After 2 years of blabbing to everyone I know in America about Rain and how amazing, fine, talented, and sexy he is, AND how he’s going to become my husband one day (lol), I finally got to see The Man.
Saturday the 24th at 6:15 am I took a 3 hour and 30 minute bus ride to Seoul. Having to wait at locations for extremely long periods (like 9 hours at LAX before I got to Korea or the 14 hour plane ride to Korea) has equipped me well for long trips. That 3 hours seemed like only 30 minutes.
When I arrived in Seoul I had a friend to meet. A young woman named Enshea who’s living in Seoul for 3 months as a foreign exchange student. We first met at a contest and became friends on good ol’ Facebook. It was a coincidence that both of us were in Korea AND we both had tickets to see The King of Kpop: Rain. I arrived to Seoul early at about 9:40 am and was ready for the day. One thing I will say I love about Seoul is that everything is also written in English. Wherever there is Korean written, an English translation is underneath. Some of their taxi drivers are also bilingual. That’s definitely a HUGE help in a foreign country. So with that being said why did it take 4 Taxi drivers to figure out where Jamsil Olympic Stadium (the arena for the concert) was?
I finally arrived at Jamsil Stadium at 10 am and waited for Enshea. The day before we chatted about life in Korea and for some reason her experience seemed way different than mine. I won’t get into in this post but I’m in the processing of writing it now. She talked about how much people stare, point, make comments, ect to foreigners. Here in Samcheok where I live, its nothing like that. Like I’ve said in my earlier post about Korea, not many people seemed surprised by me. Since it’s really country out here I would have expected the stares. Enshea tried to warn me but not until I stepped foot into Seoul did I understand what she was talking about. You would have thought I was the Loch Ness monster walking down the street as much as people starred. (My huge hair probably added to it.) BUT our uniqueness came in major handy at the concert venue. A ton of media people wanted to interview us and take pictures. So being a foreigner does have its perks!
Enshea and I sat and chat for a while at the venue exchanging funny stories when the line for buying merchandise suddenly started to grow, so we hopped in. While in line a Japanese woman with minimal English asked us where we were from and if we liked Rain. Soon the line opened and we were waiting for our chance to get some merchandise from this special concert. As people in front of us had finished buying merchandise I noticed something. Everyone had a clear bag FULL of merchandise. I knew that one of the tents had said Fan Club so I was worried we were in the wrong line. We decided to ask a girl two people in front of us who looked like she spoke English. Thank God she did. Her name was Heather from Ohio, currently living in Wonju, South Korea for school. We all decided 3 was better than 1 so we stuck together for the remainder of the time. Come to find out those people with bags full of merchandise worth 100,000 won ($100) of merchandise were Japanese. The Japanese fan base for any Korean artist spend money like crazy. I don’t know where they get so much from but they have no problem dropping loads of cash for their favorite artist. About 2-3 buses full of Japanese women came to the concert. Literally they came out from 3 BUSES! There were 10 buses total but I’m not sure if those were theirs also.
|My lovely 10,000 won ($10) worth of merchandise. And two free buttons!|
One thing weird before the show was that there weren’t that many people there. We were really surprised. We were able to retrieve our tickets and merchandise within minutes. It was crazy. Come to find out everybody in Korea decided to come 10 minutes before the show which resulted in the concert being delayed 15 minutes because there was a traffic jam outside. AHH! People be on time! Making Rain wait or making me wait for Rain does not make me a happy camper.
|Rice donated to the needy in honor of Rain from his Clouds (Rain’s Fan Club name)
from Hong Kong and all over the world.
|Definitely my favorite picture of the day. 😉|
As I entered the venue my adrenaline began to rush but quickly diminished as I found my seat and it was not not up to my standards. I was in the freaking middle! What! I waited until 3 am American time for these tickets to go on sale and when they did, IT WASN’T IN ENGLISH. Not until 3 weeks later did someone finally say “Hey Rain has a ton of international fans, let’s give them language options!” So I was never able to buy the tickets at that time. (Someone ended up buying me a ticket later.) I also found out the browser I was using did not show me all the available tickets that were left. When all this soaked in as I sat in my seat in the middle of the arena and almost cried. I wanted to get up and leave, SERIOUSLY. I have wanted to see this man, this talented, extraordinary specimen for the last 2 YEARS and you tell me I get there and he LOOKS LIKE A FREAKING ANT BECAUSE I’M TOO FAR AWAY! Whoa. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Sorry about that. (Actually my seats weren’t that bad, I think I was just overly emotional that day. Why? IDK.) I believe that bad luck and good luck can only exist if the other does. You can’t have one without the other. So this was my bad luck moment. My friend Enshea bought her ticket just a week before and she got the standing section right in front of the stage. LIFE! uh!
So as I sat there depressed, I decided to take a few pictures. “Huh What? Why won’t my camera come on?” Oh I know why, MY PHONE BATTERY JUST DIED. There goes more bad luck pouring in on little April. As I wollowed in my sorrow Enshea called me and asked where I was. I expressed by pain to her but there was no medicine for this. I didn’t even think the concert would cheer me up. Nothing bad on Rain’s part, just the fact that I couldn’t see his expressions, or the flexing of his body as he danced, or the sweat flying off as he did a turn UP CLOSE. Call me a baby call me whatever. I just wanted to see my Rain.
|The Rain USA Banner! From afar.|
|Can’t see JACK huh?!!!!|
After they announced the delay of the concert I decided to chat with my neighbor. His name was Jesh from Thailand. He asked me how long I had been a fan to which I loudly answered 2 YEARS! He quickly guessed it stemmed from the Ninja Assassin movie. He was right. When I asked him the same question he stated 7 YEARS and had previously seen him at the Rain The Best Show in Thailand. I felt like crap. In no way was Jesh trying to put me down, he just simply answered my question. I blame my measly 2 years on me living in the country!! No access to other cultures! NONE! That’s why I left Kansas City! Nothing there.
Anywho Jess explained he had decided to take a vacation and this concert fell right within that time. I noticed the camera he was taking pictures with was quite good for how far back we were seated. LIGHT BULB! And it flickered brightly in my head. I asked if he could email me the video and pictures that he has taken. He gladly obliged and I gave him my email. I smell good luck brewing! (Still waiting for those pictures though.)
After 15 minutes, the lights dimmed and a video started. It was superstar Rain sitting on his king throne seat in a matrix type setting. He then rose up and started to dance. My heart was pounding faster and faster. I didn’t think I’d be able to breath. A few more seconds went by and BAM! The man appeared high in the air. I started BAWLING LIKE SOMEONE DIED. Never in my life has that ever happened. I’ve liked Sisqo, B2k, Usher, Chris Brown and seen 2 out of the 4. NEVER have I felt overwhelmed with so much emotion over an artist. Rain inspires me SO much. He is a huge reason why I wanted to travel to an Asian country and open myself up to new things. (No not to find him and ask him to marry me lol) In the Midwest there’s a set equation to go by. Be born in your state + go to college in your state + get married in your state+ have children and be a soccer mom + die in your state. That’s it. Anything else is unheard of. That had never been my foreseen future but its easy to get swept into it unknowingly. Discovering Rain intensified me wanting more, seeing more, experiencing more. It put that extra spark under me to just do it. Whatever “It” was, I wasn’t sure but I was going to find out soon.
With my degree being in Fashion, its a simple fact that New York and London are the be all of fashion, but for some reason I was never drawn to either. I wondered where my fashion calling lay. Tokyo answered. Now I’ve always enjoyed Asia culture and movies but it stopped there. Everything to now has stemmed from broadening my perspective of the world. This situation was like finding out there was another door I could open, one I never knew was there. I am now living in Korea chasing after my dreams just as he did 11 or so years ago auditioning for JYP Ent. He did it all while having an extremely sick mother at home to worry about. After she died it made him stronger and more determined to make it and make his belated mother proud. He wanted to be able to take care of his family. He went after his dreams full force with a strong heart and HE made it. My family situation is very similar to his. I feel Rain made it through and so can I. (And you all though I liked him just because of his golden abs! Ha, Tricked ya!)
So I was overcome with strong emotions. Seeing a person that I admire so much right there before my eyes. Though far, I could feel his presence from my row. I would like to add that Rain’s fan base in Korea is overwhelmingly Ajummas (the name for older Korean women). About 65% of the fans there were ages 35 and up. 35% were Japanese and the last 15% were under the age of 35. A Korean friend had already told me this so I wasn’t surprised but to see it with my own eyes was amazing. They came out in droves some with canes some without. It was very inspiring.
Anywho I had asked Jesh beside me if Asians stand up at concerts or not because I wasn’t sure. In America we stand up the entire time (or maybe that’s just black folks at concerts lol). But we stand the entire time. As this show went on everyone sat down. I didn’t want to though. I mean how could you sit at a Rain concert? Come on now. So whenever a fast jam came on my butt jumped up and others around me followed suit and before you knew it the whole stadium was up for a while. The Ajumma beside me said she had wanted to stand too. She danced the entire time. She had to be about 55 to 60 years old. She LOVED her some Rain. I had made a poster to mimic an American flag for the concert. I wanted to make sure Rain knew someone from the states loved him. When he sang “Love Story”, I was mezmerized. When he did “Escape the Sun” and it showed the footage from 2003 when he first released the song it was bittersweet. I yelled out funny things like “Dea Bak” which means incredible when they were filming him getting undressed in his dressing room and “Speak English Rain!” I don’t know why he doesn’t translate what he says for his international fans.
I’d like to add that when I tried to get up after Rain said “Everybody on your feet” my legs wouldn’t work? Does Rain just have that effect on women or was it because I was wearing 5 inch heels? Or both? I was sitting for the most part of the beginning so I’m not clear on how my legs literally gave out but if its for Rain its worth it!!!! Rain always cares so much for his fans. So that everyone could get see him up close he drove around in a cart around all the sections. OMG He was even closer than before! I could feel his aura from where I was sitting. DAMN YOU CAMERA PHONE!
After it was done (or so I thought. After he had waved goodbye and the stage door closed, people stood there for like 2 minutes waiting.) Come to find out there was an encore! I guess I’m not in the loop. After that fest where we all jumped to 90’s duo group Kriss Kross’ song “Jump”, it was over. As I checked the time it was 7:50 pm and I knew there was a possibility I could catch that last 8 pm bus back to Samcheok and save on a motel for the night. The station was only about 5 minutes away from the venue. A taxi drove past me into the parking lot and I yelled for it to stop. He waved and said “No” and some other inaudible things in couldn’t understand in Korean. Come to find out he was waiting for people who had reserved the taxi.
THANK GOD HE SAID NOOOOO! This is where my good luck comes in. As I huffed and tried to figure out what my next plan of action was (and where I was going to sleep that night) I saw some fans waiting behind a barricade. I quickly went over to see what it was about. They were waiting for Rain to depart the venue. OMG! I get the chance to be a FANGIRL in Asia! How exciting! I found a place with a good view and waited with the others. The Ajummas were in full force. It was only me and like a few other young chicks in the mist of the small crowd. As the hour went by MBlaq departed and some other random people too.
Finally 1 hour and some seconds later THE MAN came out. Now I thought he was going to head straight to the car and leave. NO. He came down where we were and started from the beggining of the line to the end waving, smiling, saying thank you to everyone! I grabbed my poster really quick to make sure he saw it. He smiled and his face turned to mine and he waved. RAIN SAW ME. I SAW HIM BUT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT: HE SAW ME. I wanted him to know, even if for a brief second that a young bushy haired black girl from America loved him. And for that second he knew. Seeing him was magical. His skin was the color of butter cream. His black cardigan and white t-shirt fit his slender, tall, shape so well. From his head to his toes. PERFECT. TV nor photos do him justice. He looked like he had 0 body fat. I felt like a short fat Oompa Loompa being next to him. lol
I think around the :19 or :22 second marker was when he went past me. I think he was attempting to read my poster but word to the wise: glitter doesn’t show up well in the dark. But at least he saw the red, white, and blue.
So after my string of bad luck I was able to see the man, the world star, the model, the philanthropist, the actor, the ambassador, the sex symbol, the humble man from meager beginnings, from only 3 ft away.
I love you Rain and Please be safe in the military. We will be waiting for your return.