I’ve been wanting to do a write about this trip to Japan but I’ve been still living in Oliver’s world for the past week. It’s a bit hard to put an end to the trip as it brought back so many memories (I’m still dreaming) and everything seems so surreal.
In the last couple of years, many things have changed and he’s changed as well, especially in the way he carries himself in public. I miss the fun, cute and playful Choi Dong Wook that we used to see all the time and I think through the musical this time, he was able to show that side of him again through Oliver.
In the 4 days I was in Tokyo, I saw him a few times (not including seeing him on stage) and he’s still the same guy – full of warmth, thoughtfulness but still so much fun and full of cuteness XD.
I arrived at Sunshine Theatre a couple of hours early on 25th May (Thursday) just in case I wouldn’t be able to find it. But the place was already teeming with fans and posters of the musical were everywhere (even downstairs in Sunshine city).
There was merchandise for sale – the program, badges, thermos cup, postcards etc. If you got the full set, you could get a making dvd. You could also go into the draw to get the making dvd by getting the special set (full set minus a couple of things) or there was the draw for the whole audience each day (20 dvds per performance given out).
I wont go into details about the performance because I already did that but I saw him for the first time this trip after this performance (25th May) at the scheduled high touch session. I think I was not psychologically prepared to meet him yet and as I watched people exit the theatre one by one (he was waiting outside), I felt myself shaking and getting anxious. I hadn’t thought of what to say (I never know what to say) and still couldn’t think of anything creative up to the last moment.
When it finally came to my turn, I saw that he had one hand out for people to high five him as they walked by him. In the past, he would high five people with both hands so that caught me off guard as I had been waiting with two hands. I walked up to him and was holding two hands up, he didnt quite catch that and kept one hand up. So we did a ‘hand grasp’ (XD) and he said, “Ah you came~” (he was expecting me since I told him before I was coming). I said I enjoyed the performance and he said something about go back safely (?). I was so out of it because his hands caught me off guard, so instead of looking at his face, I spent most of those few seconds looking at his hand (at least I managed to hand him my letter!) haha
Next day, I liked the performance more than the previous day and I think that made me even more excited haha. There was also a high touch session scheduled for this day and when it came to my turn, I thought I would ask him to do high touch with both hands (lol, i know I should have just given up). So I gave him my letter first and then we high fived with our right hands. Then I said, can we do it with two hands? He paused for a second then he reached out his left hand and high fived my left hand, criss crossing over my right hand. LOL, it’s hard to explain but it was pretty amusing. You know when you play those hand clapping routines when you were a kid, it reminded me of that. That caught me off guard as well (LOL) and I managed to mumble, you were even better today than yesterday! before I walked off.
I had managed to figure out where to wait for him when he leaves the building and started waiting for him at the exit. There were many other fans waiting. It was slightly confusing which door he was going to come out of so people were spread out across a large space. When he finally came out, there was a bit of a mad rush but I did manage to see his face for a few seconds haha (see below)
On Saturday, Kasy from Thailand finally joined me! Yay! The musical was still lots of fun even the 3rd time. Today I noticed more detail that I hadn’t seen from the 2 previous performances. Today was also the last show that Dongwookie did with Kim Bo Kyung. I really love this pairing!!
After the performance ended, we suddenly found out that Dongwookie had decided to have an unscheduled high touch session!! (Well it was more like him standing there to wave goodbye to each person as they walked through, so no high fiving but our lack of Japanese language skills meant we didn’t know that beforehand haha) I had not expected to be able to see him so I had not written a letter. Luckily we were seated more towards the back this time so I had a little bit of time before it was my turn. I hurriedly got out my letter writing paper and wrote a short quick letter (cant remember what I wrote and my handwriting was atrocious lol).
When our turn came to greet him, Wow from Thailand greeted him first and he put his hands together said thank you in Thai to her. Kasy was next and he kind of greeted Wow and her together. But somehow somewhere in between that, he suddenly said thank you and bye in CHINESE!! We looked at him like “????????????” and he quickly realised that he used the wrong language and the look on his face was priceless!! He looked really confused and had questions marks all over his face as well. He quickly switched to English and said thank you. Then I walked up with him, gave him my letter, and said, do you know what language you’re using now?? XD The three of us walked off laughing so hard! (Later that day, he dm’ed us saying goodbye in chinese using hangul, SO FUNNY!!!!!!!)
After that, we headed to the place where he was supposed to come out and started waiting for him. It took a bit longer for him this day because he was taking photos with 30 lucky fans who had been randomly picked. By the time he came out, there were many fans waiting for him. I managed to get a decent spot and when he saw us, he looked at us and did a ‘V’ with his hand before getting into the car.
Next day was my 4th performance and the last day 😦 Time passes so quickly when you’re having fun. The final performance was an emotional one and when Dongwookie came out for the curtain call, he just started crying. After they went backstage again, the audience cheered more loudly and they came back out again. This time they talked a bit since this was Dongwookie’s and Song Sang Eun’s last performance. Dongwookie was very emotional and started crying again. He said that when he was first offered the role, he thought he wouldn’t be able to do it because it was so hard. But the cast and staff helped him alot. He said he realised he was so happy to have been part of this for the last 3 months (then he started crying). He felt he wasn’t perfect but they practised alot. He thanked the audience for helping him to reach this day. Even though it’s his first musical in Japan, so many people came to see them and he feels he could do anything now. He will continue to try hard and asked fans to continue to support him (rough translation by Yuki. Thanks!)
Watching him cry with my own eyes, in front of me, was an emotional experience. My hands started shaking and when his voice broke as he spoke, my tears just started rolling TTTTTTTTTT So precious! I have alot of blurred photos and a shaky video because of it. This musical was very important to him (his parents even came to watch his first performance) and I feel too that with this, many doors have opened up for him. He really worked hard for this and I felt this especially in the last performance, when it hit me that there were really lots of lines and so much to overcome in the short span of a few months.
Afterwards, there was a final high touch with all 3 members of the cast. My turn came and I gave him a letter, and a tight squeeze with my hand. I said, you really worked hard and I could see that his eyes were still red and puffy from the crying. He said thank you and I went. That was the last time I saw him this trip, since he stayed for the last performance and went for an ending party afterwards.
I left Japan the day after. Before I left, I wrote him a long message and sent it to him via dm. He sent me a very warm message back in Korean (longest msg he’s ever sent me in Korean!) that made me cry when I was eating outside. I’m so glad that I was able to give him some strength and be part of something that was so important to him!
I feel that if I wanted to keep going I could spend some more time reflecting and posting more photos etc but I think it’s time to snap back and return to the real world. I was so thankful for the experience, the catch up with friends, and the encouragement that I got from him!