Sunday, April 29, 2007


April Snow happens to be the very first work of HRH ever since I became a bae fan, so that I was able to follow his AS activities from day one through the completion of this project. Then it was his Asia tour, then the offering of the ASDC - the April Snow Director’s Cut. I’ve purchased his pre-production “Makings” DVD, his original April Snow DVD, recently (yes, in 2007 April, the day after the April snow actually fell in our town, is it a nice coincident?), I have been fortunate to receive one of the gifts from Jaime - ASDC. Honestly April Snow is not my favorite HRH work, but since I am his serious fan and supporter, I have actually watched the original AS for about 3 times. When I heard about the offering of ASDC, I did not pay much attention thinking what more can it offer. Now that I got it and watched it, I found it interesting to compare the two versions and express my feelings.

People usually tell us to look at things on two sides. It seems things always have two sides. In an absolute sense, there is good or bad, right or wrong, in the relative sense, there is positive or negative, depends on who is looking at it and how one looks at it. To me, this movie is a true embodiment of “the two sides of a story”.

First things first, let’s just look at its titles. It has two names, its original Korean and Chinese name Oechul which means Going Out, and later on in time there came a Japanese and English name April Snow, which implies an unexpected belated beautiful experience. The initial name Oechul suggested a painful story of the extra-marital affairs. The title inclines on the hurtful side of a love affair, in a legal term, we call it adultery. While the final name that Director Hsu preferred is April Sonw. It is almost like this baby was given a First name at birth - Oechul, and then given a middle name which according to certain Western tradition, a name that brings blessings – April Snow. I think this middle name is indeed a good choice. It brings out the sad and attractive aspect of the story, attempting to remind the viewers the beautiful side of a love affair. From the way Director Hsu laid out the titles of this movie, I sensed the unsettling, exploring thoughts in his mind.

And the exploring thoughts continued - the director presented us with two versions of the same story. The official version of the movie is the original AS shown in theaters all over the world. Even as of now Camille reported it is still shown in France. Isn’t this amazing? Then about a year later after the showing of the original AS, Director Hsu offered us his complete version ASDC. After watching the two versions, once more I believed the offerings of this movie is a true embodiment of “the two sides of a sotry” and it conveyed a feeling of unsettled confusions and explorations. I somehow sensed the unsettlement was introduced by BYJ’s strong involvement. I think the ASDC represented more of the original plan of Hsu, however, I am convinced that BYJ had a few strong opposing opinions about the underline moral of this movie, that he contributed a huge influence on the outcome of the original AS.

BYJ knew clearly that when audiences watch Insoo, they are inevitably thinking about BYJ, no one can practically completely separate the thoughts of watching BYJ even though they know the main character is actually Insoo. It IS BYJ that we are watching after all. To be honest, if it were not because of BYJ in it, I would never want to watch AS ever. (Sounds very strong isn’t it?)

So BYJ was in a dilemma, he has committed to the role with Director Hsu, but he was disappointed with the simple hackneyed storyline; he was struggling with the role that he would never imagine he’ll be in the real life; he was questioning the conflicting moral the story carried, with his value system he knew that one could never win by playing an adulterous husband no matter how charming and handsome one can be, no matter for whatever seemingly valid reasons. But fear NOT! who is BYJ? BYJ is not an ordinary man like In-soo, BYJ is a man who is exceptionally capable of making good out of any situation. So we heard that he had intense discussions and arguments with the director, so we heard that he was deeply involved in suggesting changes of the storytelling. So we got the official version of the AS which I think from the moral stand point is an ultimate clever remedy for the situation.

The key point is, this version of AS gave audience H (so this is my personaly view, K?) an impression that Insoo was
mostly in a passive position throughout the forming and developing of this extra-marital relationship with Seou-ying. By omitting the kissing scene in the theater, the kissing scene in the museum, omitting the scenes in the hotel during the first bed scence, from Seouying coming out of the bathroom, to all the couch scenes when Insoo holding a somewhat hesitating Seou-yong (Great removal!), instead it directly showed her taking the glasses off BYJ’s face, a strong suggestion that Seou-ying was in the lead. Then showing the seashore picture taking scene after the first bed scene(in ASDC, this picture-taking scene was before the first bed scene), when Seou-ying was again leading the action, it suggested that the first intimacy was mainly inflicted from the thought of vengeance, instead of real love. And only from and after the seashore picture taking scene, did In-soo showed certain affection toward Seouying. This emotion was further developed by a tad feeling of jealousy from both sides when they saw each other went back to tend their spouses at their bed side. The second hot bed scence was again Seou-ying on top of it at the beginning and lasted for a certain length before In-soo turned around. Even the last part of the movie when they met again during the April snowing, by removing the scene of In-soo meeting Seou-ying in the park, but only showed In-soo received a phone call, then both were in the vehicle, BYJ’s voice asking “What do you want to do?” This closed the movie with a hopeful ending but a hint of BYJ being called out by Seou-ying rather than he initiated the call as shown in ASDC. The only scene that they could not cut or alter is after the second bed scene, In-soo called the hospital first so that he could spend a night with Seou-ying in the hotel, and Seou-ying waited until he called and made the same phone call. Well I can understand it as the second time they were together, it was more out of the attraction of each other, it’s fine that In-soo was taking the lead at this point.

It was only after I watched the ASDC, did I realized the underlining purpose of the cuttings of these scenes. Even though we saw less of BYJ in the movie, even though we are left with a more unconnected story, we went away with a tad relief that the poor In-soo fell into such an unexpected tragic situation and then was pulled into this conflicting relationship passively. It is not the poor guy’s fault ok? And we are happy that he can enjoy a little happiness with Seou-ying after all. Ah we fans are very forgiving and understanding, being in love with HRH, we have no other choices. Thank goodness HRH is so smart he knows how to protect his image and he knows how to make our bae-fans' lives easier to enjoy the movie. So why don’t I call this version ASBC – April Snow BYJ Cut.

I have only watched ASDC once, but I got a very strong feeling that In-soo’s position is totally opposite to what was shown in the original AS. The effect of those extra scenes in ASDC turned all the views around, showing that Insoo was mostly in the active position throughout the development of their relationship. He initiated the kissing in the theater, he initiated kissing in the museum, in the first bed scene, he suggested Seou-ying to come over to sit beside him in the couch after she came out of the bathroom, wasn’t Seou-ying hesitating, is it only me who sees the hesitation? And then he initiated the hugging and obviously Seou-ying was not ready and did not hug back. And oh, it was he who went to the bus station to pick Seou-ying up, and the surprised Seou-ying had a thankful expression on her face, (mind you I am satisfied with SYJ’s performance, except this part, good thing Hsu cut it out in the ASBC). So the whole process gave me an impression that In-soo was actively arranging their first “date”. While in ASBC, BYJ got a phone call in the stadium and boom the scene jumped to show In-soo and Seou-ying walking along the riverbank. Didn’t that suggest that Seou-ying was in town and called up In-soo to meet?

Oh don't forget about those two hugging scenes after each bed-scence. In the hugging scene next morning after the first bed-scene, we got to see BYJ's muscular back, how precious! I mean it. In the other hugging scene next morning after the second bed-scene, In-soo held Seo-hyeong from the back on the balcony facing the peaceful sea, such a beautiful scene, perfect for a loving couple. I wish I could be held like that forever. These huggings make me feel that the man is in love and is in the active position.

Cut cut cut, all these supposedly beautiful scenes were cut. At this moment I am almost thinking BYJ wished his ASBC cut as much as In-soo’s appearance on the scene, eliminating any of his actions with Seou-ying, better yet, how about only show a shadow when they were together? Nah, it’s just that sarcastic me again.

But on a serious note, all of these scenes have our HRH in it and all of these scenes presented us with his loving and sexy features. But they were all removed from the ASBC. I do think all of these mesmerizing scenes were cut with good reasons. All of these enchanting kissing and hugging scenes are suitable for a sweet couple falling in love, they are beautiful when their love is pure. But BYJ does not think these sweet scenes are beautiful in an affair. He does not want to show the relationship between In-soo and Seo-hyong is love, instead, in his own words, this relationship was formed with certain peculiar emotion gave rise under certain particular situation. 100% I agree with his clear analysis, assessments and understanding in this confusing matter. He proves to me again he is my hero. So there you have it, a beautiful ASBC with a gloomy quiet passive In-soo. But I have to admit, this In-soo is the brightest shiniest gloomy guy ever existed. You have to see who played it, our HRH. He is the best!

Some of the extra scenes in ASDC helped me to understand more on In-soo and Seou-ying’s agony, I think they are better to be included in the ASBC. For example after watching the recording in the camera of her husband’s affair with In-soo’s wife, Seou-ying went out and vomited, then she was standing in a public restroom. In ASBC, I could never understand why and for what purpose it showed Seou-ying standing beside a wall in the restroom. Another scene in ASDC showing Seou-ying sitting tired on a stairway when In-soo saw it and turned back quietly, I think it is helpful to show how much pain Seou-ying went through in this tragedy and how In-soo would grow the sympathy and protective feelings toward her. Some other scenes showing In-soo making a few anxious effort to try to figure out the password and the content in his wife’s cell phone, that would help to explain why he had that bleeding-nose scene. It helped me to see the agony and anxiety that caused a strong man like In-soo to suffer to the point that the nose was bleeding (I learned from Korean drama that nose bleeding usually is a sign of fatigue and tragedy.)

One thing I would like to mention is the first hospital scene when In-soo ran into the ER hallway, panting and sit down on the bench where Seou-ying was sitting. Before I watched ASDC, each time I watched this section in ASBC, I did not like it, I think this is my only unsatisfatory scene of BYJ's performing in this movie. It is part of director's fault. The panting with hands on his knees after running was a little bit overdone, then In-soo looked around, and then looked back at the ER door, then went to sit on the bench and then stood up, opened the cell phone and then closed it, and then sit down again on the bench and looked at the woman on the other end, it was a bit too verbose with not much meaning and purpose. I like the handling of the ASDC, the first time I watched it, this section made me feel comfortable which allerted me, it reminded me of the uncomfortable feeling each time I watched this moment in ASBC, so I went back to compare with the ASBC, and I see the differences, in ASDC, it was simply In-soo ran through the hallway, looked at the ER sign on the door, turn around a little bit and then go directly sit at the other end of the bench, stretching his left leg a little on the left, oh that famous royal sitting scene, I love. I guess Director Hsu realized the flaw of this scene in ASBC and showed the alternative of it in his ASDC version. Bravo!

The last few scenes in In-soo and his wife’s home are very interesting. Three things stick to my mind. 1. In-soo was not happy with the marriage but he is fulfilling his responsibility to perform the day to day chore. 2. In-soo did not forgive wife’s betrayal. When wife showed him their video recording of their early young happy times, the forced smile on In-soo’s face was so sad and helpless. I feel sorry for his pain but I personally do not admire an unforgiving man. 3. The bed scene with wife, oh, even I consider myself clear-minded, I could not resist that scene. BYJ was soooo handsome in that purple shirt. This is the best scene in the entire ASBC and ASDC combined. I would rather forget he is In-soo, and forget about the whole story, forget about right or wrong, I just like like like BYJ in this scene, did I realize this is the only scene that he wore colored clothe instead of grey or blue or black? If I am coming to see BYJ in this movie, I just want to rewind this section again and again, he is truly HRH. So the value of ASDC worths 100 times more than ASBC just because of this scene. His performance in this section is superb superb superb. In fact HRH’s acting in the entire AS is superb, but I have to do that analysis in a separate posting.

( Good thing I found this from bb's blog. I know I can find anything I need of our HRH from her blog.)

Thank you again Jaime for bringing me this gift. It is more interesting now to be able to watch both ASBC and ASDC and spin my head on comparing them. And that third bed scene, gal, that is a killer!

Recalling I mentioned earlier that this movie has a first name Oechul, middle name AprilSnow, guess what is its last name, the sirname? You bet, it is BYJ. It's BYJ's movie after all. No matter what, I love HRH for whatever he does. I have decided to support him years ago and my position will not change.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What do you love with?

"I like that Korean dood!" My pre-teen boy claimed the other day.

How can I hide from the two watchful princes at home while I am hooked on the other prince called HRH. So the princes found their mom kept watching some Korean dramas that always have this same cool dood appearing. Not for long they already got confused enough, "Hey, it's this guy again, is his name Minhyong or Yongming? or Canyu or Junsang?". I've got a hard time to explain to them clearly that these guys are from different dramas that played by the same actor. And they have watched with me enough dramas that they manage to get all the stories connected up as if they were watching a super big intertwined drama with all the stories of WinterSonata, FirstLove, LoveGreetings meshed together.

One day out of the blue, my innocent little prince asked me a question which I found quite profound - "Mom, do you love with your heart, or do you love with your brain?"

I was puzzled for a second, surprised by his sudden question. Naturally I wondered what had caused him to ask me a question like this? But got to give an answer in time. Dealing with kids for such a long time, I tend to treat them as adults. I tend to answer their questions with the seriousness and respect as if they were adults. So I decided to deal with this question in a matter of fact manner, not trying to give an implied answer trying to target to my imagined source of his question. So I decided to give it a theoretical answer.

Here it goes --- (This is my personal understanding and belief, feel free to comment and argue if you find this interesting.)

You love with both. I think initially you love with heart, it's called fall in love, isn't it? The heart is not a brain, it can not "think" but it "feels". The first impression, the attraction is "felt" more than "thought" by the parties involved. And then ideally, you should really love someone with your brain. This love is referred to the long term relationship with a commitment for the whole life. To maintain a love like this requires more brain work than just heart-pleasing impulses. The life long love brings not only joy but from time to time pain. It is the brain that makes the choices and decisions, it is the brain that determines on enduring the sufferings and sacrifices that comes with the love, and taking actions to refresh and enhance the love relationship. I believe that the heart sows the seed for love, and it takes the brain to tend it and keep it alive and healthy.

Well I did not say the exact words as I put here to present to my little prince with the answer, rather I put it in a more child-friendly way so that he was pretty satisfied. Eventually I figured out that they were mostly intrigued by the story of Winter Sonata, that they got very concerned about the memory loss issue of Junsang. They were trying to understand how Junsang could and would love Yujin after he lost all his memory of the youthful first love of his high school sweetheart.

One of the arguments my princes got was, if you love with your heart, then Minhyong who lost his entire early age memory should not forget about his first love Yujin because even though his brain was damaged, his heart was still intact, he should remember his love for Yujin.

I guess this argument got its point. I tend to think there is even support for this point from the drama. Don't you think the drama actually suggested that Minhyong did get attracted by Yujin from day one even as a "brand new" young man. Even though he thought he never met her before, his heart is still being pulled to her instantly, feeling the tug and tick, the curiosity and attraction. You see, there does exist the attraction and fate that the brain can not initiate and control. The modern scientists decided to call it "chemical", others call it the "gift from Heaven", either way, I do believe that this mysterious seed of love does exist and can not be planted by brain alone. I truly believe it is planted by something higher than a human brain.

Now kids got more puzzled - how can the dood behave like he really forgot about Yujin and was dating another girl - Chelin. The logical conclusion can only be one loves with the brain. So if you lost part of your brain function, you lost your love. Yes that's true, the story showed how the "newly found" Junsang suffered from the pain of losing the time of being with Yujin for 10 years and the inability of recalling his past love experiences and memories. The love comes from the heart of Minhyong and Yujin was imperfect due to the loss of time and memory that Junsang's brain could have worked on for 10 years.

The other support in the dram for "love with brain" comes from how Minhyong formed his opinions on Yujin and Chelin and the actions he took in correspondents. Remember Minhyong said a few hurtful things to Yujin because of his misunderstanding of her. Oh that Chelin was so trickery before she turned away from her jealousy. Although Minhyong was attacted by Yujin, but misled by Chelin's tricks, he concluded Yujin was a fivolous woman, with his righteous mind, Minhyong informed Yujin "I like women, but I don't like the type of women like you! ..." Oh how hurtful, my heart will turn into ice by these cold words. But from this you see how Minhyong used his brain to control his emotions. And further more, after he found out about the truth, immediately he decided to break up with Chelin and to devote all his love to Yujin, knowing that this love may bear no fruit because of Yujin's family pressure and the past situations with her fiance Sanghyuk.

Now more proof of the importance on love with brain - When Minhyong found out that Sanghyuk was dying because of her breaking up with his engagement, and Yujin did not have courage to visit him in the hospital and to face the risk of the unwillingly marriage with Sanghyuk in order to save his life, Minhyong made an extraordinary decision out of love for Yujin. He drove Yujin to the hospital and convinced her that she should do the right thing to save a person's life, he decided to take the risk of sacrificing his love to exchange for a life even though the person was his rival in love. This type of sacrifice can only come from the brain, and only the brain can have the power of restraining the heartful emotion and performing the selfless act. Now only at this point in the drama, I am convinced that Minhyong is the perfect man to love and be loved. Sanghyuk is not a bad man, he is a typical, above average nice young man you can find in the real world, he is caring, loving, handsome, intelligent, mostly gentle, with the normal shortcomings of a normal man, sometimes being narrow-minded and jealous, telling little lies, doing hurtful things for selfish reasons, and will repent right after. In one word, he is an acceptable earthly practical nice young man. In contrast, Minhyong is extremely charming, cheerful, clean, pure, truthful, gentle, righteous, wise and manly. In the words from Yujin's colleague, Jinhyak's mouth, "He is the perfect man!". Every little turning point in the story, his choices were always higher than Sanghyuk's. He exhibited an ideal man who possesses a heart and brain that are extra-ordinary. I believe this is the key reason (not ignoring all the other factors as we already knew), that Winter Sonata and BYJ have been extremely welcomed to so many women's heart for so long and so deep.

There you go, I believe the "small" love comes from the heart, the "big" love grows from it and relies on the brain to survive, the longer (and older ^_^ ) the relationship is, the more it relies on the brain to keep it happy, healthy and long-life.

Wonder why I am babbling about the Winter Sonata and my "philosophy" of love? HeeHee, I am setting it up for the discussions of April Snow.

I am so thankful for being a mother of two princes, they are my inspirations. Well and I am even more thankful for being in a family of HRH, he is the inspiration of my inspirations.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Gosijo's Analysis on April Snow

I often hear objections of me following up on our HRH, the reason is "waste too much time, it's useless". Today here let me show one use of our HRH - he keeps our intellectual minds busy. How long have people spent on analyzing the drama Have We Really Loved? Almost 8 years ever since it came out in 1999, people still are talking about it, falling in love with it and doing serious in depth analysis on it, publishing books about it even this year in Japan. The same scenario happened for Winter Sonata, Hotelier, First Love, Untold Scandal, and don't miss this, April Snow. April Snow is the latest work of HRH, it's been out for almost two years, of course we should still be absorbing it, 'coz his work always requires the intelligent minds and eyes to savor on it from time to time, and times after times, to fully understand and appreciate it. And if it happens that you run into a year that just odd enough to incur April snow, you should expect some busy minds be stimulated again to review his movie with this intriguing title called April Snow.

The other day our town was "showered" with April Snow, I happened to have some time to take the pictures and blogged about it, see now our dear sister gosijo wrote up a detailed chapter about her thoughts on the movie. I, with pure luck, just received the April Snow Director's Cut from Jaime the next day after the falling of the April snow in our area, so I am really on the mood of providing my thoughts on it. Although I have been avoiding it for a long time, since gosijo suggested that I can share them without feeling any constraint, and I do remember vegasbyj expected to see the ASDC as well, so I'll try to put the thoughts together in a bit.

Here I would like to share gosijo's comments.


I see quite a few comments have been added to your April Snow thread since I last visited. I hope you can share your feelings on AS versus AS DC without feeling any constraint. It's okay to think the movie characters acted in a way we would condemn in our own lives and perhaps in others around us. (I have no right to condemn anyone, I admit that I don't agree with what had happened in the movie.)

For my part, I think these things happen so it is interesting to explore why. I hope I would have the strength to 'say no' in a similar situation. Still, putting aside the fact that In-soo is played by almost-impossible-to-resist HRH, I see the story as being about more than attraction or nascent love. I see solace, there, a mutual giving of comfort between two human beings battered by hurtful events. (It will take a lot of effort to analyze why and how they got into the relationship, would like to try one day, good thing this movie has left so much room to stimulate discussions like this. If HRH does not give us more work to watch we can sure spend our time spinning on this movie. I agree with your summary that they are not only attracted but more of seeking solace, then the emotion grew into certain love)

In In-soo, I see a need for re-affirmation of self, re-affirmation of being able to feel, of finding again the man he thought he was. In Seo-yeong, I see a young woman who is playful, more beautiful than she thinks she is, but also shy, scared, insecure, and so taken by surprise by In-soo's attention that she might very well have wanted to 'say no' but she didn't quite know how. It would have required seeing it coming. (Agreed most of it, just I did not see Seoyeong tempted to 'say no' to Insoo, maybe I can watch another time and keep this in mind.)

I really liked the original version and how it forced us to fill in the blanks but I also like the DC, especially in the way it shows the awkwardness between the two in the intimate scenes (theatre and 1st time in hotel room). Most other movies assume that moments like those go smoothly, or that passion kicks in instantly. It's refreshing to see that a film-maker is willing to explore a radical alternative. (I'd like to discuss this first on my list.)

I especially like the scene when she comes out of the washroom and sits on the bed. You can almost hear what In-soo thinks: "What do I do now?" His choice of action is interesting too. Instead of going to her, he invites her to come to him but it's not a strong invitation; it's silent and he's not even looking at her, to keep the pressure low. And, yet, she comes! Does politeness play a role in that? It would be easy to think that she found him irrisistible (since that's what we think of the actor) but I think she was drawn by his need for comfort. I think that's the main reason she didn't say something like "I can't", which would have been so easy (if you exclude the fact that In-soo is played by HRH, of course). In fact, what I see is that she is conflicted, that she doesn't really want to go through with it, that she's on the verge of saying "I can't" a number of times, that it's not so much an attraction but a response to a call for help. (Interesting detailed analysis. I tend to agree with you. Maybe I should put the analysis of how they got into the relationship on the second of my list. ^_^ It sounds more and more interesting.)

Ah, how I wish the director had shown us how they went from the hug, with both of them on the sofa, to the removal of the glasses, with In-soo kneeling in front of Seo-yeong! Since he left room for our imagination, here's a possible version: first, softening from her initial reluctance, she would have responded to the hug. Not in a passionate way, more in a comforting-comforted way, to continue the motive I've assigned to the scene (others should feel free to think otherwise). Then, he would have hung on to her arms and swiveled so as to sit on the coffee table, on his way to kneeling on the floor in front of her. Then, I see a near-repeat of the scene where he stopped her from peeling the apple, with reaching to touch her hair and the intense look they exchanged except, this time, there would be no inopportune knock on the door. She, too, would reach over, seemingly to touch his hair but, the playfulness in her and, perhaps, the truthfulness, would suddenly want no barrier to intrude in this look so she would take his glasses off. Whether she had meant it or not, In-soo would interpret this as permission to proceed, and the rest would go on as in the movie. (gosijo, did you have experiences in directing movies? or script writing? I also think the gap is a bit large there, but I got used to Director Hsu's style after seeing this movie in such a segmental mode. I just habitually try to fill in the blanks with my own interpretation and imagination, sometimes for a bigger gap like this, I would be helplessly giving up 'coz I had no clue what could be happening in between. Thanks for trying to fill this gap for me. It seems making sense.)

Okay, cut! Enough of me planting ideas in other people's head! And, please, don't be shy if you see it completely differently. Others have said they had strong issues with the theme of the movie and I would very much like to hear more in that vein or any vein you care to bring up. (You did hear "others" having "strong issues"? what are they? All I read has been all positive, so I dare not discuss my opinions, simply I tried to avoid it. You know what? I think I should write it down here in my blog, it's my journal. I don't think I'll hurt anyone, right? Actually no one should be offended because I do love HRH in this movie. Note, I said HRH, not Insoo. And I said HRH, didn't I, yes it means BYJ, word by word. Yeah I like the actress too, she did a good job.)

In the end, AS and ASDC are good movies because they make us think, they make us consider how we would have acted. The mesmerizing presence of HRH is the cherry on the cake although, for my part, I have to give it to him, I truly saw In-soo, not BYJ on the screen, so that speaks to his talent. Also, (yeah, yeah, I said I had finished my comment and here I am, continuing), SYJ did a spectacular job and I think that both actors gave such believable performances because one's craft was enhanced by the other's and vice versa. (Agreed with you, both actings are splendid. I'll touch on this as well)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

H Meets Jaime

Greetings dear sisters,

I know you gals have been anxious to hear about our gathering and I promised coco to write about it, but as a slow and disorganized person, I have not been able to put all the thoughts together. Thanks to our diligent, loving, thoughtful dear sister Jaime, I feel that my life is spared. She has done such a good job describing our meeting, I feel such a relief, thank you so much Jaime for being such a talented writer. All I need to do is to fill in my thoughts here and there.

First of all, I am so sorry that I failed to provide Jaime a photo of me before our meeting, which caused so much of her anxiety. Jaime did send a couple of hers, so I knew what she looked like, and the first impression of seeing her photo was she looked mostly like what I imagined, sharp, stylish, pretty, slim, except only one unexpected, she looked more serious than I thought after reading a bunch of her bone-tickling, hilarious writings of being a fan with "BYJ Syndrome", "What's with the Hair", etc. I recalled she assured me that she is really not as serious as she looked in the pictures. Now meeting with her this time, I believed what she said. She is such a graceful, beautiful, kind, sweet, smart, sensible, generous and fun sister. She is obviously a lady with soft and gentle heart, and very easy going. The way she talked, moved, the atmosphere around her was made so gentle, I feel so fortunate to get to know her. But even though I knew how she looked like from the pictures she sent me, I was still struck when I really see her in real human forms - 3D, ok! moving 3D, live 3D, gosh, this is the most amazing experience in my life - seeing an internet ID w/ photos turns into a live human in front of me, and more amazing, with her husband standing beside!

Now as soon as we finished embracing each other, there popped out 4 other family members of Jaime, if I recall, the men were all wearing black, were they prepared to overpower me if I turned out to be a villain? HeeHeeHee... just kidding *_* My real feeling was, I must look real absurd in the eyes of Jaime's family. Thank goodness Jaime's family are all kind hearted understanding people, her sister is truly warm and open minded and outgoing, she smiled at me with the humorous knowingly smile, her eyes and smiles seemed saying "I know you girls little secrete, it's childish but it's OK", and she was quite surprised to see me meeting them by myself. I told her that this is my very first time driving down to Boston alone, and first time coming to the famous Quincy Market. She kept asking me how long I have lived in this area and could not believe that I have lived here for almost 9 years and never visited the famous Quincy Market. It's such a shame that I looked more like a tourist than Jaime and her family. Jaime you are so lucky to have such a big loving and protective family. You know what, on top of many obvious reasons to thank you for coming up all the way to meet me, there is one more thing I would like to thank you for your visit, that is I finally got a chance to check out the Quincy Market, one more item on the list of must-see in Boston. It's quite an interesting place after all.

I have the same mixed feeling as Jaime, that we seemed to have known each other so much through exchanging emails and writing and blogging, but when we met, we seemed to know too little of each other, the imagination and reality eventually met. We seemed to be very close and very far at the same time. Indeed we are so different people, from different country, different background, different culture, different upbringing, we are so far away of our walk of life, I can never imagine that our path would cross like this in my life, yet we are so close in our heart because of the same love of an ideal. I feel that this love washed away all the differences of our personalities, and brought us together to rejoice in the goodness of this life. I think I should propose a Nobel Peace Prize to our HRH, i.e. BYJ. HehHehHeh... (At this moment, I can't help to include a message from Coco on thoughts of nominating HRH for a Nobel or "Noble" Peace Prize - Here is the excerpt ---

H, I loved your idea of giving our Prince a Nobel Peace Prize -- and then I started thinking it could also be a "Noble" Peace Prize! We could nominate him for the real thing (tho I'm not sure how one goes about doing that, but I am sure we could find out!), and we could also bestow a Noble Peace Prize upon him from his Family! Do you like my idea??
I often think about how far-reaching his love and his spirit is.... It extends all throughout his beloved Asia, and waaaay past that, to Europe and Australia and North America.... It is an awesome thing for sure! Is it time to write to People Magazine again? Should we think about how we can give him a wonderful "prize", to let him really know how grateful we are to him for all that he has given to us?? What are some of your thoughts???

I totally agree. I like the idea of bestow a Noble Peace Prize upon HRH from his fan family. Wanna do it?)

Jaime is a shy person. Am I right? Or how about this, She always has much more going through her minds than what she could vocally express. But she is also in the meantime, spontaneous. Lovely girl! I finally got to see the humorous side of her live! We were talking about our HRH, of course, what else! It was at the turn that Jaime was about to summarize on what she thought of him and why she was attracted by him, so she started in the lines such as "It is not just because of his face ... " As you know, even being a slow brain like me, I could predict what she would say next, such as "it is also because of his many virtues that we all fell in love him ..." phrases around that idea, righ? It has become our common consensus that we love HRH not only because of his looks, but mostly it is because of his beautiful personalities. But to my astonishment, what did I hear Jaime? I heard "all right, all right, it is his body as well ..." What did I hear? She reassured "yes, it's not just his face, it's also his whole body ..." Then I heard her murmuring "see how I have degraded to such a state, being so shameless, ..." what else did you say Jaime? I remember you blurred out quite a lot of self-blaming words, but your voice got lower and lower, I could hardly hear clearly as you keep going like that. HaHaHa, I could not help laughing, maybe my loud laugh overshadowed her self-criticism. Jaime Jaime, I see the internet Jaime coming alive! Oh my, oh my, I am really thankful for meeting a friend like this.

Sure we exchanged the experiences on how we started the bae journey. It's amazing that after all these exchanges on the internet, we've never touched on this topic - how did we ever started this bae journey. Well on my way to meeting her, I was reviewing in my mind about what exactly happened that lead me to the meeting of ours that day, I wanted to recall how I started to get interested in our HRH, trying to analyze what had happened exactly that I fell under the spell. So I went on and on, I guess I wasted a lot of our precious time talking about my boring story, that we did not get our quality time on more HRH drooling and on our sisters like you gals. Lessons learned - prepare a meeting agenda for limited meeting time.

But we should definitely include in our agenda for sharing the experiences on how we started the bae journey. Just limit the time allocated to me who babbles too much. Finally Jaime got a chance to share with me how she got started. It was that Winter Sonata, yes, who can escape from that spell! From her sharing I got to learn that she got a serious surgery, good thing it turned out to be benign. Jaime, I hope you take good care of yourself, try to be healthy. No wonder you are tired a lot. Please do not stay up too late, sleep more and eat healthy.

Talking about the photos, I was so moved by Jaime's artistic creation of this beautiful bracelet, the HRH pictures she picked was so handsome, and they were so finely made, I am sure she has spent a lot of effort and heart in making it, and she wrapped it up in such an elegant red fabric bag, very creative and thoughtful. I put it on and tried to show it to all you sisters, but it did not turn out as I expected. Plus I did not realize that Jaime is so tall, that when I improvised this posture of holding around her shoulder, it looked quite awkward, and even worse, I was shocked when I first saw the pictures, my tummy was exposed. I was very embarrassed at first, then a naughty thought came to mind - how I wish that person who was holding Jaime with tummy exposed be HRH, then I got to see that 6-pack muscles so intimately, hahaha... So next time we get a chance to see our HRH, we should concoct a plan to make him take a posture like that.

Here are some of the pictures I took on the bracelet. Her handmade bracelet is far more charming than what is shown in the pictures. I wish I had the skills of our talented photographer HRH.

Here are some more pictures of what Jaime brought me over as gifts. She is so generous and thoughtful, she brought me food for stomach (Godiva chocolate, Korean coffee mix), food for breathe (fragrant bag), food for mind and eyes (HRH DVDs), and food for my body (sensual bracelet so my wrist can absorb HRH's charm all the time and my eyes can see him even when I am driving). She even picked my favorite color red for the chocolate box, CD case, bracelet bag, etc., how thoughtful, how thoughtful! Here are some pictures of her gifts. I am keeping the chocolate in my bedroom dresser, not dare to consume it, it worth more watching it than eating it, never heard chocolate rot, so I'll keep it there for as long as I can. Fragerant bag is placed at my nightstand, it helps me having sweet dreams so one day HRH will appear. Hahaa... bracelet of course will be with me always, and I'll sip on the coffee from HRH's country while watching his DVDs. Wah, what else do I expect in life!

Jaime, It was so wonderful to have met you on April 6, 2007. This is an event that will stay in my memory for ever and ever, and ever Amen! I am so grateful to have such blessings to meet a nice sister like you in my life. You became a real real person in my life more than a name on the internet. I hope we can keep our friendships, we are so different in our life paths, but we come across each other's path because of our same taste, understanding and love of an ideal. This can only come from grace. Maybe we'll be on the same path for a long time, or for a while, or one day we'll depart to pursue our own paths, but I would sure to cherish this special relationship and memory. Thank you very much for coming into my life. I love your writings, you are a talented artist, please keep writing more, and please do put your artistic creative crafty talent into good use, we'll all love your bae-utiful hand-made crafts. I am wondering where you are now, what you are doing, what you are thinking, hey, does this sound familiar, isn't it something like from the Hotelier? Will the Japanese Hotelier have these lines? I think it perfectly depicted my feelings to you Jaime and you and you and you, all the bae-utiful gals on my bae journey.

Jaime Meets H

Jaime and I met on April 6, 2007, a day to remember and cherish in my life. As coco mentioned, I have added another dozen of "choum" moments on my First Time list. First time to meet a bae sister personally, first time driving alone to Quincy Market, etc. Now I would like to keep a record of Jaime's account here.


H and I are scheduled to meet in downtown Quincy Market at noon for lunch on Good friday. Sorry H that I have to make you drive such a long way from your nice suburban home. (In case you haven’t read, H just posted pictures of April snow in her beautiful yards please check it out, so peaceful and romantic. Sorry, I digress.) Since I had no idea what H looks like, so every Asian lady who passed by me became my target of examination. (Sorry Jaime for my inconsiderate, causing your anxiety like this.) Eventually, a tall, slender woman approached me in an elegant pace w/ a gentle smile on her face, probably because I looked like an idiot sticking my head out here and there. We stared at each other, broke out in laughter and gave each other a big hug. I bid goodbye to my family and promised to be back in 2 hours at the same spot. (U see, my family still treats me like a kid, they insist to be there when I meet a new friend!)
Off H and I went to find ourselves a quiet place for our BYJ ‘drool and chat’ session. We picked a nice charming restaurant w/ a solarium looking out to the market square. Then we ordered some light lunch, seafood bisque and smoked salmon to share ( who needs to eat when we can feed our eyes on his gorgeous pictures?) H started telling me she was thinking about how her BYJ journey all started whiling driving down to meet me. We started talking about how BYJ fascination has affected our lives, we also touched on our own family too. To me, H is everything I imagined and much more – she is pretty, gentle, smart, calm, collected, logical and sensible of course. Every word that comes out from her has been well thought out, hahaha, so unlike me, who just blurt out anything that I want without filtering. My feelings are mixed : on one hand, it seems like I know H so well since we have poured out our emotions for BYJ through emails and her blog, yet I really don’t know her much because there are still many other aspects in her lives. Do you feel the same way, H? (I do feel the same way, Jaime you put it precisely!)
Now the fun part, we started taking out the gifts that we brought for each other. Of course, I copied and brought along all the super-licious DVDs that (other sisters) so kindly sent to me. I also gave H a bracelet that I made w/ all the yummy BYJ pictures on it in her favourite colour red (hehe jill, you know what I mean, right?) Now, you know why H posed in such a way so she could show the bracelet over my shoulder. Incidently, when H was standing and lifted her arm up, her sweater rose accordingly displaying her slim and trim abs! So envious! phew! am I glad I was wearing this thick and long coat covering my big fat butt, or else I’d really look like a PIG standing next to her! (Jaime I know you are trying to be nice and funny, I admire that you are in such a good shape!) I won't mention the other gifts, then H showered me with her collection of DVDs which she took such big effort to copy for me. Sorry H, I know you explained all the technical terms to me on how you did it, but it’s already out the other ear now. And those handsome April Snow clear files, among other yummy foods. Thank you, thank you H, I love them all.
Hahaha, after lunch, the drooling session began while we sipped our hot lemon tea, I brought along the 100 days of Bae Yong Joon to show his sexy muscles, CREA and Hot Chili Papers on Winter Sonata. (Oh those magazines are amazing, much better quality than I expected. The HRH photos on the magazines looked 100 times more beautiful and charming than seeing from the PC!) I asked the waitress to give us a clean cloth napkin to cover the table before we laid out my precious BYJ treasure. (Jaime is such a thoughtful person.) Whenever we saw his pictures baring his chest, we just couldn’t help oohing and aahing, feeling a bit embarrassed, then broke out and laughed. (The waiters and waitresses could not stop laughing at us, they were so amused by our childish behavior, that they were willing to take millions of pictures for us with super patience.) That’s how our prince binds all his Bae sisters together all over the world. We are from different countries, upbringings and backgrounds, somehow this amazing man can inspire friendships among so many women.
The 2 hours passed by so fast, we hardly touched on anything we hoped to say. Trust me chinggu, we didn’t even have time to concoct an evil plan to overthrow your supreme reign on BYJ monopoly yet. Nor did we have a chance to talk about our Bae activities. H, what the heck did we talk about then really? How come we haven’t even talked about our dear Bae sisters?

We met back w/ my family and I had to bid farewell to H. We gave each other a big hug, but I tried not to get emotional. When H turned away to walk to her parking garage, I remembered I looked around to see her slender back one more time cause I don’t know when I will see her again. (Jaime, I had to mention that I as well turned back to see you walking away with your family, it was sad at that moment, reminded me of the departing scene of Junsang and Yujin in Episode 21ish. I don't know when we will meet again, no matter what happens in the future, you will always stay in my heart.).
H, it was so nice to really meet you in person. I have met the TO sisters before, but the feeling is different when you finally meet someone whom you have talked to for so long. The experience not only enriches my BYJ journey, but I feel like I have gained a true, flesh and blood friend who understands so much of my inner emotions as a person, not just as a BYJ fan. H, your smile, your words, your presence will become a beautiful part of my memory. (Well put Jaime, you expressed precisely my feeling to you too. It is hard to find the friend around us who shares so deeply the similar feelings and understanding of certain values. I believe the love of HRH exhibits the values we hold and appreciate. We both agreed that it is not easy to find one just in the crowd around us in our daily life.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jaime's Den - Fashion II - YSL

The second part of Jaime's Fashion series. Nice job Jaime! Thanks for sharing.


I read that French and Italian women, who have such exquisite taste and are so impeccably dressed, would save their whole month’s salary just to buy a Hermes cashmere shawl. They appreciate quality and treasure every piece of their garments like future heirlooms. Now for an overseas student who lived on a modest monthly allowance, making a fashion statement is definitely NOT expected to be part of my curriculum. So for the ‘YSL-struck’ me to acquire that ‘end of the season’ Saint-Laurent embroidered bolero jacket, that ‘reduced’ Chloe silk knit cardigan or that ‘last pair’ of Maud Frizon metallic leather pumps, I was on an ‘instant noodles and canned food’ diet for months (shhhhhh….. if my parents found out, I’ll be chopped up like minced meat and made into dog food). Hehe, now I know where I learned my patience and endurance from. This early training sure comes in handy many years later when I have to wait in weeks for our handsome prince’s news, months for his gorgeous pictures and almost 2 years for his new work TWSSG! My dear sis, when it comes to excellence and Yong Joon, you will agree that it’s worth the wait, right?

While there is no physical resemblance between YSL and BYJ (ha, who comes even close to the handsomeness of our prince?); both men are cultured, elegant and very private, BYJ is sunshine warm while YSL is polar cool. Truly legends in their own rights, both men are projected to the top of their respective fields just after their debut. Saint Laurent succeeded Christian Dior as the creative director in the House of Dior in 1957 when he was only 21 years old. He received numerous honours and international awards and became a sensation in the fashion world. Just as our prince who established BOF to lend himself more creative independence; at 26, Saint Laurent ventured out to open his own couture house. Unlike his flamboyant Parisian counterpart Karl Lagerfeld who spreads his wings across many labels – Chanel, Chloe, Fendi furs; Saint Laurent has dutifully stayed on course adhering to his design philosophy in perfecting his art of couture design and master tailoring. BYJ and YSL’s conscientious efforts paid off, both men have their own company listed in their country’s stock exchange commanding millions $ in revenue. They love, respect and understand women and millions of women return that love with their non-swaying support.

In 1963, Yves Saint Laurent liberated women by adapting the easiness and comfort of male dressing – breaking the gender gap, designed the first pant suit for women (so, every woman who owns a pantsuit now owes it to him, huh?). Being the most skilful couturier at his times, he was instrumental in making haute couture designs available to the general public by creating his prêt-a-porter (ready to wear) – the Rive Gauche collection in 1966. Saint-Laurent’s most famous signature is the feminisation of the male tuxedo into the ‘Le Smoking’ suit. ‘Le Smoking’ epitomizes his design, blending femininity and strength together on a modern woman.

The legendary ‘Le Smoking’ suit is modelled in Yves Saint Laurent’s last couture show titled ‘Retrospective’ held in Paris 2002; ending his 40 years of reign on the world fashion stage :

Our dashing king looking hot in ‘Le Smoking’ :

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Relevant links to :

Pierre Bergere, Yves Saint-Laurent Fondation

Yves Saint-Laurent, Gucci Group

Jaime's Den - Fashion I - YSL

Another one of Jaime's cute article. Posted on Quilt.


Dear sisters …. .. you are probably wondering why I have the nerve to start a fashion series discussing couture and designers here? Not that I’m Anna Wintour, that influential Vogue editor-in-chief whose scrupulous working style even inspires a New York Times bestseller and an Oscar nominated movie ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Nor do I hold any front row seats ticket in the spring/fall fashion shows in Paris, Milan and Tokyo; worse, I can’t put a single thread through a needle! So what qualifies me to write about style, taste and the world of high fashion?? You’re absolutely correct, I am no celebrity stylist nor red-carpet fashion critic. But you see, my dear sis, I am facing a big dilemma here : I have this wonderfully gorgeous hunk who has this incredibly sexy body waiting to be dressed (eeeeasy Miss Hong & team …… no need to start typing up your resume yet). You have to agree that fashion plays a pivotal role in our prince’s image. Have talked about his hair before, so just can’t resist putting forth my 2 cents on his ever-chic and elegant fashion. Can you bear with me for the next few minutes?

The very original fashion icon to me (NO, it’s not Madonna!), regarded by many as the greatest designer in the last century, is Yves Saint-Laurent. When I was still a freshman in university, my campus is located near the chic shopping district of Yorkville – much like Avenue Montaigne in Paris and Fifth Avenue in New York. Every day on my way to class, I would deliberately get off one subway stop earlier and took a detour around Yorkville, passing by the windows of an opulent designers store displaying the finest European clothing (hehe, that explains why I missed so many lectures in my first year and needless to say – embarrassing marks!). My eyes were often drawn and stayed at this full length portrait of a bespectacled man hung high up against the red-velveted wall.

You see, back then in Toronto, other than socialites and the fashion industry, nobody really paid much attention to ‘designers’. Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes are reserved for the elite few and their designs are more classic than trendsetting. Designer was not a household name like today, counterfeits were unheard of since designer goods were in a class of their own.

For this country girl who grew up on a wardrobe of school uniforms with the mere fashion vocabularies of sweater and jeans, I was totally captivated by the magnetized eyes, slender silhouette and the refined style of this ‘King of Fashion’. Do you ever have that experience when you drive by a charming house and feel that someday you will be living inside? Or seeing someone in a crowded party and somehow sense that you two will make good friends? I always believe in destiny, a connection between people, even houses and objects (hehe, you’re probably frowning now and wondering why on earth is she getting so philosophical here??). Like the first time I saw Yong Joon in Winter Sonata, I felt this immediate connection with his warm smile and gentle mannerism (I’m sure most sisters can attest to that too). Just wonder, do you see any resemblance of YSL with our own King? (NOOOOO!!! A thundering protest - ok ok, I hear you loud and clear. Our Yong Joon is one of a kind, totally agree!)

Well, these ‘self-pity’ sessions went on for several months until one day, I finally gathered up enough courage to set foot on the plush carpet of the Yves Saint Laurent boutique. I was greeted cordially by these perfectly-coiffed, elegantly-dressed sales ladies. To my surprise, they didn’t show any condescension just because this timid young girl looked more like a ‘washroom attendant’ than a prospective customer. Being welcomed like a princess, they escorted me to the dress salon and urged me to try on their heavenly, dream-like gowns. Ahhhh…….this awe-struck girl was so ‘encouraged’ that I began to touch, feel and examine, leaving my DNA all over these precious garments (Phew! Now that I think back, it’s lucky I didn’t break any threads or beadings off the gowns. Otherwise, I’d really have to stay and clean their washroom for a whole month!) From that magic moment on, all I can conclude is : after you’ve seen perfection in design, quality and craftsmanship, there is no turning back. Tell me sis, after you have seen Bae Yong Joon, does any other star measure up?

……. To be continued

Relevant links to :

Pierre Bergere, Yves Saint-Laurent Fondation

Yves Saint-Laurent, Gucci Group

Monday, April 09, 2007

April Snow

Greetings! It's been a while since last time I visited here. Too many things have been going on in life, but I have always kept this little corner within my thoughts. It's the place that I record my memories that in the eyes of most "normal adults", these memories may be viewed as silly, childish and of no use. I believe every HRH fansis here knows what it means by that but also knows how good use there is of these memories - they enlighten our hearts and minds and they keep us loving this life.

Here let me share a quote from "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint Exupery :

"It is truly useful since it is beautiful."

Well, 'nuff so-called philosophical chattering, just get down to the point, we've got April Snow this year, in our town, on April 4th and 5th, 2007. I made the point of taking lots of pictures, will uploade some later once I am ready. The snow scene was so beautiful, especially in April, and thinking about the movie April Snow, there is no reason not to feel fancy about it.

More special is the fact that Jaime was driving down to meet me from Canada on April 5th and she kindly brought me a movie called "April Snow Director's Cut". Ahhh! I can only give this wonderful credit to the work of God.

The two finally met on Good Friday April 6th, 2007. The weather was amazingly sunny but a bit chilly out of the sun. My bad I forgot to bring my own camera. So just imagine, after calming down from looking at each other up and down a little bit and acclaimed "Ahhh! this is how you look!", we rejoiced in hugging, took a couple of pictures, and set out to search for a place for "lunch and learn". What do we learn? Each other and HRH. *_^ How about call it "munch and drool."

Two and a half hour was not close to enough. I wish we had a whole week together exchanging minds. The short 2.5 hours of memory of Jaime was she is such a graceful lady. As for man HRH who brought us together in such a magical way, I think we did not get enough time to allocate on him either. It feels so pathetic that we all have to be driven by the "practical" rule of life, we can only spend a limited amount of time on what we really love to do and we should be really grateful that we even have the freedom to do so. I feel like I still have a lot to say to Jaime and a lot to hear from her.

So long for today, got to watch the April Snow Director's Cut now. Will write more later.

April 12, 2007, updating ...

Okay, April Snow Pictures around our house ... Snow started on April 4th, 2007, in the morning of April 5th 2007, after sending my son to school, I came back home and shoveled the snow on our driveway. I am so proud of such good deed, haven't done snow shoveling for years, always rely on hubby to work on the snow in the cold. You see, shoveling the April Snow is a totally different story, you breathe the spring air, your hands are warm, you feel more like exercising than laboring, and you can savor on the memories of that movie called April Snow. HeeHeeHee, I love shoveling snow, as long as it is April Snow.

This tree bears fragrant dark pinkish red flowers in the summer and countless berry-sized fruits in the fall. Love it so full of life. It looks just as beautiful with snow clothing.

A noble dog, he comes by almost everyday, front and back he roams along, perhaps he knows our yard better than I do.

No, no pictures of me and Jaime, think of it, we both are just as cute as this little prince.

As for ASDC, got to spend another night on a separate posting. I am really slow at collecting my thoughts.