I can hardly believe it, you guys.
Gong Yoo, the man who occupies a very special place in my k-loving heart, held his first fan-meeting in 2 years. In TOKYO. And I WAS THERE.
I saw him IN THE FLESH, y’all.
It was a surreal, dream-like, exciting day, in so many senses of the word. I’m still reeling from the surreality of it all, as I type this.
I wish you guys could’ve been there with me, seriously. It’s too bad pesky little things like, y’know, geography, had to get in the way of us attending this fanmeet together.
But! Lookin’ on the bright side, here’s the next best thing: a blow-by-blow(-by-blow!) account of my big Gong Yoo adventure, in the heart of Tokyo.
HOW WAS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?
First of all, let me say that I’ve never, ever been to a fanmeet of any sort, and was fairly sure that I never would. Well, unless one of my big k-loves were to come to Singapore where I live. Then that might be do-able.
But I’m just not the sort of fan who would get on a plane to fly somewhere to see her favorite oppa.
And then it happened, out of the blue; I got to attend Gong Yoo’s first fan meet in two years. In Tokyo, no less.
Seriously, so very many things had to line up just so, for this to happen, that I hafta tell y’all ALL about that too.
First of all, Gong Yoo is famously rather reclusive, preferring to stay out of the limelight unless absolutely necessary. He is picky about his projects, hardly takes on CFs or magazine spreads, and even avoids red carpet events. Which only means that we hardly get to see him, at all.
He hasn’t had a fanmeet in two years, and the only reason that he had one now, is because his movie The Suspect is coming out in December. And of all places that he chose to have that fanmeet, he chose Tokyo.
And why am I even in Tokyo? It’s coz my sister just had a baby, and I’m here to help out. If she’d had her baby any sooner or later, I wouldn’t even be here.
In fact, I was originally due to leave Tokyo on 24 October, the first day of the fanmeet. So when I first heard of the fanmeet during my first 2 weeks in Tokyo, my thought was, “Aw. So near, yet so far. While GY’s on stage, I’ll be on a plane going back to Singapore.”
I’d mildly thought of extending my stay, but I also thought tickets were sold out, based on my very incompetent Googling in Japanese. (There was SO LITTLE information in English, I tell ya!)
And then, last weekend, just before the fanmeet, my sister and brother-in-law asked if I’d like to extend my stay, to help my mum with all the kitchen-ing and supermarket-ing.
I checked on all my other commitments, shuffled a couple of things around, and – ta da! – by Tuesday, it was confirmed that I was staying! I was going to be in Tokyo on both days of the fanmeet!
I decided to Google some more, and on Wednesday night – lo and behold! – I found a site still selling tickets for Day 2 of the fanmeet. Ahhhhh!!! But it was all in Japanese. Dang.
On Thursday morning, my (super kind! And super patient!!) brother-in-law spent hours with me on that site, trying to buy me a ticket for Friday’s fanmeet.
We even set me up with an account with that site, coz you had to be a member to purchase anything. BUT. The site rejected all 4 credit cards that we tried to use. ALL FOUR. Aaargh. I was practically jumping out of my skin. The prospect of the fanmeet felt so close, yet so far.
And then my (super smart!) brother-in-law figured out from the site that I’d probably be able to buy a ticket at a convenience store.
Apparently, in Japan, you can buy tickets to just about ANY event at a convenience store. YESSS!!! Because my Japanese (obviously) sucks, my (super indulgent!) brother-in-law went with me to the nearest 7-Eleven store and we got my ticket together.
I WAS GOING!!!! FAR. OUT.
The venue of the fanmeet, the Tokyo International Forum, isn’t that far away from where my sister & brother-in-law live. We’re even on the same train line, and it’s just 6 stops away. WOW. How super cool is that?!???
I mean, Tokyo is a huge city, so it could’ve easily been somewhere really far away. Heck, when my sister was in hospital after having the baby, it took 2 hours, 3 train rides and a whole lotta walking just to get there.
In such a huge city, the fact that the fanmeet was this close to me blew my mind. I felt like Gong Yoo was coming to me.
My (super generous!) brother-in-law even offered to take me to the venue, just to ensure that I didn’t get lost trying to get to my Big Day of Gong Yoo. It had to be way early, though, he said, coz he needed to be somewhere else by 3pm.
PERFECT. Coz the merchandise stations opened at 3pm, and what a bonus to be there early to grab my goodies!
By 2pm on Thursday, I was all set.
I managed the urge to leap out of my skin by tweeting and squeeing with all my friends in the blogosphere. All while keeping the ticket next to my laptop, as evidence that this wasn’t just another one of my elaborate k-dreams.
WHAT an unexpected, sudden, last-minute adventure!! Everything fell into place in SUCH a perfect way that I couldn’t have asked for more. And I didn’t even see it coming, to be honest. I’m moved, really, that such a big adventure came looking for me. ❤
The icing on the cake? The blog crossed 100,000 views just minutes before we left the house the next day. What a milestone. And what a way to celebrate. Mind. Blown.
THE BIG DAY
2pm. I leave the house with my (rather amused and very indulgent) brother-in-law, feeling super excited. I can hardly believe my big Tokyo adventure is actually starting.
It’s drizzling lightly and every other person on the road is holding an umbrella, except us. Who needs an umbrella when you’re this excited, right? I can’t stop fidgeting on the train.
2:25pm. We get off the train at Hibiya Station and start walking to the Tokyo International Forum. I take a few pictures and lots of mental notes for later, when I need to retrace my steps to go home.
2:35pm. We arrive at Tokyo International Forum. Ahhhh!!!
Brother-in-law shows me the amazing steel structure inside the main hall. We take a picture just coz.
I am excited. We are HERE. How surreal.
2:40pm. We find Hall A and brother-in-law leaves me to my afternoon of adventure.
It’s early, but I’m not the first! There are a few others hanging around but not a lot. There is a HUGE flower arrangement which is the object of many photo ops.
Eventually I find a queue outside and join it, assuming it to be the queue to enter at 5pm. Wrong. Turns out to be the queue to buy merchandise. Makes sense, though. Merchandise is advertised as limited in quantity, and this is the second and last day of the fanmeet.
If you want to be sure you get your own little piece of this GY event, better to come early when merchandise stations open.
Some fans show up with trolley cases. I wonder if they flew in for this? Or are they intending to buy huge stashes of merchandise? Or maybe they brought a whole lot of survival kit stuff. After all, it’s a long wait. Plus there’s a typhoon coming tonight.
3pm. Merchandise stations open, and everyone moves in. Everything is just incredibly orderly. I don’t understand much of anything anyone says, coz everything is in Japanese, and my very limited grasp of the Japanese language is not very helpful.
Following everyone else’s lead seems to be the best bet.
On a tangent, I start to seriously hope there’s more Korean and less Japanese ahead of me during the fanmeet, coz that means I will understand more. Relatively anyway.
Everything is expensive. 1,000 yen (approx 10.27 USD) for a glowstick, and 2,500 yen (approx 25.70 USD) for a desk calendar. Eep.
I decide to splurge and score 2 desk calendars and a special edition Monster magazine (2,800 yen) which is all in Japanese. I don’t understand a word of it. Lots of pix, tho. Plus, what’s a fangirl to do, since I’m already here? Might as well buy a couple of mementos, right?
More on these goodies later, when I open them up!
3:10pm. There’s nothing to do and nobody seems to be queuing. Everyone just stands around and takes photos with the giant flower arrangements.
3:45pm. I’m a little tired from standing around and wonder if I should be the rebel who sits on the floor. But this is Japan. The land of gentility and manners. I might horrify some folks, I suspect.
I put down all my stuff in an empty phone booth slot and lean on a wall instead.
Heh. Once I put down my stuff, so do 2 other ladies nearby. They snag the phone booth slot next to my stuff. Maybe if I sit down on the floor, so will they? Maybe all these people need is a leader?
It occurs to me that if this was in an English-speaking country, that I could’ve made friends with some of the other fans here by now. As it is, I’m just keepin’ to myself and listening to music and typing these thoughts on my iPad.
I’m thankful for the iPad to keep myself occupied. Many other fans who’ve gotten their merchandise and taken their photos with the giant flower arrangements are just standing next to the walls, just waiting.
No earphones, no phone in hand, no book, nuthin’. I’d be really bored if I were them.
4:30pm. Just half an hour to doors opening and getting into the auditorium. Eee!!
I should eat something. And use the washroom. That’s the upside of there not being a queue. I don’t need to keep my place in it. Washroom, here I come.
4:50pm. The floor lights come on. Ahhh!! Doors will open soon!!
I decide on a hunch to investigate the other end of the gigantic waiting hall and find a huge queue. Gah.
I ask a staffer what to do with my ticket and get ushered to a reception desk to exchange my voucher for a numbered seat. Argh.
Why didn’t I discover the monster queue earlier? Coz then I might’ve gotten a better seat, maybe?
Oh well. Shan’t waste time on regrets. Maybe it’ll still be a good seat, even though it’s on L3.
5:15pm. I find my seat and it’s pretty good – I’m almost in the center so I’ve got a good view even though the stage is further away than I prefer.
It’s really nice to be sitting down after standing for the last two and a half hours. There’s soft, soothing music being played over the sound system and my seat is nice and comfy. 35 more minutes before GY is due to come onstage. Wow.
5:30pm. A lady’s voice starts speaking in lilting sing-song tones into the mike. I have no clue what she says, but when she’s done, ads start playing on the screen. How odd. I feel like I’m in a movie theater watching ads and trailers before the movie comes on.
Ah. The ads are for mnet, which is the network that’s going to screen this fan meet sometime later this year.
The 2 ladies next to me have started chatting with each other. I kinda wish I could make a friend too. I haven’t noticed anyone else who doesn’t look Japanese. I could pass for a Japanese I suppose, so maybe there’s someone else here who isn’t local.
The audience is made up mostly of ladies, but I spot a few men here and there. I even see a family: a couple with a little boy. Aw. That’s sweet. They must all like GY. Or are they all here to support the mom’s love for GY? Either way, it’s sweet.
I hope little boy doesn’t cry or anything during my time with GY.
5:45pm. The lady’s lilting voice comes on again and she talks for quite a while. I think it’s a bunch of announcements.
More ads. I notice a lot of the ads feature Korean celebs. I spot Super Junior, Sulli, and Song Seung Hun on the screen. It feels oddly familiar yet unfamiliar, seeing Korean celebs that I recognize, yet hearing all the voice-overs in rapid-fire Japanese.
This would be even cooler if this was in Korea. At least I understand more Korean than Japanese.
5:50pm. The ads stop and the soothing instrumentals come on again. The atmosphere is getting increasingly electric. I can feel the excitement in the air. There is the sound of nervous chatter in the air, as we all count down the minutes.
7 more minutes to 6pm. My heart is beating faster, even though I look as cool as can be, typing away on my iPad. Is it my imagination or am I feeling a touch dizzy??
6pm. Nothing’s happening. Where is my Gong Yoo??
6:04pm. The music changes and a lady’s voice comes on and says something. I only know she says Gong Yoo’s name several times. Does this mean it’s starting soon?!? I feel nervous from the anticipation.
6:07pm. We’re back to soothing music. Wha..?
6:09pm. They down the lights. Eeeeee!!! IT’S STARTING!!!
We start with a video clip, which is basically a montage of various glimpses of Gong Yoo cute, and the audience murmurs oohs and awws at Gong Yoo The Adorable.
We see Gong Yoo reading, Gong Yoo cooking, Gong Yoo lazing and laughing, Gong Yoo snuggling up in bed with a drink.
Everyone drinks it up like parched desert travelers finding an oasis with fresh water.
I snap as many photos as I can, and this is the point when I realize that my photos are going to suck. I’m too far away, my camera’s not powerful enough, the screen’s not big enough.
Here’s a smattering of the better pix I got off the video presentation.
After the video clip, the lights snap audibly and dramatically, and suddenly, we see his silhouette. Eeeeee!!!! It’s him! It’s him!!
Even in that split second, it’s hard to miss his build, and his distinctive posture and the way that he carries himself.
The audience screams and light sticks wave madly in welcome. I gape with hearts in my eyes.
Amid the frenzy, Gong Yoo strides forward, and we see him, finally.
He’s wearing a sharp black suit and tie, his hair now grown-out a bit after filming Suspect, and neatly coiffed back. So handsome ❤ The sharp suit is one of my favorite looks on him. Aw. How did he know?
Gong Yoo greets the audience in Korean and thanks everyone for coming, saying that it’s wonderful to see everyone again. I’m a little surprised that he doesn’t say hello in Japanese, since that’s what most celebs would do.
But then again, this is Gong Yoo. He doesn’t play by the rules unless he wants to, and it always totally works.
As he greets us, he bows, and I feel it’s as much out of respect as it is out of appreciation. Aw.
The host for the evening and Gong Yoo’s translator join him onstage, and as the host does her spiel in Japanese, Gong Yoo smiles his famous cheeky smile. I practically implode from the cute.
The host excitedly tells everyone to get their cameras ready, and the lights come on, for an official photo-taking session. Gong Yoo obliges by standing and waving, while the entire hall explodes with camera flashes and excited squeals.
He then moves to the extreme right of the stage which extends partway down the side of the first block of seats, and climbs on a railing, so that the fans on that side get a better shot of him.
And then he repeats it for the other side of the hall, to more screams, which erupt as much out of appreciation as from the excitement of having him nearby.
My photos of that moment suck big time, but here are some nice pix that I managed to gather:
Through the entire photo session, Gong Yoo is obliging and charming, managing to look at ease and confident in the limelight, yet at the same time, kinda embarrassed to be in that limelight. How does he do that? It’s completely adorable. And swoony.
At the end, Gong Yoo asks for a group photo, much like the one at the top of this post, and we all smile for the camera.
The lights dim again, and the host says something about Gong Yoo mixing a cocktail. I’m like, wha..? But, why?
There’s a makeshift bar to the right of the stage, and Gong Yoo proceeds to pour stuff into a shaker, little jug by little jug. He adds ice, and then starts shaking it up.
He goofs around a little, bending his knees a little and bopping up and down in slo-mo accompaniment to the drink being mixed. Somewhere around here (I think), he teases the audience, “Today I feel like giving someone a kiss.”
Everyone squeeeals in response, which, of course. It’s Gong Yoo, offering a kiss. Eeee!!
When the drink’s mixed, he can’t open the shaker (ha), and brings it to the bartender standing by, saying his first Japanese words, “すみません” (sumima-sen, meaning, “excuse me” or “sorry”) and bows apologetically. Haha!
The bartender obliges and the shaker opened, Gong Yoo pours the blue mocktail into 6 martini glasses.
As he pours, Gong Yoo remarks that the drink is blue, just like the light sticks that the audience is waving. The response is muted, and Gong Yoo languidly grumbles that yesterday’s crowd was much more excited when he poured the drink, all “Ahhh!!”
Today’s audience then quickly backpedals and shouts out an “Ahhhh!!” – to which Gong Yoo answers, “It’s too late.” The audience keeps going with the squeals, and Gong Yoo mock-sulks, “It’s too late, I said.” It’s off-the-cuff, typical Gong Yoo humor, and I love it.
Next up, picking audience members to come onstage to share a toast with Gong Yoo, with the very mocktails that he’s mixed. Ohh.
Gong Yoo sips on his glass and declares that it’s delicious. He sounds mildly impressed, but it’s obvious that he’s just teasing.
The Japanese host then brings out a big box, and inside are the phone numbers of the audience members.
Gong Yoo whips out a phone, and he proceeds to draw numbers from the box, calling audience members on the spot, saying in Japanese, “Hello, this is Gong Yoo. Congratulations.”
As he calls each number, screams erupt from various sections of the audience as people’s phones go off. It’s exciting stuff, and everyone’s gripping onto their phones for dear life, hoping against hope that their phones will ring next.
Between calls, Gong Yoo keeps dabbing his face with a towel coz he’s sweating from the heat of the spotlights. He doesn’t miss a beat, though, and even banters in Japanese on several on the calls, “Hurry, hurry!” Hee.
Five ladies get to go onstage to clink glasses with Gong Yoo, and he even teases one of them, an older lady, that she looks like she can really hold her liquor.
She denies it, all flustered, and Gong Yoo sounds surprised as he teases, “No? But I thought you would be able to. Are you sure you can’t?”
Gah. So spontaneously charming. Even while looking uncomfortably hot under the spotlights, and even while still looking like he’s here in the spotlight only coz he kinda has to be.
We then move to the other side of the stage, where a makeshift dealer’s table is set up. The Japanese host explains what’s going to happen next and Gong Yoo gets behind the table and starts shuffling cards.
Basically, it’s an elimination round. 2 of the 5 ladies will be eliminated, and the remaining 3 get a mystery prize.
The game? A blind draw from the cards that Gong Yoo spreads out. If his card is better, he wins and the lady is eliminated. If his card is worse, she wins and gets to stay. Several rounds go by and it’s either a draw or he loses. He mutters, “This is going to be difficult.” Heh.
When one of the ladies finally loses, she protests and asks for a do-over. The audience is on her side, but Gong Yoo straightens up and says with a mock-serious face, mildly protesting, “I believe in fair play. It’s my motto in life.”
He stands his ground and apologizes to the lady. He shakes her hand with a bow. And then, when the lady walks the wrong way and goes back to the center of the stage and has to be ushered off the stage, Gong Yoo literally bends over laughing, saying, “Aw, now I feel bad.”
Giggle. Adorable, while standing his ground. That’s skillz.
After the elimination round, 3 ladies are left, and new cards are put on the table. These are larger, and all have different mystery prizes printed on them.
The cards are placed face down on the dealing table, and Gong Yoo mixes them up good and proper.
The first lady picks, and GY gets to see the prize first. He doubles over in laughter and mock chagrin, and says, “I can’t believe this. I said I felt like giving a kiss..” And the audience screeeams.
Gong Yoo mock-reluctantly goes to the center of the stage and gets down on one knee. Omo!
Then he grins before planting a quick peck on the lady’s hand.
Afterwards, he’s all polite and professional, shaking her hand with a bow, saying, “ありがとございます” (“arigatou gozaimasu” meaning “thank you” in Japanese).
The second lady makes her pick, and Gong Yoo cautiously uncovers the card to peep at it, only to deflate, “What’s the use, I can’t read it anyway.” Hahaha.
It turns out to be hug. A HUG!
Again, Gong Yoo looks and sounds rather embarrassed by this, saying stuff like, “Really?”
But then, he switches to a gung-ho, “Come here!” and he puts his arms around her, lifts her off the ground, and then swings her around, before putting her down. Omomo!!
The audience screaaaams, and I gape. Wow. He never ceases to surprise now, does he?
Afterwards, the lady’s legs are all soft and she can’t walk. I kid you not.
When the translator tells Gong Yoo what she said about not being able to walk, he pauses just a moment, then gestures to the side of the stage, “Have a seat then.” Pffft. Cute.
The third lady makes her pick, and again, Gong Yoo peeks at the card, but can’t read it. Heh.
She gets a photo with him, and the photographer is called onto the stage. Before the photo is taken, Gong Yoo asks for permission from her, to excuse himself off-stage to wipe off his perspiration. Aw. How polite.
I’m tickled that he’s been sweating all this time, that he’s such a sweat-er, though I feel a little bad for being amused. It must not be fun to be sweating buckets while wearing a suit under the stage lights.
Gong Yoo is considerate and asks what background she’d like for the photo. Then as they pose, we see Gong Yoo display his famous manner legs:
He asks for a second photo to be taken, and then after shaking her hand and thanking her, he adds, “If the photos don’t turn out well… there’s nothing that we can do.” Ha! Cheeky fella.
More audience participation type games.
The entire audience is divided into sections named A through J, and GY works the crowd a bit, asking various sections to identify themselves.
He misses several sections, and forgets what section J is called, simply pointing to them with a guttural “yeeargh!!” Hahaha.
There’s a large wheel on the stage labeled with the various alphabets, and Gong Yoo spins the wheel to identify the section of the audience that will progress to the next round.
Section B gets to play, and everybody rises to their feet and plays “kai-bai-bo” with him. It’s an honor system; if you lose the round, you sit down. It works coz this is Japan.
The last 4 people standing get to go onstage to pick a prize each.
The available prizes have been personally picked by Gong Yoo: a red muffler, a black leather cap, a red T-shirt from his favorite brand, an autographed DVD set, and a black backpack. All stuff that he genuinely likes and enjoys.
Everything gets picked but the T-shirt, and Gong Yoo appears to feel a little sorry for the T-shirt, picking it up to sniff at it and wipe his brow a little.
He then fake-throws it to the audience, and everyone screams. Cheeky tease.
Gong Yoo then announces a dance item, and before everyone gets too excited, he clarifies that he’s not the one dancing, and that he needs to do a wardrobe change in the meantime, and thanks us for waiting.
The dancers come on, and Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal comes on. It feels a little odd, but this song stuck in my head afterwards and I woke up with it still swimming in my head. Sneaky stuff.
After the dance item, we get another video clip, this time of various stills from Gong Yoo’s last drama Big.
As the lights fade in, Gong Yoo comes back onstage, this time wearing a casual-smart ensemble of crisp white shirt (Eeee!! I LOVE him in a crisp white shirt!), a black pullover sort of vest thing, black pants, and loafers without socks.
Music begins to play, and it’s Because It’s You, the song that he sang on the Big OST.
Here it is, for your listening pleasure:
The next segment is a pretty extended chat session, and Gong Yoo sits down with our Japanese host and his translator.
The Japanese host sounds perky and enthusiastic throughout, and Gong Yoo maintains his easy-going, laid-back vibe. He sounds genuinely sincere, yet doesn’t come across as try-hard.
He’s languid and thoughtful, and funny and witty, and his voice ebbs and flows easily and gently. He sounds relaxed and natural all the way through.
At one point, they ask him about good exercise for young boys, and Gong Yoo talks about swimming, saying that it really works to strengthen and build up the chest and shoulders.
The camera immediately pans to Gong Yoo’s shoulders and the host asks, “Like yours?” and Gong Yoo pfffts in laughter, waving it off. “That’s not what I meant.. I didn’t mean myself specifically..” HAHAHA.
Other things that Gong Yoo talks about include basketball (including a bit where he actually stands up and makes a demonstration of how to do a 3-point shot, hee), and how it’d be nice to take a cruise on a large ship like the Titanic, too bad that it’s sunk.
All this while, I marvel at the soothing tones of his voice. It’s lovely on the ears, really.
*I guess here’s as good a place as any to make a disclaimer: all the translations that I’ve provided are rough ones, mostly. My Korean and Japanese aren’t good enough to do exact translations, and I didn’t understand everything fully either.
We also get treated to glimpses of The Suspect in a later part of the chat, and we did get a peek at some Gong Yoo shirtless in the process. Eeee!! His physique is still as.. eye-popping as ever, just so you know. 😉
Gong Yoo explains that it’s not a song from any of his dramas or movies, but that it’s a song that he really likes, and he hopes that we’ll like it too.
The performance starts out with a speaking portion, and he says something like,
“If you listen to the words I’m about to say now.. You’ll know there’s no one else but you.. If right now I say everything that I want to say in this moment, in front of you, […??]. Even so, we, in this life, should meet once.”
Again, my translation is very, very rough. If you have a better translation, please do share!
He’s no professional singer, but Gong Yoo sings the song with passion and groove and oomph. The song’s got a sexy, bluesy sort of groove, very in line with his personal taste in music.
For his encore, Gong Yoo sings Second First Love, from the soundtrack of his movie Finding Mr. Destiny.
It’s a chirpy happy song, and he even gets a line of back-up dancers. A few times during the performance, Gong Yoo attempts a few dance steps, to the delight of the audience. He doesn’t do more than a few steps, though, and sticks to the singing.
Here’s most of that performance:
After the encore, Gong Yoo thanks everyone and bids us all goodnight and good-bye, and amid cheers and applause, leaves the stage. But the audience won’t let go so easy, and claps rhythmically for him to come back. And it goes on, and on, and on..
And finally, he does come back onstage!! Eeeeee!!! The audience goes wild, and I stand agape, again. I totally wasn’t expecting this.
And apparently, neither was he.
He exasperatedly implores the audience in Korean, “Let’s go home” but the audience won’t budge. He goes, “I’m not even a singer, what is this??” to giggles from the floor.
After asking after the various countries that the fans are from (I think he’s trying to come up with some encore thing on the fly) he tries another tack, “What about your kids’ dinners when you get home? And what about your husbands?”
More giggles from the floor. Choruses of “We don’t have any” come back. HAHAHA.
Gong Yoo tells everyone that he really doesn’t have any more songs prepared, and asks if it’s ok to sing one of the songs a second time, and everyone erupts in cheers. As the cheers die down, GY goes, “Ay, really.. If I’d known I could’ve prepared something” Hee.
Everyone starts yelling stuff at him in waves, and he cheekily reprimands, “I can hear it after you say it just one time.”
The music plays and he sings Second First Love one more time, to the delight of everyone. Afterwards, he ends with “Arigatou gozaimasu.. Annyeong… Kamsahamnida..” And then shouts out, “Saranghanda!!” Eeeee!!!
Afterwards, it really is the end, and we all start to gather our things together and shuffle off in a dazed cloud of fangirl happiness.
The vibe in the crowd is distinctly much more excited and electric than when we first got into the venue, and for good reason.
We got to see Gong Yoo!! Ahhhhh!!
It’s drizzling as I leave the Tokyo International Forum, and I promptly get lost trying to get back to the train station.
I walk around Ginza for a bit, asking random people for directions in broken Japanese. “Excuse me.. How do I get to the Hibiya train?” Ha. Not very elegant, but it got the job done.
Never mind that I was kinda lost, or that it was raining, or that a typhoon was on its way in. My brain couldn’t stop turning over the entire evening.
Sure, I didn’t get to see Gong Yoo up close, and yes, my seat was pretty far away from the stage. But it was the experiencing of his personality that made it feel so satisfying.
Through the entire event, Gong Yoo managed to keep an easy-going, laid-back sort of cool. He confidently fielded questions and teased the audience, using lots of off-the-cuff, spontaneous humor, and even let loose a few big laughs here and there.
Yet, the whole time, I also got the sense that he felt rather embarrassed at the limelight and adoration, and that he felt genuinely, affectionately exasperated at the stubborn insistence of the audience for more.
Despite getting the feeling that doing the fanmeet isn’t quite his idea of his favorite thing to do, I feel that he managed to convey the sense that he sincerely appreciates the love and adoration, and that he was genuinely being himself during the event.
I love that his personality feels so natural and genuine. The easy-going wit and laid-back candid sincerity is a big part of the reason I became smitten with him to begin with, and going to the fanmeet reminded me all over again why I love Gong Yoo. ❤
Annyeong, Gong Yoo-sshi. See you soon, k?
Heh. Since Gong Yoo had a final encore, I thought we should have one too.
Here’s a peek at the goodies that I scored at the fanmeet.
A sample of some of the lovely pix in the Monster magazine:
Lovely, lovely pix!! I’m SO glad they had this available! It’s not officially one of the fanmeet merchandise items, so I was super stoked to see a full magazine of gorgeous GY pix.
I mean, we know how rare those are.
Here’s a peek at the desk calendar that I got:
It’s a frame with loose sheets on both sides, so you can pick the month and your favorite pic of GY that month to gaze at you from your table.
When the year runs out, you can even make and print your own calendar sheets to keep using it. Or, turn the whole thing into a double-sided photo-frame!
Here’s a peek at the photos inside:
I honestly think this is by far the coolest among the merchandise available at the fanmeet.
To commemorate this huge adventure AND the momentous crossing of the 100,000 views mark of the blog on the same day (this fact STILL gives me chills), I’m giving away one of these awesome desk calendars!! Eeeee!! 😀
It’s easy! To join the giveaway, share with us in the comments how you fell in love with Gong Yoo. This giveaway is open to subscribers of the blog, so if you’re not yet a subscriber, you can find the subscribe button on the handy side-bar to your right. 😉
The comments on this post won’t ever close, so we can continue to spazz and squee indefinitely. But the giveaway itself closes on 12 November 2013, which is the day I arrive back in Singapore, and, it’s also the 11-month anniversary of the blog!
Ahh! So many milestones!! Happy, happy things, all.
I’ll randomly pick a winner and announce it the same week. And yes, I will ship internationally.
Last but not least – thanks for joining me on my big Gong Yoo adventure in the heart of Tokyo.. I hope you had a good time ❤
Edit: So I’ve picked a winner for the giveaway AND put together a bunch of Gong Yoo goodies for everyone. Check it out here!