Jul 29, 2006

At Brokore Land....

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The hand print of the "king" will be exhibited from Aug.1

.... and don't miss this!
(pic courtesy of tomato! Thanks tomato!)

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Jul 25, 2006

From Kim Tei-ssi’Report on Gosireh

(Kim Tei-ssi was the MC for the "Gosireh" Opening Press Conference.)

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Yong Joon-san seemed a bit thinner perhaps due to the preparations for the new drama, but he was very handsome as always!

Although the exterior still needs some work, the interior is absolutely magnificent! It is like a first class hotel, very stylish. The walls and ceilings have beautiful Korean patterns on them.

Dinner was served after the press conference – the food tasted refined and brought out the best in the ingredients. As for the table ware, the curves gave a very warm feeling giving us a faint reminder of the beauty of the past.

I heard that the art director of “Untold Scandal” Chung Gu Ho designed everything from the interior of the restaurant to the furnishings, tableware, and even the uniforms.

The costume I wore today was the uniform for Gosireh.

I think one can spend a moment of beauty in this restaurant.

(For more pictures, go to http://www.alc.co.jp/korea/culture/tei/index.html)

Jul 24, 2006

[Report] "Gosireh" Opening Press Conference

From Brokore Entertainment Information
Report “Gosireh” Opening Press Conference

On July 23, a press conference announcing the opening of the traditional Korean cuisine restaurant “Gosireh” (location- Siroganedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, scheduled for opening on August 10) was held, attracting the keen attention of 60 people from the press. A “kosa” ceremony praying for the safety and success of the restaurant was also held on this day with the attendance of Bae Yong Joon-san.

A little after 4 p.m. the press conference began with Kim Tei-san (note: IMX artist and MC at the “April Snow” Reunion event) acting as MC.

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First, Sohn Il Hyong, President of IMX, made a speech saying, “I hope “Gosireh” will come to be recognized as the finest restaurant that serves Korean cuisine in Japan. Your support will be appreciated.”
Following this, the President of Smart Kitchen and Director of A-Kitchen (operating body of “Gosireh”), Chung Kyeon Geon explained the concept of the restaurant, “the spirit of hospitality” and Professor Han Bok Jin who served as food advisor offered his explanation on the menu.

According to President Sohn, the staff held many tasting events and spent a year before the menu was finalized. The food does not contain artificial ingredients of any kind such as MSG;a point Bae Yong Joon-san who participated in the project from the development of the concept strongly insisted on. They offer food which includes ingredients which is gentle to the body such as Platycodi Radix and Codonopsis lanceolata (translator’s note; don’t quote me on these names!!!!) – wild vegetables and traditional Chinese medicine unique to Korea which can rarely be obtained in Japanese supermarkets.

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When asked whether Bae Yong Joon-san plans to visit the restaurant regularly, the president answered, “He would probably like to, but because it would cause unpleasantness for the neighbors in the vicinity if his visits cause confusion, I hope that he would limit his visits to about once a year. I will do my best to report on how things are going as frequently as possible.” On this day too, there were many fans crowing the vicinity even though his visit was not announced.

When Bae Yong Joon-san appeared in front of the guests to perform the “kosa” praying for the safety and success of the restaurant, the flash from the cameras of the press went off at once, and the air was charged with a certain amount of excitement although the atmosphere was solemn.

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Bae Yong Joon-san was dressed in a black suit with a white tie, wore rimless glasses and had his hair tied in a loose ponytail. His appearance gave the impression of being a bit sharper than the time he visited Japan last August. With the unchanging gentle smile of his, he gave the following speech.

“Hello, everyone. I am Bae Yong Joon.
It has been a while since the last time I have seen you, and I am very pleased to be given the opportunity to say hello to you on this occasion. I am very grateful that all of you are showing such strong interest in this restaurant.

I would be most happy if “Gosireh”, which I have the pleasure of introducing to you today, will serve as a place for cultural exchange in Asia through the introduction of Korean culture.

“Gosireh” is a small starting point in introducing the food culture which is a part of our basic clothing, food and housing culture. The word “Gosireh” indicates the act which was performed in the old days to express appreciation towards God who gave his blessings with rain which is so essential for the crops, and also the act of offering the first bite of the meal. It was my wish to introduce to you the taste and flavor of Korean cuisine with the same feelings of appreciation and sincerity.

I hope to continue to introduce Korean culture to Japan, and the wonderful culture of Japan to Korea in a similar fashion. Moreover, it is my intention to make continuous efforts in participating in projects which will have a positive influence on cultural exchange in Asia. During this trip, I am very sorry for not being able to meet with my family who always show me such support and affection. I will present myself in my best form through my work, so I would like to ask you to wait. Again, I would like to express my appreciation towards everyone who kindly came to this event. I wish you all of you much happiness and good health.”

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After the speech, the “kosa” for the safety and success of “Gosireh” was performed.
Placed in front of a pedestal holding rice, azuki bean cake, fish (dried cod), pork, water, rice, apples, persimmons, jujube, chestnuts, and pears, is a container holding rice with a pine leaf standing in it and a pot containing liquor. The person performing the ritual bows twice on the mat in front of the pedestal, pressing his forehead on the ground.
A “kosa” is a common ceremony in Korea, performed in such occasions as the start of the filming of a movie or drama by all members of staff and cast participating in the work.
At the photo session after the ceremony, Bae Yong Joon-san gave the brightest of his smiles as if he was relieved that he was able to perform the ceremony smoothly.

Though the time was short, the soft and warm aura of Bae Yong Joon-san enveloped the venue, and with his aura still lingering in the air, the ceremony came to a close. “Gosireh” the traditional Korean cuisine restaurant in which Bae Yong Joon-san served as the general advisor is scheduled for opening on August 10! How about going to the restaurant yourself to taste the Korean food that he feels so passionately about?

Jul 23, 2006

"Gosireh" Press Conference

The Opening of "Gosireh" Press Conference

On July 23, a press conference was held at the
traditional Korean cuisine restaurant "Gosireh".

A ceremony called "kosa" was also held on the occasion,
with the attendance of Bae Yong Joon-san.

Jul 21, 2006

From AERA July 24th Edition Part 2

Kissing a Life Size Panel of Him

After lunch, it was time to enjoy the exhibit. One had to wear white gloves (like a clerk at Hermes) when turning over the pages of the file of works or photo albums. Some even had gloves with Yon-sama’s photo printed on them.

A housewife living in Tokyo (age 66) who exhibited her pencil drawings said, “Yong Joon-san is always on my mind, and I am just so happy when I am drawing.”.

People tend to excel in things they enjoy doing. She claims that it has only been a few months since she began drawing him, but even his sorrowful smile is expressed impressively with delicate touches. Recently, she has started to post her drawings on fan sites abroad, and enjoys communicating with “Yon-tomos” (friends made through Yong Joon) from many countries including France, Egypt, Myanmar, and Mexico with the help of a dictionary.

For those who want to take a commemorative picture with Yon-sama, there is a life size panel of him. Downloading a photograph from the promotion of the film “Untold Scandal” in which Yon-sama is kissing actress Lee Mi Sook, a member enlarged it and pasted it on cardboard. However, though no offense is meant to Ms. Lee, her face is cut from the photo. The fans each take turns peeking through the hole, and “Smile!”

Just around the time “Winter Sonata” was aired on NHK’s land broadcast in 2004, “yonfluenza” became an epidemic among women, most of them in their middle age or higher. When Yon-sama made his first visit to Japan in April of 2004, approximately 5000 fans rushed to Haneda Airport to see him, and this became a social phenomena.

However, he has not made an official visit here since last August, and there has been no new works done by him after the film “April Snow” which was released last fall. News coverage on him has decreased substantially, and it seems as if the boom has left.

The Total Amount of Energy Generated Has Not Decreased

But watching the excitement of the fan gathering mentioned in the beginning of this article, one senses that this is no ordinary affair. The enthusiasm of the fans has not changed in the least.

Advertising copywriter Ms. Junko Matsuyama (40) found herself swept away in this storm, and ended up writing a book called “The Bae Yong Joon Theory” which features her analysis on the passionate feelings of his “family”. According to her, “those who went crazy over him just by his looks alone have left, so the number of fans may have decreased. But the total amount of energy generated by us has not changed since the passion of each fan has actually gotten deeper. Yon-sama has taught us Japanese women to shine in our lives as “an individual”, and not only as a wife or mother. We have discovered the happiness of connecting with people, the joy of pursuing our curiosity, and the importance of developing ourselves no matter how old we are. The fans sublimate what we have learned from him in our daily lives, and deepen our love for him even more”.

For Matsuyama-san, too this was the first time she ever wrote a book. Her strong urge to explain her feelings towards Yon-sama to people who are not his fans, motivated her to write this long piece. In March, she launched her own blog on Yon-sama as well. There are days when her hit counter shows as many as 4000 visitors. Before we met for this interview, she asked her readers the following question: What changed in your life through your encounter with Yon-sama? Some of the answers:

“I have become capable of holding true feelings of kindness towards others.”
“I have a better relationship with my mother-in-law.”
“I started to sponsor a child in a developing country.”
“I was able to overcome subarachnoid hemorrhage.”

She received lengthy responses from approximately 80 people in just two days, and she confirmed her belief that the “family” was converting their passion towards Yon-sama into various forms of energy.

Ms. Tomoko Wada (70) who lives in Kanagawa Prefecture is one of them. Ever since she became captivated by “Winter Sonata”, she has visited Korea about 30 times. In the beginning, her activities consisted of things like participating in fan meetings and taking tons of pictures at places where “Winter Sonata” was shot. After awhile, she became friends with the tour guide, and started to build a personal relationship with her. Thereafter, she made trips to Korea regardless of Yon-sama.

Now, she has many friends in Seoul who call her “onma” (mother). Last year, she invited a Korean friend to her home, and they went on a trip to an onsen together. In late June, she even attended a wedding of the daughter of a friend.

A Donation of more than 15 Million Yen

Ms. Wada claims, “I was not one to use cell phones, but now I have two – one for Japan and one for Korea.”

Around the time “Winter Sonata” started on TV, her husband had just passed away – she had nursed him for six and half years. She did not how to enjoy herself. Due to the influence of the age she was brought up, Korea was the country “she disliked the most”. But with the motivation of wanting to know more about Yon-sama, she naturally became more active. Once she came to know the country, she was free from the prejudices.

Due to the age limit, she had to give up her dream of enrolling in a short term language program in Korea, but she has no problems in exchanging greetings in Korean, and she is able to grasp the meaning of most conversations. Now, her activities in connecting with Korea, is like a lifework for her.

“I will take my grandchild to Korea for the first time this summer.”

Satovic-san, a woman who works for a medical institution has extended her passion for Yon-sama to charity activities.

“Abroad, charity events initiated by fans are not unusual at all. I thought it would be great if we could do it here in Japan, too,” she said.

When she called out to her friends in the internet fan site she leads, many members volunteered to help out as staff. On such occasions as Yon-sama’s birthday which is August 29, and Valentine’s Day, they held events like DVD screenings, and art exhibits of works inspired by Yon-sama. They collected donations during these events by placing a box in the room, and also called at to the members who were not able to attend.

Through these activities, the donations collected to date amounts to more than 15 million yen. The site has made donations to the relief efforts for the Niigata Earthquake and Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami (Yon-sama himself offered his aid to both of these disasters), and also to the scholarship foundation founded by the parents of a Korean named Lee Soo Hyun who died in his effort of trying to rescue a man who fell off the platform at Shin Okubo Station.

The activity reports of such events are all posted on the board and translated into Korean, English and Chinese. She hopes that such efforts would lead to building better relationships with other Asian countries where politics tends to create tension. She claims that they are always able to find skilled members who are willing to take on these translation tasks when she calls out to them on the site. Satovic-san looks at it this way.

“I think everyone had the desire to do something that would be of help to others, but just never had the chance. Perhaps the love for Yon-sama released these feelings in a natural way.”

The Japan Yon-Yon Gakkai (Academic Conference)

In a rehabilitation room of a clinic in Matsuyama city (in Shikoku), about 50 people – patients and their families – gathered for the second “Winter Sonata” Concert. The initiator of this event is the wife (45) of the owner of the clinic. While she talked with the patients when she was working at the reception counter, she discovered that elderly patients who had nothing they enjoyed in their lives, were smiling happily when they talked about Yon-sama and “Winter Sonata”.

“I’ve never planned anything like this before, but I felt motivated by the power my other Yon-tomos (friends) had.”

Some patients shed tears of joy listening to the music. She feels that she no longer has the kind of urge to fly to Tokyo to get a glimpse of him when he is in Japan, but her love for him has not changed.

To top things off, they now even have a “Yon-Yon Gakkai (academic conference)”. The theme of this event is to analyze the charms of Yon-sama and the reasons why people are attracted to him. A staff of this meeting, Ms. Keiko Ichihasi (53) who is a nurse talked about how this group came about.

“I was really surprised when I discovered that so many of the Yon-tomos are well-educated people. I thought it would be interesting if we had the opportunity to put our ideas together and made presentations in front of an audience. It would be different from the informal conversations we have at fan gatherings”.

On the second of this month, 90 members of the family assembled for the first conference which was held in Kyoto. The title of one of the opening presentations was “Yong Joon Kazoku (family) Categorized in Nine Groups”. Here are some of the categories - “Chaser type” for members who can’t help chasing after him, “Collector type” for people who are into collecting Yon-sama goods, “Information Searcher type” for fans that sit in front of the PC all day in search for information on him. Another family made a presentation in Korean (she learned after becoming his fan), on the process of how her feelings changed after she became captivated by “Winter Sonata”, and another presenter analyzed a fan fiction, “Sequel to Winter Sonata”.

Later, guest lecturer Professor Tatsuru Uchida of Kobe College who claims to be a “Winter Sonata” fan, presented an philosophical analysis intertwining the plot of the drama with his views of life and death.

To conclude this article, I would like to introduce the professor’s comment on this conference which he posted in his own blog:

“I cannot recall seeing presentations so rich in criticism and humor as the ones I saw today in a long time. The people here do not possess base motives such as trying to gain intellectual pride, demean theories posed by others, or show off their knowledge. All of them give their intellectual and emotional resources up to the fullest in the quest of “how to extract maximum pleasure out of each of their unique Bae Yong Joon experience”.


Here is the photo of the contents of this issue.

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It’s a picture of the luncheon mat mentioned in part 1 AND….
Something look familiar?
Yes, it’s the drawing by “pallet”!!

She was also quoted in the article. Guess which one!



Here are some photos of the "BYJ's BAR" mentioned in this article.
(I would like to thank the staff of the BAR for their kind
permission to post them here.)


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Souvenirs !

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The end! Till next time!

Jul 18, 2006

Article from AERA July 24th Edition

This is the latest issue of AERA (a popular magazine in Japan published by Asahi Shimbun).
I would like to share an article from this issue
that deals with our family. Enjoy!

(a portion of this article was translated by Joanne in QUILT. No. 10153)

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Behold – The dramatic evolution of BYJ’s fans

Yon-sama’s Family is HOT as ever

People who have not been swept away by the charms of BYJ have already forgotten the “Yon-sama Boom".
But things are not so with his “family”.
They are busying themselves with activities such as Japan-Korea exchange, charity events, academic conferences etc.
Take a look at the deep and passionate world of these fans.

By Keiko Kimura
(translated by flowerbossa)

Once I went through the door, I found myself in the world of Yon-sama.

The walls were covered with posters of Yon-sama’s films and commercials, along with blown up copies of photos from magazines. On exhibit, were oil paintings and drawings inspired by him. On the tables too, hand made goods with Yon-sama’s photos embedded in them were being displayed.

Time: June 29. Place Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo). In a party venue in Korean Town, “BYJ Bar”, one of Yon-sama’s fan sites had its Tokyo gathering. Approximately 90 women, (the majority of them in their 40s) assembled on that day. According to one of the leaders of the site, Ms. Megumi Uematsu (age 49), they were forced to reject many members, “due to the capacity of the venue” and had a waiting list for people who wanted to participate.

The site itself has approximately 3000 members from all over Japan registered as “family” (Yon-sama’s fans are called thus). This day was set for members to get together to share their passionate feelings with fellow family. Among the participants, there were those who created “works of art” out of their overflowing love for him. These were what were put on display in that room.
At the opening of the event, a video was shown on the screen. This valuable video was taken by a member called “paun”-san (52) who was able to catch Yon-sama at the airport in Jejudo last March.

“Oh my!!!”
“He’s so cute !!!!”

Some waved at the screen, some were on a verge of tears from excitement, and others just stared at the screen dazed… But before one could cool down, someone called out,
“Pae go pa yo (I’m hungry)!”

It’s time for lunch – pul-kogi and a Korean rice dish was served. At each seat, there was a place mat and a small bag for chopsticks with a collage of Yon-sama printed on them. This was made by one of the staffs of this group who had both designed and printed every one of them using her own PC and printer. Everyone put them away in their bags before they ate, in order to avoid spilling anything on them.

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(caption: All the souvenirs are handmade. "I couldn't possibly drink with this mug.
It would make my heart flutter!" says a participant.

The souvenirs everyone took home were handmade also. There was an original mug which made use of white mugs sold in 100 yen shops (a store in which the price for everything sold there is 100 yen), and had photos of Yon-sama pasted on them which were scanned from the internet and magazines and printed on waterproof material. As for the chewing gum that was given away, the wrappers were again original items with a picture of him printed on them: product name, “Yon My Gum”, ingredients, “passion and love”, expiry date, “as long as love lasts”. Ingenious!

“The PC skills of fans who have fallen head over heels over Yong Joon-san have improved dramatically. For these people, creating things out of images they downloaded from the internet is a piece of cake,” explained Uematsu-san.

(to be continued)

Jul 17, 2006

Yon-sama Gekijo

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I am sure many of you have heard about the book “Yon-sama Gekijo (Yon-sama Theater)” written by our sister satovic. With her kind permission I will translate the final chapter of this book –
“Act Yon (four) Love forever – A Journal by a Straw Millionaire”.

Yon-sama Theater
Written by: satovic
Published by: SOFTBANK Publishing,
June 20, 2005
(Translation: flowerbossa)

Act Yon (four)
Love forever
A Journal by a Straw Millionaire

Act Yon (four)

Love forever
A Journal by a Straw Millionaire

I, satovic, an ultra realist fell in love with a prince. I finally came to realize that the only way out of this was to “be a mad fan, until I get sick it”. Oh, but how I cherish the happy days I spent with my lovable friends. Marveling at the wonders of the PC among other things, I look back on the year packed with “Bae Yong Joon”.

Act Yon (four) Scene One

☆ The World is waiting for Yon-sama!

* Acting like a groupie for the first time in my life

I know this is a dream, but I don’t want to wake up from it, I want to keep on dreaming forever- that was the feeling I had through out the year. I knew that a magic spell had been cast on me, but please let me keep on living in this state…. I couldn’t believe that I of all people would have such irrational thoughts. You know why? I am a hard-core realist. Enough to make myself sick. I’m the type of person that thinks, “what’s the use of having waxed fruit around the house- you can’t eat it!” So, when I ended up going head over heals over someone I would never able to meet, let alone have the chance to be friends with, I couldn’t believe myself.

But… surprise! It feels great! Oh, how my heart beats just to watch him. I want to know all about him, I want to talk about him. It’s so hard for me to admit this… but yes, this must be love, right?

Oh, but you can’t get yourself into this! But I do so want to see him! OK, so you see him, what next? Get his autograph, shake his hand, and that’s the end of it. You’re probably just one out the hundreds of fans he sees everyday… yeah, my mind knows all that, but what does that have to do with it?! I JUST WANT TO MEET HIM, SET MY EYES ON HIM, HEAR HIS VOICE! I don’t care if it doesn’t make any sense; I just want to see him period!

Just what is he like? It was late in December 2003, when I opened my PC and typed the name I just learned in the search window. Bae Yong Joon… Here we go… Boy oh boy, incredible! There were already thousands of websites on Yong Joon-san, and they were from all over Asia. The richly colored Taiwan site had loads of images from his dramas and commercials and I just had my eyes glued to the screen!

Up till then, my use of the PC was limited to work and sending mail to friends. So, when I was able to see his interview on the website NHK had for “Winter Sonata”, I was excited as a caveman who first saw fire. “Wow, PC is GREAT!!” ….um, a reaction that’s a bit late for someone who’s been using it for so many years…

By exploring the links the websites offered, I eventually encountered an English site called “BYJ’s Quilt”. The site was packed with information on him including photos and VODs, and the more I read about him, it made me marvel and think - “what a great guy!” This man respected his fans, was deeply considerate towards those around him, and behaved in a noble way as if he took pleasure in giving to others. He also worked hard to do his best as a professional, and he was shy… I wanted to know everything about him, and I wanted to act in the same way he did.

“Oooh, so he’s an early riser. He goes to bed by 12:50. Okay, I’ll get up early, and go to bed early, too!” Gosh, I’m acting like a kid. How is it different from saying, “Ultraman brushes his teeth, so I’m gonna brush my teeth, too”? I can’t help but laugh at myself, but if I can be a good girl by having Yong Joon-san as my model, what have I got to lose?

☆ “Bae Yong Joon Press Service” – a great provider of information 

The official Japanese site was closed at the time, so I thoroughly immersed myself in this English site called “Quilt”. The language used here was English alright, but because the fans here were mainly Asians, it was not that hard to comprehend. In fact, it was really easy! There, people used “ur” for “you are”, and “4u” for “for you”, and lots of other puzzle-like abbreviations – once I figured these out, I somewhat felt like I was part of the club. Since the days of online service ten years ago, I had actually been living in this world connected by phone lines, but I never thought of participating in a community or message boards like these. My attitude was, “what’s so fun about talking to someone you can’t even see? It’s a world for nerds!” Now, just who would have imagined a world as exciting as this?”

In “Quilt”, the “Bae sisters” (we call each other “sisters” – like a convent, huh?) from places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, China, Canada, and America all through balls of information and jokes to one another. And with what speed!

When Yong Joon-san’s Asian Tour started in March of 2004, these sisters gave us information on him in a timely manner. Attaching photos and VODs, we were able to know just what he did, what he said, and how fabulous he was that day. When the local television and newspapers reported on him, articles were scanned immediately, and news programs were delivered as VODs. This was like a “Bae Yong Joon Press Service”! The messages he delivered in Korean were promptly translated into English, and from there, sisters translated them into Cantonese, Mandarin, and Thai so that his comments spread throughout Asia. The speed of our service may not meet the standards of Reuter, but it probably beats ITAR-TASS!

What amazes me the most about all this is that everything is done without compensation. Only out of kind feelings of wanting to “share with others”, fans provided service matching that of professional press agencies, with no one taking charge. It was all done voluntarily and laconically. One only tended to matters in their element, and left other tasks to fellow fans. This is why everything went so smoothly. What then, can I do? If and when Yong Joon-san comes to Japan, I wanted to show my appreciation to my Asian sisters!

Comes April, his first visit to Japan! NOW, is the time, but I am at loss when it comes to uploading photos and Vods on the site. So, I came up with the idea of writing a report on his stay in Japan from the viewpoint of a fan, and posted them on Quilt everyday. I hated English composition, but I didn’t have to mind too much about the grammar, I could write in Asian English, and it was probably better than nothing… Thus, I wrote these reports in a casual manner.

☆ Happily, I wrote away

The reaction to my report was astonishing. There was hardly any information from Japan, so within a few hours after posting my report on Quilt, it was translated into Korean and posted on KOB. My god, my writings were transformed into Hangul! Two hours later, a Chinese version was attached to it:

勇浚訪日日記第一天 9:00am

(I could not decide whether to go to the airport to meet him, or to go to the hotel.)

Wow, this was something! To think that this report was going to be read
by fans all over the vast land of China… I was overwhelmed. I could
hear the music of the NHK documentary program “Silk Road” ringing in
my head.

I tried putting the Korean version on the translator to see what kind of translation it would give me in Japanese. As a result, I could understand about 80 percent, but the remaining 20 percent was so messed up that it was hilarious. The “Bae” in his name was translated into homonyms like “stomach” and “ship”, so in English, it ended up like this:

“Stomach Yongzun-nim Journal of the First Day in Japan 9:00 am
I was confused surowannida whether to go meet him in airport or kaya in New Otani Hotel.”

I was further encouraged by the thank you comments from the “Bae
sisters” around the world. I thought, “hey, I can do it!” I had always
dreaded English composition so much, but now I was writing away happily!
To tell the truth, I had gone to the New Otani Hotel on the day he arrived in Japan, but there were so many people in front of me that I was not able to see him. And to think that he was walking only 10 meters ahead of me…

The Korean flag, Taegeukgi, was fluttering at the entrance of the hotel. Yong Joon-san got off the black limousine that sled into the pathway, and smiling, walked past the people waiting for him at the front lobby, and disappeared into the elevator. The whole thing took about one minute. But the mere thought that “Bae Yong Joon was actually right in front of me” made my heart pound faster. The person who saw him up close in the front row was screaming, “I don’t need photographs! Absolutely not! He had such a small face, long legs, and was 100 times better looking in person!” Ohh, if I had come just an hour earlier…

When I got on the elevator with people who had been around me, someone said, “oh, this is the elevator Yong Joon had got on!” everyone in the elevator screamed “AHHH!” in joy. I couldn’t believe myself, this was SO ridiculous! For god’s sake, I’m not a school girl you know, but I couldn’t help being happy! I was embarrassed for being so overjoyed, but I couldn’t stop smiling. Alright, I might as well make a fool out of myself until I get tired of it. The word “groupie” had not existed in my dictionary up till now, but now it became a part of my life; and thus with people like myself around the world, I came to develop a great relationship – very much like a straw millionaire.

☆ Don’t You Have to Go Sightseeing?

I was not able to obtain the tickets for the fan meeting that was held in the Shibuya Kokaido Public Hall the next day. Standing in the cold rain outside the hall for many hours, I gathered comments from people as they came out of the meeting, and posted them on Quilt. But I didn’t know what to do from the next day, so at the end of the posting, I added, “if you have any information, please contact me”. From this, I received a message from an unexpected place. A member from the “Joon’s Family” in Singapore sent me an e-mail letting me know the cell phone number of the members visiting Tokyo. These fans were invited to the fan meeting from Yong Joon-san’s manager. Being simple-minded, I thought, “Any guest of Yong Joon’s is my guest, too!”, and immediately decided to become their guide.

We agreed to meet by the express bus terminal in Shinjuku (Tokyo). When I got there, I saw a group of 4 people looking around, holding up a big facial portrait of Yong Joon-san’s face. Um, yes… yes, it IS a beautiful picture of him, but even I was embarrassed to approach them…. But I immediately became close to these fans whose age ranged from 20 to 50.

I asked them, “Where would you like to go? Would you like to see the traditional sights of Japan like Asakusa? Would you like to go shopping? Or, do you want to go to Korea Town?” Instantly, all of them replied, “Korea Town!” “Oh… are you sure? This IS Japan, you know. Don’t you want to see Japan at all?” “Kenchana, kenchana! We want to go to Korea Town to buy YJ’s magazines.”

I must say, the symptoms of this disease were quite universal!
I tried asking the same questions I asked to the Japanese fans in front of the Hotel New Otani and Shibuya Kokaido. “Have you ever been a big-time fan of anyone before Yong Joon?”

The answer was, NO. It was the same as the Japanese fans. Ninety percent of the people never had the experience of acting like a groupie or going head over heals over a star, and even if they did, it was since the days of being a Beatles fan. Most of them had always thought, “I can’ believe people who chase stars around – such low taste”, and looked down on them. So, this was a first for all of us.

There are other traits Yong Joon-san’s fans have in common. Many of us have taken on new challenges with a positive attitude, like buying a PC for the first time with the desire of getting to know him better, learning Korean, or starting to play the piano. It was the same with our Singapore friends. They, too, have started leaning Korean, tackled the PC… One of them said this.

“I used to hate traveling. Any kind of trip, with friends, or even with my family. But guess what? This is my fourth overseas trip this year! Can you believe it?”
This fan tagged along with Yong Joon’s Asian tour to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. And his schedule is never finalized until the last minute. With this Japan tour, too, it was Friday evening that she received a phone call from his manager. These ladies then negotiated with their bosses to take time off from work, reserved flight tickets, convinced their families, and flew to Japan to participate in the fan meeting that was held on Sunday. What energy!! She laughed joyfully, “I can’t believe it either!”

Just what is it about Bae Yong Joon that changes the minds of the people so? Even from the viewpoint of behavioral science, it can be called amazing power. The five of us talked on and on about such things, and enjoyed ourselves like we had been friends for a long time.

☆ Tracing His Airplane in the Sky

On Yong Joon’s official Japanese site, however, a heated debate was going on about these ladies attending the fan meeting. There was a posting that claimed, “It is unforgivable that these foreign fans were able to attend the meeting when we Japanese had such a hard time obtaining tickets”.

I thought, “Hey, why be so narrow-minded! If Yong Joon is saying that these are his guests, what’s the problem?!” In reality, the Japanese site had just re-opened a few days before his trip to Japan was decided, and even with matters such as the ways of greeting him, people argued: “We should not go to the airport”, “No, we should!”, “Don’t wait for him to come out of the hotel”, “Let’s refrain from seeing him off” etc. etc. The board was full of highly heated arguments on the most trivial issues.

But, immediately after Yong Joon-san’s comment that thanked the fans was posted on the site on the evening of April 7, the mood changed completely as if magical spell had been cast. Everybody started to write messages full of love to him.

“Thank you for coming to Japan.”
“Thank you for a wonderful time – it was like a dream.”
“Thank you for your love.”

Pages and pages of messages filled with appreciation like these were posted all night long until the following morning. So many people tried to access the site, that it was impossible to open it. In the end, 773 messages were posted by 6 am, and the site was overflowing with love. When I saw this, tears welled up in my eyes, and I couldn’t stop crying. Hey, was I always a mushy person like this? It seemed like I was easily reduced to tears ever since meeting Yong Joon…The affectionate words of love delivered in many pages was like a red carpet woven for the event of his return to his own country.

Although Yong Joon had requested in his message, “please see me off in your hearts”, approximately 600 fans gathered at the airport. But the majority of fans saw him off in their own hearts; in the office, in one’s own home, school, or shop. And some of us witnessed him up in the sky, and made postings on the board.

“His plane just went past my house, and flew toward Hokuriku.”
“Yes. I was able to see him from Otsu! He just went over Hieizan and is headed north west.”
“This is Hokuriku. The plane flew from the east and his headed west. I was not able to move until it disappeared over the mountains.”

How we all searched for he bronze plane of Asiana Air Lines in the blue sky. The fans traced the airplane track and prayed in their hearts, “Please let him go back safely. And please come back again! Arigato, Yong Joon”. From east to west, from longitude to longitude, fans from all over Japan relayed the prayers for Yong Joon. And the fan living in the very west end of Japan, Nagasaki, wrote in the end. “How I wish I were a bird, for I would be able to fly after his wings…”

Six wild days – this is how it ended. After Yong Joon left, I discovered that not only had I not cooled down, my fever was worse than ever. And a few weeks later, an envelope that arrived from Singapore became the seed of the straw millionaire. More on this story, later.

Act Yon (Four) Scene Two

Bombing the Board with Jokes and Strategy for Compiling a Manual

☆ Could it be a spell? Lines after Lines of “KOB”

When “Winter Sonata” was aired by ground-based broadcasting just at the same time Yong Joon-san was visiting Japan, the Japanese Official Board (JOB) attracted an enormous number of people who were making their very first attempt at opening the PC, wanting to know all about this man. Because these newcomers did not have a clue on how to use the board, they indiscriminately made postings stating, “Please help”. On top of these, there were some who made use of the board by posting personal messages like “Dear so and so”, only to have others criticize them. The JOB turned into a place where people exchanged brutal comments, and it seemed like someone was always complaining about someone or something.

In real life, we usually try to read the other person’s true intentions not just by the words they speak, but also by their expressions and tone of voice. Turning to a world where we are only able to rely on written words, once we become tangled up with these words, it can only evolve into a mess. I came to realize that once people started to get emotional, the situation was beyond repair. Some tried to intervene, but it only made matters worse. There were others that patiently tried to answer the questions raised by the novice fans. But it became clear to me that this too, was useless, after I encountered a strange thread on the board. The thread read, “Please teach me how I can see the Korean official The thread read, “Please tell me how to reach the Korean official site.” What I saw on the screen were lines after lines of the same phrase that seemed like a spell – “Korean official site”, “Korean official site”, “Korean official site”… What could this be? And when I finally realized what was going on, I laughed so hard that I almost fell off my chair.

The JOB has a “search” function – when you type in a keyword in the small window for SEARCH and click the button next to it, we are able to see only the threads containing the keyword. Because many people asked for advice on how to access the KOB everyday, the first person who read this thread replied, “If you type ‘Korean official site” in the window, you will be able to find many threads that will contain answers to this question.” But from what I can guess, for a person who is new to the world of PCs, they probably were not able to distinguish a “Search window” from a comment section. This person no doubt typed “Korean official site” in the “comment section”, but because he or she could not get it right, they probably repeated the same action over and over…thus ended up getting a page full of responses entitled “Korean official site”. So, that’s it - this person was trying to SEARCH something!

Satovic Theater

After laughing my head off, I immediately started to think. Teaching novice PC users in this way seemed like an endless task. What we needed was a basic manual… But if I were to make such a suggestion, it would no doubt become another issue for debate. Before stating my opinion, I needed to create an environment where people would listen to me. So, what would be a good way?
I then decided to embark on an operation of throwing joke bombs on the JOB. If it was funny, people will be more at peace reading my thread and it should not become a cause for a conflict. Moreover, when people see my postings in the future, they would think, “I want to read this one because it’s written by HER”. So, this is what I came up with. I promptly made a “How Severe is your Bae Yong Joon Fever?” test, in the old “News Station Friday Edition” style (translator’s note – this test was a popular series in the program “News Station”), and posted it on the board.

* Have you become sensitive to hear numbers such as 40 (reads yon-ju in Japanese), 42 (yon-juni), 43 (yon-jusan) and 47 (yon-ju-nana).

 Do you have a tendency to mix Korean phrases like “Kre” and “Miane” in your daily conversation?

 Have you bought a white turtle-neck sweater for your husband, knowing very well that it would not fit him?

 Do you feel a sense of relief when you find that the “Winter Sonata” videos are being lent in your local video store?
(You are sensitive to the popularity of the videos.)

 Do you feel meaninglessly happy when you walk by a Korean barbecue restaurant? (Anything related to Korea becomes a cause for happiness!)

 Have you ever been excited to see the title, “Kureyon Shin-chan” in the TV guide? (Translator’s note - “Kureyon Shin-chan” is a popular children’s cartoon)

So, the test I shared based on the funny things that happened to me after becoming a Yong Joon fan turned out to be a astonishing hit. In those days, a posting collecting 3000 hits was considered a good one, but mine attracted over 5000, and it also received 60 responses.

Regarding the results, I set the diagnosis for this test as follows:

A. Low-grade fever
B. Hyperthermia
C. Addiction
D. No hope

In the responses, people happily wrote things like, “My level was D, it’s too late!” or “I must go to Seoul to cure it”. OH, I was so relieved! I was by no means the only one who had come down with this fever. There was even a fan who claimed that the conversation she heard on the street sounded like Korean to her. I can’t talk. Witnessing the same symptoms, my husband also accused me of being “Bae crazy”.

I suffered from a stomachache just from reading these responses. There were kids who gave ephemeral names to their beetles and goldfish like “Chan-Woo” and “Jaeho”. Other families had fun in other ways: a husband who was asked his age answered “(Bae) “Yon-ju” roku (46)”, when his wife said “My son is Choi Ji Woo-hachi (18)”.

I was so pleased with the outcome of my effort, that I decided to use the board to entertain my fellow fans, and named my postings “Satovic Theater.”

☆ Receiving Great Responses to the “Sang Hyuk” Test

It seemed like I wasn’t the only one among the people who made postings that felt the same way. Previously on the JOB, we were able to upload music and photos, but just around this time, this became no longer possible for the purpose of “copyright protection”. The fans from the sites overseas said to us, “A board that can’t use music or photos is no fun at all”. But I thought it was possible to come up with something interesting even with just words. People like me put in all kinds of ideas to cook up something fun to read. Great people come out in times of adversity. Many people recall that a simple dumpling they ate in post-war times was the best thing they ever tasted – I shared a similar sentiment. To me, those were the best times at the JOB.

Anyway, I tried writing funny things that would be read by my fellow fans, and posted a series of tests – measuring the degree of likeness to Chelin, Yujin and Sang Hyuk. Among these tests, the one the readers were most responsive to, was “Test your hubby’s, son’s, boyfriend’s etc… likeness to Sang Hyuk.” It was a test to measure the degree of their Sang Hyuk-ness in coming between you (Yujin) and Joon Sang:

Does your husband, son, or boyfriend -

* Ask you, “Where are you going?” more often than he used to?

* Does he unfailingly ask you, “What were you doing today?” when you get home?

* Has he ever changed your screensaver behind your back?

* Does he unfailingly become sick when you are looking forward to something?

* Does he fool around with “Bae Yong Joon”’s name whenever he needs to say it aloud?

* Does he drive you up the wall by saying say, “I want a snack” right before 11 p.m. every Saturday (airtime for “Winter Sonata”)?

* Does he all the sudden become a fan of Sanma Akashiya (a popular comedian and MC of a counterprogram) at 11 p.m. every Saturday?

* Does he have at least 3 memorabilia hidden in the back of the closet?
(If there is something that he insisted on carrying himself when you moved, that’s it.)

* Is he unnecessarily well-behaved when he speaks to your neighbors?

* Does he make important decisions on his own without consulting you?
(Is this tendency greater with issues of more importance, and are his decisions usually wrong?)

* Does he have a cubbyhole in the house where he can “feel sorry for himself”?

* Does he have a distaste for winter?

* Does he believe that the world is unfair?

I received thousands of hilarious responses from fans who had partners with high ratings on this test. Husbands that unfailing turned on the faucet in the kitchen when it was time for “Winter Sonata”, boyfriends who start to drive roughly when K-POP starts to play on the car stereo, husbands who observe their rival in the Hanryu magazine while his wife is out of the house (he tells his 9 year old boy, “You can be like Yong Joon san, too when you grow up” only to have his son get tearful saying, “No, I can’t…”) etc. etc. The board buzzed with excitement, as women who had become addicted to Yong Joon-san and sat before the PC with a dazed look on their faces exchanged information on the “Sang Hyuks” around them.

☆ Strategy for Compiling a Manual for PC Beginners

Among the responses I received on the “Sang Hyuk” test, the one that really grabbed me was a posting by a fan named “ottokke”-san. Exactly like the Korean word itself (어떻게meaning “how” or “what should I do?!”), boredom was unheard of in her household, when it came to matters on Yong Joon.

Response from ottokke-san

Dear Mino-san, no, I mean satovic-san (Monta Mino, a popular Japanese MC has a personal-advice session on his own show), my husband is a “Sang Hyuk”. Not only can I answer “YES” to all the questions on the test, he comes home exactly at 9:50 every Tuesday evening (“Hotelier” starts at 10), takes a bath, and turns the channel to “XX Station”….. Having such a husband, I come up with strategies more ingenious than all the FBIs, CIAs and M&As of the world put together, in order to protect the Yong Joon in my house. Little does he know – that the “Winter Sonata” DVD set is hidden under the dry foods can (the dry mushroom can is a no-no, the smell is too strong), the bookmark for he JOB is named “Beads Shop”, the “Hotelier” DVD Box acts like a jewelry box on top of my dresser (oh, I can just imagine the scene). Today is the final episode of “Hotelier”, and I can just feel it coming~ ♪

This was my encounter with “ottokke”-san, who is the illustrator of this book.
Ignoring her desperate efforts in hiding her expensive DVD Boxes and other YJ goods, her husband embarks on a house search without prior warning!!
Ottokke-san screams, “It’s a raid!” and gathers all her valuables and runs to her friend’s house. Oh, no! He’s even going into the far corners of the closet! …. What a thrilling documentary!

Six more reports followed this one, and ottokke-san’s story on the “Project X” of her home made the fans in front of the PC laugh until their sides ached.
When I translated her reports into English and posted them on Quilt, people all around the world responded with delight. The next day, it was translated into Chinese, and sent the fans in Taiwan and China in a whirlwind of laughter.

「冬戀」「初戀」的DVD・・・珍蔵収在 厨房的缶裏! 
 夫恨喜愛突撃打掃家居・・・ 勇俊東東搬到朋友的家中

Actually, we learned that the Chinese fans were also having a heated discussion on how to hide their magazines from their husbands in their dressers. So, I guess the nature of husbands and wives are the same in any country!

The JOB became an exciting forum with people posting funny stories, and other fans responding with even better episodes (they called themselves “reslers”). Then finally, I took advantage of this mood to carry out my main operation, and posted a notification on making a manual for PC beginners. Fortunately, because many people had been coming to my threads to read funny stories, I was not criticized for my suggestions, even if I had seemed a bit impudent. In this way, I continued my project and posted at least one section a day, on the “ HOWTOs of Using the Board” manual.

About one month after I started this, I received an e-mail from President Sohn of IMX who was maintaining this site. He notified me that he wanted to compile a manual based on mine, and put it up on JOB. The manual you can see on the present site was made at that time. I remember that I felt very happy at the time, that I was able to make a small contribution in helping Yong Joon-san.

So, it was in such a way, the wild days of strengthening ties among Yong Joon fans went by.

Act Yon (Four) Scene Three

A Tale of a Straw Rice Bowl and a Pair of Very Long Chopsticks

☆The More the Merrier

Through posting funny stories along with the board manual, the fans on the site were becoming closer to each other. In real life, by meeting people at the Hotel New Otani and the fan meeting at Shibuya, I was developing a friendship with the people behind the ID. Up till then, there was no one around me who took interest in Yong Joon-san. The only colleague of mine who had seen “Winter Sonata” said to me, “You know that guy you like? That man playing Min Hyung, he’s really cute, isn’t he....Bue Yong Joon, was it?”

NOT “Bue”, for god’s sake! The name is “Bae”…. I used to walk home with a lonely heart, but now that I was making Bae friends, I was so happy!
So, I made a suggestion on the JOB, “Isn’t it time we get together?” and one of the fans was quick to take action. On May 2004, as many as 150 of us got together at a Korean restaurant in Shin Okubo. Since Yiruma-san (the pianist who composed a song in “Winter Sonata”) was visiting Japan at the time, we were able to have a mini-concert as well, and the occasion turned out to be an elaborate affair – almost like a “Tokyo Bae Yong Joon Festival”. Then, when I posted a report on the event on JOB, out of the blue, I received a mail from a fan called O-san, who I had never met. It said, “I was moved by the passionate energy of the staff that arranged the meeting. Then, all the sudden, I had an idea. We produce Arita ware in our family, and among our products there is a rice bowl with a picture of a snowman. I might be stretching it too far to link a snowman with “Winter Sonata”, but if it would be alright with you, I would like to send these bowls to you and your staff”.

What?! I was happy to hear that she was impressed by my report on the board, but I had never even met this fan before, and moreover, she was not someone who got something out of the event… But after a few days, I received a box filled with LOTS of rice bowls with an adorable snowman painted on it. It was so cute, that I was thrilled and sent her a poster of Yong Joon-san to express my appreciation, and again O-san wrote back to me. She claimed that the poster had arrived to her home just at the perfect time.

☆ Layers of Joy Like a Gigantic Sandwich

In the southern island Kyushu in Japan, there was a murder case in which a sixth grade girl killed her classmate by stabbing her many times with a knife. This girl claimed that she did it because nasty things were posted about her on the internet. O-san lived in a neighboring town, very close to where the incident occurred. She said that her whole town was in great shock hearing about what happened in a place close to them, and it was just at that time, she received the poster that I had sent her. It seemed that Yong Joon-san’s smile had brightened up O-san’s low feelings, and once again she sent me tea, another specialty from her town. I then shared the rice bowls and tea with another fan. And it was from her that I received a DVD showing the fan meeting that took place in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Just around this time, I also received an envelope from Singapore. They had sent me a DVD of the fan meeting in Singapore, thanking me of the time I spent with them as their guide in Tokyo in April. Like the story “Straw Millionaire”, I had three DVDs of the fan meeting held overseas. After seeing them, I discovered that they were SOOOO much fun! In the Hong Kong gathering, I was able to see the real Yong Joon-san; the fans made him watch a scene from an old drama where he does a funny dance, and Yong Joon-san fell off his chair in embarrassment. In Taiwan, he was smothered with kisses, and in Singapore he got himself in a bind trying to answer a question from a fan…

It was such a great DVD, that it was too good to see alone! So, I came up with the idea of doing a screening of the DVDs towards the end of August when it is Yong Joon-san’s birthday. I did not want to charge a fee for this. Instead, if fans felt gratitude from receiving love or courage from Yong Joon-san, they could express that by making a donation, and I wanted to make good use of everyone’s contribution and give the joy we got from it to Yong Joon-san as a gift…

Was that confusing for you? Ha, ha, ha, now this part is a bit tricky. Because the joy of all kinds of people pile up in layers like a sandwich, it’s hard to determine the subject of the whole story! Okay, I will try to explain it more clearly. First of all, there is the joy felt by the people who saw the DVDs, the joy of receiving courage and affection from Yong Joon-san, the joy of being able to participate in a fund raising project from being thankful of receiving that joy from him, and if we were able to gather all the “joy” into a bouquet and give it to him, I was sure that it would be the best birthday present of all.

I then called “cranberry” on the phone. Cranberry and I got to be great friends ever since we met in front of the Hotel New Otani. “Look, I want to try such an event, so could you do some research for me on an organization called LSH Asia Scholarship Foundation (Scholarship Foundation Commemorating the Recognition of Lee Soo-Hyun 李秀賢顕彰奨学会)?”

Cranberry, is such a great conversationist that I was tempted to rename her “Oshaberry” (meaning “talkative person” in Japanese), and she had the gift of making people relax in a gentle manner, and bringing out their true thoughts in a matter of no time. She probably made the most out of her experience as a housewife, and brushed up on her natural talent, while chatting with other housewives!

“Sure! Actually, he was somehow on mind, ever since I’ve made ties with Korea.”

Readily agreeing to my idea, she went to the foundation to inquire about the details of their program.

☆ A Bridge - Between Korea and Japan, and also Asia

Lee Soo-Hyun-san was a Korean student studying in Japan, who lost his life at Shin-Okubo Station on January 26, 2001. He had tried to save a drunken Japanese man who fell from the platform onto the tracks just as a train was coming in. I remembered what his mother had said when she was interviewed on a television program after the accident. “My son is praised by the Japanese people, but he did not do anything special. He only did what was normal as a human being.”

What a great mother! His parents did not accept a penny of the money collected as a token of sympathy, and donated 10 million yen to the Japanese to be used for a scholarship for Asian students studying in Japan.

However, as time passed, the incident became a distant memory in people’s minds, and because donations were smaller, the recipients of the scholarship decreased from 90 to 50 in the following year, and to a smaller number of 30 students in the year after that. Cranberry-san suggested that we start by visiting Shin Okubo Station first, and she bought a bouquet of flowers for the occasion. It was an act of kindness that came from her sympathy as a mother.
Actually, Lee Soo-Hyun-san should not have died, and some people said that his act that brought his parents and girlfriend to the depths of sorrow was too drastic. They thought it was wrong to make him a hero. But standing on the platform of Shin-Okubo Station, one cannot help asking one’s self, “How would I act if someone fell from here?”

When I tried timing the amount of time it took from the moment one saw a train come in, to the moment the train reaches the scene of the accident, it was only 9 seconds. I wondered what went through his mind during the 9 seconds. Surely, he must have thought about his loving parents… But I thought that Lee Soo-Hyun-san and the Japanese photographer named Shiro Sekine that jumped in at the same time probably could not bear to just watch someone die in front of them. They knew what was going to happen, but could not act otherwise. It was probably from the nature of such humane feelings I think, that they were driven to jump onto the tracks.

Love sometimes leads people to act in a foolish manner. But the death of this young man who was true to his feelings gave much courage to the people all over Japan, and left many questions in our hearts. “What would I have done?”
I did not want such feelings to fade, and by participating in this foundation, I hoped to support the young students who are trying to serve as a bridge not just between Korea and Japan, but the whole of Asia as well. With this intention, I asked to see their books of the past 3 years, and after confirming the sound management of the foundation, we decided that this was the place to donate the money collected from our members.

☆ A Super Team of 22 Staffs

SOOO, that was the beginning of the days of super hard work. We needed to search for the people who made the DVDs of the meetings in fan clubs of the respective countries to receive their permission, look for an appropriate place for the event, decide on a date, work on the translations, etc., etc… There was so much to do.

For this, we decided to recruit volunteers from our friends we met at the board and fan gatherings. The important thing in times like this is to seek people who enjoy doing things for others, rather than have things done for themselves. Those who like to have things done for them tend to complain when their given share is smaller than others, but with people who feel joy in doing things for others, things go a lot smoother.

It was easy to distinguish such people. In the past, there were members who brought photos and CDs to the fan gatherings to please others they met for the first time, there were those who were quick to run for plates when there weren’t enough at the table, those who took care of the payment when we checked out, and others who entertained us with good conversation and postings. To people like these, I sent out e-mail and asked, “I want to do a fund raising event, would you like to join us? But you have to remember that you will have to cover everything by yourselves, and there are no benefits like being able to see Yong Joon-san or anything like that. Would that be OK?” Oh, yes, another important point – the staff must be someone who can get a kick out of everything. There is no point in getting all serious in times of difficulty, so a sense of humor was a must.

As a result, we were able to recruit 17 super members. We had bankers, actresses, illustrators, programmers, housewives…people of different ages, jobs and nationalities. There was even a staff from the U.S. who I had never met, but we were able to work together through the net.

Not all of us were good with the PC. One day, I received a mail from a fan named “roses”-san from Osaka. She was sending the mail on behalf of another fan called “yuki”-san, who wanted to “organize an event in Osaka”. This yuki-san did not know how to use the mail system called “Brokore mail” (IMX) within our site, so she asked roses-san to send the message for her. I felt somewhat uncomfortable to work with someone like that, but when I talked to yuki-san on the phone, it did not take a minute to realize that she was a great person, and we decided to do the Osaka event on the spot.

In this way, adding the 5 members from Osaka, the 22 of us needed a place to get together, and we created such a space on the internet. That is the fan site called B.S.J. (BYJ Supporters in Japan). In August of 2004, the only thing we decided on upon starting this site, was to support Yong Joon-san’s activities under the motto, “Love, rather than be loved”. Also, we made it so that anyone could see and post things in the site without registration - as a result, we had people constantly joining us, and today we have become a large family with over 3000 members. (translator’s note – as of July 17, 2006, B.S.J. has 5118 members.)

☆ Let’s Have the Heart to Believe

After we decided to accept a total of 700 members in the two venues for the DVD screening that began as a birthday event, we started the preparations. For the members who were not able to come to the event as they lived too far from Tokyo and Osaka but wanted to participate in the fund raising, we chose to accept their contributions by mail. The only other thing we needed to do at this point was to make an announcement on how one can participate in this event. However, this included delicate issues.

Many of the fan sites overseas like Hong Kong and Singapore have charity events in their get-togethers. That is why IMX tried to initiate one when Yong Joon-san came to Japan in April. However, on the JOB, the majority of the members voiced their criticism about money-related matters. Thus, this plan went down the drain.

One day in August, I mustered up the courage to make a posting on the fund-raising on the JOB. At this very moment, the 22 staffs in the U.S. and Japan all held their breaths in their homes looking intently at their PCs. Soon, people began to respond to the thread.

“I am happy to be able to participate in such an event, because I thought I would not be able to do anything alone”, “Knowing that he would be troubled if I sent gifts on his birthday, I am happy that I now have a way to express my good wishes”…. Seeing a series of positive comments I felt relieved for the time being. But after a while, the responses became diverse. “You shouldn’t do things by taking liberty with Yong Joon’s name”, “Money-related things should not be initiated on this board”, “Their may be people who will imitate this act with bad intentions”, “Do it own your own - don’t make use of the board for something you thought up”, “Something like that should be done by the government or a company – fan’s should not get involved. If it causes problems, Yong Joon himself will get in trouble”, etc. etc.

Look, if fans don’t do it, who will?! We know very well that we have to plan this carefully so he doesn’t get in trouble and that it does not cause problems…. Mumbling such thoughts, I continued to watch the board to see what would happen. And when I was beginning to think that things were taking a dark turn, one fan made the following posting:

“It is natural that people have different opinions about money-related issues. I can also see why people would be skeptical to something that may lead to trouble for Yong Joon. But I have been reading satovic-san’s postings for many months, and it’s hard for me to imagine that she would do something irresponsible. Of course it is important to think critically for something like this because we all want to put Yong Joon first, but why don’t we also have the heart to believe?”

Tears started to flow from my eyes. By continuously posting my ideas on the board, I was beginning to earn trust from some people… Even though we have never met, these people understood what kind of person I was from these posts…. Staring at the PC screen, I could not stop crying from joy. Hey, just when did I become such a sentimentalist!!

From the following day, many people gathered expressing their wish to help. We also were able to form a translation team of Korean, English and Chinese. Everyone did their best in what they believed they were good at, and just like the “Bae Yong Joon Press Service”, everyone who was involved contributed in making the work go smoothly. From the family overseas, we received posters and other goods, and what started out as an event to share 3 DVDs, we had tons of goods and the most wonderful people getting together for this occasion. We were truly “straw millionaires”!

Over 1000 people participated in this event in the form of donations. An unbelievable amount of money was collected, and the foundation was able to increase the number of recipients of the scholarship to as many as 50 students! Where did this power come from? When I thought about it, there was only one answer. I may be talking big, but it is the power of love. The power that came from the fans with the urge to respond to the love a man named Bae Yong Joon gave to his family, and the urge to share this love.
Thank you so much, Joon! On 4:44, 44 seconds P.M. (←I decided on this time, a series of “yon”s - the Japanese for four), August 29, which is his birthday, let’s all call out “Sarang hae yo” to him in our hearts (even if you cannot participate in the event) towards Seoul, in thanks for his love. That was what I proposed on the JOB once again. Yong Joon-san, did you feel just a teeny bit tickled on the east side of your body?

☆ Let’s Return the Love to the Fans in the Local Regions

We were able to go through with the DVD screening project without any mishaps, and we received a mail of appreciation directly from BOF (his management company in Seoul), telling us that Yong Joon-san himself was very pleased with our event. When I read in an interview article of a close staff of his in a magazine, “The best birthday present Yong Joon-san received was the donation that was made by the fans to Lee Soo-Hyun’s Asia Scholarship Foundation”, I jumped up in joy and almost hit my head up on the ceiling. Tears welled in my eyes. I thought Yong Joon would understand…   
Charity activities do not mean much if they are a one-shot deal. Even if they are on a small scale, it is important to continue them. So, we decided to put on a Valentine’s event as our next project.

Just as we began preparing for it in December of 2004, a terrible thing happened. The servers for JOB and the Brokore circles (maintained by IMX) crashed due to cyberterrorism. After hearing what happened, the various fans whom I met through the previous event came to my mind. One mother had lost her child, and finally gained the courage to get out of the house after seeing “Winter Sonata”…. Another fan was fighting the same illness as Jaeho, and had very little time left, but was able to live her life fully because of Yong Joon-san. I, too, more than anything had looked forward to talking to all kinds of people on the JOB, so when this incident happened, it was like losing a place to go home to.

We couldn’t just sit and watch. After the new year holidays, we set up a temporary site, taking in the 25 fan-sites on the Brokore circle, and made it available for the fans for the time being. Until the official site reopened, we took turns in keeping watch of the site 24 hours a day trying to fend off the anti-Korea activists, hackers and internet trolls. We were all quite exhausted by the time this site closed, but we had nearly 1 million hits in 2 months. We were also able to go through the Valentine charity screening event as we had announced on this temporary site.

On top of the donations we received for the foundation, fans also chipped in to help out on the operating cost of the events. Much of these additional contributions were made by the people from local regions who could not come to the events. How we wished to give something in return to the people in these places! The idea we came up with, was to have art exhibits with the works created by the fans. Just by packing the works and the how-tos on a truck, it would be possible to have exhibits in any town regardless of its size.

Many women have created works in various forms of art, possessing an irrepressible desire to express their feelings of being moved by a beautiful existence called Bae Yong Joon – many of these are shared on the internet. We wanted to gather these works, and have people realize that this “Yon-sama” phenomenon is not just a trend with women going ga-ga over a star, but that he is someone who is giving us joy and hope by lighting up our “passion to live”.

Responding to our proposal, the families of Kyoto, Hiroshima, Akita, Aomori, and Hokkaido raised their hands. People with expertise such as interior coordinators and lawyers, offered their knowledge to actualize these projects. The artists offered to put their works up for auction. Literature is another form of art, and writers who compiled the works written by fans, generously donated the royalties of the books.

So, the money collected in these exhibits also came to a large amount, and we donated them to the tsunami-devastated areas of Asia through the non-profit organization World Vision, and also to the areas affected by the Niigata Earthquake via Japanese Red Cross Society. I would like to add that the accounts for the three events are uploaded on the B.S.J. site.

☆ A Tale of a Pair of Very Long Chopsticks

Looking back on the past year, what comes to my mind is a certain anecdote, saying life is like “eating a meal with a pair of chopsticks longer than the length of one’s elbow.”

This story tells us that people tend to think that “life is hard” or “it is difficult to get by in this world”, but this is a misunderstanding. Rather, it is like sitting around a grand feast and trying to eat with long chopsticks. Because the chopsticks longer than the length of one’s elbow get stuck every where, it takes a lot of effort just to have a bite to eat, and the volume one can eat is small, too. Thus, people get impatient and greedy, leading them to think life is hard, or it is difficult to get by.

However, god has actually provided ample food in front of us to enjoy life. What is a good way to eat it? How can everyone at the table have their stomachs full even with long chopsticks?

The answer is easy! I can pick up the food with my chopsticks and feed it to the person across the table, and someone at the other side can feed me in return. The long chopsticks are not meant for one’s self, but by feeding each other with them, life provides a rich feast enough to satisfy everyone.

In the spring of 2004, I had nothing in my hands, but the fans from all over Asia gave me their passion. By thanking them and giving things in return, I was blessed with delightful friends, and many acquaintances, and through the three events (with 7700 people from all over Japan participating in the art exhibits), I was able to make ties with nearly 10,000 people. I am like the “straw millionaire”. Not a penny is left from it, but I have happiness and joy stacked up on my palms.

The first straw was given to me from Yong Joon-san. By watching this man who always lives with a sincere attitude, and seeks to share joy with others, we the fans are motivated to imitate him.
I would like to wish you farewell, concluding this book with wuri-boss’s words:

“I have learned that love is more valuable when it is shared with others.”
- Bae Yong Joon

Love forever,

☆ Illustration courtesy of ottokke-san

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

1. Introducing Sato-Mi Sook

2.The concept was: Madam Jo being the only role among Yong Joon-san’s
works in which the heroine cannot confess her love to him, Sato-Mi Sook was going to make this confession for her.

3. “I love you!”

4. A hair stick made of amber (authentic)
Borrowed from a fan who got it at the “The Elegant and Dangerous World” exhibit.

5. Mi Sook wig
A masterpiece made by the staff of B.S.J.
Braided with tightly rolled silk cloth. The beautiful hair stick is made of

6. Spatula of okonomiyaki (Japanese chijimi)
(the gorgeous hair pick was made in respect for Hiroshima fans
- Hiroshima is famous for its “okonomiyaki”)

7. Chogori – Very dark navy with flowered embroidery on the sleeves.

8. Flower pedals – Of course you know what they are?!
The tragic scene beautifully acted out by Mi Sook-san…
But when it comes to Sato-Mi Sook – great material for a good laugh.

9. Chima – Wish you could see the color!
Crimson red with magnificent crane broidery at the hem.


For those of you who are not familiar with the tale of
<The Straw Millionaire>here it is:

Long, long ago there was an honest but unlucky man living in a village. He worked and worked from morning till night but he was always poor and unlucky.

Thinking of it as his last chance, he one day prayed to KANNON (the Goddess of Mercy) for his happy future, neither eating nor drinking all day.
When it became dark in the evening, the Goddess of Mercy appeared in front of him and said to him,

"You will fall down and catch something when you leave this temple. You should go west with it."

On leaving the temple, he fell down and caught something. It was a straw. Though he thought it was useless, he walked towards the west with the straw.
A horsefly flew to him. He caught and tied it on the top of the straw and walked again.

When he arrived in a town, a crying baby stopped crying at the sight of the horsefly on the top of the straw. Seeing the joyful baby, he gave it to the baby. Instead he was given three oranges by his mother.

He walked heading west again with three oranges. He saw a young lady suffering by the roadside. As she wanted water, he gave her the oranges. Soon she recovered. He was given a beautiful silk cloth in exchange.

He walked towards west again with the beautiful silk cloth. He met a SAMURAI, or Japanese soldier and his weak horse. On seeing the beautiful cloth, the Samurai demanded that he exchange it with his horse and headed east with the cloth. The man looked after the weak horse all night. The horse got well the next morning.

He walked towards the west again with the horse. When he arrived in a castle town, a CHOJA, or a millionaire saw the horse and liked it very much. The man was invited to the Choja's house, where his daughter brought two cups of tea to them. To his surprise, it was the young lady he had given the oranges to. The Choja was so moved by this amazing coincidence and the man’s kind heart, so he decided to have his daughter marry the young man.

The young man had become a millionaire from a straw as he was told by the Goddess of Mercy. He never failed to take care of even a singe straw for the rest of life. This is how he came to be called the “Warashibe Choja” (“A Straw Millionaire”) by the villagers.

   <The End!>

Jul 13, 2006

From the DVD "April Snow" Reunion - Talk Session in Disc 2

Here is the second talk session in disc 2.
Title 2 – 2
A: Here they are, BYJ-ssi, handsome as ever, and the beautiful SYJ-ssi.
How wonderful they are!

A: Please be seated. (To BYJ) You know, you look good in anything, but do you like black in particular?

BYJ: Thank you. I actually I like all kinds of colors.

A: SYJ, women look exceptionally beautiful in black, and you look just wonderful.

SYJ: Thank you.

A: I asked about the movie “AS” in the previous corner, so now I would like for you to share a bit about your daily life.
For instance, do you have a party after you complete a film? Do you get together and cook karubi and stuff like that?

BYJ: Yes, there are such gatherings, but I am so busy now a days that I rarely have such an opportunity.

A: Oh, I see. And you must be watching your figure, too.
SYJ-san, what kind of food do you like? Do you eat things like samgyetang (a type of Korean chicken soup)?

SYJ: Oh, I like samgyetang. You know samgyetang ? Do you eat it here, too?

A: (to audience) If you are going to eat samgyetang , you must go to Korea and eat the authentic ones with Korean ginseng and pine nuts.

A: Now, let’s get to the questions from the fans. BYJ-san, in “AS”, there is a scene where you sob loudly while you are drinking. Do you yourself cry like that in real life?

BYJ: In the past, I was not one to shed tears, but as I have grown older, I find myself crying more often. I don’t know why.

A: But I’m sure you don’t sob, but you cry quietly with some emotion hidden inside. (BYJ nods to translation).

A: SYJ, you often seem to play roles of girls with frail health. Do your family and friends ask you, “Are you eating right?”

SYJ: Actually, I am very healthy. No matter how busy I am, I always try to eat well. I can get over any kind of difficulty. The people around me are surprised by my stamina.

A: Everybody, please do not worry, she is quite healthy. BYJ-ssi, it has only been a day after you’ve turned 33, (loud applause, YJ stands up to bow) please tell us your resolution, aim etc. for this year.
(voices from the audience: “sarangheyo, I love you! Happy birthday!” YJ nods shyly, bows)

K: Everybody, I am sure you all want to wish YJ-ssi a happy birthday, right? (everyone claps). Alright then, here we go.
(everyone calls out happy birthday in unison. BY listens to them smiling with his eyes closed. Stands up slowly and bows.)

BYJ: Thank very much, everybody. In the future, too, I will like to do my best both in my own life and as an actor. I will try to live up to your expectations.
(the applause goes on….. BYJ looks grateful.)

A: Thank you, everyone. This applause seems to go on forever.
The next question to BYJ. If you were able to take 3 days off, and you were able to use magic, which of the 3 would you like to use it on?
1. Be a completely different person.
2. Become invisible and go wherever you feel like going.
3. Remain yourself.
So, which will it be?

BYJ: (Smiles mischievously) I would like to become invisible.

K: So, where would you like to go?

BYJ: I would like to go places where men usually cannot enter.
And, Japan is known for its spas, and I heard that there are a lot of outdoor spas where you can enjoy great scenery. So, that’s where I want go.

A: I hope you have the chance to go some time. Next, to SYJ. I hear that Korean dramas do their shootings on a busy schedule, and you often end up shooting all through the night. But watching you, you never show signs of fatigue, and I think that’s incredible. What is the secret of your beauty? Do you have any special tips on cosmetics, drinks etc.

SYJ: Thank you very much. I think Japanese women have beautiful skin, too. I use aloe face mask – do you have them in Japan? After I work in the sun, I would grate raw aloe and put it on my face. I think that worked for me.

A: I’m sure the sales of aloe will increase greatly tomorrow.

BYJ, we hear that you enjoy taking photographs. Can you tell us about that?

BYJ: Yes, I started to take photos because I wanted to capture some of the moments that I would not want to forget. But recently, I have been so absorbed in building my character, that I have not been taking too many.
Perhaps, Insu did not like photography.

A: We hear that you have brought your camera with you today.
(camera is handed to BYJ. From the audience, people cry out “take a picture of us!” BYJ, smiles. Stands up. Lights on audience. He goes around taking pictures.)

A: He is so attractive even when he is working with the camera!
(BYJ, finishes and waves to everyone.) Everyone had their best smiles on their faces. I am sure you were energized by having BYJ take your pictures.

Now, we hear that SYJ-ssi has prepared a surprise for us.

SYJ: I will like to read a poem that expresses the image of “April Snow” very well. I hope that this poem will warm your heart.

To Love Forever Means

By Do Jong-Whan
(Translated by flowerbossa)

To love forever means,
To love quietly,
To love forever means,
To love like a part of nature.
To fill by waiting,
Without fleeing from loneliness in haste.
Love, only becomes full after being empty.
To love forever means,
To embrace the morning with a calm heart.

Losing a loved one means,
To have a part of you torn apart,
Like a cry that echoes in the valley,
One longs to wander throughout his life.

But after burying love in the ground,
And turning back,
Sees not a shadow left on this earth,
A sweep of the wind brings one to know,
During our lives, we learn the many pains of love,
Despair, regret, resentment and negative thoughts,
But love, once again, trusts, perseveres, and waits
And again with a heart kept empty,
We must become whole again.

A heart torn by love,
Can only be healed by love,
A loss caused by love,
Can only be found by love,
One who disappears because of love,
Will only come back by love.
But if we do not become empty,
How can we enter into that great love?
If a white beautiful bowl cannot be kept empty,
How can we continue to fill it?

To love forever means,
To wait with a calm heart, even still.

A & K: Thank you very much.

K: I am sure all of you will go home thinking about the meaning of “To love forever”.
BYJ, your expression while you listened to her, was fit for a character in a film. You must like this kind of poem.

BYJ: (His expression is full of emotion) Yes….

A: BYJ-ssi, today you are here with staff and people that supported the film. Can you tell us again what this film “April Snow” means to you?

BYJ: (In Japanese) Ganbarimasu (I will do my best). I experienced many difficulties in the process of making this film. But because of these difficulties, I think that my understanding of acting and life itself has become wider. And I was able to grow. We actors have the chance to grow in our personal lives of course, but we are also able to grow and deepen our understanding towards things, every time we complete a film. In that sense, “April Snow” is a very important film for me.

A SYJ-ssi, what is the meaning this film has for you?
(she is overcome with emotion and gets teary)

K: The applause shows the support from the audience.
(SYJ cannot speak.)

A: It is alright. If it is difficult, don’t push yourself.

SYJ: Thank you very much. (through tears) This has become a film that I shall never forget. It is a work that has great meaning for me as an actress, and at the same time, I as SYJ, was able to learn many things. I thank God for giving me life on this earth, and for the immense love that I am receiving from others. I am also grateful for the people who supported this film. To the staff of IMX, I thank them for this wonderful event; to the staff of my agency, Director Hur and BYJ-nim… thank you for efforts.
Thank you very much, everyone. (bows)

(BYJ is listening, smiling.)

A: Thank you very much.
We will like to see these two off now. Thank you very much.
It is time for us to say good bye.

(BYJ is still sitting, and looks at Kim Tei like he doesn’t know what to do. The audience is calling out to him. BYJ is getting very emotional, teary, takes a big sigh and pulls the front of his jacket.)

K: I am sure everyone here including BYJ-ssi and SYJ-ssi wishes that we could make this moment last forever. We will like to have both of them keep the love and applause from all of you in their hearts as they leave the stage.

(BYJ sighs again, looks around the audience, nods knowing that he must leave, and finally stands up.)

A & K: Thank you very much.
(The two of them are bowing. The cry from the audience gets louder as they walk away,
BYJ and SYJ stop, handkerchief in hand. BYJ waves and finally exits.

K: BYJ and SYJ both left so reluctantly.
I am sure they wanted to go on staying here with you

(The poor MCs apologize for not being able to meet the audience wishes.
They try to move on to the next performance, when BYJ comes out again.)

A: Yon-sama, you are so wonderful. (A teary SYJ-ssi comes out)
And SYJ-ssi, too. Thank you

(BYJ looks longingly at audience.
They just stand there not knowing how to leave.
Finally nods and leaves slowly, looks back again, exits.)

(after applause)

A: It looks like we will be able to call them back again after the next section. Thank you.

Jul 11, 2006

April Snow "Reunion" DVD

Hello, everyone!

This is a translation from the “April Snow” Event that took place in Saitama Super Arena.
I’ve chosen to translate the talk session in the first half of the event. Please note that it is not a word by word translation. MC (A) stands for Mr. Asaoka, a famous Japanese MC, and MC (K) stands for Ms. Kim Tei (an IMX artist).

From the DVD - Title 2-7)

MC (A): Thank you everyone for waiting. We will now like to invite our guests on stage again. Director Hur….

MC (K): And here is the heroine of “April Snow”, Son Ye Jin.

MC (A): And Bae Yong Joon-san.

MC (A): Now we will like to begin our talk session. Could each of you give a comment to start things off?

Hur: Hello, I am the director of “April Snow.” Thank you for your support. Both BYJ and SYJ have made a great effort to make this a good film, and I hope all of you will be able to feel that when you watch it. I would appreciate your continuous support.

SYJ: Hello, I am SYJ. This is the first time for me to participate in an event like this, so I am very nervous. Have any of you seen this film already?

K: Can you raise your hands.
(Some in the audience raise their hands – note: these are the lucky ones who attended the preview on the 30th)

SYJ: Oh, I am happy that so many have seen it. It will be released next month, and I think it is a film that will not let you down, so I hope you will support it. I hope you will enjoy the 2 hours and half that we will be spending together today. Thank you.

A: Now, BYJ-san

BYJ: (APPLAUSE!!) Hello, I am BYJ. (APPLAUSE!!!)
The warm affection and love you showed me when we were together last year always lingered in my heart. I am happy that I am able to be with so many of you today.
When I went on stage awhile ago, I was so overwhelmed that I almost cried. I think I can work vigorously for another 10 years. Because…… all of you have given me a lot of energy. Thank you so much.

A: How wonderful. Everyone in the audience is looking intensely at the big screen we have in this arena. Now, we would like to hear your comments on this movie.
When did the shooting begin, director?

A: (Dir.Hur looks lost) Oh, perhaps you forgot? (everyone laughs and BYJ comes to the rescue.)

H: Sorry, I have a bad memory. Yes, we began to do some work in the end of January, and really shooting intensively from February.

A: It must have been difficult, since it was in the winter

BYJ: I have done a lot of work during the winter in the past, so the cold does not bother me that much. Rather, it was hard for me when I was placed in an agonizing situation.

A: Oh yes, you must like winter, doing “Winter Sonata” and all.

SYJ, did you experience difficulties like the cold etc.

SYJ: First of all, this film deals with the difficult theme of a love that is deep and full of anguish, and because I never had played a role like this before, I felt some pressure. But the staff, director and my co-players were all wonderful and I had a happy time working with them.

A: Watching the making film of this movie, it seemed that the script did not provide very many lines. Rather, you seemed to be expressing yourselves with your face, body and your whole being.
BYJ-ssi was this difficult for you?

BYJ: Not only was my role difficult, but I had a hard time working with the director.

A: Okay, let’s hear about it!

BYJ: I used to think that it was difficult to bring out the character’s emotions out in the open, but working with the director, I now think that it is more difficult to be convincing by suppressing one’s feelings. Also, because I had to stay in character in my private life during shooting, that was hard, too. But the director was able to bring things out from my own inner self, so I think I was able to act naturally. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Director Hur for letting me discover a new dimension in myself.
(Hur looks happy!)

A: Son-san, you had a lot of difficult acting to do such as that scene when you cry out loudly on the road. That must have been really tough.

SYJ: In that scene, I as an individual felt awful in the situation that Seo Young was facing. I would never want to experience such a thing in my own life, and the thought of it disturbed me so much that I didn’t have to act. I couldn’t help but cry.

A: Director, from what we hear, it seems like these two were actually living the character, rather then acting them out. Is this how it was?

H: Um….(laughs, BYJ laughs, too with a hand over his mouth)
When I saw the film after it came out from the final editing, I felt that here, the actors and the characters have become one. The emotions that are expressed are not acted. Rather, they are emotions of the characters themselves. Feeling the weight of their emotions conveyed in this piece, I felt very happy that I was able to work with BYJ and SYJ: (applause)

A: There are many kinds of scenes in this film. Which is the most memorable for you, BYJ-ssi?

BYJ: In this film, I shot one scene as many as 60 times. So, all of them are quite memorable for me. But, if I had to choose just one (thinks for awhile). I think it would be the outdoor concert scene. On that occasion, not only my fans (family) were there, but my real family as well. My parents, sister, nephew etc. It reminded me of the talent show in my school days. I had to concentrate on my acting, but also think about my family, too you know. But we managed to go through the shooting safely, and it became a time for me that I would never forget.

A: I see. In “Winter Sonata” you played a certain type of character, and in your first movie “Untold Scandal”you played another type of character (laughs). And again in “April Snow” you are portraying a character that is totally the opposite from your previous work. Do you do this intentionally?

BYJ: (laughs). In my private life, I hope to live as a good natured person, as all of you seem to see me. However, as an actor, I want to show myself in all sorts of different ways. As an actor, I am hungry for challenges.

A: SYJ-san, can you share the scenes that were memorable for you?

SYJ: Because the film itself was a sad one, the scenes that left an impression in me are also the painful ones. Like the scene in the beginning when she finds out that her husband has been unfaithful to her. She is in her hotel room, drinking beer alone while listening to music, and starts to bash away on her husband. That was not originally in the script, but I tried it after the director suggested it. But actually when I started saying it, it seemed so natural to me, because I was just as upset as Seo Young was.

A: Although I am using this time to ask about the film, we will later have a section when we will be asking you questions we gathered from your family. But I’ve decided to ask you one question from that list right now. SYJ, you are so young and I doubt that you have much experience dealing with n “unfaithful guys”. But how do you get yourself to bad mouth a man while you are drinking? It must be hard to get the feeling.

SYJ: Yes, I am single, and do not have a lot of experience in that way, so during shooting, people like Director Hur, BYJ and staff were like my teachers and I asked around. So, even thou I don’t know what it is really like, I was able to understand indirectly. Stories I heard from the director and BYJ-ssi were both very informative. (BYJ and Hur try to deny it)

A: Hm, yes that’s very important. BYJ-ssi, the title of this film is “April Snow” in Japan, but the original Korean title is “The Outing”. Could you explain the meaning behind “the outing”?

BYJ: This is what I think the director tried to convey. “The Outing” means “to go out from one’s self”. The Japanese title, “April Snow” implies that although it is rare to have snowfall in April, there is always a possibility. I think the title expresses a love that suddenly appears in such an unexpected way.

A: Director, is that correct, do you have anything to add?

H: The two titles mean what BYJ just said. Concerning these titles, I really had a hard time deciding on which one to use. I think “April Snow” and “The Outing” are two titles that give a completely different impression. However, depending on the perspective of the audience, for some, “The Outing” would be fitting, and for others, “April Snow” will be suitable. What each of you feel will determine the meaning of the movie.

A: “April Snow”… I think this an expressive title. It has the sensual mood that I think as a Japanese, is quite convincing. What do you think?

BYJ: Thank you.

A: Actors and actresses are such a talented group of people who can express all types of characters. I know it’s not the best time for this question, when you are still talking about “April Snow”, but since we don’t know when we can see you next, can you tell us what kind of role you would like to play in your next work?

BYJ: My next work is already decided. But since “April Snow” has not been released yet, and I feel that Insu still remains inside me, the preparations for my next project will begin after the film opens. The next one will be a drama depicting the hero Gwanggaeto the Great of the Goguryeo Period.

A: I see. Perhaps you will be dressed in a court outfit again?

BYJ: No, I will be more of a general, and I will be riding on horses.

A: Horses! So it’s horse riding this time! How about you SYJ-ssi?

SYJ: I have started shooting a new film as soon as “April Snow" was over. It is a character that’s completely different from Seo Young, a love comedy. You may not be able to recognize me if you saw it.

A: Director Hur, we hear that you are notorious for giving actors a hard time. We hope you will make another film in the future that will give these two actors the opportunity to agonize over their roles again.

H: Thank you very much.

A: It’ now time to wrap up this talk session. We will see you again later on. Please give them another round of applause.

(The End)