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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


As I said yesterday, I loved the "Three Brothers" animated sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One.  So much so, that I sent a fan email to the animator, first apologizing for bothering him, then letting him know how much his work touched me and Alice.  He replied this morning from England, actually delighted that we loved his work. 

I've noted before that I have the opportunity to walk amongst the gods at times.  That friends and acquaintances are also heroes of mine.  Some give the world beautiful stories.  Others give us excitement, art, music, writing and other forms of creativity.  Some are fascinating historians.  The braver ones teach.  Some make the world a better place just by existing; some by surviving.  The first thing I noticed about Noe was his compassion - it's the thing I value most in people, and something I too often lack myself.  I don't know if it's that famous Aspergian inability to feel empathy; I can't miss what I've never known.  Noe says that my kindness and patience with students was the first thing he noticed about me as well, so there may be hope for me yet.

Awkward as I am, I am sometimes a successful fangirl.  I admire the people I've mentioned above, but I do actually spaz out and get all fangirl on occasion.  Remember in the second blog when I mentioned that I'd found another special focus while living in Hawaii? 

Bae Yong Joon:

Lovely, isn't he? 

Long story, here goes:  When learned enough French in four years of high school to be able to read some literature in the original French: The Count of Monte Cristo is way better in French than in English, as is Le liasions dangereuses (Dangerous Liasons), pretty much going through people's mail in naughty old France.  I was disappointed with the film version, and so horrified with the "Valmont" version that I boycotted Colin Firth's Pride and Prejudice for a whole year.  I attended HIFF, the Honolulu International Film Festival with a pal who was originally from France.  She heard that there was a Korean version of the story called "Untold Scandal" and talked me into going, for a laugh. 

This Korean actor nailed Valmont.  I cried so hard at the end of the film, my pal thought I was laughing.   When I got home, I looked him up on the computer, and found his latest pictures:

Dayam!  Waitwait - that's the same guy?  But there's more.  All over Korean restaurants and shops in Hawaii, there was this guy's photo.  He was famous for a Korean Drama (like a soap opera, but limited run and at night) called Winter Sonata.

Again, the same guy.  I was fascinated.  Winter Sonata was so syrupy, but I couldn't stop watching, and even yelled at the screen a couple times.  Oh, that evil Cherin! 

So, I became a fan.  Other fans, or "family" as he calls us, were very kind to me, sending me things from Asia that I couldn't get here.  Then, I found out that he was going to have a fan meeting in Seoul, something very rare for him as he was so famous at this point that he could sell out an arena in Japan in minutes. 

In Korea, the opening weekend of a film, the stars of the film go from theatre to theatre in Seoul, thanking people for watching their film.  There is no official BYJ fan club outside of Japan, but there is a fan club made of people from Korea, and they arranged a Korean-only fan meeting.  Others in the club felt that this was not fair to people from other countries, so they arranged an international Bunggae (fan meeting) the day previous. 

I got a ticket from a friend in Korea, and worked three jobs to pay for my plane fare and hotel.  I flew Korean Air coach, and was treated better than anytime I've flown first class on an American airline in the past two decades.  I stayed at MyeongDong Guest House, like a hostel, for 30.00 US a night, and had a private double bed room with a private bathroom - and Korean bathrooms are cool - it's all one big shower.  I had a fun week exploring Korea, shopping, eating, eating, eating, meeting wonderful people, and of course, seeing Bae Yong Joon in person.   He did his appearance in the theater, then came down the stairs on the side of the stage.  As he came down, he saw me, and smiled in amazement.  At that moment it occured to me that among the almost thousand women there, I was the only white person, and blonde (at the time) at that.  Ha!

It's a happy memory, and I saw him again a couple times after that.  Never talked to him, never shook his hand.  But even if I hadn't gotten to see him, my trip to Korea would be one of the high points of my life, because of the wonderful "sisters" I met and got to hang out with, from Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, many wonderful people.  Korea's fun.  I want to bring Noe and Alice and go back someday.

I came back and started a Hawaii fan club for BYJ, and made more friends and happy memories there.  So, that's my adventures of a (white)Korean fangirl, and that's where I've been.  BYJ, a shy, introverted person, is phasing out of the public eye, and I respect that and wish him well.  He and our "family" will always be in my heart.

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