140129 Fan Account – PARK YUCHUN ~ 2014 ~ FANMEETING in Seoul
I’ve just gone to my first ever Yuchun fan meeting and decided before I go that I’ll write an account on it.
Why? I’m extremely busy and stressed out from work. I don’t have enough sleep and prefer to watch my favorite dramas/varieties at home to de-stress instead of cracking my brain to pen down things that I try to remember during my little-to-no-free time. I am NOT a fan of Kpop and don’t give a damn to other groups beside JYJ. In other words, I’m a nervous stressed-head and a total recluse if given a choice. (stressed-head? Well, you get my point)
I understand the PAIN and ENVY overseas fans feel whenever events are held for only a certain group of people/country/language limiting any chance everyone else has of ever joining them. Because of all those JYJ and in particular Yuchun fans out there this time who want to know what it feels like to be part of such an event, I’ll give my all to pen down this for you as accurately as possible.
My aim is to give an overview of how it is like to join a fan meeting TOUR, how did our 6002 treat his fans, and what were the GOOD and BAD during this 3D2N event. Hopefully, you find this a good read but I must warn you guy: I write only what I think is note-worthy and this is totally from my point of view. I may praise some but I may curse another. Please bear with me and stay tune till the end. Do let me know your comments here and I’ll respond to them whenever I can. (there goes my little-to-no-free time again! lol)
Before the Trip:
Eligibility for the fan meeting tour:
JYJ Japan Fan Club Member – they’ll check your membership number
(you need to understand Japanese coz the entire tour is conducted in Japanese, even in Korea. Fan meeting is in Japanese too including Yuchun’s use of language)
Whenever Look Korea organizes any JYJ event for Japanese, the agency usually works with a few pre-determined tour agencies in Japan (H.I.S., knt etc.) to plan-out group tours for Japan’s fan club members (JYJ Japan Official Fan Club). Once the event is announced, fan club members will need to log-into the fan club site for a link to the event. At that link, you’ll see details of the tour (for this time, its 3D2N or 4D3N, with different departing airports (Narita, Haneda, as well as other regions in Japan), different prices, as well as the tour agencies’ tabs for you to choose. You then ballot the package you want via the tour agency of your choice. You won’t have a choice on the airlines or hotels. You just choose the package and once you get the ballot, the tour agency will assign the airline and hotel for you. However, you DO have a choice on the type of hotel room (single, share, superior etc.etc.) and what you choose obviously has an impact on how much you pay for the tour package.
I chose to share room last year during Membership Week, so this time I thought I’d try out single room (of course that’s more expensive). I also have not much time so I chose the short package of 3D2N.
Frankly, I wasn’t expecting to get the ballot. I mean, HELLO!!! This is our 6002!! (Yes yes I know. He may be err hem, a little ROUND and his hair could be a little…. Well, you know what I mean!) How many fans must have wanted to go meet him after he disappeared for so long on-screen? Despite my low expectation, I got the ballot, and happily prepare to freeze my butt out there in Seoul.
24th Jan 2014: Day 1
A pack came for me from my tour agency on the previous Sat (18th) and it came with a small booklet telling me the flight details and my assigned hotel. It also tells me a very rough schedule of this trip. The ONLY thing missing was the exact TIME and PLACE of the fan meeting. It just says fan meeting on 25th Jan (and no other activity planned for this day).
Also, WHERE THE HELL is The-K Seoul Hotel??? I mean, it’s the first time I’ve even heard of this hotel and when I did a search, all I get is that THIS HOTEL IS SO xxxxxxx FAR AWAY FROM EVERY WHERE!! ……………. #W)&?!#()&%)@*#&
And then the OTHER shocker: An airline I’ve never used before. HUH!
Anyway I’ve resigned to “fate” and grumpily hopped onto the plane for Seoul Incheon.
It’s written in the small booklet to meet the tour agent staff right outside the arrival gate after immigration, and also to note the tour bus number to board. For such events, there are usually so many visitors arriving at the same time that every tour agency will stick a number on the bus front to ensure the RIGHT passenger boards the RIGHT bus (to the right hotel etc.) So there I was, pulling my small luggage and searching for the familiar tour agent flag with the assigned bus number. FOUND IT!
And then……………… “xxx-san, you’re on bus number xx? Hold this, I’ll take a picture of you”, says the tour agent camera man. And so I was made to hold onto the Yuchun fan meeting banner and had to pose for the camera man…….. Er, OK, fine, ONLY coz this was Yuchun I’m holding!!
After waiting for everyone assigned to the same bus number to come out from immigration, we followed the tour guide and camera man to our bus outside the terminal. Heading to the hotel for check-in, we were then told inside the bus that there are 4 different hotels for passenger drop-off (what!!!?? We are not staying at the same hotel??? Growl!) Since this was a Friday evening and traffic was horrible, it took us >2.5 hours just to get from Incheon airport to my hotel (we were the 3rd drop-off and luckily not the last….. am I being thankful here? Sigh…..).In the bus, we were finally told that the fan meeting starts from 18:30 the next day and our seats will be determined via our own pick in a lucky-draw before the meeting.
*side note: there were about 1100 Japanese fans and roughly 40 tour buses or so for this tour.
The hotel looks really big and grand from outside. Once checked=in, I was thankful for my own room coz I was totally tired-out. But during the bus ride, I sat beside a gal who came alone too (in fact, there were 3 – 4 fans traveling alone on the bus) and we got along well enough to decide to go dinner together. So we met and took the SHUTTLE BUS from the hotel to the nearest train station (yes, the nearest train station was too darn far away to walk). We then took a train to MicKiss first coz the gal has never been there before (she’s a very new Yuchun and JYJ fan). Since our schedule is really packed, this was the only night we can do whatever we want.
Off we go and landed at MicKiss around 8pm. First thing I saw was a “reception table” outside the corridor full of small photos of every MicKiss goods on sale. This has never happened to me before. I then also realized that some of the actual goods were on display beside the table too (eg. Knit parker, bag, fan meeting pack, the latest Yuchun hangers etc.). Some fans were already there (all Japanese, of course) ordering what they want at the table BEFORE they take the order sheet inside the actual shop to pay. So we did the same.
Once inside, more fans were there and luckily for me, Yuchun’s aunt was there too!! I met her many times eg. 2012 Seoul Drama Awards (where Yuchun and Han Ji Min were there for RTP) and JYJ Tokyo Dome Concert last April (where she sat with Yuchun’s mom and cousin 2 rows behind us) etc. She was with Yuchun’s mom every time, and I even got to shake hands with his mom at the SDA since they sat right behind me. So the aunt recognized me at MicKiss (I also met her a few times there) and smiled at me asking if I was here for Yuchun’s fan meeting. I greeted her and said YES of course! (grin)
*side note: as I said, at JYJ Tokyo Dome concert last April, I was sitting close to Yuchun’s mom and aunt, and said hello to them. The wonderful thing about sitting so close to them was that every time Yuchun faced this way, he would look at his mom, wave, wink, smile, or put on the puppy face for her. This means that I got these expressions too!! It’s like he was looking at me haha!
After getting some stuff at MicKiss (the latest Yuchun hangers and hand phone ear jack), we were really hungry and decided to go meet the gal’s friend (JYJ fan and also here for Yuchun’s fan meeting), who instructed us to go to Hotel Sunshine in Gangnam. By this time, we were beat and took a cab there and THEN!!!?? HUH????? What’s going on? Why all these people around the hotel? They were obviously fans, including foreigners from China and Japan.
Once we alighted, we overheard (well, on purpose actually) some Japanese fans talking about Jaejoong being there just a while ago!!! NOW I get it!! It’s the MOLDIR opening ceremony?!! There is an underground club house next to the hotel with big bouncers guarding the front and apparently the ceremony (party?) was inside. Unknowingly, we came to the ceremony place where the gal’s friend waited for Jaejoong. Well, unfortunately he already came and went inside so we didn’t get to see him but at least we saw the club house. Many fans stayed on to wait for Jaejoong to come out.
So 3 of us headed to a BBQ restaurant near the club house and enjoyed a sumptuous spread of pork and beef + soju (YEAH NOW we’re talking!). When we finished eating, the gal’s friend walked back to her hotel and the 2 of us took the train and then cab back to our hotel.
And then I found out!!! Apparently, Yuchun’s fan meeting is to be held at MY HOTEL!!! Yes, MY HOTEL, the place so damn far away from anywhere! MY HOTEL!! Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Suddenly I thanked the stars for putting me right at the spot coz this means I don’t have to worry about getting to the venue, carrying heavy coat and bag around, getting back from the venue to the hotel after the fan meeting etc. All these stress when you are on the road will not be there!! YESH!
Surprisingly, I was tired but too excited about the next day to fall asleep so I watched SBS Plus on TV and drooled over Kim Soo Hyun on You From Another Star’s repeat telecasts.
End of Day 1………. zzzzzzzzzzzzz
25th Jan 2014: Day 2 – THE DAY
We were supposed to gather around noon time because we have to travel to Lotte World’s duty free for shopping…..zzzzzzzz……. Why do we need to go such places every time it’s a tour package? Waste of time for someone like me!
I had planned with the same gal yesterday to go shopping and eating at Myeongdong early in the morning. So we met at the lobby around 8:30am and she brought her room-mate along (room-mate also traveled alone here). Since there are 3 of us, we decided to take a cab due to lack of time.
Once at Myeongdong, we first stopped by the famous Brilliant Legacy Seollongtang shop (with loads of photos inside from the drama – Lee Seung Gi and Han Hyo Joo) and had a gratifying breakfast. Yes, satisfied!! Then we started shopping. Once done, we quickly hopped onto a cab and headed back to the hotel, dumped our shopping into our rooms, and rushed to meet the rest at the lobby.
It was a raining day. OK. So I was told that Korea was freezing a week before and to prepare for the worst cold I’ve ever experienced. And then…….. NOT COLD AT ALL. Most of us were actually hot with all the layers of clothes on us……. Unpredictable weather but luckily the rain stopped around early afternoon when we reached the duty free. BUT…… since there was traffic jam again, we now only have 40 minutes to shop…. What the…..?!!! Travel all the way here for 40 minutes of duty free???? Double growl……
Well, since I DO need to get some sea-weeds for my colleagues I rushed down to Lotte’s super market in the basement and grab whatever I need. Mission accomplished. Then we all meet up again, got onto the bus, and traveled back to the fan meeting venue, OUR HOTEL.
Once at the fan meeting venue (2nd Floor convention hall), we had to queue up and do our lucky draw to determine where to sit. There were Yuchun banners and photos in huge frames and live-size stands and huge event boards everywhere outside the hall. Fans were busy poising and taking photos etc. After the draw, I went back to my room, dump everything on me except bare minimum like hand phone/wallet/keys, and got back into the venue to take photos with Yuchun (er, well, with his banners and live-size stands anyway!) Again, camera men from all the tour agencies were there and took photos of us as well.
5pm. Dinner time, so we had to go to the respective halls for a sit-down western style dinner. This is really strange to me. I mean, WHY eat first before the event? I’ve never done this before. Shouldn’t we eat AFTER the fan meeting? We should be getting full with LOVE from Yuchun first rather than full in the stomach before we even meet him! RIGHT??
Since dinner is provided for (part of what I paid!), of course I ate and chatted with fans around my table. The food ain’t great. In fact, the comments around me were the same. Bland, tasteless, and why the **** western when we are in Korea? The only delicious dish in the course (forgot how many) we had is………. Jajang!! The milk yogurt ice/sherbet……. YES, that was the BEST dish!! Gaaaaaaaaah!
Anyway, after stuffing ourselves with tasteless food, we headed to the fan meeting hall. The hall was small, with 3 big blocks of seats – left/right/center. I must say ~1100 people is rather small-scale and the stage is NEAR no matter where you sit (Membership Week was 4000?). The interesting part of this stage was the SKKS cartoon drawing of scholar Yee Sang Joon on the FLOOR right at the front of the stage. We didn’t know what this was all about and why Yee Sang Joon, but everyone was taking snapshots of this until an announcement came on to ask us to leave the stage coz fan meeting is about to start. YEAHHHH!
So I obediently (!) went back to my seat which is at the right side of the stage, sitting next to the gal’s room-mate (coincidence!) and right near the aisle. In other words, I am sitting where I will be able to see Yuchun quite close-up and clearly. And then the MC came on introducing Yuchun singing his first song.
THE FAN MEETING – Impressions & Thoughts
For those of you who want a report on the fan meeting itself (stage and Yuchun and MC and fan games etc.), sorry to disappoint you. I’m not doing a fan meeting report, just a fan account of my experience. HOWEVER, I will touch on some of those things you DEFINITELY will be interested in, like my impression of Yuchun, how he interacts with MC/fans, what were the overall feel of this fan meeting etc. So stay tune!
It’s not my first time attending Korean fan meetings – JYJ Membership Week in Seoul, Yuchun’s fan meeting in Taipei, Jaejoong’s mini album concert + fan meeting in Seoul early 2013 etc. My impression of these fan meetings can be sum up:
- Talk session – usually according to a few themes (questions to the artist/actor which they need to answer)
- Game session – usually 3 – 5 visual games involving fans coming up the stage to play (chosen via balloting of seat numbers, piece of paper hidden under your chair etc.). There will also be at least 1 MASS eliminating game, where it’s the artist/actor vs the entire audience a few rounds until around 5-10 fans are left. Those few who didn’t get eliminated till the end get to go up the stage.
- Songs – usually a few songs will be sung by the artist/actor.
- Photo-taking session with artist/actor (either all fans or the lucky few who won the games)
- Fan meeting goods – put in a bag which you get to bring home either before the event or after.
- Gifts corner – where fans can put their gifts for the artist/actor (if it’s a group artist, each member of the group will have a corner so you can drop your gifts for individual member)
- Camera – fan cams are prohibited in Japan but they are more generous in Korea.
- >95% females (for this fan meeting, less than 10 male fans)
- >80% >40 years old (for this fan meeting, the oldest Yuchun fan was 81 years old!)
This fan meeting was no different from the usual. All the above was done.
- Our 6002 looked nervous at first. It’s been a while since he spoke Japanese and he found it difficult to express certain feelings correctly. The MC is fluent in Korean too so Yuchun consulted him quite a bit.
- When Yuchun first came out and stood on stage, I saw a familiar cute young man with porcelain skin (not tan), smiling his double-egg cheeks smile, and BIG. I mean his shoulders are broad which makes his chest area big. He has long legs which makes him good model material. He is NO WAY FAT. Huh!
- We call this ATSUGARI in Japanese, for someone who feels hot easily. Once the talk session starts, his first comment was that the stage lights are too bright. His nervousness was cute, and he obviously felt hot. But after this comment, he immediately asked the audience if it is too bright, yes? And when we said NO (of course we want to see you CLEARLY and under BRIGHT lights, dude!), he gave-in and said OK THEN NEVERMIND.
- I have to say that burgundy sweater with loads of hearts look good on Yuchun but he could have matched it with jeans instead of plain grey slacks. It’s a FAN MEETING for goodness sake!! Relax relax relax Yuchun!! (grin) OK so I love casual Yuchun. Sue me!!
- You can tell some Yuchun personality traits, his cautiousness, his sincerity in communicating exactly what he feels/thinks. To every question from the MC, he took time to answer. He will lower his head, think about it silently (or mumbling “ooooooooor”), take his time to slowly churn out each word. When unsure if his Japanese expression is correct, he turns to the MC. I definitely get the impression that he wants to tell us his true feelings and thoughts, that he wants us to understand him, why he is doing something, why his thoughts are so. WHO REALLY IS PARK YUCHUN (although private matters are excluded).
- Yuchun prefers to play his games seriously. There was a game where you can hit the opponent with a toy hammer when you win, and Yuchun was a little disappointed when the fan only lightly touched the hammer on his head when he lost. He signaled for her to hit harder!
- How can I leave out that infamous “penalty” he had to do during the Yunnori game? The peck Yuchun had to give on his manager’s cheek and his expression when he was first told to do that! Priceless! I literally see his jaw dropped and eyes widen incredulously. And then he started shaking his head with that “NO WAY” look on his face. The MC called onto Yuchun’s manager to come on stage and there he was!! Walking in meekly and dare I say, SHYLY? Everyone cracked up. When the MC asked his manager what he thinks about Yuchun kissing him, the manager kept stealing looks at Yuchun (longingly?) and stumbling on his response. I can’t even…….. This is hilarious! Then the audience started chanting POPOHEI POPOHEI (kiss him, kiss him)! I was laughing so hard now but continued to stare at Yuchun. Given no choice, he lean over and chuk! Kyaaaaaaaaaa! This is FUN! I love it! Best fun I’ve had for a while.
- One thing that left a deep impression on me, and which I know instinctively ever since I get to meet him at fan meetings or watch BTS where he was filming. PARK YUCHUN is NOT a guy who sought to please fans. This means he doesn’t WANT nor NEED our approval. Yuchun is just Yuchun. If he thinks it is right, he will do it whether we like it or not. What happened during the fan meeting was that someone shouted “do kiyomi” to him during the game session. At first he couldn’t hear but after a second shout, he heard it and IMMEDIATELY said “no!” and turned his back on that fan from the audience. See what I mean? If it’s something he doesn’t want to do, he won’t do it just because fans asked him to. In this sense, he is unlike Jaejoong and Junsu (I’ve seen both of them do kiyomi upon fans’ request). This is not matter of black/white or right/wrong. It is just personality difference. To put it bluntly, Yuchun doesn’t “give a damn” if he is not pleasing his fans. He sticks true to himself. Of course, I’m not saying that he will hurt or upset fans by doing illegal or dangerous acts. Although this means we can’t see him doing certain things we want him to do (like being cute kiyomi), I admire this of Yuchun, for having his own thoughts/principles, for being himself despite being a public figure. 6002 Jjang! (lots of hearts)
- Again I say this: Yuchun is a great singer!! His voice may not be the BEST or his singing skill may not be world class, but believe me when I say Yuchun is DAMN GOOD! His voice never once falters, he expresses himself through his songs, and he sings with all his heart. Marry me, Yuchun!! (get in line gal! Yes yes I know)
- Japanese fans are as usual a disciplined crowd, no big trouble during the fan meeting.
- Most fans came in pairs while a small portion came alone like me. As far as I can see, most of the fans are seasoned fan meeting participants as they knew roughly what’s next and how the tour will be conducted. I learned a bit from these fans during dinner, from my neighbors during the fan meeting, and while waiting for the bus. Good experience!
- There are OT5 fans and also new fans that don’t care about what happened between JYJ and SM, who just happened to like and support both JYJ and TVXQ2. Although I dislike SM and TVXQ2 a lot, I try my best not to be biased against such fans whenever I meet some. Unless they bash JYJ of course!
AFTERMATH – Group Photo with Yuchun Sessions
Yuchun said that he had to get up next day 4am for his first day of Three Days filming. Although he must be real tired filming Sea Fog, he showed no sign of impatience nor tiredness. Again, his “pro” attitude towards his work is admirable.
Anyways, after he sang “Walk With Her In Spring”, the fan meeting officially came to an end amidst the sighs of fans there. We want to stay with him a little more please!!! But next came the group photo session with Yuchun and our tension went up!
Staff started putting chairs on the stage. Yuchun stepped aside into the left corner of the stage, sitting on a chair prepared there for him, resting. His body guard and some other big guys were around him, including his manager. During the stage preparation, we were told to queue up outside the hall in accordance to our photo grouping (we were divided into 34 groups and each group 30 fans). Let me explain a little here.
34 groups – each with an assigned alphabet
Every fan in a group has a number (roughly from 1 to 30).
There were about 12 seats on stage in a horizontal manner so that you sit to face the audience. Here is how the stage looks like and the X represents seats while O represents standing. Red X is where Yuchun sits.
You queue up outside the hall in a row behind your alphabet and in your sequence number.
How are we seated to pose with Yuchun? Fan with number 1 goes up onto the stage first and proceed to the right corner seat. (see arrow). Once 1-12 are seated, 13 starts to go behind and those fans will stand. I was number 19 so imagine my excitement when I know I’ll be right behind Yuchun!! I will be so close kyaaaaaa!
After each group’s photo shot, Yuchun will immediately stand up and be escorted by the bodyguard to the corner again and again. He hardly turned back when fans tried to talk to him or call out to him after their photo shot. I supposed this is necessary to protect himself in case fans get overly-excitement and tried to get real close to him. That’s dangerous. He repeated this for 34 times. Some groups will give him something to hold to pose for the photo shoot like uchiwa (concert fans), toys, home-made banners etc. Some group will ask him to pose with hands doing the heart-shape or guts pose or peace sign etc.
When my group was called and we positioned ourselves accordingly, Yuchun came to take his seat and my heart goes “OMG OMG OMG OMG Yuchun!!” He is just so darn close!!!! OK here I must tell you what he looks like up close-and-personal.
He is tall.
He is big.
He hunches yes.
His complexion is amazing.
His face is SOOOOOOOO small. (green with envy)
His aura is unbeatable. Very gentle and warm and just ooze quiet charisma.
Overall a charming and attractive young man, with talent to match.
I was totally over the hill with excitement just being so closed to him. So when the photo session is done, I shouted “Yuchun bye bye” and I’m certain he heard it although he didn’t look back as usual. I see. THIS, was the best part of a fan meeting. I need to go again when Yuchun holds another one!!! ABSOLUTELY!
Before we were told to leave for the day back to our rooms, we were given a small bag right outside the hall. This was to be my souvenir.
26th January 2014: Day 3
I have nothing more to say except that my group was made to meet at 5:30am in the morning (darn!!!!) and after very little sleep, we were on our way to Incheon. Er, NO!!! Before Incheon, we were made to pop by a mart where sea weeds and kimchi etc are being sold. GOSH shopping at this hour? Triple growl.
Luckily, we had to stop at the mart for just 30 minutes and I grabbed myself a cappuccino before leaving for Incheon airport.
And then………….. On the way to the airport, we were each given 2 huge envelopes. One contains all the photos the camera-men took of us during the trip, including the group photo with Yuchun on stage. The other one is the same group photo with Yuchun but with nicely put into a folder for keeping. Of course, we were made to PAY for them. Well since the photos are not too bad, I paid and didn’t complain.
Drooling over the photos during the journey to Incheon airport.
Annyeong, Seoul!! Annyeong Yuchun oppa!!
And HELLO reality!! >_<
I am about to point out certain things which some may not like or may take offence. But I want to put forth the truth as much as I can so here you go.
The fan meeting was horrendously expensive. Usually, flight ticket from Tokyo to Seoul during off-peak seasons is around JPY30K – 50K. I usually pay about JPY15-25K for 2 nights’ stay in a Seoul hotel, single room. When I went for JYJ Membership Week last year, I was already shocked at the price I had to pay for the same 3D 2N in Seoul. This time, it was even MORE expensive then JYJ Membership Week. WHAT???? Why the **** is Yuchun’s fan meeting more expensive? (It’s not even membership week whereby we get to see many JYJ exhibits + fan meeting + JYJ live!) I only have 1 conclusion. The organizers are milking Japanese for our money (what’s new?!). Look. Only ONE meal was provided for in the entire tour. Fan Meeting only lasted 3 hours. And we had to pay like JPY120K per person and this is room-sharing!
I was told by friends in the entertainment industry that Kpop artists come to Japan to earn our money coz the Korean market is small and the value of Korean won is nothing compared to Yen. That I know and I understand. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it but its part of the demand and supply which I learned in my economic classes. BUT, to “use” the vulnerability of fans (who obviously always want to get closer to their idols) to earn money with this high a mark-up margin? That’s evil to me. Well, not evil evil, but still evil. You can mark-up the price but how can a 3D2N trip (note that we arrive late afternoon on day 1 and had to leave for Japan at 5:30am on day 3) with little to zero free time for other personal activities be this expensive? The cost of meeting Yuchun is priceless, many of you may say. But I stand by my view that this is ridiculous and we are feeding unethical people here.
Not sure how far Yuchun or any of the artist/actor has a say in the price of their own events, but I doubt they have any influence. All the more pissed I am. I supposed when there is demand there will be supply and it is obviously up to individual’s willingness to pay.
One thing I was again reminded of, about this tour, is how senior the average age of those fans are. I supposed it’s common in Hallyu that fans are majority housewives or single working women. Not that I have anything against that. It’s just that I wonder how Yuchun feels about this. For concerts or fan meetings in Korea, the average age of fans there are much lower and I do see lots of young people so the vitality is different. Japanese fans tend to be older, much older. Every time someone goes up the stage during the game session, almost 100% are women in their 40s or above. It’s a weird scene, at least to me.
Well, I’ve said enough. Hope you guys enjoy or at least find my account informative.
Thanks for reading!
Credit: Yuchun’s BABY
Shared by: 6002Sky