Jun 25, 2008

Behind the Press Conference

Satoko's Story - Part 3

Satoko didn’t raise her hand. Neither of the questions she had in mind was appropriate as the first one. It is always quite difficult to break the ice. Let’s just see what happens here, she thought. A middle aged man in a suit who sat right in back of Satoko stood up. Because the emcee had no choice but to ask him, the mike went to him. It was a reporter from K Company. Way to go K! With the mike this close, if she can receive it naturally like it was passed to the front, Satoko would have the chance to ask the next question.

The man from K asked about YJ’s favorite location spot, and as if he wanted to show off his memory, YJ started to give out a long list of places he went on location.

In “Roman Holiday” style, it was a question that should be answered “each, in its own way, was unforgettable…”, but YJ answered “Jeju” (where the main set is located) as predicted.” He also mentioned that if he were to pick one more place, it would be Danyang, and the atmosphere of the place was getting somewhat dull.

Hmmm, this is not good….
If this session continues like this, tomorrow’s news will be all of 30 seconds.

ALRIGHT, it’s settled!
What this place needs next is a bomb of laughs.
My darling, mianamnida (forgive me)! Yong Joon, yorobun, laugh PLEASE!!
I will bear the pain of you hating me.
If it’s going to help you become the best actor of Asia, I will put up with any kind of embarrassment~~~~~
Oh what a fool you are Satovic~~~~~~~~~~~~♪

Hearing the emcee call for the next question, Satoko turned around quickly and receiving the microphone from the reporter from K, she stood up half way and called out “HERE!”

It would be expected that the emcee would have no choice but to choose Satoko seeing her in this position, but for some reason after saying “yes, the lady in the front”, she added the unnecessary remark “with the gray sleeves”.

Satoko, who had thought it was her all along was now totally confused, and looked around her, but no one with gray sleeves was in sight. The person in front of her wore green, the one next to her wore white – Satoko’s own China blouse was black, so some may have thought it was gray with the reflection of the lights. Not knowing who was chosen, Satoko stood up with a mike in her hand,





That person there?

Isn’t it me?

Alright, I’m just going to go on.


It is okay, right?

She went on trying to make her point with a lot of messed up sign and body language.

“Ohh, so all of you are in gray…alright then, the lady holding the microphone, please.”

That’s what the emcee said, but the truth was, no one was wearing gray.
What was he seeing?

Anyway, setting out with cold sweat breaking out from the very beginning, Satoko totally flipped out – her mind went blank, and couldn’t even remember the name of her magazine.

At that moment, Norisuke-san whispered to her, “Korean Drama Tsushin! Korean Drama Tsushin!”

Oh, yes right!
“Um, my name is Satoko from Korean Drama Tsushin. I have a question for Pye ha (your majesty ้™›ไธ‹) Damdeok.”

Oh, this is no good… my voice is cracking, and I’m starting to talk really fast.

“I have over 100 questions here entrusted to me from your fans, and this question is one of the typical ones. In the drama, Suzini played by E Jiah-san goes like this…”

Oh no! Words aren’t coming out!

“clinging close to you from the back…”
as Satoko said this, she imitated hugging someone from the back.
AHH~, I look so ridiculous~~~, what on earth are you doing in front of YJ!

“On the other hand, Kiha played by Moon Sori-san (she wanted to add with her ample bosom, but guessed , no not now) hugs you tightly from the front…”
AHH~, this was no time to be hugging myself!!!
This was SO embarrassing ~~~ but I can’t stop myself ~~~~~
Moon Sori-ssi and E Jiah-chan were laughing, but YJ was looking down as if he were writing something down, and she had no eye contact with him.

“Your fans want to know which of the two is preferred by Damdeok Pye ha personally for future reference. Your answer would be appreciated.”
(↑hey, how come no one is feeding the line, “reference for what”?)

The place room roared with laughter.
The TV reporters all must have thought, OK now we have a headline.

But Satoko’s mind was in panic.
NOOO~~~~~ !!!

She had intended to ask decently,
“Which of the two expressions of love do you feel is filled with yearning?”
Why did I end up asking it in a comical way?!

After hearing the translation, YJ took the mike with a serious face, answered something and laughed – Moon Sori-san punched him lightly with her fist as if to say, “hey come on!”

But when he answered “first of all, I think either way is okay by me.”, the whole room was turned off at that moment.
Oh, oh, oh why of all answers did you have to give the most boring one?

As he took the mike again, she thought oh, perhaps you will give us something more interesting this time?

But again, YJ gave a most serious analysis:
“Because Kiha was his lover, I think she was able to hug him from the front, but Suzini being a friend ended up holding him from the back, and because they were under the relationship of Pye ha ํํ•˜and vassal, she expressed her feelings of reluctance in that way.”

Time was passing very slowly…
Maybe it was YJ’s wish to explain the message of the drama seriously after all.

While this answer was being translated, YJ did not look towards her direction at all.
During the previous answer too, he looked the other way and did not look at her eyes.

Years back when they had the press conference in Taiwan, Satoko almost swooned as she saw YJ’s piercing eyes through her video camera as a reporter in front her was asking a question to YJ – he was looking towards him straight on…
Prior to the press conference she was thinking “what should I do if we look into each eyes directly~~~?” but YJ was looking toward a totally different direction, and did not try to look at Satoko.

Oh… it’s as I thought… he hates me.

Here I am standing in front of YJ among 300 people, and he won’t even give me a glance…
I must have done something really dumb…
I only wanted to make him laugh… it’s too late, he doesn’t like me… (sobs^^;)

It seemed like forever.

After the translation ended finally, YJ once again took the mike.

“I’ve thought it over, and I would like to say I prefer the front.”

After amending his answer, those who understood Korean seemed to think it funny but the reaction after the Japanese translation was not particularly enthusiastic.

Perhaps it was too early in the session to ask such a comical question.
Maybe I should have asked it after the place was more warmed up.

Thinking such thoughts, Satoko said to YJ,
“Ne, Kamsahamnida” and sat down.

The rest was wiped out from her memory.

Yong Joon hates me…

Yong Joon hates me…

Those words just went round and round in her head.

Moon Sori-ssi’s answers were quite specific and interesting, and people were drawn to her as her narrative skills was like that of a story teller in a children’s educational program.

Looking at the stage, one was able to feel from the atmosphere that they were on friendly terms.

After the questions was the photo session.

YJ waved to the camera in a good mood with a bright smile through out the long shooting.

When someone shouted,
Yong Joon-ssi, yogi ba, yogi yogi~
he looked their way, so the photographers all started screaming yogi yogi without the faintest idea of what it meant.

Reacting to the request, “center please” , YJ turned his position.

However, when they were asked,
“The three of you, please stand together with your arms linked. Translator, could you ask them to do that?” The translator conveyed their request, but YJ continued to just smile and wave and ignored it.

Unlike Won-nim, perhaps it was not Damdeok’s image to link arms with Kiha and Suzini, and with the rumor with E Jiah, perhaps he was being careful.

In any case, Satoko got the impression that he was a professional who was able to maintain a smile while making the necessary calm decisions.

In the end, they were seated again, and just as YJ took off the lid of his mineral water, the emcee announced the closing of the event, and with the sound of music, YJ who lost his chance of getting a sip of water made an exit laughing “he he he” in a cute manner holding the bottle against his chest.
That’s another cute side of pye ha that you couldn’t help loving, thought Satoko. .

But… sob… he doesn’t like me…

Satoko left the room with her shoulders stooped.

Reporters who have only known YJ for a short time came over to her and said “That was an interesting question~” but those who have known him over the years really rubbed it in saying things like “His eyes weren’t laughing” or “maybe he was uncomfortable because it was an erotic question” ^^

They’re probably right…boo-hoo-hoo… he hates me for sure!

As Satoko cried, only Norisuke-san comforted her,
“No, I thought it was quite good. He seemed at ease, and it brightened up the atmosphere… you made people laugh!”

But Satoko did not have an ear for her kind words.

After leaving NHK, in low spirits, she dragged herself to Shibuya Hall where her family was waiting.

So, how was it? How was it?
Was he in a suit? Jeans?
Did he have weird things hanging from his outfit?

No, there were no noodles hanging from his shoulders,
And he was not wearing a t-shirt with holes.

What was his hair like?
Was it curled at his ears? Or was he showing his forehead?

Don’t worry, he wasn’t showing his forehead. It was curly.

I hope he wasn’t wearing cheap looking glittery stuff.
Was he wearing the white tuxedo?

He was wearing neither. He wore a black suit with a gray tie, and was perfect…

Satoko felt really sorry towards her sisters who were all ears wanting to hear the details, but she was not in the mood to talk about the conference in detail.

“You know, I’m kinda tired to talk about it… so could you watch the VOD for yourselves?”

Sitting down on the steps of the Shibuya Hall, Satoko started to play the tape she had taken at the studio.

Satoko was thinking about a certain rainy day that she experienced four years ago. Perhaps she was happier than as she waited in earnest for YJ to arrive on the steps of the same hall then she was today, now that she was disliked by him.

Ignorant of Satoko’s depressed feelings, her sisters were getting all excited.

OH~~~~~~~~look at him~~~~~~he’s so cute!!!

They were about to watch the part of Satoko’s question.

He getting it, he’s getting it!
YJ is having fun!
Satoko, you shouldn’t feel bad!

Look! After the second answer, he’s turning the mike round and round – you can see that he’s really aiming to say something funny.

These ladies who will not miss the minutest detail when it comes to YJ came up with tons of evidence that he was enjoying this question from his expression.

Huh? Really? Chon mariya?

Looking into the video, Satoko was surprised to see that they were right.
Because he was quite far away, she could not see his expression, but she was able to see that he was looking at the mike concentrating on what he was going to say, and when he was talking, he was being careful to take the position of the camera into account, and tried to look all around the room as he talked – this was what was happening while Satoko had thought he was turning the other way to avoid looking at her.

The biggest surprise was that the time YJ was laughing most of all was before her question.
It was when Satoko had been clinging desperately to the mike while trying to get the emcees’ attention with her messed-up sign language – is it me? No? Who?

Yong Joon was laughing as he watched that.

What do you know!
I wasn’t making him laugh,
he was laughing AT ME!!!



Jun 20, 2008

Behind the Press Conference

Satoko's Story - Part 2

When they entered the cafeteria, they saw M-san, an announcer who had turned freelance after leaving NHK. He had the experience of serving as an emcee for a “Winter Sonata” special, an interesting man who insists that the dialect of North Kyushu (of Japan) resembles French.
Sitting close to him in an unintentional manner, they overheard him talking to a formal colleague.

“You see, I had to turn down the offer for the emcee at the event in Osaka. I had a conflict of schedule.”

Judging from the bits and pieces she heard, it seemed like he was initially offered the role.
Too bad… he had done a good job in communicating with YJ in the special he did in the past.

“So, when is he expected to arrive?” one of them asked.

“I think I heard twelve-thirty from the main entrance.”

OOO~~~~~~~~~hh!! That’s really soon! YJ is going to be here in this building any minute now ~~~~~~~~!

Hey, wait a second…. could it be…?

“Unni… Did you by any chance know when YJ will get here? And that he would arrive at the main entrance?”

“Uh, well… kind of… you know…”

“Didn’t you absent-mindedly head for the main entrance a while ago?”

“(cough, cough)”

Spurting out her coffee, Norisuke-unni and Satoko looked out each other and started to laugh.

“Sooo, should we get our homework done before meeting our YJ?”

They decided to finalize the direction of their article, and discuss the content of their question.

“So, all that being said, should we settle on the 'front or back' question? Or should we go for something related to the message of the drama? I’m having trouble deciding. Which do you think it should be?”

“Hm…well, I guess the 'front or back' one will get a laugh out of people for sure.”

“Maybe it’s a bit low class, and he would despise me for it… you know, it’s not question that would come out of someone decent like ME… But I do want to make YJ laugh…”

“You’re right… it would be nice to give him a chance to laugh a bit at a press conference. Maybe he could show a different side of himself.”

“But I still think it’s not me… maybe I should stick to something I really want to ask.
If we had him give his views on why he put so much effort into a hero who doesn’t fight, I think his true nature would really come through.
Maybe I should go along in this line rather than a comical question…I don’t want him to dislike me…”

Though they were not able to reach a conclusion, their time was up and they went back towards the studio. Yang-san and Bae Sung Woong, the CEO of BOF International were coming their way, dressed in well-tailored suits. Their eyes met, so Satoko bowed lightly, and they bowed back in a most courteous manner.

A reporter they knew came by and asked, “do you know them?” but Satoko had never even spoken to them. She had only bowed because their eyes met, but being staffs who meet hundreds of people everyday, they probably extend their courteous greetings regardless of who they meet. It’s a tough job. Yang-san hadn’t changed much, but Bae-san who had seemed like a young boy had become a dignified mature man with natural poise. Both of them looked like capable elite businessmen.

As YJ’s two confidants were already here, it would mean that YJ himself is also very near.
Ah…the time is growing nearer… which should it be…?

They received an e-mail from the photographer who was already in the studio.
He drew number 14!
Great!! He would definitely be able to take good photos from there!

Finally, reception time.
Each company submitted their name cards, received the resume for the conference and entered the studio.
However, they did not draw lots - entrance was on first-come basis, so Satoko and Norisuke-san were only able to seat themselves in a row a little past the middle line.

Ct 113 studio is not a particularly big studio like the ones used in shooting a major history drama. NHK probably said that it was no use in lining up meaning they would be able to see from any part of the room. But if they had known, they would have lined up earlier without eating. The distance to the stage was about the length of a basketball court. They would not be able to catch his expression in detail.

On stage, there were four chairs. According to the resume, they were to be seated in the order of PD Kim, Moon Sori, YJ, E Jiah from stage left. So, it’s YJ and the two actresses...

When Satoko saw the arrangement, she made her decision.

No doubt about it, it had to be the “front or back” question!

If E Jiah and Moon Sori-unni were going to seat side by side, they could expect a diverse outcome from this question which involves them as well. If YJ could cleverly get them to participate in the conversation, it would surely lead to interesting developments.

“But…but…if this was the type of question he disliked…he would despise me for being a nuisance…”

And there was one more matter that was troubling her.
Satoko’s husband was once her colleague, formerly working for a TV station. Undeniably, the camera from that station was also there. If she were to ask a question that would be taken up in a TV show… they would all come to know about it at his office.

She had always been told, “don’t go to the airport, whatever you do, don’t let me catch you on TV”…
So…. I must ask him to bear with me…

When the photographers with still cameras stood up to decide on their positions, their heads got in the way of the TV cameras. The two sides began to fight. When the TV staffs yelled “sit down!” the photographers looked back yelling “raise your tripod!” In the end, the front two rows sat on the floor, and the table which was placed in front of the cast was taken away. As a result, Satoko’s photographer got to be in the very front row, and better, in the position where he could shoot YJ at his best from the front left angle. He pumped his fist in the air towards Norisuke-san and Satoko.

“So, our cover feature is decided isn’t it? Let’s have the two-spread with a layout of YJ’s photos. Kajok Yorobun will squeal with delight!!”

Now, all they had to worry about was the question. Looking at the bulletin board, it was always possible that another reporter would ask the same question.
Satoko thought through all situations imaginable, and waited quietly for YJ’s entrance.

They were a bit behind schedule.

Eventually, two announcers of NHK appeared, and after making a light bow, made a curious announcement.

“The guests will appear shortly, but before that, we have prepared a somewhat long show of music and lighting. Here it is!”

What is this? Satoko and Norisuke-san looked at each other.

This is no premium event, so what kind of presentation was this? He wouldn’t possibly appear in armor? A fight between the Hwacheons and the Geomools?

But all that went on stage was the lights turning red and white along with the music from the opening of the drama. What on earth did NHK want to show?
This was no dingy strip club, what’s with this lighting?

And even after the climax of the music, no one appeared, and they ended up playing it to the very end. Then they started to play the second song of the OST, “To Victory”.
You must be kidding! Is this going to go on?

Just as she was thinking this, they finally announced, “and here is the cast!” and with PD Kim in the front, all of them entered the stage.

In a simple black suit, and with long hair arranged loosely, YJ looked just fabulous!
His upper body was so great looking that Satoko forgot to observe how he was walking.

I wonder if he was able to walk comfortably.

YJ sat with his feet turned in.
Perhaps if he didn’t, his legs would be outstretched. If they had a table, he would have been able to fake it, but they had taken it away. YJ put a notebook on his knees which were turned in and answered the questions asked by the announcer with a microphone in his hand.

When the other people were answering, he was writing in this notebook.

Satoko recalled what she had heard from his interpreter a few years ago. YJ was a memo-freak, and always carried a notebook to write down what ever that came to mind.
It was true. When he first came to Japan, he had a notebook in his hand as he left the hotel…
But it didn’t have to be a big notebook like this…
Could it be that he couldn’t see small letters due to his neck injury?
Or was it to hide the way he was sitting?

Just at the right time, the announcer asked him,
“What are you writing?”

YJ answered, “I am writing my thoughts on the questions that are being asked to the other people in case I am asked the same thing. My memory is deteriorating these days…(laughs)”

Now this was new. He is revealing himself.
Could it be that his memory lasts for only 80 minutes?
Does he have post-its pasted all over his room at home?
Ooops, that was a different story…

We knew that E Jiah is capable of speaking good Japanese with a bit of Kansai dialect, but we were not able to hear it that day.

The conference resumed smoothly, but without much excitement, and the regular questions came to an end.

“Now, we would like to receive some questions from the reporters, please raise your hands.”

“Here!” Some hands went up across the room.

(to be continued)

Jun 18, 2008

Behind the Press Conference

For those of you who enjoyed Satovic's report on her experience at the press conference on Quilt (Subject: [sharing] satovic at the press conference today...posted by happiebb), here is a more detailed story she wrote on the Japanese site B.S.J. (BYJ Supporters in Japan). Edited and translated by flowerbossa with the permission of Satovic.

Satoko's Story - Part 1

When Satoko got to Shibuya, it was already a little after eleven.
Approximately 150 companies had registered for this press conference.
As 2 reporters and 1 photographer were permitted for each company, there would probably be more than 300 people there, including some of the most notorious TV reporters.
Now, how can I get them to pick me to ask a question … maybe the best way is to just stand up briskly....
But then, I don’t want to look too aggressive…

What Satoko disliked more than anything, was to shove her way through the crowd in order to get to the very front.
But, today was a different story. With the 100 questions she collected from her fellow fans, she wanted to succeed desperately. She couldn’t do it for herself, but she felt that she could do anything if it was for others. That’s probably why people seek family.

Maybe when YJ calls his fans family, he has similar thoughts.

Anyway, when she thinks about the “yorobun kajok (all of you family)” who cannot come here, she feels that she is capable of doing almost anything.

When she got to the west gate of NHK, the place was crowded with what appeared like wuri family. Ooh, how I wish I could make you all into miniatures that would fit into my backpack then I could take you with me (though that would make my bag quite heavy ^^;)

The reason she was able to enter the studio today was because she was hired as a reporter for the magazine “Korean Drama Tsushin (news)”. For her assignment on writing an article on TWSSG, she had watched all 24 episodes 3 times, and even wrote down the camera blocking of the entire drama. Now, if she were to interview Producer Kim, she had the confidence to discuss any scene of the drama on the same level. It was necessary to make that kind of effort to get a job like a reporter for a press conference, but many people don’t understand that....

Not anyone can enter the venue of the conference.
That being the case, the least she could do was deliver the voices of the family to YJ. So, in BSJ (BYJ Supporters in Japan), she sought for questions people wanted to ask him. She received many requests, but there were some she could NEVER bring up^^;

At the bunggae in Korea, there were some juicy questions like “what do you wear when you go to bed? Briefs or trunks?” and people enjoyed YJ’s cute reaction and humorous remark. But this visit was planned for the promotion of the drama, so she had to stick to something related to it.

What Satoko herself really wanted to ask most of all, was why YJ and the producer deliberately took on the challenge of creating a “non-fighting hero”

This was Satoko's question:

“When we look at the stone monument of Gwanggaeto the Great, Damdeok in history is a bellicose king who constantly fought to expand his territory, but you depict him as a king who is the opposite. I think such a hero who strives to avoid fighting is a new type.
I would think that a success story with the king cutting the enemy to shreds would provide more satisfaction and be simple as well, but why did Producer Kim insist on creating a new model of a king who avoids war?

Also, when we heard the announcement you made last June on the postponement of the production, we were able to interpret it as a change of direction in accordance with YJ’s words. How were you planning to depict him initially?

Also, even as a leading actor, I think it is rare that an actor would make propositions to the script to that extent – did you find it somewhat annoying?

I would also like to ask YJ-ssi the same question:
Even in the position of a leading actor, people could see you as acting beyond authority for stepping into issues of the script to that level. If you are reputed of being a loud actor, I think it would make it difficult for you to work, but could you tell us why you intentionally made such a forward proposal?"

This was what Satoko wanted to ask.
She wanted to know what was going on his head.
She wanted to know what he was thinking.
She wanted to understand BYJ, the human being.
That was her biggest wish.

But this question was rather heavy. If it was a one on one interview, she would have liked to dwell on this issue, but that was not something expected in a press conference.
Though the purpose of this visit was for the promotion of TWSSG, all the TV stations cared about were the ratings through getting the oh-so-popular BYJ on their network – they weren’t about to help out in promoting a program for another station. So, if they could get a comment out of him that would get good ratings, they would show a lot of him, but if the conference focused on the promotion the drama, they would probably cover it only briefly.

In other words, in order to get a long appearance of him on TV for wuri family, they needed to get him to say something interesting. To have him shoot a cool goal, she had to make the appropriate pass.

But knowing YJ, he may resort to one of his corny remarks…
A clumsy pass could result to a disaster of getting the whole crowd turned off…
With that in mind, Satoko went over the questions she had and found the perfect one. It was a question written by Chun Chun: “Would you like to be hugged from behind like you were by Suzini, or from the front as you were by Kiha?”
It was ingeniously connected to the drama, juicy enough that it would capture interest on TV – a win-win question.

He could give the king-like model answer, “it would be from the front, because I could hug her back immediately”, or come up with something appropriate for his age like, “from my personal experience, I think it would be from the back.” Or, he could please the family by saying “it would seem more agonizing if it was from the back.”
He could even deliver the final blow with, “it would seem like I’m being hugged by my mother if it was from the front” etc. etc.
As long as he gave one specific comment, either choice would make the headlines.

The most boring answer would be a dry comment like, “either way is OK by me”, but if he could express it in a masculine way like “both is welcome by me, as long as it’s by a woman”, he may be successful in giving a good impression to the male viewers. In any case, we really couldn’t expect him to say something like, “it would be ok to be hugged from behind when I have my clothes on”. hahaha

There would be a million ways to answer this question, and we could get people to laugh, but he would not be able to make a meaningful comment. Would he be more interested in conveying a message than a bright smile? Would he despise me for asking such a dumb question? Or would he wish to be shown on TV as long as possible?

When Satoko was pondering over this problem, Norisuke-san (editor of the magazine) appeared with a NHK calling card pinned on her.

Norisuke-san said to her,
“Oh? Didn’t you say you were going to come here in a Geomool villagers’ costume? I wore white to match your outfit.”
(note: Norisuke-san had expressed her hesitance when Satoko came up with the idea of attending the press conference in a costume. Satoko reluctantly gave up.)

“Ooh, you should’ve said so! I would’ve brought you a costume, too!"
“No, noo, it’s quite alright ^^; Let’s hurry and go to the reception desk. The photographer has already gone to draw for his shooting space.”

Normally, photographers go through a fierce battle over securing a good space to shoot good photos. But to give everyone a fair chance, the photographers were requested to draw lots for today’s press conference,

There was already a long line in front of Studio CT113.
Reception was to start from one, but there were many reporters already in line.
As the NHK staff claimed that it was no use lining up, Satoko and Norisuke concluded that the reporters would also be drawing lots, and decided to head for the cafeteria. But for some reason, Norisuke-san went past it.

”Oh, Norisuke –unni, you’re walking towards the main entrance....”
“Are you by any chance nervous?”
“Ha ha ha…^^; well, what do you think hahaha”

There was a group of children nearby who were in line, led by nice young man who will lead them in games and exercises in a children’s program. Satoko thought, oh how I wish I could be in line and be led like them...

(to be continued....)

Dong Hyuk

I hope you are relaxing like Dong Hyuk in New York!

Jun 10, 2008

BYJ Classics / The Scenes

From the pamphlet of BYJ Classics/Concert - The Scenes.