyle specialist who has great respects of her environment and tradition. The most drooling scene was Yong Joon modeled the bag that she tied using bojagi (furoshiki for Japanese). We cheered joyfully because he just walked like a pro on a catwalk, swinging the bag over his shoulder – looking incredibly sexy in his lanky figure!

Before Ms. Lee left, she commended Yong Joon's family that we have incredible judgement in supporting and loving him. To be continued …..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's he listening?

Hi Hi sisters ..... you have probably seen these pictures already. I don't know if this is a complete set, but I found the first 2 pictures in the Winter Sonata Anime Picture book that I bought at the Dome. I really like these pictures, he looks so adorable and youthful here :)

This isn't long hair, isn't short hair - hehe, maybe the intermittent length makes it easier for him to adjust?

You think he's recording for Winter Sonata Anime or just listening to his iPod? Dear Yong Joon, I hope you are always this happy and healthy :) Hehe, will write about the 'Beauty of Korea' Event soon, ok?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A week to cherish - II

Hi hi sisters ..... I was kind of hesitant about writing a full report on the Dome Events. First, thanks to all the heartfelt reactions and detailed reports this past week, I don't feel that my writeup can offer any value-add to whatever's been said. Second, seeing Yonsama this time around really felt like seeing an old friend again - calm & sweet, but no thunder or lightning striking my head. Third, drawing from last year's Osaka Premium Event, I learn not to have high expectation of much 'alone' time with Yong Joon among the presence of other performers. But once again, Yong Joon proved me wrong and showed us how much he treasured and loved his family.

The setup inside the Dome - there were 2 parts to the stage, the main stage where the orchestra was situated and the 2 giant snowmen as the backdrop (hehe of course, we had no idea at that time these gigantic balloons were the highlight of the show :)

A long runway extended to the center of the dome where a center stage was set up, surrounded by brightly-lit trees.

When Yong Joon appeared at the main stage under the sweet melody of Winter Sonata, we all screamed and cheered for our prince.

He looked so handsome in his short hair, so chic in that graduated 2-tone coat sweater.

He walked slowly and gallantly like a knight towards Choi Jiwoo, who also looked stunning waiting at the center stage. It seemed like MinHyung and Yujin came alive again after 7 years, they looked at each other, smiled and Yong Joon embraced her in his arms :)

We broke down and applauded again. For those fans who are captivated by Winter Sonata, this represents the dream couple with the purest and unselfish love. Hers is a Miu Miu, don't know much about his sweater though. Hehe, don't you think the colors of their outfits actually complemented each other?

Next, the formal interview of the 'voice' cast of the Anime

To be honest, the line of sight from my seat was blocked by the frame of the center stage and those sparkling trees, so I really could not see Yong Joon on the stage the whole time. But this didn't dampen my spirit at all, I felt grateful already that I was under the same roof as Yong Joon. The 2 interesting things that I heard during the interview were : Yong Joon pointed out that the girl actress kept referring him as ajussi, but CJW as unni; his expression was so cute :) And when the other actors were speaking in Japanese, poor Yong Joon said originally he had planned to speak in Japanese too, but he forgot it all when he suffered from a high fever. CJW joked that she didn't have a fever, but still she forgot her Japanese too! Sigh, I can relate to what they were saying, I forgot most of what I learned too after my anxiety attacks earlier this year :(

After the interview, Yong Joon and CJW re-appeared in their stunning black attire - him looking sexy in a black suit and her in a sparkly dress AND that infamous shocking pink super spiky heels! I guess this year's high heels prove to be a challenge even for chic, elegant actress/model like CJW. She seemed to have a little difficulty maneuvering her way through the slanted slopes on the runway. She instinctively held onto the strong arm of that perfect gentleman walking next to her, and we again cheered happily for this heartwarming scene.

By now, our Yong Joon had changed his eyeglasses too, from the thick dark frame to this softer tortoise shell frame. He looked so handsome and gentle @@
They performed the voice acting on stage based on the script which Yujin taught JunSang the way to make friends - walking one step at a time closer to others. Eventhough we have watched this scene 100 times, it's so wonderful to watch the facial expressions of CJW and Yong Joon saying those lines. You know at the end, Yong Joon even closed his eyes as if JunSang was enjoying the gentle breeze blowing to his face while riding on the bicycle :)

Now, the MCs had been mentioning to us about the BIG surprise. We really had no idea what we should be expecting. Even though Yong Joon going around the Dome like in Osaka did cross my mind, but people were still pacing back and forth in the main aisle, so what could the BIG surprise be? Suddenly, I saw the 2 big snowmen in the main stage started to rise slowly. Then it dawned on me that these were actually 2 hot air balloons, Yong Joon and CJW were going to float around the Dome to greet us! Everyone broke into loud cheers :)

The 2 balloons each moved in opposite directions, hehe of course 99.9% of the heads turned to our prince's side. We saw Yong Joon's balloon floated up & down & around, so all 3 levels of the audience got a fair chance to be close to him. Wherever the balloon was or whichever way Yong Joon turned, we would see commotions and cheers from that section. Yong Joon's balloon moved much slower than CJW's, the 2 balloons finally met at one point. Haha, we realized the idea was the snowmen balloons were supposed to kiss just like in Winter Sonata, how brilliant!

Seeing the tremendous love pouring out from the family, and how much Yong Joon was touched by it, I secretly wish that this moment could last forever. And you know what happened? The balloon really turned around and went again for the 2nd round! Omigosh, we really went wild at that time, he is just too good and considerate to us! It was not easy standing in that box, with half of his body exposing and being swayed back and forth. You see, the movement of that balloon was manually controlled by the 4 cables being pulled by 4 men on the ground (not as technically sophisticated as I thought)!

CJW was also very graceful and kept waving to the fans. When she passed over our section, she actually blew a kiss to us and we were overjoyed :) She really is a very stunning and elegant woman. Now it's Yong Joon's balloon which flew over us, I felt like my adrenaline was rushing through my whole body and my blood had shot up to my brain. I waved and cheered happily together with other sisters. It really didn't matter that he only saw us as a sea of faces below, it's our pure love and sincere hearts that we wanted to send up to him.

When the Event came to a close, Yong Joon and CJW appeared again. This time, CJW had switched into a pair of more-walkable grey high heels, but still they came out hand in hand and stood on the center stage ready to say goodbye. The turntable began to lower and lower, our cute Yong Joon kept making the hand signal to raise the platform back up! He looked so happy and relieved when the platform went up again :) Maybe this time we did have the luxury of seeing Yong Joon again the next day, I was very content and happy when the event ended. See, how many times can we afford to say "See you tomorrow, Yong Joon!" It was windy and drizzling outside the Dome, I was hungry and exhausted, but I looked up the dark sky and was very grateful for what was given to me today :)

.... to be continued