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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

. . the real YJ before ur eyes . .

[Chris: As many may have noticed, I love reading back on old articles of Yong Joon and his past activities, hence you will see me reposting them back in my blog for keepsake.]

Original in Korean: Lee Geunmi / Month Chosun 03/05/2004
Translated into Chinese: Cui Rong Mei / 娱乐时尚 [Date of publication unknown]
Translated into English: Happiebb

The Real Bae Yong Joon Right Before Your Eyes

"What is Bae Yong Joon really like?"

This was something that people frequently asked me these days. Even before I could muster an answer to this question, more questions would follow.

"Is he really so handsome?"
"Did he look smart and intelligent? Was he stylish?"
"Was he friendly and approachable?"
"How did you feel?"

It appeared the days of such continuous questioning would not cease in the near future, so I decided to pen my thoughts and feelings towards Bae Yong Joon.

First of all, let it be said that I feel wonderful!

Wonderful that I could have had the opportunity to interview an actor who is notoriously difficult to secure an interview with. And… thanks to him, I even got a chance to fly to Japan, a place I had never visited before, to interview him. So it’s a meeting worth remembering.

Okay, let’s answer the key questions first:

"Is he really so handsome?"

Of course he is handsome. And he’s got wonderful charisma and gallantry, so gentlemanly I almost died,and that voice, he’s got such a nice voice. Need I say more? If I do say more, you would be jealous! Would I ever have a chance to meet a man more good-looking and charismatic than this, and to have a heart-to-heart talk with him in future?

"Did he look smart and intelligent? Was he stylish?"

He appeared very intelligent. I could not and cannot imagine him to be an entertainer who knows nothing but acting. He's more than that. Perhaps it's because he majored in photography/cinematography in the university so he does possess the basic knowledge, but I had a feeling I met a real professional.

I think if I were to speak with him longer, I would not feel bored and the conversation would not turn dry (This is very different from the standard answers most other people give during interviews). I can feel that he has a lot of passion and love for his work, and he also has clear and well-defined insights and ideals about the industry he's in.

"Was he friendly and approachable?"

He said he's an introvert by nature and does not like to interact with people too much. He appears to have a very strong character and a defined set of beliefs and value system. If the occasion calls for it, he's the sort who will not hesitate to say "no". I’ve not met anyone who is as passionate and driven about things as he is.

In essence, the interview session felt like a real heart-to-heart exchange. To date, I've interviewed no fewer than thirty artistes, but he's the one who has given me the best and most comfortable feeling. He maintained a very sincere attitude throughout the entire interview session.

Before he left Korea, Bae Yong Joon was not feeling well. We met on the third day he was in Japan. When I arrived at 5:30pm for the interview, he was already feeling very lethargic both mentally and physically as he had been attending interviews with the Japanese media since early morning. But still, he did his very best to answer all my questions. His professionalism set him apart from those other actors and actresses who're so sadly lacking in the spirit of professionalism and they would only say "Just write whatever you feel like writing". Here is a man with steely determination, a strong character.

"How did you feel?"

Because the time allocated to me was not long, so my only focus and objective was to figure out how to maximise the time to carry out an effective interview. So I really didn’t have much time to fret about things like how he’s the Star of Asia, he’s a Superstar, or how handsome this man was, etc.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not because of my professionalism, it’s more of what I call a system of helpless self-defence. I was hired by the Monthly Chosun to do this article. So, this was also the very reason why I did not have the luxury of time
to admire his handsome face and examine those genteel features.

A fan wrote this of him on a website, "It's as if he lives in world of fantasy. This man cannot be real."

Nonetheless… maybe it's because Bae Yong Joon had answered all my questions so fluently and perfectly and all the time sporting an expression of a professional, so I had imagined I was talking to an experienced veteran or professional from the Industry, talking about work. I did not, for a moment, think I was interviewing the best looking man on earth.

To be honest, I saw him before the interview session when he was entering the dressing room to change. I was already taken aback when I saw him then. Well, my feel was that although he was tall and lean, he was very muscular. His face was small and very gentle, but there's something special about his face. His face emitted a magical beauty that was both masculine and feminine all at once.

At that time, my only thought was, "Ah, Bae Yong Joon."

But when he started to smile his sunny smile at the Japanese reporters who were interviewing him, I was thinking to myself, "Now that's how a real sunshine smile looks like.."

After handling a few interviews with the Japanese media, Bae Yong Joon saw me and stretched out both his hands to clasp my hand warmly, "I’m so happy to finally do an interview with a Korean reporter!" The fact he carried himself not like a Superstar,
but as a sincere and honest professional who is being interviewed left me with a very good and very lasting impression about him.

In an effort to gather the necessary information to prepare for this interview, I had visited Bae Yong Joon’s official website. Bae Yong Joon’s fans were very thorough in helping him collect and post news and related information, and they also shared their experience and thoughts about meeting him at certain autograph sessions or other occasions. From their sharing, I had a pretty good gauge of what this man was all about.

Before interviewing Bae Yong Joon, two questions intrigued me immensely.

- During his time in the entertainment industry, he had gone through ups and downs, highs and lows, was he ever worried and anxious?

- He was a star right from his debut, was he ever worried that his popularity would slide?

Bae Yong Joon said he had never thought much about these two things, they did not mean much to him. This is a form of self-discipline and it takes much self-confidence to reach this stage.

During the course of the interview, something I said invited a moment of laughter.

"Many women derive satisfaction from the leading actors, their feelings for these actors are enough for them. So I think there’s no hurry for you to settle down too soon. In fact, I hope that you will get married later."

In that instant, his managers and all the crew members within earshot roared with laughter. For that moment, I just wanted to help all the Asian women who’re in love with Bae Yong Joon convey a message. Although I do not have ESP with these ladies, but I do believe that’s what they want. If Bae Yong Joon were to marry now, their liking for him will definitely halve. Instead of taking an ordinary man's route of being a woman's husband, it's probably better to prolong the style of being a "lonely and mysterious" man. [Chris: Hmm.. I don't feel that way though. I wished he would find his The One soon!]

One thing unique about Bae Yong Joon's style of speech was that he would not place himself first. For instance, when he was talking to me about the Japanese fans who flew from Japan to Korea to see him at the Baeksang Awards, he expressed himself like this, "These people came from Japan." He would not say, "These people came from Japan to see me." In the midst of conversation, he would immerse himself into his words, never placing himself first and on top of everything.

When the interview crossed the half-hour mark, Manager Yang announced, "Three more minutes left." I then said, "Ah, I’ve got so much more to ask you!" Bae Yong Joon also said, "I too do not like it like this." If I had two full hours, then it would surely be a very interesting interview session.

When I was about to leave after watching his interview with TBS TV Station, Manager Yang went up to him, but was asked to leave. (So.. how men often walk away without looking back after the official work is done also happens to a handsome man like him..) [BB: I don’t quite understand what the translator was trying to say at this point.]

Only then did Bae Yong Joon loosen his tie and seat himself more comfortably. When I told him I was leaving, he asked, "When are you heading back to Korea?" When I told him it’s the day after, he was the first to say, "Then let us squeeze some time tomorrow afternoon for more questions." However, as things turned out, I was unable to contact him the following day, so the session didn’t happen.

My overall impression of Bae Yong Joon was that he's natural, comfortable and relaxed. When facing the Japanese media, he too appeared to be natural and relaxed and very calm and confident. He did not have the superficiality so often found in entertainers, he's not just skin-deep like the rest.

The female producer from NHK who had made the decision to air "Winter Sonata" said that the reason why Japanese women like Bae Yong Joon is because in addition to his good looks, there’s an air of nobility about him. According to the Korean way of calculating, Bae Yong Joon is already 33 years old. It is very rare to find such nobility, aristocracy and charisma in a man of only 33 years old. Where and how did he learn or become like this? I need more up close and personal interviews with him before I can find out the answer to this question.

I’ve said earlier that interviewing Bae Yong Joon can be likened to interviewing any professional in any industry. Bae Yong Joon possesses something very different from the rest of the other so-called superstars in the entertainment circuit, be it actors, singers or whatever. The rest tend to be highly superficially and in love with only themselves. Bae Yong Joon stands out because of his noble mannerism, and in fact, he is also very sincere, very true and very real.

If I’ve the opportunity, my idea is to write a research report for Bae Yong Joon based on close interaction and heart-to-heart sessions. Of course, this can only be done with his consent. Regardless, I came away from the interview with a very good impression of this man. That's because when he met with me, he put in his very best effort. He did his best.

When I was walking out of the hotel, I was still thinking and wondering to myself, "Where and how did the nobility come about?" Now, you must know that Bae Yong Joon is the sort who speaks a tad more slowly than most people. And amongst the people I’ve met so far who are at the peak of their careers, or are the who's who in their own arena, he's the friendliest and nicest, and most approachable. And he’s also intelligent, modest and very noble, as if he’s from the royal family.

Was I so deeply drawn and attracted to this handsome man?

Anyway, his sincerity was definitely deserving of the high marks I’ve given him.


At 10:25 AM, Blogger byjglobal said...

Luvjoon: Thank you again for the blog about this article. I am not surprised about all the good things about him in her writing, but it's good to read again and again about him, all about him. He is one and only really precious man.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger bb said...

haven't seen this one too, byjglobal?

actually there're a lot of postings that are worth reading that i've translated over the last few years. if you've the time, you could do a search on the quilt for 'happiebb' under 'name', then my postings would appear, and you can select those translations to read.

once again, thanks for reposting this, chris.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger luvjoon aka chiligoyo said...

Good job, BB!! Worth keeping them, ya know!


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