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Joo Won 주원- Welcome Back !

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On 2/13/2018 at 12:48 AM, kittyna said:

 

lol - I think a one-hour-long video's asking a bit much? :tongue: But photos would be nice - it makes me wonder if anyone managed to save up any in preparation for new fashion collections, agency-related updates, etc. Or maybe there will be other military-related events coming up, too. Maybe not right now, because Cheorwon is so close to the border - probably not a good idea to have a military-related display right at this moment - but in the future? Who knows?

 

It's my *fangirlcandream* mode. So sometimes i imagine that Cutie is giving us a surprise like a video, i mean looonng video about what happened and what he was doing in the camp. ( Its just my imagination caused by Joo won Awesomeness )

 

Or at least, a photo or short video of him take care of the troopers with charismatic aura just like we have seen in real man. All assistant instructure in that show is so manly and charismatic.

 

I always imagine its joo won that giving the troops instructions. Or imagine that joo won must be doing the same like in this video, or maybe more gentle because I always see him smiling behind the camera. And also, I've seen many soldier compliments Joo won because of his kind heart and his good looks. I've seen many comments that said Joo won is always helps them whenever they have difficulties. Its such a nice story and i also love read other people story when they meet joo won. How good he looks in real life, how kind his heart is, and many more.

 

Or maybe fiercer than that. Because he and his hoobae (UEE) have said that Joo won is a strict, serious, and hard-working Sunbae. So maybe his other/fierce side is woke up after he enter military. Who knows? We will know it after he comeback and tell his stroy to the world.

 

On 2/13/2018 at 12:48 AM, kittyna said:

Those are so cute! Especially the whole set of photos that show his reaction when Uhm Tae Woong found him and Yu Hae Jin in the bus stop (none of the hyungs had believed JW when he'd guessed that YHJ would be there, so he was so happy that UTW came around). In hindsight, it's funny, because they wound up having a little bit of a SIM Entertainment reunion over there :tongue: I guess they all already knew each other by the time YHJ started on 1N2D.

 

Its just so cute that he still believe that his hyung is in that place even though his other hyung is said that yoo hae jin is in other place. And his thoughts is right! Hae jin was there and he can get breakfast while the other hyung is starving waiting joo won comeback with sad looks. So funny...

 

On 2/13/2018 at 3:54 AM, kittyna said:

lol - We're all so desperate, aren't we? :tongue: But, like @moonstrike was saying, we all want some good news, however it comes.

 

But anyways, great to see both these dramas getting such high commendations :D 

Great!!! Its nice seeing that article. It makes me want to see joo won in dramaland again! Haaahhh... just wait for 365 days more or 1 year more! FIGHTING!!!

 

19 hours ago, kittyna said:

do find that this is highly valued in Korean culture in general - i.e. an emphasis on relationships rather than individual autonomy - and it makes me really proud to see that JW excels in that. :)

I was prouder when i knew that joo won is squeezed in a visit to the wake in between his drama shooting. You can see that he is still in Cha Yoo Jin looks or costum. And also when i knew that He really values his relationship with his co-stars and even the staff from his projects. Its just awesome! 

 

And pics!!!!

 

 

Yong pal photo!!

 

 

My favorite!

 

 

Because this day is valentine day, we have to celebrate it with our awesome cutie smile! 

 

This is so cute!!! And the cartoon is so similiar tho!

 

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ATTENTION!!!!!!!! NEW PHOTOS AND VIDEO OF JOO WON GUYS!!!!!!! I'M SO HAPPY! ITS JUST 27 MINUTES AFTER MY LAST POST WHERE I SAID I REALLY WANT TO SEE JOO WON IN HIS CAMP AND THEN THIS VIDEO CAME OUT! GOD IS ANSWERING MY WISHES! THANK YOU GOD!

 

 

I think Park Geon Il is telling his story in his camp with joo won. I don't understand what he was saying except when he said "Joo won-san" or "Joo won-kun". 

 

By the way, I'm waiting and curious about Joo won's story about his military life after he came out. Imagining that in the future he will tell his interesting military stories in his fanmeet!

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1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

It's my *fangirlcandream* mode. So sometimes i imagine that Cutie is giving us a surprise like a video, i mean looonng video about what happened and what he was doing in the camp. ( Its just my imagination caused by Joo won Awesomeness )

 

Or at least, a photo or short video of him take care of the troopers with charismatic aura just like we have seen in real man. All assistant instructure in that show is so manly and charismatic.

 

I always imagine its joo won that giving the troops instructions. Or imagine that joo won must be doing the same like in this video, or maybe more gentle because I always see him smiling behind the camera.

 

lol - I'm going to be honest here: sometimes, I end up imagining JW in a scene similar to this one from "Descendants of the Sun", especially taking on Song Joong Ki's role as the person demonstrating the "proper" way to do things.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNgvH0g1TSg

 

Probably not the most realistic mental image out there - since JW's an assistant instructor for the regular infantry, and that drama's focused on some sort of special forces corps. But, still - how cool would that be?

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

I've seen many comments that said Joo won is always helps them whenever they have difficulties. Its such a nice story and i also love read other people story when they meet joo won. How good he looks in real life, how kind his heart is, and many more.

 

Or maybe fiercer than that. Because he and his hoobae (UEE) have said that Joo won is a strict, serious, and hard-working Sunbae. So maybe his other/fierce side is woke up after he enter military. Who knows? We will know it after he comeback and tell his stroy to the world.

 

Sometimes I imagine JW as the stern and serious instructor...and then I remember that he literally sneaked chocopies in the bathroom with Ji Chang Wook, and that just makes me think of him as an aegyo-filled kid again :tongue: 

 

Either way, I love hearing the stories that do trickle out from the base - either from other soldiers, the camp staff (e.g. the cleaning lady who said that JW actually called her "Eomemonim" instead of "Ahjumma"), and from fans (i.e. during festivals and military promotional events). And I'm sure there will be plenty more once he's done.

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

ts just so cute that he still believe that his hyung is in that place even though his other hyung is said that yoo hae jin is in other place. And his thoughts is right! Hae jin was there and he can get breakfast while the other hyung is starving waiting joo won comeback with sad looks. So funny...

 

Yeah. There was this one moment where, when JW first ran off the bus and into the station, that he started getting worried that he'd made a mistake (since Yu Hae Jin was not immediately in sight). So then he's running around calling out for his hyung...and then he finds him, and is just so happy to have succeeded in the morning mission :D 

 

Although I think that JW would have looked really cute with the punishment hairstyle (the "apple hair" where your hair is pulled up into a little ponytail on the top of your head), so even if he lost that challenge, the footage would have been fun to watch :tongue: 

 

And now for the second installment of Valentine's Day pics - this time, cute and romantic moments from JW's dramas :wub:

 

Spoiler

Every little tiny bit of skinship in "Good Doctor" was so cute, that I don't think I actually needed the kiss at the end in order to get overwhelmed at the sweetness of it all.

 

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And I can say the same thing for "Nae Il's Cantabile": so much is being said in such little things like holding hands. Especially since we're talking about two pianists (one of whom moonlights as a conductor, but you get the idea), so we know just how important hands are to Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il :) 

 

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And, of course, Nae Il being Nae Il, you know that she takes the whole "girl goes first on Valentine's Day" deal to heart

 

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Which, by the way, makes the payoff that much more rewarding :)

 

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But my favourite part of the relationship between these two is when their hearts and minds connect through music even when they aren't touching :) 

 

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This moment from "My Sassy Girl" was so adorable, too (haven't watched the full show yet, but did watch this scene on YouTube)

 

 

Another chance for cute skinship: when the male lead treats the female lead after she gets a small injury:

 

 

 

Cooking also works - even if Han Gil Ro kinda sucked at it :tongue: 

 

 

JW does forehead kisses a lot in his dramas, doesn't he.

 

 

But, of course, "Yong Pal" had some really awesome kisses of the more normal variety - like this one here (which is both sweet, but also, to be honest, really hot)

 

95c2715a406466c4480a884221272a59.jpg

 

Okay, I'll be honest: I haven't watched "Yong Pal" yet, but I already know enough of the story to guess that this pair and their story will be equal parts cute and sad?

 

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That was...a TON of pics! But I guess they also hold one of the biggest hopes and wishes for JW that we have as fans: that someday, he can find a real-life romance of his own. I know in hindsight that life hasn't been kind to him in this aspect in the past, but we can still hope, can't we?

 

71dc1ecb481299e9ee3ef4b11c447923.jpg

 

EDIT: Thanks for the update, @moonstrike - you shared that while I was in the middle of writing this post here :wink: 

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It's finally ready: the new fic!

 

Title: Seollal, Seollebal, Seolleim

Drama: "Nae Il's Cantabile"

Characters: Cha Yoo Jin, Seol Nae Il, Franz von Stresemann

Premise: Relationships can take on many forms. There is, of course, romance between a man and a woman - but there are also friendships and family relationships as well. And for Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il, with Seollal and Valentine's Day coming just a few days apart, they all seem to be blurring together.

Warnings: Discussion and depictions of smoking and drinking, including characters getting drunk

 

Note: this story is part of the set of sequel stories I've written for "Nae Il's Cantabile", which I am calling "Seolleim in Salzburg". Thus, in order to fully understand this story, I strongly advise you to read its predecessors first:

 

"The Sound of Christmas"

"Angel of Music, Come Down from Above"

"In Mozart's Name"

 

Note on Timeline #1: It hadn't mattered as much with the previous stories in this series what year I have been using as my main point of reference, but it really does this time around, given how Seollal (i.e. the Lunar New Year) falls on a different date every single year.

 

Thus, to minimize confusion, I will say it first: this story is meant to take place in February 2016, a year and a few months after the events of "Nae Il's Cantabile".

 

Thus, this fic spans from Monday, February 8, 2016 (i.e. Seollal 2016) to Sunday, February 14, 2016 (i.e. Valentine's Day). All other time references are directly stated in the story itself, but, yes, everything takes place within this one week :wink: 

 

Note on Timeline #2: This fic once again includes some of what I imagined to be the events prior to what we see in "Nae Il's Cantabile", most notably some of the things that could have happened among the older generation of characters: Franz von Stresemann, Song Mi Na (the Dean at Haneum), Cha Dong Woo (Cha Yoo Jin's father), and Yang Sun Young (Cha Yoo Jin's mother). Very little is disclosed within the drama itself, so most of what you see here is purely from my own imagination.

 

Note on language: The way I see it, and the way I have done it in other stories in this series, is like this: when it's just Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il speaking with each other, it's in Korean; when they're speaking with anyone else (including Professor Stresemann, who I imagine is not all that fluent in Korean), it's in German.

 

I had also mentioned once before that there are several dialects of German: "official" versions of German that are spoken in Germany and Austria, respectively, as well as a bunch of local dialects. However, in this fic, all the German words/phrases I use here are consistent across multiple dialects.

 

Nein - No

Danke - Thank-you

Ja - Yes

Hallo - Hello (informal)

Bitte - Please

 

However, what I do do differently this time around is not in the German, but in the Korean. We know from "Nae Il's Cantabile" that Nae Il is from Jeju-do - and she actually does use the Jeju dialect of Korean from time to time. So here's a quick glossary of those words I used, along with their mainland equivalents:

 

Orabang = Oppa

Halmang = Halmeoni

Eomeong = Eomeoni

Abang = Appa

 

One last note before we begin! There are a TON of "Easter Eggs" in this story: little nods here and there to miscellaneous details and trivia about the real-life actors who brought these characters to life. I will be listing them all at the end, but for now, try to see how many you can spot along the way :wink: 

 

And now that that's said and done, on with the story!

 

Once again, please do not re-post any content from this story on any other website without my permission. You are welcome to share this story, but only by sharing the URL. Thanks!

 

Spoiler

Seollal, Seollebal, Seolleim

 

Is it possible for someone to be busy with leisure?

 

Neither Nae Il nor I have any classes, as February is the term break for us students at the Mozarteum. We don’t even have any performances, as the campus is now being used for the annual International Mozart Competition, which is specifically for string instrumentalists and vocalists.

 

And yet, despite what looks to be a free schedule, we find ourselves scrambling this morning, just like any other Monday morning.

 

Because today is Seollal – and the two of us only have a few hours to do what our friends and family back home in Korea would do in a full day.

 

At least, with it just being the two of us at home, we have decided to forego the traditional large meal. I did get some stock going earlier so that Nae Il and I could have tteokguk tonight, but otherwise, we’re not planning on doing anything out of the ordinary on that front.

 

But it is the greetings that will take up most of our morning. Morning for us here in Austria is evening in Korea, and Nae Il and I have to make video calls to both her family and mine before it ends up inconveniently late for them. And I have learned from experience that both Eomma and Nae Il’s grandmother are notoriously chatty when they want to be – and neither like it when we try to back out of a conversation.

 

As I shrug on my vest and start doing up the buttons, I hear Nae Il knocking on my bedroom door. Without even waiting for a response from me, she calls out from the other side.

 

“Are you done yet, Orabang? Everything’s set up now!”

 

Her voice breaks through my concentration, and I have to bite back a more exasperated response before calling back, “Almost – give me one more minute.”

 

A pause. “You remembered, right? We have to wear the hanbok this time – the real one.”

 

“Ne, arasseo!” I reply, just as I finally finish up. “We wouldn’t want your Halmeoni to throw a fit like last time.”

 

“It’s ‘Halmang’!”

 

“Oh, right.” I know that Nae Il speaks the Jeju dialect with her family, and she wants me to at least address them properly. But I still sometimes slip up and use the words that I am more familiar with, although she has been very good about correcting me whenever I do.

 

Today is not the first time Nae Il and I have attempted a video call back home to her family on Jeju-do for a festival. Last fall, there had been Chuseok as well – and although the conversation had gone well enough, Nae Il’s grandmother had been shocked at what the two of us were wearing then.

 

If anything is to blame, it is Europe, and the fact that Nae Il and I are foreigners here. Something like the traditional festival hanbok, which neither of us would have thought anything of at home, feels strangely costume-like here. But the two of us had known that we needed something that could work for times like this. Fortunately, it was becoming increasingly popular among young people in Seoul to wear more subdued and casual hanbok instead: similar to the traditional styles in some ways, but oftentimes more closely fitted and in more muted or neutral colours. So prior to coming here to Austria, Nae Il and I had both put together outfits in those styles, thinking that we could get more wear out of the individual pieces than just the two main festivals of Chuseok and Seollal.

 

Personally, both of us thought we had looked fine when we made that video call back to Korea last fall, but Nae Il’s grandmother had thought otherwise. She had immediately insisted that Nae Il take our measurements – which, thankfully, we did not have to do right in front of her on the spot – and send them back to her. And sure enough, just in time for Christmas, a package had arrived for us from Jeju-do: a proper traditional hanbok for each of us.

 

I have to admit, though, that the old lady had good taste. I had feared at first that she would order something either garishly bright, or in one the light pastel hues that has become popular among guys my age. But she has instead chosen something that I would have picked out for myself given the chance: the standard white shirt, pale grey trousers, and a dark red vest with only minimal decoration.

 

When I finally step out of my room into the corridor, I can see Nae Il’s eyes widen for just a brief moment as she looks me over. I definitely know that I am doing the same. Her hanbok is colourful without being bright: a pale green jacket with dark blue, red and white stripes on the sleeves, coupled with a black skirt embroidered with small red flowers. And although her hair is too short for the traditional braid, she has still tied it back with a long red ribbon, its ends flowing down her back.

 

Nae Il darts forward then, grabbing onto my hand before pulling me along with her down the hallway into the living room where she has already set up her laptop on the coffee table. She has even thought ahead and moved the table a bit further in front of the couch than usual, taking two of the cushions and placing them down on the floor in the space in between. I do, however, cast a skeptical sideways glance at the bottle and two wineglasses she has placed on the table as well.

 

“Oh, that…” Nae Il murmurs when she notices where I am looking. “That’s just in case either of our families want to do a toast. But don’t worry; it’s just juice,” she adds with a wink.

 

That’s good to know. I still rather vaguely remember the way her father had tried to drink me under the table that first evening I met him. He had succeeded, by a long shot – and to this day, Nae Il still won’t tell me what it was I had said or done that night that had made the entire family burst out laughing when I showed up, badly hungover, at the breakfast table the morning after.

 

Today, of course, I could use the fact that it is still morning here in Salzburg in my own defence. But I do like that Nae Il has plans to work around her father’s more jovial tendencies, and I tell her as much.

 

We have decided ultimately to call her family first, and while we wait for them to answer on the other side, we both move so that we are standing in full view of the webcam. Then, as soon as Nae Il’s parents and grandmother appear on the screen, we say the traditional greeting in unison before bowing down to the ground. Once that is done, the two of us move to sit comfortably on the cushions on the floor, Nae Il neatly arranging her skirt so that it billows out around her. It brushes up against me, and I absently rub the silk between my fingers.

 

“Aigoo…look at you two!” Nae Il’s grandmother claps her hands together, a smugly satisfied look on her face. She then turns to look me straight in the eye. “I’d told you that you would look so much prettier like this – and I was right!”

 

As Nae Il presses her hands to her mouth to hold back a laugh, I tear my eyes away and glance down at the floor as I murmur a quick thank-you.

 

“Don’t tease him, Eomeong,” I hear Nae Il’s mother call out. “The poor boy’s ears are already turning red.”

 

Instinctively, my hands fly up to cover those as well, and that’s enough for Nae Il to lose it altogether. She bursts into laughter, her mirth so overwhelming that she falls over sideways into my lap.

 

Immediately, I shove her back up off of me, flashing her the best glare I could muster under the circumstances. “Ya, Seollebal! Don’t just sit there and laugh – help me out here,” I whisper in her ear as she gets up. When that doesn’t stop her, I add, “Just you wait; your turn’s coming next.”

 

Sure enough, as though on cue, her grandmother picks up where she’d left off, this time turning her attention on Nae Il. “And look at you, Nae Il-ah! Just what has this new boyfriend been feeding you? It looks like you’ve gained some weight since we last saw you.”

 

Nae Il freezes with a gasp, her eyes growing wide as saucers. Cupping her face in her hands, she leans closer to the camera to get a better look. “I…I have?” When her grandmother just chuckles in amusement, she then rounds on me. “Have I, Orabang?” she whines.

 

Seeing this as a good chance for payback from before, I nod, the corner of my mouth twitching up in a mischievous smile. In a flash, Nae Il lunges forward and smacks me hard on the arm. “Wae? Why didn’t you say anything sooner? You’re so mean!”

 

By this point, everyone on the other end of the line is laughing, and I am no longer able to hold back myself, either. “Now, now, Nae Il-ah,” her mother finally manages to gasp out. “It’s not a bad thing, you know – it makes you look prettier now.”

 

“Jinjja?” Nae Il asks, once again glancing up at me. “Do I look prettier like this now?”

 

I nod and flash her a reassuring smile, and she immediately returns it and even gives me a quick hug in thanks, ruffled feathers thus smoothed over.

 

It’s true, actually. Nae Il is the sort of girl whose face could look a bit sunken or hollow when she’s thinner due to stress. But when she’s happy and enjoying herself, like she has in recent months, her face tends to round out a little bit more. Overall, it makes her look cuter and more like the innocent girl that she is.

 

Now that the awkward moment has passed, Nae Il’s mother steps in yet again. “Come closer, Nae Il-ah,” she says, beckoning with one hand. “Let me take a good look at you; I can’t believe it’s already been months since last time.” As Nae Il complies, scooting herself forward and closer to the computer, I look on in wonder as her mother reaches out one hand towards the camera. Nae Il, too, stretches out her fingers and, for a moment, in our respective windows on the monitor, it looks as though they just might manage to touch one another.

 

“Next year,” her mother says, “you two should come over and spend the holiday with us.”

 

“We would have come this time if we could,” Nae Il replies. “It’s just that we didn’t know –”

 

“Gwenchana,” her father cuts in. “We understand. It’s your first real school term abroad, and you didn’t know if you could get away.”

 

Nae Il nods. “But I know now. So next year, I’ll try my best to come. I promise.”

 

“Bring Yoo Jin as well,” her father adds before turning to look at me. “It’ll do you good: spending Seollal with a real family for once.”

 

Before I could get a word in, I hear Nae Il gasp. “Abang!” she whines, “How could you say that?”

 

I reach out and grab hold of her hand. “Gwenchana,” I say to her, giving her hand a light squeeze to calm her. “He’s right.”

 

In truth, I have not had a festival with my entire family in years, and not just because of my parents’ divorce. That, at least, is understandable. But even after that, even though Eomma technically had custody over me, she was seldom home: her work with the arts foundation in New York kept her away for most of my teenage years. And there is only so much a widower grandfather and a bachelor uncle could do when it comes to offering any sort of warmth or affection. They did their best, and I never doubted their love for me, but the fact is that they were never able to replace either Eomma or Abeoji.

 

I had spent years fighting off pangs of jealousy whenever I saw my own classmates with their parents or heard them brag about their plans for the holidays. Even though I always made as though I didn’t care, that was not the truth of the matter. All along, I had known on some level that I was being a fool, that any lack of a family on my part was my own fault, but that had never stopped me from hoping.

 

Now that that chance is in front of me, I want to seize it however I can.

 

So although it might be a breach of etiquette to make the first move, I reach out and grab the juice bottle that Nae Il had set out in advance. Fortunately, although she blinks in astonishment for a moment, she is quick to catch on, and is ready with her glass in time for me to pour her a drink. We then switch places as she takes the bottle from me and fills my glass. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see that her parents and grandmother have followed suit with their makgeoli.

 

Once everyone is ready, I say aloud what I have already promised in my heart: “If it is at all possible, I will bring Nae Il to you for Seollal next year.”

 

All five of us drink to that – a promise of what is to come, and a further strengthening of our ties.

 

~~~~~

 

Nae Il and I wrap up our call to her family soon after that, but not before first, at their insistence, playing them the recordings we had made of each other’s piano playing a few weeks ago. Seeing the way in which her parents and grandmother look at her with such open pride on their faces as they listen fills me with an overwhelming sense of warmth.

 

But that feeling is short-lived – because now, it is my turn to call home.

 

I know that, now that she has fully handed off her responsibilities at the arts foundation to her assistant, Eomma will actually be there for once. And, of course, Oe Samchon will be there; the call, after all, is being made to the main Yang family residence where I had lived after the divorce.

 

Yet, as Nae Il and I, having resumed our standing positions in preparation for the greeting once again, wait for the call to go through, I can’t help but feel like I am forgetting something – or someone.

 

It’s certainly not Abeoji. There is no way he would be there, after all.

 

So who am I missing?

 

The answer comes to me just a split second too late, so I am unable to give Nae Il any advance notice before the window opens up on the computer screen. Instead, I can only look on as she is left gaping in astonishment.

 

“Dean…Dean Song?” she finally manages to stammer out.

 

Indeed, sitting there next to Eomma, watching our surprised reactions with an amused smile, is Song Mi Na, the Dean of Haneum University.

 

Fortunately, Nae Il is able to recover her composure quickly, and the two of us complete the traditional greeting without further incident. However, after we have all settled in our seats, she in unable to stop glancing at the three of us – Dean Song, Eomma and I – in confusion.

 

“What…what’s going on, Orabang?” Taking note of my expression, her eyes harden and narrow slightly. “You knew about this – didn’t you.”

 

Gently I try to explain. “Dean Song Mi Na and Eomma have been best friends for years – since before either of us was born, in fact.”

 

Eomma nods. “The same way you and Choi Min Hee are now, Nae Il-ah.”

 

“And,” I continue, “since, to the best of my knowledge, Dean Song never got married

 

“Nor has family of her own.”

 

I shoot Eomma a look at that last bit before finishing, “For as long as I could remember, Eomma has invited her to our family gatherings.”

 

“Like a spinster aunt.”

 

Dean Song lets out an incredulous scoff at that. “‘A spinster aunt’?” She gives Eomma a slight nudge. “Ya, Sun Young-ah, is that what you take me for?”

 

True to nature, Eomma is undeterred. “Do you have any better ideas?” she fires back, the mirth twinkling in her eyes taking the sting out of her words.

 

The two of them settle into an easy banter that, to me, sounds both familiar and foreign. The rhythm, cadence and melody of their words is something I could trace all the way back to my earliest childhood memories, but this is also a time and a space where I know I don’t fully belong.

 

I glance over at Nae Il, wondering what she is making of all of this. From the look in her eyes and the way her mouth is still slightly open in surprise, I can see that she is now gradually piecing everything together.

 

Finally, she notices me watching her, and the two of us scoot back a bit further away from the computer and turn so we are now face to face. In this way, although we are not truly alone, we have at least some semblance of privacy.

 

“Gwenchana?” I ask her.

 

She nods and gives me a slight smile. “Ne. I was just caught off guard, that’s all.” She leans forward slightly, peering curiously into my eyes. “Is this why you spent so much time with the Dean while we were at Haneum? I saw you going to her office a lot, and sometimes even walking around with her outside. But wasn’t that just because of the orchestra?”

 

“Well…yes and no. Dean Song did check up on me a lot – most likely on Eomma’s orders – but what you saw only started with the S Orchestra.”

 

In hindsight, I have wondered just what it was that Song Mi Na had had in mind back then. Granted, most of our meetings had been on orchestra-related matters, especially once we were left on our own to defend first the S and then the Rising Star orchestras from the Chairwoman and her Board of Directors. But as the Dean, that’s as far as her responsibilities went – yet, every single time we met, she had asked after me specifically: how I was holding up, whether I needed any help or advice. I know that it is her care for each of the students at Haneum that has made Song Mi Na a good Dean, but now I wonder whether her being a family friend who has known me all my life has given me a special place in her heart.

 

It’s only when Oe Samchon arrives on the scene that all of us are finally pulled back together from our respective conversations. He had slipped away at some point earlier, but is now back, an old photo album in his hands.

 

I can’t stop myself from rolling my eyes. “Oe Samchon…do we have to?”

 

He gives me a warning look, then nods in Nae Il’s direction. “Ask her. She’s the one who was snooping around the house looking at our old photos the last time she was here.”

 

I round on Nae Il in surprise. “You did what? Ya, Seollebal!”

 

“Mianhae, Orabang,” she squeaks out, a sheepish expression on her face. But I know Seol Nae Il well enough now to know that she is, in fact, not sorry in the least.

 

Still, as far as past photographs are concerned, these ones don’t turn out all that bad. Rather wisely, my uncle had chosen an album of pictures that Eomma had mailed to him over the years we had lived in Salzburg. The familiar sights in the pictures immediately catch Nae Il’s interest, and they also give her something to talk about as she and Eomma start trading anecdotes with each other.

 

It isn’t long, then, before all the rest of us have joined in as well: leaning forward in curiosity as Eomma flips through the pages, laughing and joking at the pleasant memories the pictures conjure up. Of course, as is often the case with these things, most of the jokes end up at my expense: Eomma, Oe Samchon and Song Mi Na have no lack of stories of my childhood escapades that are amusing to them but embarrassing to me. But no-one means any harm, and I can see that Nae Il enjoys hearing about them, so I let things slide. For now.

 

There is one photograph in particular, though, that elicits a very different response. Eomma seems to stumble upon it by accident, because she immediately stiffens when it is revealed. A split second later, she quickly flips the page to the next one, the only outward sign of her discomposure being a whispered aside to my uncle: “Oppa…did you have to include that one as well?”

 

Nae Il raises her hand. “Wait, Eomemonim!” she calls out as the image disappears from view. “May I – may I have another look at that, juseyo?”

 

I give her a quick warning nudge. “Seollebal….”

 

She shakes her head. “I don’t mean any harm, I promise. I just want to know if I saw what I think I did.”

 

Eomma meets her eyes, then looks questioningly at my uncle. To my surprise, he pats her gently on the hand.

 

“It’s been almost twenty years, Sun Young-ah.” Then, glancing quickly at Song Mi Na, he adds, “I don’t think any of us will mind.”

 

Eomma mulls over it a moment longer, but then finally nods and turns back to the page she had tried to skip over. Once the photo is in front of us again, Nae Il scoots closer to get a better look.

 

“I knew it.”

 

“What? What are you getting at, Seollebal?”

 

But I already know.

 

Nae Il reaches out with one finger and taps the computer screen at one of the faces in the picture. “That’s Milch, isn’t it?”

 

“‘Milch’?” Eomma asks.

 

“It’s what Nae Il calls Professor Stresemann,” I explain. “It’s a long story.”

 

But her curiosity and confusion have nothing on either Dean Song Mi Na’s or mine. Both of us peer closer at the picture, and she, too, reaches out to touch it with one hand, a sudden look of longing washing over her face.

 

As for me, I can only stare at the photograph, trying to make sense of what’s going on.

 

From his days teaching the S Orchestra at Haneum, I knew that Professor Stresemann and Eomma did not get along; any time they met, they would start bickering with each other, and I have learned to simply leave them to it rather than make some futile attempt to intervene. As for Abeoji, it had taken some badgering on my part, but I have since learned that while Maestro Viera was the professor’s second least favourite person in the world, my father was the first.

 

So if they all dislike each other…why does Eomma have a photo, dating back to my earliest childhood years, of the professor?

 

And why, in that photo, is he with me?

 

~~~~~

 

Neither Eomma nor Oe Samchon had been willing to tell me what was going on with that photograph, and I could tell from her expression that Dean Song Mi Na had been just as surprised as I was. So, besides insisting that Eomma scan and e-mail me a copy, Nae Il and I decide to cast the issue aside for the time being.

 

I will ask Professor Stresemann about it the next time I see him, but right now, there is no rush. After all, this is not the movies. I’m not expecting that this will be a slow unraveling of a deep, dark hidden secret from my past. It is simply evidence that somewhere, so far back that I could scarcely remember it, the professor and my parents had been on good terms with each other. And while I am, of course, curious as to what exactly had led to the animosity I have come to associate with their relationship by now, it is simply that. Curiosity. No more, no less.

 

That had been yesterday, and by this morning, both Nae Il and I have our own other plans to focus on.

 

Today, we are doing a photoshoot. Nothing fancy, with no professionals involved: just the two of us with a camera.

 

We first came up with the idea a few weeks ago. After all, we both knew that Nae Il’s parents and grandmother missed her terribly, so she really wanted to give them something to remember her by. So, we have decided to spend this week putting together a photobook, using a website that she had found that specializes in these sorts of things. Once it is ready, we plan to order three copies: one for the two of us, one for her family, and one for mine.

 

Today, then, the day after Seollal, is the first day we have set aside to take the pictures.

 

We start early – the first photo of the day is one that Nae Il takes candidly of me as I make breakfast. Our second is one that I quickly snatch the camera off the dining table to take: she bathed in a halo morning light, turning her head to look out of the window, a steaming mug of coffee in her hands.

 

These first few photographs that we take inside our apartment are surprisingly intimate, offering others a glimpse into our private lives. It is only because these photos are for family that we are willing to follow through on our impulses, taking the pictures on a whim, even though we are both still in our pajamas, our eyes swollen and our hair mussed up from sleep.

 

Nae Il sprawled on her stomach on the couch, her chin resting in her hands.

 

I sitting at the breakfast table, eyes focused on my phone as I scroll through it to check for e-mails.

 

Nae Il sitting cross-legged on her bed, hugging her two stuffed rabbit dolls to her chest.

 

Nae Il doing the dishes after breakfast – both of us just lucky enough to capture the moment when she blows playfully on a soap bubble floating in the air.

 

But we neither can nor want to just stay in our apartment. So, after continuing on like this for a short while, we both retreat to our separate rooms to get ready to go out.

 

Since this is the day after Seollal, we have decided, for the rest of today’s photos, to wear the more casual non-traditional hanbok that we brought with us from Seoul. Nae Il’s consists of a grey top and a light pink skirt, whereas I have opted for a simple black top that I could pair with whatever trousers or high-collared shirt I want: in today’s case, a white turtleneck. And although today is unusually mild for winter, it is still cold and crisp enough outside that we decide to bring our coats as well. These, while also technically hanbok, are items that both Nae Il and I wear on a fairly regular basis: simple and elegant wool coats that tie closed at the waist, hers dark purple and mine black.

 

As is to be expected whenever she is excited, Nae Il runs on several paces in front of me all the way to our destination: the Mirabell Gardens. Although it is rightly said that this place is at its most beautiful in the summer, when the flowerbeds bloom into a riot of colour, it is also beautiful in winter in the way that only Salzburg can be. Several days of mild weather have melted the snow, but what we have instead is a serene landscape in multiple shades of grey: the dark trees and fences contrasting with the lighter shades of the old palace’s façade in the background. Some might call it drab, but for our purposes today, it is perfect – for Nae Il now stands out as the only spot of colour, her purple coat and the pink skirt peeking out underneath a subtle hint of the spring to come.

 

We make our way down the length of the gardens, weaving this way and that through the tree-lined paths. At one point, we find ourselves on a path covered by a long arched trellis, and Nae Il snatches the camera from me and pushes me forward, telling me to walk straight ahead and not look back. A few moments later, she reappears by my side, holding out the camera so I can see what she had taken – and I cannot help but marvel at the result. With today’s warmer temperature, I had left my coat hanging open, and as I had walked briskly down the path, hands in my pockets, its tail had moved in time with my steps, trailing behind me in a dance of its own.

 

“What do you think?” Nae Il asks, glancing back and forth expectantly between the camera and my face. “Do you like it?”

 

Something about the wide-eyed hopefulness in her expression leaves me unable to resist. Still holding onto the camera in one hand, I reach out and ruffle her hair with the other. Bursting into giggles, Nae Il breaks away and dashes along the remainder of the path, and once again, I am left chasing after her.

 

She does not get far, though, before finding yet another distraction: one of the many large fountains scattered throughout the gardens, this one with a large sculpture of the mythical winged horse, Pegasus, in its centre. I still remember how, the very first time we had come here, back when we were just visiting Salzburg for her competition, she had been unable to resist stopping in this exact same spot as well. She now does the same thing she had done then: bounding, a spring in her step, up onto the parapet surrounding the fountain, singing a song to herself. Back then, it had been a number from The Sound of Music, but today, Nae Il is singing the melody of yet another one of the four-handed piano pieces we have come to love so much: Schubert’s Marche Militaire.

 

As I come closer, Nae Il switches gears; still singing, she walks along the parapet, her arms spread out for balance, her steps perfectly in time with the music ringing in her head. Smiling fondly at the sight, I quickly dash along the curve of the fountain until, just in front of her, I crouch down on the ground and take a picture as she approaches. Grinning broadly, Nae Il stops in her tracks and jumps back down, eager to see the results.

 

When I turn the camera to show her the photograph, she lets out a quick, bright laugh, one hand placed lightly over her mouth.

 

“What?” I ask. “You think it looks funny?” When she nods, eyes sparkling with mirth, I tap on the screen with one finger. “That’s you: Seol-le-bal. You might as well get used to it.”

 

And I wouldn’t have her any other way.

 

It seems almost too soon by the time we arrive at the steps that will take us to the gate that leads out of the garden. I know that this is one of Nae Il’s favourite spots, once again due to its use as a filming location for The Sound of Music. So it comes as no surprise to me that she immediately runs on ahead, stopping at one of the two large unicorn sculptures flanking the foot of the stairs.

 

“Orabang, come here for a second! I have an idea!”

 

“What now?”

 

She reaches up and pats the back of one of the sculptures.

 

My jaw drops in astonishment as I look back and forth from her to the unicorn and back again. Slowly edging away, I shake my head. “You have got to be kidding me.”

 

“Not you, silly – just help me up!”

 

Oh. Well, if that’s the case….

 

To be honest, if she just climbs up a few steps more, Nae Il can, in fact, get on top herself without any help from me. But it is clearly my touch more than my assistance than she craves right now – and that, at least, I can give to her. So, passing the camera to her for safekeeping, I place my hands firmly at her waist before hoisting her up to sit side-saddle on top of the sculpture. Smiling in satisfaction, she then returns the camera, and adjusts her skirt to drape just so as I step back to take the picture.

 

~~~~~

 

If going to the Mirabell Gardens was Nae Il’s idea, then returning to the Mozarteum is mine.

 

After all, it only makes sense to show everyone the place where we have spent so much of our time since coming here to Salzburg.

 

Compared to when we have classes here, the campus is quieter today, but not by much. There is, after all, a series of competitions going on right now, the Mozarteum taking advantage of our month-long term break to offer a venue for all the participants and their supporters. So while there are fewer students our age milling about, we see our fair share of older adults: parents and teachers, most likely.

 

Still, it can’t be hard to find some quieter spots here and there where we can be undisturbed.

 

“Yoo Jin! Nae Il! What are you two doing here?”

 

Startled, both of us freeze in our tracks, right in the middle of the lobby, and turn to glance up at the main staircase where the voice had come from.

 

“Lana!” Nae Il calls out, jumping up and down and waving enthusiastically at our friend – a Russian graduate student specializing in the flute whom we had gotten to know over the past term from our working together in a Baroque ensemble.

 

Gesturing for us to wait for her, Lana comes briskly down the stairs. “What brings you two here?” she asks as soon as she reaches us. “Aren’t you supposed to be on break?”

 

“I can ask you the same thing myself,” I answer.

 

Lana shrugs, then jerks her head upwards towards the upper levels of the building. “Just some paperwork that needed to be taken care of – you?”

 

This time, it is Nae Il who explains what we have been doing today. She even turns on the camera to show Lana some of the photos we have taken thus far – not the ones from early this morning, of course, but the ones from the Mirabell Gardens, as well as some we took when we had stopped for lunch at a sausage stand as we doubled back towards the Mozarteum.

 

“These pictures are really good,” Lana says once Nae Il has finished scrolling through them. “But there’s one thing missing.”

 

“What?” Nae Il asks, her smile slowly cooling and fading away.

 

Lana flicks a finger back and forth a few times to point at both of us. “You need at least one photo of the two of you together.”

 

Nae Il and I exchange glances. “Well, I guess we could try taking a selfie at some point,” I finally concede, “but it’d be hard to do that with anything other than a cellphone.”

 

“Here,” Lana says, gesturing for Nae Il to hand her the camera. “Why don’t I help you?”

 

We both shake our heads. “Nein, danke,” I say.

 

“We don’t want to be any trouble,” Nae Il adds, echoing my own sentiments exactly.

 

“Oh, but it’s no trouble at all; I’ve got some time to kill anyway.”

 

Finally, she manages to persuade us to let her join us. Then, after taking a quick glance around the lobby, turning her head this way and that to get her bearings, Lana heads towards one of the doors on the side of the lobby opposite to the stairs, gesturing for us to follow her. Nae Il immediately takes a step after her, but then turns back and grabs hold of my hand.

 

“Come on, Orabang,” she whispers urgently.

 

“But where are we going?”

 

“Just trust Lana, all right?” she says, pulling me along. “I’m sure she knows where she is going.”

 

It doesn’t take us long to reach the place our friend has in mind: just across the lobby into a corridor that runs parallel to its length, and then across that to a closed set of double doors.

 

“The Kleines Studio?” I ask warily, recognizing where we are: just standing outside of one of several performance rooms scattered around the Mozarteum. Instinctively, my voice drops down to a sharp whisper. “Are you sure this is allowed?”

 

“The competition is taking place in the Solitär upstairs, so I don’t think anyone is using this room right now….” Lana opens the door a crack and sticks her head into the opening for a moment before coming back out. “Just as I thought: no-one’s here, so we should be fine.” With that, she disappears through the opening, Nae Il following just a step behind. It takes me a moment longer to find the nerve to go after them, but eventually, I, too, open the door just enough to squeeze through.

 

The Kleines Studio, unlike either the Solitär or the Grosses Studio next door, is a small and intimate space. Stark and modern with dark floors and soundproof panels on the walls, the only spot of colour in the otherwise austere space is several rows of red plastic chairs set up by the door we have just entered. But the room, which is usually used for workshops and smaller, more intimate concerts, is dominated by the open space in the front where, brightly illuminated by the lights that Lana has just turned on using the control panel set in the wall, stands a black grand piano.

 

Once again, I find myself hesitating by the door. I’m quite sure that we are trespassing, and, any moment now, someone from the janitorial staff – or worse, the faculty – could step in and catch us. And what would become of us then?

 

Nae Il, however, has no such qualms. Already, she has made her way to the front of the room. She takes off her coat and drapes it over one of the chairs, then beckons me to join her.

 

Slowly, realizing that I really don’t have much choice in the matter, I make my way towards the piano. Like many of the others here at the Mozarteum, this one is a basic Bösendorfer: not as high-end as the one that Nae Il and I had played at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, but still far better than either the pianos we had had at Haneum or the second-hand upright that is now in our apartment. As I step closer, I feel myself drawn, against my better judgment, to the instrument; reaching out with one hand, I stroke my fingers silently across the keys.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Nae Il giving me a knowing smile. “See, Orabang?” she says when I pause to look up at her. “I knew you’d come around.”

 

“Only because, as Lana said, no-one is using this space right now,” I say, stepping over to sit down on the left side of the piano bench. As Nae Il prances around behind me to take the right side, I add, “But if anyone comes by needing this room, we’re out of here – understand?”

 

Both girls nod at that, and then Lana steps several feet away, our camera in her hands. “Don’t mind me,” she says. “Just pretend that it’s just the two of you, and that this is just any other classroom.”

 

Nae Il and I exchange glances, then, wondering just what exactly we should play together. Finally, an idea comes to my mind. “What about the piece you had had stuck in your head earlier: the Marche Militaire?”

 

This is a very fun piece to play; both Nae Il and I think that it sounds more like a dance than a march, with its quick staccato chords and easy tempo. In all honesty, the Marche Militaire is more her chance to shine than mine: besides the introduction and some small moments here and there between sections, the melody is entirely hers, singing out bright and clear in the higher register. But I don’t mind that one bit, because, in a way, playing this march with Nae Il is like conducting her. My own part in the bass is a series of chords, offering support to the treble and keeping time. It is simple enough and straightforward enough that, as we play, I can often turn my head to watch her as she sways and bobs in time with the beat, a spring in her hands as she plays the staccato notes and chords.

 

We end with a flourish, both of us playing in unison, cutting the final chord short when it should be held longer as we throw up our hands together. Immediately, Nae Il laughs and bursts into applause, clapping her hands in glee before suddenly leaning over and wrapping her arms around my waist, resting her head on my chest. Startled at her actions, although I really should have come to expect them by now, I hesitate for a moment before patting her gently on the back.

 

That, as it turns out, is one of the moments Lana captures on our camera, although, as the two of us get up to look at her work, I am relieved to note that she took other photos as well. There is one in particular she wants us to see: a picture where I have turned to look at Nae Il as she plays.

 

Nae Il’s eyes widen, her mouth opening slightly in wonder. “Orabang…” she murmurs, reaching out with one hand to touch my image in the screen. “Is that – that – how?”

 

Lana smiles, then nods in my direction. “Yoo Jin’s definitely a keeper, Nae Il; not many guys would look at a girl like that after having already lived together for a year. So don’t you lose him, okay?”

 

Even I find myself struck dumb in amazement. I have only ever known how I feel when I look at Nae Il, but this is my first time seeing it for myself. It turns out I’m not a very good actor: the warmth in my smile and the tenderness in my gaze speak volumes about my feelings for her as I listen to her music.

 

No wonder our friends had told me that we were both more obvious than we thought.

 

Swallowing compulsively in embarrassment, I quickly tear myself away, turning my back on the girls so they can’t see the blood rushing up to my face. Then, once I have regained my composure, I turn back and take the camera from Lana’s hands. Glancing at Nae Il, I then shift my eyes to the piano. “We’re already here, so we might as well get some solo shots, too.”

 

As Nae Il grins and moves back to the piano, Lana gives me a questioning look. “Weren’t you the one who was saying that we shouldn’t be here?”

 

True. But somehow, I had found my misgivings melting away as Nae Il and I played the first piece together.

 

“Not anymore,” I reply, shaking my head. Then, looking over at Nae Il, I prompt her to just pick any piece she wants.

 

As is the usual way with her, she looks around the room for a moment, as though the very space we were in could give her inspiration. This tactic has never failed her, and it works once again.

 

To my surprise, she does not pick a classical piece, but instead one of the most famous piano pieces ever to come out of Korea: Yiruma’s River Flows in You.

 

“Oh…” Lana gasps softly in recognition. “I love this piece.”

 

Many people do, and so do I. The melody is soft and simple, a single repeating line flowing slowly up and down in a gentle, rocking rhythm. It is perfect for stillness, for quiet: a gently glowing lamp in a dark room. Nae Il told me once that this piece was a favourite among the customers at Eomma’s coffee shop, where she had worked as a pianist during her studies at Haneum. And I know that I have always loved it when she plays it for me, as she sometimes does on quiet evenings in our apartment. Every time I hear it, I find my breath slowing down with the music, deepening as I feel myself relax.

 

This time, however, I have to resist the music’s calming effects, as I still have a job to do. As Nae Il plays, I slowly circle around the piano, pausing every so often to take a photograph: of her face, of her hands, from the side and from behind.

 

Finally, the piece comes to its end: not with a conventional chord or cadence, but simply growing softer and trailing off, the last notes echoing in the room around us. All three of us find ourselves rooted in the place for a long moment, relishing the silence that follows. Eventually, though, Nae Il lets out a contented sigh and then gets up.

 

“All right, Orabang – it’s your turn.”

 

“My turn?” I ask, pointing to myself with one hand. “Why?”

 

“Because it’s only fair – my parents might want to see a picture of me playing, but I’m sure Eomemonim would want one of you as well.”

 

“All right, then,” I concede with a sigh. “We’ll do that – but afterwards, we’ll have to go.” I glance over my shoulder at Lana. “Are you in a rush, or…?”

 

She shakes her head. “Nein. I’m good. Besides, I want to hear you play something, too.”

 

Fair enough. But what?

 

Nae Il, however, seems to already have an idea, because even before I can start brainstorming for ideas, I feel her prodding me in the side. As I lean down slightly towards her, she prompts, “What about Pirates? You’re good at that.”

 

She is referring to an arrangement we had seen online of the theme from the film series Pirates of the Caribbean which – at her request – I had learned some while back. Originally, at the time, I had balked at the idea of incorporating anything outside of classical music into my repertoire, but she had argued that while many spontaneous invitations for us to play could come up in the future, not all audiences would be familiar with or interested in classical music. She had also argued that the music that was composed for film soundtracks was probably the closest thing to classical that we were ever going to see outside of the genre, so doing it this way would be a safe middle ground.

 

As it turns out, once I had gotten used to playing this piece, I have grown to enjoy it immensely myself. So I agree to it now, handing the camera to Nae Il and moving to sit down on the bench, pushing the tail of my coat back out of the way so it drapes over the back of the seat.

 

“One more thing, Orabang,” Nae Il says before I can begin. “You’ve got to do the ending.”

 

“The what?” In an instant, it comes to me: in the original demonstrative video, the pianist had stood up close to the end and literally played the last chord by sitting down on the keys.

 

Eyes widening at the thought, I shake my head. “Nein. Absolutely not.”

 

She pouts and lets out a plaintive whine. “Come on – just this once!”

 

“But it’s embarrassing! Why can’t I just play it the way I usually do?” After all, I have already figured out a general facsimile of that final chord that I just play the normal way whenever Nae Il asks for this piece from me. So why do it any differently now?

 

But clearly, this time, there is, once again, no dissuading her. I can see it in her expression, and hear it in her voice: Nae Il is not going to let this go anytime soon, and we are running out of time.

 

Finally, I sigh in defeat. “Oh, all right – you win this round.” I cut off her excited whoop by turning abruptly in my seat to point warningly at both girls. “But you two had better not laugh.”

 

Once they have agreed to that, I turn back to face the keyboard. Then, after taking a few deep breaths to regain my composure, I begin.

 

This piece, a solo piano transcription of an orchestral number, has many of the features that I love: a catchy melody and tempo, a dark but still colourful minor key, the broad chords and deep layering that I have come to excel at in all my years as a pianist.

 

They have not, after all, called me Haneum’s virtuoso for nothing.

 

Playing this piece is exciting and exhilarating. In order to play the chords in their full power, I find myself leaning down on the keys with all my weight before rocking back up again as I lift my hands. It is a trick that Abeoji had first taught me when I was small: a way to harness the strength of my entire body and not just my hands. Performing this technique when I was younger, I had sometimes pushed myself so far forwards in the downward thrust that I was lifted right out of my seat. Now that I am fully grown, that has not happened nearly as often, but I know that my head, my shoulders, my entire torso still move up and down, forwards and backwards with the music.

 

Professor Stresemann had told me once that a pianist must learn to seduce his audience with movement as well as with sound. Well, this is how I do it.

 

Ultimately, though, it is the ending of the piece that, as I expected, proves to be my downfall. I do finish the way Nae Il had asked, jumping up at the last moment before turning and leaning back down against the bass keys. I even try my best to emulate what we had seen in the video: the pianist, standing coolly and confidently, his arms crossed in front of his chest as he dips his head down in an arrogant bow. But one glance at Nae Il standing there, camera at the ready, makes me lose my composure, and I find myself sputtering before doubling over in a burst of laughter instead, just as the shutter clicks.

 

Right away, I lift up one hand, frantically waving for Nae Il to put the camera away. Struggling to get the words out, I gasp, “That…that doesn’t count! Don’t use that one!”

 

Nae Il’s brow furrows as she peers down at the camera’s screen. “Why not? It’s pretty good, actually.” She steps closer and turns the camera around for me to see. And sure enough, the photo does not look as bad as it could have been. Rather than capturing the moment when I had fumbled, the picture shows the aftermath: a simple, joyous laugh, one hand pressed to my stomach and the other covering my mouth.

 

Lana, too, comes closer to have a look. “You should keep this one, guys,” she says with a firm nod. “Just how often is it that any of us get to see Yoo Jin laughing like that? I mean, I’ve only seen it…once? Twice?”

 

“Come on – I know I laugh more often than that!”

 

“Ja – a dry laugh, a sarcastic laugh,” Nae Il cuts in. “That short laugh you make when you can’t believe what you’ve just heard. But a real laugh like this one, where you just completely let yourself go? I’m with Lana here, Orabang – you need to do that more often.”

 

Who knows where we would have gone on from here? But we don’t get the chance to find out now, because just then, we hear a pounding at the door through which we had entered the room.

 

“Hallo? Is someone in there?”

 

As the man’s voice rings through the door towards us, all three of us freeze stock still, glancing guiltily at one another. Then, in a flash, not daring to utter a single word, we start scrambling. Nae Il dashes back to the chair to reclaim her coat, and once she returns, I grab her by the hand. Together, we run out through the backstage door Lana has just opened for us.

 

Silently, our hands pressed over our mouths so that our nervous giggles don’t betray us, we listen as someone steps into the Kleines Studio through the entrance. Through the door, we hear him mutter something to himself – we can’t make out what – before he, too, goes back the way he came.

 

Once the coast is clear, we stumble back out into the now-darkened performance hall, staggering in relief.

 

“Whew…that was close!” Nae Il gasps.

 

“And that,” I quip as I make a beeline for the main doorway, “is more than enough excitement for one day as far as I’m concerned.

 

“Come on, Nae Il-ah – let’s go home.”

 

~~~~~

 

We decide to just have a few lazy stay-at-home days after our escapade in the Mozarteum, during which Nae Il has gotten started on the photobook: uploading the pictures we have taken so far onto her computer, sorting through which ones to keep and which ones to discard, adjusting things like colour and brightness, adding the occasional filter in order to get the exact effect she wants.

 

This, of course, is not the end of it. We plan to have a few more photoshoot days before our classes resume in March, and have already decided that the next one will be this Sunday, on Valentine’s Day. After all, we are already planning on going out then anyway, so bringing the camera with us would be killing two birds with one stone.

 

But that still won’t be for a few more days, so this morning is just a slow one.

 

Or, it would be were it not for a strange message that’s just come in.

 

Staring down at my phone in surprise, I jump up from my desk and walk briskly to Nae Il’s room, where I find her sitting cross-legged on her bed, her laptop open in front of her as she pores over the photos.

 

She looks up immediately when I knock on the doorframe, putting the computer to sleep before setting it aside. “What is it, Orabang?”

 

I head across the room towards her, and hold out my phone for her to see. “Professor Stresemann’s coming to Salzburg. Tonight.”

 

“Tonight?” Nae Il lunges forward and grabs the phone from me. She reads the e-mail message I have open on the display, then presses the button to go back through my inbox. “Are you sure you didn’t miss something? Did Milch say anything before?”

 

I shake my head, gently but firmly prying the phone from her fingers. “Ani. I’ve already checked. This is the first either of us are hearing of this. But…that’s the professor for you.” I re-open the email and look it over carefully once again. “It says here that he’s taking the 9:30 train from Berlin, which means that we have…” My voice trails off as I glance at the clock on the bedroom wall. “We have until 4:00 to get ready.”

 

By now, Nae Il is scrambling to get up. “Get what ready, Orabang?” As it dawns on her, her jaw drops. “Milch – Milch’s not staying here with us, is he?”

 

“That’s the thing: I don’t know. He didn’t say anything about a hotel reservation here; just that he’s staying in Salzburg for two nights before moving on to Vienna.”

 

She counts it out on her fingers. “So, today’s Thursday, and he’s staying for two nights…that means he’ll be here until Saturday.”

 

I let out a dry sardonic laugh in response. “Geu rae – unless he decides to overstay his welcome.”

 

To my surprise, since it is usually I who worry about these things, Nae Il gasps in horror. “But if he stays any longer than that, it’ll be Valentine’s Day! Andwae – we’ve already got plans. We can’t have a third wheel around then,” she declares with a solemn nod, crossing her arms in front of her for good measure.

 

Nae Il has no idea how cute she looks when she pouts and gives me her mock-serious glare like that. I bite back a laugh before matching my expression to hers. “Gwenchana, Nae Il-ah. I doubt that that would actually happen; the professor has a performance in Vienna, so there’s no way he wouldn’t be there. But for now, we’ve got to tidy this place up first; we don’t have much time.”

 

She groans and rolls her eyes at that, as is her usual reaction whenever I tell her to help with the housecleaning. But, unlike back when we were in Seoul, she actually complies, and does a fairly good job at it, too.

 

With me teaching her, she’d have to be.

 

~~~~~

 

I would have gone to the train station to pick up Professor Stresemann if he would have me. However, he insisted that he could find his way to our apartment on his own.

 

In the end, he arrives later than we had expected, courtesy of a delay at the station in Munich, where he had had to change lines. As I take the professor’s suitcase and wheel it into my room, I hear Nae Il ushering him into the living room. By the time I rejoin them, she is already serving him coffee and asking if there is anything in particular he wants to do while he’s here.

 

“Actually, there is one place,” Professor Stresemann says, just as I take the chair next to Nae Il across from him. His glances briefly at me in greeting before turning his attention back to her. “You kids know the Augustinerbräu, don’t you?”

 

Both of us nod. Of course we know it – who in Salzburg doesn’t? The Augustinerbräu is a large centuries-old beer hall just outside of the old city centre; partially owned by the monastery next door, it is a favourite gathering place for locals and tourists alike of all ages, who seek it out for its in-house draft served straight out of the barrel and for its convivial atmosphere. When it’s just the two of us, I don’t like going there much; there aren’t all that many tables for just two people, and the thought of having to share and make small talk with complete strangers terrifies me. However, we have been there on numerous occasions with some of the friends we have made already at the Mozarteum.

 

My familiarity with the place, however, does not stop me from feeling a sudden rush of alarm at Professor Stresemann’s suggestion. After all, experience has taught me that any evening involving both the professor and alcohol doesn’t end well. It is true that he has a high tolerance, but he uses it to its full capacity, and I am usually left to deal with the aftermath on my own: paying the tab, getting him home, even teaching his classes for him the next day on at least one occasion.

 

But if either he or Nae Il notice the way I tense up instinctively or the fact that I have now clenched one of my hands into a fist under the table, they do not comment on it. Instead, I try to keep my expression as unchanged as possible as Nae Il accepts his invitation to treat us to dinner there tonight, even as, internally, I am already thinking up a strategy to keep things from getting too far out of hand.

 

Thankfully, Professor Stresemann still needs to call Elise, his manager, back in Berlin to confirm his safe arrival in Salzburg and also to go over some last minute details about his concert in Vienna. This gives me the chance to excuse myself, and as I get up from my seat, I gesture for Nae Il to follow me. After shooting a confused look back at the professor, who is now too busy to notice us, she obeys.

 

With Professor Stresemann’s luggage in my room, Nae Il’s room is the best place for us to talk in private. So that is where I lead her, quietly easing the door closed behind us.

 

“What’s going on?” she asks once we are alone. “Is something wrong?”

 

“Ani,” I reply, shaking my head. Then I fill her in on what I know of the professor’s habits thus far, taking note of the way her eyes widen and her jaw drops as the reality sinks in.

 

“So what can we do?”

 

“As far as the professor is concerned, nothing much; we just have to let things happen as they will. But you and I will have to try our best to stay sober, arasseo?” I reach out and gently grasp her by the shoulders. “Don’t go too far on the partying yourself, Nae Il-ah. I might need your help tonight.”

 

Nae Il nods solemnly at that, even giving me a salute as a small smile now tugs at her lips.

 

“Komawo,” I say to her in thanks. Then, telling her to use our remaining time to get ready to go out, I turn to leave.

 

“Orabang.”

 

I stop, my hand already resting on the doorknob. “Ne?”

 

“Are you going to bring up the photograph? You know: the one we saw in Eomemonim’s album. I know you wanted to ask Milch about it, so now’s your chance.”

 

I think it over for a long moment before answering. “I do, but later. If a good opportunity comes up tonight, I will ask. But if not, we will have to wait until tomorrow.”

 

~~~~~

 

As far as drinking establishments are concerned, the Augustinerbräu is quite tame.

 

Perhaps it is because the entrance to the beer hall looks more like a monastic cloister than a bar with its unadorned vaulted ceilings and wall paintings showing the old monks at work in their cells. Or perhaps it is because visitors of all ages are allowed to come, making this a popular destination for young and old alike, including parents with their children. Either way, I have yet to see in the Augustinerbräu the sort of drunken fights and shenanigans I have seen in similar establishments either elsewhere in Salzburg or even back in Seoul.

 

The entryway takes us down a flight of stairs to the central area where the food and drink stands are housed. It is a casual do-it-yourself sort of a place. Each food stand is a separate walk-up counter from which visitors could order a variety of hot and cold dishes, bread, even dessert. As for the beer, everyone buys a token for the amount they want – either a litre or half of one – then grabs the correspondingly sized mug from the shelf; a sink in the centre of the hall is there so that visitors can rinse out their mugs, and then it is off to the counter where the bartender fills them up with the house brew. From here, patrons make their way to several possible rooms, each one filled with tables of a variety of sizes for large and small groups. In the summer, there is also seating outside in the garden, but that area is now closed off for the winter months.

 

As we emerge from the foot of the stairs into the large central space, I notice Professor Stresemann quickening his steps, making his way ahead with such confident determination that I can only assume that he has been here before, the sights, sounds and smells reawakening an old memory in his head. Nae Il and I dash to keep up as he weaves his way between other patrons to the kiosk selling the beer tokens, catching up to him just in time to hear him place his order.

 

“Two one-litres, bitte,” he says. Then, with a nod in Nae Il’s direction, he continues, “And a half for the lady as well.”

 

In a flash, I step forward, stretching out one hand to stop the attendant from handing the tokens to the professor. “Actually,” I say, looking him pointedly in the eye, “make mine a half as well.”

 

I know that Professor Stresemann shoots me an annoyed glare at my interference, but rather than being cowed, once I have claimed my token, I return his look with one of my own. “Trust me: you will be thanking me for this later.”

 

Of course, the professor, being who he is, just has to have the last word. As he turns to make his way towards the shelf where the mugs are kept, I catch him muttering, just loudly enough that I know I am meant to hear, something about those men who don’t know how to have a bit of fun. I even think I catch both Maestro Viera and Abeoji’s names in there along with mine, which is a record, even for him.

 

However, even as I stare after him, wanting to yell back some sort of retort but finding the words unable to come out, I feel Nae Il come up beside me, linking her arm with mine. “Gwenchanayo, Orabang,” she whispers. “Milch can say whatever he wants, but you’ve won this round.”

 

After we have all collected our drinks, Professor Stresemann goes on ahead of us once again, leaving Nae Il and I little choice but to follow him into the room he wants. Knowing that he sometimes likes to indulge in the occasional cigarette, it comes as no surprise to me that he chooses one where that would be allowed. Smoking is as common a vice in Austria as it is in Korea, so although neither Nae Il nor I do it, we are both used to spending time together with those who do and know better than to make a fuss about it.

 

Once we have found a small table with just enough room for the three of us, hanging our coats on the pegs provided next to it on the wall, the professor sets down his mug and gestures for the two of us to take our seats. Then, he is off once again, this time, I know, heading for the food stands.

 

Nae Il takes this moment to reach out under the table and grab hold of my hand. I pull it out of her grip, but only so that I could reciprocate, this time with our fingers intertwined. She gives me a warm smile at that, and gives my hand a slight squeeze.

 

“So, Orabang – are you going to ask him?”

 

“About the photograph?” I let out a scoffing laugh before reaching for my mug with my free hand. I take a small sip before adding, “Not a chance. Not tonight, anyway.”

 

“I think you should, though; clearly Milch remembers coming here to Salzburg before, so who knows? He might be open to it.”

 

“And I think he won’t be. You heard him, Nae Il-ah – the way he still speaks of Maestro Viera, Abeoji…”

 

Me as well, but I don’t add that.

 

“The point is,” I finish, “I think bringing up how they all knew each other back then might get messy – and that’s a mess I would rather deal with at home, where we’ll at least have some privacy, rather than here.”

 

I know that Nae Il has no reasonable retort to that, so although she shoots me a disapproving look, as though accusing me of just wanting to avoid the issue, she does not say anything in protest. Instead, she turns her attention to Professor Stresemann, who just now returns with a tray bearing a few paper plates filled with some of the Augustinerbräu’s offerings: pretzels, sliced sausages with spicy mustard, roast pork, and sauerkraut. He, in turn, gives me a knowing smirk when he sees the mug in my hand.

 

Not to be outdone, I simply respond with a dry retort: “That’s what you get for taking so long.” It earns me a nudge and a hissed warning from Nae Il, but I can also see the hint of approval in the professor’s eyes that he always gives me when I give him a particularly sharp or witty comeback.

 

After a quick toast to start off the evening, all three of us help ourselves to the food, and our conversation settles into an easy banter like that of old friends. The entire time, Nae Il and I carefully nurse our servings of beer, matching the professor’s hearty gulps with smaller sips of our own.

 

As we chat, the purpose behind Professor Stresemann’s stopover in Salzburg becomes clear: he has come to us with an invitation.

 

“I am thinking,” he says to me, “to have you join me on tour this summer.”

 

“I would be honoured, Professor,” I respond, dipping my head in a slight bow. “But neither of us will be free until the end of June at least. The Baroque ensemble I worked with these past few months would like for me to stay on for one more term, and we plan to have something prepared for Whitsun this spring,” I add, referring to the first of Salzburg’s summer music festivals. Then, with a fond glance at Nae Il, I continue, “Besides, Nae Il will be coming to the end of the third year of her studies, then – I expect she will be having her solo concert debut, then.”

 

This seems to catch her off guard, as she then rounds on me, eyes wide. “‘Concert debut’? Really?”

 

I take her hands into mine and give her what I hope is a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry; you’ll do fine. After all, I had my debut in the third year of my studies at Haneum – remember the Grieg concerto?” When she nods in recognition, I continue, “You already have so much performance experience under your belt by now that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You’ll do fine when the time comes.”

 

“Perhaps, Baby, you would like to join us,” the professor says. “I do plan, after all, to make a stop in Korea. I am working out the details with Mi Na right now: a reunion performance of the original founding members of the Rising Star Orchestra.”

 

The offer seems to mollify Nae Il’s fears somewhat, and we both find ourselves readily accepting, on the condition that Professor Stresemann really manages to make the proper arrangements with Dean Song Mi Na.

 

By this time, we have almost eaten everything on the table, but I know that the night is only beginning. Already, the professor has gotten up to get his mug refilled a few times, and, out of courtesy, I have accompanied him once. He’s now doing it again, gesturing for me to follow him with a look in his eyes that won’t take no for an answer. Without much choice on the matter, then, I get up out of my seat, casting a quick backwards glance at Nae Il. She, fortunately, has taken my advice and tapped out by now, but does ask me to fetch her a lemon soda while I’m at it.

 

When Professor Stresemann and I return to our seats, I know that the real test of endurance has begun. If I were actually just here to drink, I know that I could go on for a while longer still. But the point right now is to stay sober, and I am getting dangerously close to my limit on that front; already, I am starting to feel lightheaded, and it is taking up more and more of my concentration just to keep a watchful eye on the professor.

 

As it is, he has relaxed into a comfortable state that, to me, is a portent of the drunkenness to come. But still, he shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Instead, I see the professor lean back contentedly in his chair, fishing a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of his pocket. He lights one up for himself, then holds out the pack to me, but I decline with a shake of the head. Even though he knows that I do not smoke, nor have any interest in trying, I recognize this as a learned habit: a form of courtesy that has developed within his generation, a way of acknowledging another as a man.

 

We continue chatting for a while over miscellaneous trivialities: mostly about music – which composers or artists we like best and why – but also about other nothings as well. Professor Stresemann is now so deep in his own drinking that he no longer bothers to get up for refills, choosing instead to call a waiter over whenever he wants another drink.

 

He is so far gone, in fact, that the professor does not notice that I have actually stopped. Instead, I have simply been faking: taking smaller and smaller sips of my beer until, by now, I am simply tilting the mug back without actually drinking any. Trying to help, Nae Il even surreptitiously pours some of her lemon soda into my cup at one point in attempts to dilute it. This, too, slips by him.

 

Sometime later, the normal dinner hour has passed, and the mood throughout the room has shifted considerably as those who were here to eat have gradually been replaced by a more party-oriented set. Still, scanning my eyes over the other patrons, I see no reason to be concerned, as the atmosphere remains good-natured and convivial. The loudest table is a long one filled with a bunch of guys my age, but they are at that happy point where the worst damage they can do is singing loudly off-key. Which, as I note with a wince, is exactly what they are doing.

 

Professor Stresemann, however, is now passing that stage of euphoria. Instead, he, too, has finally slowed down, staring down at his mug and only drinking from it every now and then. The biggest clue to the change in his mood, though, is that he has switched from jokes to a more plaintive whine. The complaint is a common one: some slight – real or imagined – from Dean Song. Biting back but ultimately unable to let out a deep sigh at the professor’s tone, knowing that Nae Il is now staring at him with wide-eyed astonishment, I reach across the table and try to gently take his cup from him.

 

“All right now, Professor – I think that’s enough.”

 

He is still stronger than he looks, however, and manages to yank his mug out of my grip, its contents sloshing out over my hand. Nae Il wordlessly hands me a napkin, which I use to mop up the mess, even as the professor drinks down yet another gulp, seemingly none the wiser.

 

“Do you want me to try?” I hear Nae Il ask beside me.

 

“Ani.” I shake my head, this time pushing my chair back from the table and slowly getting up. “Let me handle this.”

 

I step out and around the table, coming to a stop by the professor. Planting one hand down on the table, and the other firmly onto his shoulder, I lean down slightly when he turns his head to look up at me.

 

“Come on now; it’s time to go home.” When he doesn’t budge, I try changing tactics. “You can call Dean Song tomorrow if that’s what you want. But we do need to get going

 

The glassy, unfocused look in his eyes should have given me some warning of what was to come. But instead, I am entirely unprepared when the professor abruptly swipes his arm towards me, not only dislodging my grip, but knocking me off balance so that I sit down hard on the ground.

 

In an instant, I hear Nae Il scrambling up as she rushes to crouch down beside me. She grabs onto my hand and tries to pull me up, but I stop her with a wave of my free hand. Instead, we find ourselves staring slack-jawed at Professor Stresemann, who is now wagging a stern finger at me.

 

“You! It was you!” He slurs. “I know what you did, Cha Dong Woo!”

 

Immediately, Nae Il gets up and steps closer to the professor. Crouching down at his feet, she takes one of his hands in hers. “Milch,” she says soothingly, “that’s not Abeonim over there. That’s Orabang. Yoo Jin. Your apprentice, Cha Yoo Jin.”

 

He does not seem to hear her, but I sense that it is now safe for me to approach him, so I come closer, crouching down on the opposite side as Nae Il.

 

“It was you, Cha Dong Woo. You…you took Mi Na – my Mi Na – away from me. And the boy…the boy as well…little Wolfgang….”

 

Nae Il and I exchange startled glances at that last bit. That was, after all, what Abeoji used to call me sometimes when I was little. But neither of us get a chance to say anything, either to Professor Stresemann or each other, before he suddenly slumps forward, finally overcome by his own excess.

 

Fortunately, I have been prepared for this, and dart forward to catch him in my arms. As I carefully help the professor back upright, I glance over at Nae Il.

 

“Orabang,” she asks after a long moment’s hesitation, “what just happened?”

 

I shake my head. “I don’t know. But what I do know is that we’re not going to find out by staying here.” I nod my head towards our coats hanging on the wall. “Can you find his cellphone for me?” When she doesn’t respond, I add, “We need to see if he’s got a hotel reservation already or not.”

 

“Ah…” she says, nodding in understanding. Then, as quickly as she could manage, she scrambles up and dashes for the professor’s coat, retrieving his phone from his pocket. By this time, I have managed to slowly rest his head down on the table in some semblance of the recovery position, so she presses the phone into the hand I am holding out to her. I swipe on the screen with my thumb, but am left speechless at the locked screen.

 

“Nae Il-ah…you wouldn’t happen to know the professor’s password, would you?”

 

She shakes her head. “Wae? Don’t you?”

 

“Ani.”

 

She slumps down into her chair with a sigh, propping her elbows on the table and placing her chin in her hands. “Now what do we do? We can’t just leave Milch here.”

 

“Nor do I plan to,” I retort, shooting her a warning look. Glancing down at the professor, then back at her, I consider our options for a moment before telling her to call a taxi.

 

At this rate, what other choice do we have?

 

~~~~~

 

By the time Nae Il unlocks the door of our apartment and opens it so that I, Professor Stresemann on my back, am able to step inside, I am completely and utterly exhausted. As it is, I nearly stumble when I kick my shoes off in the entryway, and am only able to maintain my balance because she rushes forward to offer her support.

 

Getting the professor home in his state had been easier said than done, especially considering that the first thing I had had to do was to somehow guide him up the staircase from our basement room in the Augustinerbräu to the entrance. Fortunately, unlike a number of other instances in the past, I had not been alone: seeing my predicament, one of the wait staff had come forward to help, and I had also been able to send Nae Il on ahead to open doors and ask the taxi driver to wait for us.

 

Once the cab had dropped us off outside of our building, though, we had been on our own, trying to make our way up the stairs to our unit on the third floor. So, once again, Nae Il had been a lifesaver, dashing on ahead to open the doors for me.

 

Now that we are all safely inside, I prompt Nae Il to open my bedroom door for me, and I just barely manage to carry the professor to my bed before my legs give out and we both collapse down onto it.

 

I may be taller than Professor Stresemann, but he is a stouter man than I am – I imagine that he weighs at least as much as I do, possibly even more.

 

Gasping from exertion, I lay there with my eyes closed for a moment, before finally opening them to find Nae Il looking down at us in concern.

 

“Gwenchana, Nae Il-ah,” I say, slowly sitting back up. “I can take it from here. Just go and get ready for bed.” In the grand scheme of things, it is not actually all that late – just a bit after ten – but it’s been a long day, and I am sure that we could all use an early night this time around. And I can see that she agrees with me, given that she responds with a nod and a sigh of relief before turning and heading outside.

 

Alone with the professor, I carefully move him into a more comfortable position: sitting him up just long enough to take off his coat before laying him down, once again in a recovery position. After pulling out my blanket from underneath him and making sure he is properly covered, I stay for a few minutes by his side, watching closely until I know for sure that he is all right. I would have left sooner, but I could hear that Nae Il is using the shower right now, so I have to wait until she is done.

 

It is in these moments that I am finally able to go over those final comments he had made in the restaurant before his blackout. From the photograph that I had seen on Seollal a few days ago, I knew that Professor Stresemann knew me and my parents at some point in the past; perhaps, under such circumstances, I should not be surprised that he would know my old childhood nickname.

 

But what does all of that have to do with Dean Song Mi Na? More importantly: what did the professor mean by saying that Abeoji had taken her from him?

 

Part of me wants to think it through now, but another part of me just wants to put it off for tomorrow – and it is the latter that wins out, as I find myself suppressing a yawn.

 

Luckily for me, I hear Nae Il coming out from the bathroom a short while later, and I now know that it is free for me to use. So slowly, as quietly as I am able, I head over to my wardrobe, from which I retrieve a fresh set of underclothes and my pajamas. Then, with one last look back at the professor, who is now sound asleep, I slip out into the hallway, and then across into the bathroom.

 

Once I have gotten myself cleaned up and ready for bed, I make my way from the bathroom to the linen closet just across the hall from Nae Il’s bedroom door, from which I grab a spare blanket. It is at that point that I hear her door click open behind me, and I turn around to see Nae Il peeking out at me, eyes wide and shining, one of her stuffed rabbits – the male one – tucked in the crook of her arm.

 

Our eyes meet for a brief moment, and I can tell from the way she looks me over from head to toe exactly what she wants. But instead of stepping towards her, I turn back abruptly and firmly shut the closet door. Then, without even a backward glance, I step past her down the hall towards the living room.

 

“Don’t get any ideas, Seollebal – I’m taking the couch.”

 

~~~~~

 

Nae Il nags at me all morning to ask Professor Stresemann about both the old photograph and his strange comments from last night, but it is close to noon by the time the professor actually feels recovered enough from his hangover to join us. Anticipating that he would need it, I have pushed through my own headache in order to make yukgaejang for all three of us to have for lunch, and we are just sitting down for that now.

 

I know that today is my last chance to ask; that if I hesitate any longer, the next chance I will get will be the next time I see the professor – and who knows when that will be?

 

Yet, despite all that, I struggle to find the right words to begin. I know what it is that I want to say, but actually taking that first step is harder than I had thought.

 

In the end, it takes several kicks from Nae Il under the table before I am able to start.

 

“Professor, there’s something we want to ask you.”

 

He glances up from his food and glances at us, still bleary-eyed and, I assume, still feeling the pounding in his head.

 

“I know that this is a bad time, but – do you remember anything from what happened last night?”

 

I don’t know if Professor Stresemann genuinely doesn’t remember, or simply wants us to think that he has forgotten. Either way, he simply looks blankly at both of us, then shakes his head. However, now that I’ve started, I’m not about to let him go so easily. So I tell him, starting from the beginning: how he had taken us out for dinner and drinks at the beer hall, how he had then gotten drunk, how he had complained at Dean Song’s iciness towards him, and how, ultimately, he had lashed out at me, mistaking me for Abeoji.

 

At this point, I fish my phone out of my pocket and open it up to my e-mail. “But here’s the thing, Professor,” I say as I scroll through my inbox to find the message I am looking for. “Last night, I’ve been doing some thinking of my own – and none of this makes sense. Your coming here to Salzburg on your way to Vienna, that is.”

 

“Orabang!” Nae Il hisses in warning, this time giving me such a hard kick under the table that I can’t hold back a wince. “Milch already told us earlier: the train has to stop here.”

 

“Exactly. It is just as Baby said,” the professor adds.

 

But I shake my head. “Ja – you need to change trains here. But stay overnight? That’s not necessary.”

 

“The invitation –”

 

“Clearly,” I cut in over him, “there’s something you wanted to talk to us about. Something besides the invitation for this summer. And I think it’s this.”

 

I firmly plant my phone down on the table so that everyone can see it: the photograph from Eomma’s album. A picture of me, probably no older than five or six years old, playing on the piano; Professor Stresemann seated beside me, pointing out some detail on the score for me to see.

 

I lean forward in my seat, crossing my arms on the table in front of me. “Professor: what do you know about this photograph?” When he does not answer, I add, “I saw it in your reaction: you’ve seen this picture before, and not too long ago, either. Did Dean Song Mi Na show it to you, too?”

 

For yet another long moment, the professor does not say anything. Instead, he continues to stare intently at the photograph, so much so that by now, even Nae Il is leaning forward in interest. Both of us wait on tenterhooks, wondering just what exactly he would tell us.

 

Finally, he begins.

 

“If I had known, that day I first met you and Baby at Haneum, that you were the boy in this picture – that you were little Wolfgang – I might not have treated you so harshly at first.”

 

My brow furrows in confusion. “What difference does that make? I thought you disliked me at first because I was both Maestro Viera’s pupil and Cha Dong Woo’s son.”

 

The professor nods. “True. But…did you know that your father and I were colleagues once?”

 

I shake my head. It is my first time hearing of this.

 

“It was right here in Salzburg: we were both contracted with the same orchestra. At times, the occasion called for us to meet together to discuss the repertoire.

 

“And that,” he says pointedly, “is how I met you.”

 

As Professor Stresemann’s words sink in, I shift backwards in my seat, leaning back against my chair. I lightly touch my fingers to my lips as I think on it.

 

“I…I think I remember.”

 

Nae Il glances at me. “You do?”

 

“Ja. It isn’t much. Just little bits here and there.”

 

“No surprise there,” the professor says. “You were still very young then.”

 

“It was…” I lean forwards again, this time pointing a finger at him. “I remember now. You used to listen in on my lessons, didn’t you?”

 

Professor Stresemann nods. “Your father used to write out the pieces he wanted you to learn in a music book.” He prompts me to unlock my phone once again, then taps on the picture with one finger. “Ja. That one, right there.”

 

Suddenly, Nae Il lifts herself out of her seat and leans forward, peering closely at the picture. “Orabang, Milch,” she says, glancing up to look at the two of us, “I think I know where that book is right now.”

 

I round on her. “What? How?” But instead of answering, she gets up from the table and dashes out of the living room. In an instant, I follow her, just in time to see her take a box out of my wardrobe.

 

“Ya, Seollebal – have you been going through my things as well?”

 

She startles at the sound of my voice, but that does not stop her from placing the box on my bed and opening the lid.

 

“I didn’t do it on purpose, Orabang – I swear,” she says, her words coming out in a rush as she reaches into the box and takes out a thin, paper-bound book. She turns to face me, hugging the book to her chest. “It was when we first moved here; all our belongings were in a mess of boxes, and I opened this one by mistake. I haven’t touched it since, honest!”

 

I step forward with a sigh, holding out one hand for the book. “Gwenchana, Nae Il-ah,” I say as she passes it to me. “I’m not mad. Just…just don’t surprise me like that again.”

 

We eventually come back out and rejoin Professor Stresemann, who, in the interim, had stacked our used lunch dishes together and relocated to the couch. Nae Il and I approach him then, she taking the spot next to him, and I sitting down on the floor at her feet. As I place the book down onto the coffee table, the professor reaches out one hand tentatively towards it.

 

“Ja…it was this one. You still kept it all these years?”

 

“Of course – how could I not? This book, after all, was my very first music book: the one that started me on the path to who I am today.”

 

Absently, I open the book’s cover and flip through its pages as I continue to explain. “I know that I had showed promise as a musician at a very early age: able to make out simple chords when most toddlers would simply haphazardly bang on the piano keys. And Abeoji had made it his task to teach me what he believed I needed in order to become a virtuoso pianist.”

 

I peer up into Nae Il’s eyes. I know that what I am about to say next will be of particular importance to her. “Abeoji was not like other teachers, though. He saw me as a prodigy, but he did not teach me as other prodigies are taught. He told me that the key to becoming a virtuoso was not to play really complex pieces, nor to play pieces very fast.”

 

I let out a wry chuckle. “He used to tell me that those children he saw being paraded around by their parents and teachers on television were train wrecks: risking injury by playing chords too large for their still-developing hands, slipping and sliding through pieces beyond their ability as though speed could cover their lack of a technical foundation. Instead, what he gave me – what he wrote out for me in this book – were pieces that seemed simple at first glance, but he required me to play them with utmost precision. Every note firmly in its place, no mistakes, no slipped or silent notes. Perfection.”

 

“And, Baby,” Professor Stresemann cuts in, “your Orabang learned well. During that brief time, nothing could have made Cha Dong Woo prouder than hearing his son play – and seeing others watch him play. That’s where the nickname came from: Wolfgang.”

 

“Ah…” Nae Il nods in understanding. “Like Mozart.”

 

“Precisely.”

 

“But Milch,” she goes on, lips pursing into a frown, “what about Dean Song? You said last night that Abeonim ‘took’ her from you – what did that mean?”

 

The professor lets out a sigh. “Mi Na…Mi Na is where it all went wrong.”

 

Nae Il’s jaw drops. “But don’t you love her?”

 

“I do, Baby – of course I do!”

 

Her voice rises in agitation. “Then why are you saying that it’s her fault that things went wrong?”

 

I reach out and grab Nae Il’s hand. “Hush,” I tell her. “Let him speak – my guess is that it’s not what you think.”

 

Once she has stilled, the professor continues. “I did not know at first that Yoo Jin’s parents and Mi Na were already friends. I had met her separately, when she was studying piano in Munich, and by the time I came to Salzburg, we had been out of contact for a few years. Once I found out, though…Baby, it was like Fate herself was smiling upon Mi Na and me. I asked Cha Dong Woo and Yang Sun Young, then, if they had any news of her. That was when they told me that Mi Na was already seeing another man and would soon be married.”

 

“Wait, what?” I hear Nae Il blurt out, even as my own eyes narrow in suspicion. She turns to look at me. “Didn’t you and Eomemonim say that Dean Song never married?”

 

“Ja,” I answer with a nod. “That was the impression that I got.”

 

We both look back at Professor Stresemann, and I feel myself tense up at his expression. His eyes, too, have narrowed and turned stone cold, while his mouth is set in a grim line.

 

“It was only later that I found out the truth,” he says, his voice filled with grave finality. “They had lied.”

 

Nae Il’s jaw drops in appalled surprise. “What?”

 

“All of us were young, then,” the professor replies. “Who knows what impulsive choices we made in our youth will come back around to bite us when we are older?” He turns to look me straight in the eye. “Cha Dong Woo knew about my reputation. There were, of course, the things he had witnessed firsthand – the same sorts of things you two kids have seen – but there were also the rumours.”

 

“Like what?” I ask, although I think I can guess.

 

“That I was a vagrant, a womanizer, and a drunkard. There were even rumours at one point that I had fathered a son.”

 

“Did you?”

 

“Nein – but the damage was done. Whether the gossip was true or not didn’t matter; what mattered was that Cha Dong Woo got it into his head that under no circumstances could he allow his wife’s best friend to be with someone like me.”

 

“So Abeoji thought that telling you Dean Song was in love with another would make you back off,” I conclude.

 

“Precisely.”

 

“But, in reality, both you and Dean Song still loved each other,” Nae Il prompts.

 

Professor Stresemann cracks a small smile. “I knew that you would understand, Baby.”

 

She lets out a loud gasp. “Milch, that’s so sad! You two are like…like Romeo and Juliet!”

 

I gape at her in surprise. “Ya, Seollebal – you do know how that story ends, right?”

 

“Oh…right. Sorry – wrong reference!” She shoots us all a sheepish grin in apology, then tries again. “What was it, then? That movie where the young couple are so very much in love, but then their friends and family all interfere and say that he’s not good enough for her, and they separate but end up getting back together again and live happily ever after….” Suddenly, her eyes brighten, and she snaps her fingers. “It was The Notebook!” She glances questioningly at me. “Wasn’t it, Orabang?”

 

I reply with a dismissive shrug. “Hell if I know; you’re the one who watches those romance films, not me.”

 

Nae Il’s gaffe, though, does help to ease some of the tension in the room, and for the first time since this discussion started, all three of us feel a rush of relief as we laugh at her antics.

 

“So once you found out the truth, what happened?” I ask when our laughter has subsided.

 

“I confronted your father about it, of course. I had, after all, thought that we were friends.” He pauses for a moment before adding wistfully, “In hindsight, I think that Cha Dong Woo believed the rumours about me; that would best explain how he reacted.”

 

“And how was that?”

 

“He kicked me out of your house and forbade me from coming back. He told me to leave Mi Na alone, and even threatened to tell her what was being said about me if I did not.”

 

But there is one thing about Professor Stresemann’s account that still confuses me.

 

“I understand all of that. But last night, you also said that Abeoji took me away from you – so where did I fit in all of this?”

 

The professor lunges forward, reaching past Nae Il to give me a sharp rap on the head with his knuckles. “Use your head, boy: if Cha Dong Woo wouldn’t let me have anything to do with Mi Na after that, what are the chances, then, that he would let me have anything more to do with you?”

 

~~~~~

 

With Professor Stresemann now moved on to Vienna, I was finally able to sleep in my own room again last night. And not a moment too soon, either: while I would happily relocate to the couch again in the future – it is, after all, only polite – it had also been a rather uncomfortable two nights there.

 

And with today, Valentine’s Day, being our second planned photoshoot day, I could use all the rest I could get.

 

So I am definitely not welcoming the strange sound that seems to be intruding on my sleep.

 

Is that a shutter click?

 

Blearily, I open my eyes to see where the sound is coming from – only to then freeze stock still, staring straight ahead in alarm.

 

There is Nae Il, standing right in front of me, camera held in front of her face like she has just taken a picture.

 

For a split second, I find myself unable to move. Then, in a flash, I scramble up and back away from her. With one hand, I reach out and grab my pillow, and throw it towards her.

 

“Ya, Seollebal – what was that for?”

 

Laughing, she dodges my admittedly badly aimed pillow, which hits the wall beside her before falling to the ground with a plop. “Morning, Orabang,” she says in a cloyingly sweet sing-song voice.

 

Scooting closer, I hold out one hand for the camera. “Give it to me. Now.” When she hesitates, I add, “I just want to see what sort of damage you’ve done.”

 

“Nothing much,” she says with a shrug, finally surrendering the camera to me. “You just look really cute when you’re asleep.”

 

I raise an incredulous eyebrow, but still do her the favour of taking a look at the photograph.

 

As far as I’m concerned, I have never paid much attention to how I look when I sleep. After all, who does? So I’m definitely not seeing anything all that picture-worthy here.

 

It’s clear that Nae Il thinks differently, though, as she points to the spot in the picture where my knees are drawn up and my hands are tucked between my legs. “Did you know, Orabang, that you do that when you’re sleeping?”

 

Shaking my head, I wordlessly hand the camera back to her before I stand up and step briskly past her out of my room.

 

I do, however, time it so that my hand just brushes her as I pass. By the time she realizes what I just did and tries to grab hold of it, I am already out in the hallway. And then it is my turn to be surprised when, still holding the camera in one hand, she pounces on me in a backhug.

 

That is how our Valentine’s Day starts.

 

~~~~~

 

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, which actually works to our advantage.

 

Early in the morning, many of the locals pack the churches for Sunday mass, and many of the stores in Salzburg also close today for their weekly day of rest. All this means that the Getreidegasse and Goldgasse, the famous main shopping streets in the old city centre, are far quieter on Sundays than they would be on any other day of the week. Perfect conditions, then, for photography – which is why we have chosen the old city as our main location today.

 

We do not wear the modernized hanbok like we did last time, but, at Nae Il’s insistence, both of us wear something red in light of the occasion: she a plaid skirt which she pairs, rather adorably, with a blue sweater patterned with little hearts, and I a sweater that I know she likes. We do also wear our hanbok-inspired coats from before, though, there still being a chill in the air.

 

I still remember the first time I had brought Nae Il here, back when we were both in Salzburg for her competition. Back then, I had had to keep a close eye on her as she dashed through the crowds of tourists and shoppers, only able to catch up when she stopped to look at a window display.

 

But today, we are free to stroll leisurely down the street, once again trading the camera back and forth to take photographs.

 

Nae Il pressing her face against the window of a chocolate shop.

 

I walking nonchalantly down the street, Nae Il taking the picture by walking backwards several paces in front of me.

 

Nae Il, her hands pressed to her mouth in an exaggerated expression of surprise, under the hanging sign of a McDonald’s restaurant.

 

These hanging signs, a signature feature of these streets, also inspire some mischief from me. They jut out above our heads from the second stories of the buildings lining the road: made out of wrought iron, their scrolling lines and curves lend an old-fashioned, antique look to even the most modern of businesses and establishments.

 

Nae Il is the one who comes up with the idea. Finding one particularly large and ornate sign, she tells me to stand under it.

 

“And just what am I supposed to do now?” I ask once I am in position.

 

“Try to reach it.”

 

I glance skeptically back and forth between her and the sign hanging above my head. I might be tall, but these signs were hung up so high for a purpose.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I mutter. “There is no way in hell I’d be able to reach that.”

 

“Even if you jump?”

 

“Even if I jump.” To prove my point, I demonstrate, jumping straight up into the air, my hand stretched out as far as I could reach. I am surprised at just how close I do get to touching the sign, but still, it hangs far out of my grasp.

 

For a moment, a disappointed frown comes over Nae Il’s face, but then, seconds later, she brightens. “Who says you have to be able to reach it, Orabang?” she calls out, crouching down on the ground and angling the camera upwards. “I think even just getting you trying would look really cool.”

 

It takes us several times to get the timing just right; after all, it’s not like I could stop myself in mid-air just so Nae Il could take the photo. But eventually, we do succeed in getting what she is looking for.

 

We have also learned our lesson from the first photoshoot day, when our friend Lana had helped us take some group photos. So today, we occasionally enlist help from tourists and other passersby in order to get some shots of the two of us together.

 

Both of us posing with one of the costumed guides stationed outside of Mozart’s birthplace, in a repeat of a similar photo we had taken during our first visit.

 

Both of us hidden in one of the arched arcades branching off the main street, peeking out from the shadows on either side.

 

The two of us at the foot of the monument in the Mozartplatz, Nae Il seated comfortably in my arms, her hands resting on my shoulders, as I tilt my head back to look up at her. We take one photograph like that, but then, to my surprise, and the delight of the tourist we had asked to take the photo, she suddenly raises her hands to either side of my head and leans down to kiss me on the lips.

 

At first, I am so startled that I nearly drop her, but I do manage to hold on. And although I do not return the kiss this time around, I allow her to finish and pull back on her own without resistance either.

 

And while I later cringe in embarrassment at the sight of the second photo of us that the quick-thinking tourist had taken in that moment, Nae Il loves it and refuses to relinquish the camera to me until I have sworn not to delete it.

 

It is perhaps a testament to our relationship by now that I decide to actually keep that promise – and even more of a testament that Nae Il knows that I will.

 

~~~~~

 

By the time we have finished our walk through the old city, it is early afternoon and both of us are starving. So we make our way back across the Salzach River to the side that we call home and make a stop for lunch at one of our favourite date restaurants: the Café Sacher.

 

To be fair, we have only come here a handful of times since moving to Salzburg a year ago. Located inside the prestigious Hotel Sacher, a sister establishment to the more famous one in Vienna, this café is a bit of splurge. It is, thus, a place that we only come to for special occasions – and I daresay that Valentine’s Day counts as one such occasion.

 

The Café Sacher is one of those places that manages to be both opulent and cozy at the same time. Its pristine white walls, marble-topped tables and hanging crystal lights convey a sense of regal opulence, but that is countered by the plush red upholstered seats and the dark wooden chairs and floor. Places are arranged parallel to a central aisle, consisting of tables flanked by single chairs and booth-like couches; a long banquette bench runs along the wall where the windows are.

 

As with many other restaurants in Austria, we find our own seats. Today, to Nae Il’s delight, her favourite spot is still open: a place where the banquette curves inwards around a small table to create a small niche by the window. So we take our seats there.

 

Both of us are familiar enough with what is usually served at cafés by this point that we only need a quick leaf through the menu to know what we want to order: schnitzel for each of us, along with coffee and, for dessert, a serving each of the café’s signature sachertorte and apple strudel, which we intend to share. However, the menu itself looks so unique – it is printed on leafs of paper like an old newspaper, even bound like one by a long wooden pin – that I decide to take a photo of Nae Il flipping through it anyway. She reciprocates by taking a picture of me glancing out the window whilst sipping my coffee: a perfect mirror image to the one I had taken of her in our apartment a few days ago.

 

Perhaps because of the fact that we already live together, we are unlike those couples who can only meet on a weekly or monthly basis: there is, ultimately, little for us to chat about. Instead, times like this are usually spent in companionable silence, although today, it is interspersed with our continued attempts to photograph one another. We even manage to get the waitress who brings us our desserts to take one shot of the two of us together, holding hands across the table.

 

However, it is usually Nae Il who breaks the silence, she being less suited to quiet stillness than I am. Sooner or later, she will hunger for conversation, and this time is no different.

 

“Orabang,” she begins, “remember what Milch told us the other day? About what happened between him and Abeonim and Dean Song when you were little?”

 

Startled at her sudden introduction of the subject, I glance up, eyes narrowing in alarmed suspicion. “Honestly, Seollebal: do you have to be asking about that now?”

 

“Let me finish! It’s not what you think!” She pauses for a moment, as though trying to gather her thoughts together. “The thing is, something weird’s happened to me since then.”

 

Something about the tone in her voice makes me put my fork down, and I lean forward slightly, placing my elbows on the table and resting my chin on my clasped hands. “Go on.”

 

“Well, the thing is – I know this doesn’t make much sense, but – you know what, Orabang? I think Abeonim was right.”

 

My eyes widen in surprise. “You do?”

 

“Mm,” she says, nodding firmly now that she is sure of what she wants to say. “At first, I didn’t – after all, lying to Milch like that is wrong, no matter how you slice it, and, in that moment, I just felt so bad for Milch and Dean Song that…that…you know.”

 

I nod in understanding.

 

“But then I started thinking: what, really, was so wrong about that? If Abeonim really thought that Milch was a bad person, then wouldn’t he be right to try to keep Dean Song away from him? Even if it meant lying or cutting him off so strongly?

 

“After all, Orabang – you already did that once.”

 

“I did?”

 

“Ne. That night when we first met Milch. Don’t you remember? Milch had wanted to invite me to his hotel room with him, and I would have gone, too, if you hadn’t offered to let me spend the night with you instead.”

 

“Ah, that time.” I nod slowly a few times as the memory returns to me. “But then I kicked you out, too, didn’t I.”

 

“I was mad at you at first for lying to me, but now I think I understand. You did that because you were trying to protect me.

 

“Which means,” she adds coyly, “that you actually already liked me back then.”

 

“Ani!” I blurt out just a little bit too quickly in my defence. “I just wanted to get you off my back. That’s it. Don’t read too much into things like that, Seollebal!”

 

She just responds, however, with a satisfied smirk, and I know that I have well and truly been caught.

 

I had not known what to call it at the time, but, yes, I did already care for her back then. I’ve tried to tell myself since that I didn’t, that I would have done the same for anyone else, but I know that to be a lie.

 

And now that Nae Il knows it as well, I imagine that she will never let me live this one down.

 

~~~~~

 

Having spent both the morning and the afternoon outside, we decide to spend the evening at home, cooking and sharing dinner together.

 

Now that, too, is done, and the two of us are sitting together on the couch, one of my arms draped across her shoulders as she flips through the channels on the television. Thus far, neither of us has found anything playing that interests both of us – which, admittedly, is a common occurrence in our apartment. The two of us, after all, have very different tastes in terms of films and television shows, and it is a miracle that we have not yet quarreled about it. This time around, since it is the night of Valentine’s Day, there seem to be nothing other than romance movies on air; while Nae Il loves them, I find the entire genre too sappy and overdone for my taste.

 

“Besides,” I retort when she whines for me to just pick something, “if I wanted a romance, I’ve got one right here.” I reach out and caress her cheek with my free hand. “Isn’t that right, Nae Il-ah?”

 

That not only stumps but also satisfies her. She finally turns off the television and snuggles up closer, resting her head against my chest as my hand moves up to lightly stroke her hair.

 

Finally, Nae Il gets up with a contented sigh. She tells me to stay right where I am, then heads out of the living room and down the hallway. Moments later, she returns, clearly holding something behind her back with both hands.

 

I know where this is going, but decide to humour her anyway. “What’s that?”

 

She takes a step closer, then whips out the box from behind her back, holding it out to me in both hands.

 

Tradition has it in Korea that, on Valentine’s Day, girls give their boyfriends chocolates as a sign of affection. And Nae Il, being the romantic that she is, has followed suit. The small silver foil box, decorated with a bright blue ribbon, is an assortment of the various chocolates available at Fürst, Nae Il’s favourite confectionery shop with a branch located right in our neighbourhood.

 

Thanking her as I take the box out of her hands, I then place it onto the table and untie the bow. After I open the lid, I glance up to find Nae Il still standing there, hands clasped nervously and demurely in front.

 

I let out a soft laugh. “What are you waiting for, Seollebal?” I ask, beckoning her closer. “Come over here.”

 

I don’t need to say it twice. In an instant, Nae Il gives me a bright appreciative smile, then skips over to join me on the couch. I look over the array of chocolates for a moment, then discover that while most of the individually wrapped candies were one-of-a-kind, there were two identical ones: Fürst’s famous Mozartkugeln.

 

Smiling fondly, I hand one of the Mozartkugeln to Nae Il and take the second for myself. At first, I plan for us to just leave it at that and eat them together, but she clearly has other plans, as she quickly unwraps her, then holds it out to me.

 

I recognize the gesture: she had done the same the very first time she’d tried one of these, during our first visit to Salzburg. Still, I can’t help rolling my eyes as I laugh. “Really, Seollebal? Not this again!”

 

But she knows that any resistance I put up at this point is just for propriety’s sake, so instead of pulling back, she just leans in closer to pop the chocolate into my mouth.

 

Or, at least, that’s what I expected her to do.

 

Instead, at the very last second, before I have a chance to react, she snatches the chocolate away and closes the gap by placing her lips on mine.

 

This time, unlike the incident this morning, I am more than willing to indulge her. After all, it’s not like anyone could see us.

 

I don’t know what happens to her candy, but I have just enough presence of mind to place my own unwrapped one back on the table and out of the way before reaching behind her back to pull her in closer. Slowly, I feel myself falling backwards until I am lying down on my back, the couch’s armrest supporting my head. Nae Il, on her part, is well and truly on top of me now, running her fingers through my hair as she leans in even closer to deepen the kiss.

 

As we feel ourselves run out of breath, we finally let ourselves slowly drift apart. Nae Il pushes herself up away from me, her elbows now resting on the armrest on either side of my head. Our breaths rise and fall together, and I’m sure that if I were to grab hold of her wrist right now, I would find that our hearts are beating at the same pounding, frenetic pace.

 

Eventually, we both get up so that we are, once again, seated side by side on the couch, still gasping in exhilarated shock at what had just happened. As our breaths calm back to their usual rhythm, the two of us gingerly exchange sideways glances at each other.

 

I can see the question in Nae Il’s eyes: Should we do that again?

 

For a moment, I am sorely tempted to. But then I have a better idea.

 

Without a word, I get up from my seat and step over to where she is. Then, placing one arm around her back and slipping the other under her legs, I sweep her up into my arms, bridal-style.

 

Nae Il gasps in surprise, then lets out a short giggle. “And just what are you planning, Orabang?”

 

I answer her with a knowing smile and a wink. “What do you think?” I ask as I carry her with me into our music room.

 

“So, Nae Il-ah: which one should we play tonight? You decide."

 

Author's Notes (in "Hidden Contents" because of spoilers)

 

Spoiler

This story is again one of those where I pulled in a whole ton of different elements, especially since I was trying to pay tribute to two important holidays at the same time: Seollal (which I personally know better as Chinese New Year), and Valentine's Day.

 

One day for family, one day for romance...all within a week.

 

So if the story is long, it's because I had to weave these two seemingly disparate threads together, the same way that things relating to both would be happening in real life. So for those of you who made it all the way through, kamsahamnida!

 

And, now, for the behind the scenes features - minus Easter Eggs (which will be in a section of their own)

 

1. Planning for Seollal - The Hanbok

 

One of my absolute favourite parts of working on this fic was the pretend hanbok shopping. :wink: What can I say? I love how hanbok looks - in both traditional and modernized versions - so I had a lot of fun trying to decide what looks I wanted to give Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il here.

 

Again, I tried to describe things in such a way that I hope you could imagine what they were wearing in the relevant scenes. However, I do want to give credit where credit's due - so here are the real-life hanbok that were my inspiration.

 

Seol Nae Il's Hanbok - Traditional

 

 

 

Seol Nae Il's Hanbok - Modern (first the hanbok, then the coat)

 

(A better-quality version of this first picture can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/798333471419219013/)

 

b1ba58cbb03bcded0b4bc291db4f05d2.jpg

 

435_shop1_483419.jpg

 

Cha Yoo Jin's Hanbok - Traditional

 

76f35c6478d4eedd4619c4c8e7b258da.jpg

 

Cha Yoo Jin's Hanbok - Modern (first the hanbok, then the coat)

 

 

228_shop1_662563.jpg

 

2. Setting the Story in Salzburg - Locations

 

One thing I learned while I was working on this story: the route that we see Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il taking through Salzburg in Episode 16 of "Nae Il's Cantabile"...doesn't make any sense. :tongue: They end up doubling back on their route, "crossing" the Salzach River to get to one attraction to another when they're actually both on the same side, even mistaking the Mirabell Gardens for the gardens at Hellbrunn Palace.

 

So, given all that, here are the actual locations I used in this story, which I am dividing into three segments:

 

Photoshoot Day 1 - Mirabell Gardens and Mozarteum

 

The Mirabell Gardens are the same ones that we see Nae Il and Yoo Jin running through in the drama - never mind that, in the script, they were supposed to be going to Hellbrunn Palace (which, by the way, is actually where they end up on the show, when Yoo Jin tries to give Nae Il the ring, but they end up being interrupted by one of the palace's famous trick fountains). So, chances are, some of these pictures will look familiar, although the filming was done in summer, and I chose winter images here for better visualization.

 

48-Hours-in-Salzburg-in-Winter-6-1-800x1

 

The Pegasus Fountain in the Mirabell Gardens (which shows up in both the drama and this fic)

 

fountain-from-do-re-mi.jpg

 

The stairs in the Mirabell Gardens (which show up in both the drama and this fic)

 

the-famous-do-re-mi-steps.jpg

 

The second major location from the first photoshoot day is the Kleines Studio in the Mozarteum University:

 

126d0629e5572d40c905e32d50747dd2.jpg

 

A closer look at the "stage" area

 

a617307d5064b2e79a35e561f4ee904f.jpg

 

Just a quick FYI: depending on the site/materials I'm looking at, the piano in the Kleines Studio is sometimes a Bösendorfer and sometimes a Steinway. I don't know which of the two was actually in there in February 2016, so used some creative license and just went with the Bösendorfer :) 

 

The Augustinerbräu

 

The entryway, including the stairways down from the monastery to the beer hall

 

450px-Augustiner_Br%C3%A4u_Kloster_M%C3%

 

The food stands

 

schmankerlgang_236160~-~767w.jpeg

 

The beer station (shown here are the basin for rinsing the mugs, and the counter from which the bartender fills them)

 

the-famous-mug-rinser.jpg

 

The Augustinersaal, which I assume is the room the characters end up in (FYI: My guess is that this is the room where smoking is allowed, since I know there is one, and the other two main halls are, according to the Augustinerbräu's website, non-smoking)

 

vorl_headb_augustinersaal2015.jpg

 

Photoshoot Day 2 - The Old City and the Café Sacher

 

The old city streets that I mention here, the Getreidegasse and the Goldgasse are fairly similar, and are what most people imagine when they think of Salzburg's city streets.

 

The Getreidegasse

 

Getreidegasse_79_Andreas_Kolarik.JPG

 

And, yes, there literally is a McDonald's on the Getreidegasse, with an old-timey sign to match!

 

getreidegasse.jpg

 

The Goldgasse

 

68_big.jpg

 

The Mozartplatz (which also appears in the drama - when Nae Il walks up to the statue and greets it)

 

mozartplatz.jpg

 

The Café Sacher in Salzburg (Yes, it is from the same franchise as the famous one in Vienna, which claims to have invented Austria's famous sachertorte)

 

By the way, I imagined Yoo Jin and Nae Il to be sitting exactly where we see a couple sitting on the left side of this picture. :wink: 

 

Caf%C3%A9-Sacher-Salzburg-.jpg

 

And a closer look at one of those window seats - although not the exact one I pictured (you can just make it out on the right side of this shot)

 

8-cafe-sacher_new.jpg?w=501&h=669

 

3. The Music

 

This time, I did something a little bit different, in that only one of the three pieces of music featured is technically a classical piece. However, I do think that musical skill stretches across genres, and the opinion stated in the story that film/drama OSTs can come really close to classical is one that I personally hold.

 

So here are the recordings/videos I used for inspiration

 

3 Marches Militaire D. 733: 1 (a.k.a. Marche Militaire) by Schubert

 

 

 

River Flows in You by Yiruma

 

 

 

Theme from Pirates of the Caribbean, arranged by Jarrod Radnich - I imagined this to be the literal video in question, hence my discussion of the ending :wink: 

 

 

In terms of the music, there is one more quick note I want to make: this time, about what I have mentioned of Cha Yoo Jin's childhood lessons. This comes up twice in the fic: first, when I talk about how he plays the Pirates theme; and secondly, in piecing together the events from his past with Professor Stresemann and Nae Il. In both instances, the techniques and methods that I give to Cha Dong Woo stem from my own childhood lessons from my mother. 

 

First of all: the technique. Movement, especially of the entire upper body, is crucial in playing the piano - if for no other reason than to get your hands where they need to go :tongue: Different pianists have their own distinct ways of doing it, but the method I'm describing in this story, which is also what you see in the Pirates video, is one that is based more on vertical than horizontal movement. In other words, instead of swinging or swaying from one side of the piano to the other, which is great for creating a flowing, melodic line, this method is about using one's own body weight to help add strength and power to things like chords or accented notes. 

 

I noticed in watching "Nae Il's Cantabile" that JW was attempting to imitate this method when playing the Grieg concerto in Episode 8...but it didn't come out right. He had some of the range of motion needed, but not enough - so I saw his hands and arms moving, but not so much his shoulders or the rest of his body (which meant that his movements did not match the dynamics in the audio recording). The actor playing Stresemann, on the other hand, had too much, making his motions look more showy than practical. This, in my opinion, is not JW's fault: we know he's capable of full-body immersive acting if he needs it. Instead, I think it was a stylistic/directorial decision just to not be so conscientious about little nuances like that - but it does mean that the piano-playing scenes end up falling a bit flat for someone who is already familiar with classical piano techniques.

 

So, as a quick bonus, here's a video from a K-drama where I think they did get it right: a scene of Yoo Ah In's character playing a Liszt piece in Secret Love Affair. In other words: what you see here is what I imagine Cha Yoo Jin's piano playing would actually look like: both in "Nae Il's Cantabile" and in my fics.

 

 

As for the teaching method that I have Cha Dong Woo using in this story, that's something from my own personal experience as well. My mother was the sort of teacher who believed that a strong technical foundation was crucial for learning how to play piano, and she really required her students to take their time in learning a piece: starting slow, playing each note evenly and precisely, then gradually increasing the tempo. So many times - and I speak from experience here - she would stop a student who had increased the tempo without permission, because they thought they were able to play that fast, but were actually losing control of their playing. In other words: "train wrecks," to use Yoo Jin's words in the fic.

 

A quick example of that, also from Secret Love Affair. You can see in the first few seconds of this clip what happens when a pianist goes too fast and loses control: the notes blur together and turn into a mess. But by the end of the clip, after the student's posture is corrected and - presumably - better technique is taught, there is a noticeable difference in the sound.

 

 

So that's it for today's piano lesson :wink: 

 

Easter Egg Hunt Answers!

 

Spoiler

So...how did it go? How many "Easter Eggs" did you spot while reading this fic?

 

Here's the list of all the ones I included on purpose - if you spotted any others that just I might have included just by coincidence, kudos!

 

1. Yoo Jin's comment that Nae Il's prettier now that she's a bit chubbier. Inspired by all the comments that JW's made over the years about not minding if a girl's a bit chubby - not overweight, but not skinny, either.

 

2. The photoshoots. Inspired by how JW seems to pursue photography as a hobby.

 

3. Nae Il's love for romantic movies, including The NotebookInspired by JW's real-life love for that genre of films, with The Notebook being his favourite.

 

Although that's a detail about JW rather than Shim Eun Kyung, I ended up giving that trait to Nae Il, because it wouldn't have made much sense for Yoo Jin :tongue: 

 

4. The rumour that Stresemann fathered a son in his youth. While not true in the story, this was inspired by the fact that Baek Yoon Sik's (i.e. Stresemann's) real-life son, Baek Seo Bin, played one of the students at Haneum: specifically, Han Seung Oh, the conductor for the A Orchestra.

 

5. The photo Nae Il takes of Yoo Jin while he's asleep. Inspired by the fact that, according to his LieV broadcast, JW actually likes to sleep on his side with something (his hands, a pillow, etc.) tucked between his legs.

 

Also, just an FYI: Cha Yoo Jin actually does sleep like that at one point in the drama :wink: 

 

cantabile11-00760.jpg

 

6. The jumping scene during the second photoshoot segment. Inspired by all the times we see JW doing similar jump shots - including while filming the Salzburg scenes in "Nae Il's Cantabile"

 

If you want to access my other fanfics or Hallyu-related writings, you can find them under the "About Me" tab on my profile page. Thanks for reading! :heart:

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21 hours ago, kittyna said:

lol - I'm going to be honest here: sometimes, I end up imagining JW in a scene similar to this one from "Descendants of the Sun", especially taking on Song Joong Ki's role as the person demonstrating the "proper" way to do things.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNgvH0g1TSg

 

Probably not the most realistic mental image out there - since JW's an assistant instructor for the regular infantry, and that drama's focused on some sort of special forces corps. But, still - how cool would that be?

Actually, sometimes I imagine Joo won doing something like that too since we know thag beside an assistant instructure, joo won is also front line soldier. So he will be in the first line when war happen (I hope war is never happened. I want Joo won always be happy and healthy). I heard that front liner is so dangerous because they are the first soldiers that send to the war. So if it is a movie, we can see some Descendant of the sun scene there. Where he will shoot a gun or throwing grenade with amazing action moves.

 

By the way, remember joo won's new photos in geon il fanmeet that i uploaded yesterday?

If you forget:

Now i know what they were talking about. In the first photo, geon il said that photo is captured when they were training and land behind them is North Korea. He also said, "Joo won is also in the same camp with me is wearing an army helmet. We can't go there without wearing that helmet." When geon il said that, the MC is looking at the second picture and ask "Is that person behind you also Joo won-kun?" Geon il said "That is right, It's picture when we got our holidays and and eat outside the camp."

 

Its nice hearing their stories inside the camp and also knowing new photo from other people. :)

 

21 hours ago, kittyna said:

Sometimes I imagine JW as the stern and serious instructor...and then I remember that he literally sneaked chocopies in the bathroom with Ji Chang Wook, and that just makes me think of him as an aegyo-filled kid again :tongue: 

Haha... sometimes he will be a manly man with serious looks but change again to adorable little-big kid with just a blink of an eye. He still have that side of him and he will always have it. 

 

21 hours ago, kittyna said:

And I'm sure there will be plenty more once he's done.

Like I said, all the stories will reveal once when joo won comeback. From Joo won himself or from other people in the camp that already meet him. Can't wait for it!

 

21 hours ago, kittyna said:

Although I think that JW would have looked really cute with the punishment hairstyle (the "apple hair" where your hair is pulled up into a little ponytail on the top of your head), so even if he lost that challenge, the footage would have been fun to watch :tongue: 

Ooohhh!!! I already saw joo won with "apple hair" in 1N2D twice! First in the episode of bokbulbok festival part 2 and second in the episode where kim jong min share joo won's childhood photo with his father when they prepare to sleep in 1N2D. He looks so cute!!!

 

By the way, mentioning Joo won's father, some people said his father is handsome too just like the son. (For example, Park Ji Yeon from ghost. She played as Molly.) Their eyes is similar. With thick manly eyebrows and sharp eyes. I'm sure he get his beautiful brown eyes from his father.

 

21 hours ago, kittyna said:

But, of course, "Yong Pal" had some really awesome kisses of the more normal variety - like this one here (which is both sweet, but also, to be honest, really hot)

Ooohhh... many people said that Yong pal is gave the best kiss scene of Joo won. And I'm agree with that. Its looks so beautiful and lovely. But also hot... seems like joo won is improving and know another method of kissing... hehehe.:lol:

 

11 hours ago, kittyna said:

Title: Seollal, Seollebal, Seolleim

Drama: "Nae Il's Cantabile"

Characters: Cha Yoo Jin, Seol Nae Il, Franz von Stresemann

Premise: Relationships can take on many forms. There is, of course, romance between a man and a woman - but there are also friendships and family relationships as well. And for Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il, with Seollal and Valentine's Day coming just a few days apart, they all seem to be blurring togethe

Yeaaayyy... finally! I'm waiting so long for this. I like that you make another cute fluffy romance again in the fanfic since its for Valentine's day. I love it. Makes my thirst of Joo won gone. 

 

By the way, today is exactly 365 days before joo won's comeback! Yeay!! Happy for him. February 15th, 2019 I'm coming! 

 

 

Pics!!!!

 

So cool... 

 

 

Awww... i like this photo. Especially the Pink Sweater. So sweet... that looks is so dreamy. My dream boy!

 

I love the caption! 

 

Hello handsome! I'm waiting for you here! Awww... his smile is killing me!

 

Just like his style in winter. Never change. Hahaha... this photo is from 2008 but now his winter style is still the same.. so cute! With fireworks and bunch of flowers and fans around him.

 

The cartoon is exactly like him. So similar..

 

Come to papa! 

 

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2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Actually, sometimes I imagine Joo won doing something like that too since we know thag beside an assistant instructure, joo won is also front line soldier. So he will be in the first line when war happen (I hope war is never happened. I want Joo won always be happy and healthy). I heard that front liner is so dangerous because they are the first soldiers that send to the war. So if it is a movie, we can see some Descendant of the sun scene there. Where he will shoot a gun or throwing grenade with amazing action moves.

 

I guess that's what happens with being posted in Cheorwon - I remember that I was surprised just how close it was to the border. Honestly, I already thought Seoul was dangerously close, and then I saw where Cheorwon was and was just like, "Oh my God, that's close - it's, like, right there!"

 

I don't think anyone wants a war - those who do or those who think it'll be easy (we get a lot of those here in North America - "Why not just bomb North Korea? They'd be destroyed, and everything will be fine!") don't understand just how many lives could be lost along the way. I'm not saying this as a JW fan (because, although he's on the front lines in a sense, when push comes to shove, civilians and soldiers are in just as much danger) or as a Hallyu fan (because worrying about a country and it's people just because I like its media is so shallow) but as someone who just doesn't want to see anything bad happen there altogether.

 

2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Ooohhh... many people said that Yong pal is gave the best kiss scene of Joo won. And I'm agree with that. Its looks so beautiful and lovely. But also hot... seems like joo won is improving and know another method of kissing... hehehe.:lol:

 

Well, he was going all the way even while filming "Gaksital" - I just think "Yong Pal" was one of those few productions where the director let him go there :tongue: 

 

But, hey - acting's one of those skills where I imagine that only improvement is possible, so of course, JW would be getting better at it over time :wink: 

 

2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Yeaaayyy... finally! I'm waiting so long for this. I like that you make another cute fluffy romance again in the fanfic since its for Valentine's day. I love it. Makes my thirst of Joo won gone. 

 

Glad you liked it! I was in a hurry while posting it, and came back this morning to find so many typos, formatting mistakes, etc. So thanks for putting up with that :D 

 

I'm not really sure if all the romance in this story would count as "cute and fluffy", though - I think I'm slowly edging towards something a bit more passionate than that. It's not happening deliberately; I'm just letting the characters progress in the way that feels the most natural in the moment. But, considering how the romance element first started and where I am now...yeah, it's come along some ways in just a few months.

 

And now for pics - once again, of the Throwback Thursday variety

 

Spoiler

Some really early photoshoot images from Vogue

 

 

And some of JW's earlier stage appearances, in the first collage of this set (the next two are more recent)

 

 

"Gaksital" Behind the Scenes - I've never seen this photo before

 

 

A couple of miscellaneous cute pics

 

 

 

Looking back on "King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu" - Love the comparison between the child and adult actors in the top right corner of the first pic

 

 

 

JW's growth over time

 

 

 

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HAPPY SEOLLAL, EVERYONE!

 

 

 

So, as you can probably tell, fan-edited greetings pictures are starting to pop up online. And while I don't have quite the Photoshop skills to make my own, I do have some things planned for today's pics.

 

This, then, will be the first set - a second set will come later :wink: 

 

The theme for this round: hanbok pics

 

Spoiler

 

f9a53950d380f2027948b3638463877e.jpg

 

And, of course, there's the ton of stuff that came out of "My Sassy Girl" - so here are some miscellaneous shots from that :) 

 

 

 

b2270d259f13a4bce3f928a996f5dc4d.jpg

 

c23af1fcebe2e3fdd9a7d6ef4c345e57.jpg

 

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And, with this year being the year of the dog...can't forget this little cutie!

 

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Like I'd said, I'll be back later with a second set of themed pics for Seollal - so stay tuned!

 

19243028_1179808822147852_83482493227574

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23 hours ago, kittyna said:

I guess that's what happens with being posted in Cheorwon - I remember that I was surprised just how close it was to the border. Honestly, I already thought Seoul was dangerously close, and then I saw where Cheorwon was and was just like, "Oh my God, that's close - it's, like, right there!"

Yeah... its so close. Its like you can just walk or take a short ride if you want to see North Korea. And recently I watch Real man white skull edition in winter. The soldier is always clean the road from snow before sun arise (You know its so cold and they have to wear big heavy and stuffy atribut to keep them warm and they have to go up and down with a really long stairs. Its 234 stairs early in the morning that sun is not even arise yet they also watching an intruder that came to their territory. They did that on the border, it's exactly on the border so they can see North Korea just with naked eyes. 

 

23 hours ago, kittyna said:

 

I don't think anyone wants a war - those who do or those who think it'll be easy (we get a lot of those here in North America - "Why not just bomb North Korea? They'd be destroyed, and everything will be fine!") don't understand just how many lives could be lost along the way. I'm not saying this as a JW fan (because, although he's on the front lines in a sense, when push comes to shove, civilians and soldiers are in just as much danger) or as a Hallyu fan (because worrying about a country and it's people just because I like its media is so shallow) but as someone who just doesn't want to see anything bad happen there altogether.

Yeah... everyone don't want a war. Just People who don't know there will be many families here get danger if war happened saying that. Its not that easy.

 

All we want is peace so this cold war between North Korea and South Korea will gone. If the war is gone, korean man might be don't have to go to military service again. We don't know either.

 

23 hours ago, kittyna said:

Well, he was going all the way even while filming "Gaksital" - I just think "Yong Pal" was one of those few productions where the director let him go there :tongue: 

 

But, hey - acting's one of those skills where I imagine that only improvement is possible, so of course, JW would be getting better at it over time :wink: 

Hmmm... it makes me want Joo won to make another drama again. I miss him so bad.. I never get bored to say this, but I want new update from him... Hahggg... Joo won-ah, why are you doing this to me?!! I want him to do another MC job again or any show that fans can go. So there will be a lot of photos to explore. Maybe we can have that time in the middle of 2018.

 

On 2/16/2018 at 2:50 AM, kittyna said:

Glad you liked it! I was in a hurry while posting it, and came back this morning to find so many typos, formatting mistakes, etc. So thanks for putting up with that :D 

 

I'm not really sure if all the romance in this story would count as "cute and fluffy", though - I think I'm slowly edging towards something a bit more passionate than that. It's not happening deliberately; I'm just letting the characters progress in the way that feels the most natural in the moment. But, considering how the romance element first started and where I am now...yeah, it's come along some ways in just a few months.

I still considered that cute. Because... i don't know.. maybe because its joo won that i imagine. I always see him as cute tall man... :lol:

 

 

And oh yeah, Happy Lunar New Year!!! For all friends here and also Joo won. 

 

Pics!!

 

I don't know when this photo was taken but its cute....

 

The one that hold it is also very cute tho.

 

Why is joo won's thin lips become thick and cherry? Kissable? 

 

Awww... look at this man's smile at the end. That's why i said he is such an adorable.

 

And for the highlights of today's post. I want to share why I love him so much. Not just because his good looks and great acting skills but also his heart. I was so touched when i read this. He has a golden heart. ❤❤

 

The reason why JW was bending down and looking at the man.

 

Cr as tagged.

Many asked me why I like JW and why I like him for so long?  THIS. Plus his acting. 

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24 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

Hmmm... it makes me want Joo won to make another drama again. I miss him so bad.. I never get bored to say this, but I want new update from him... Hahggg... Joo won-ah, why are you doing this to me?!! I want him to do another MC job again or any show that fans can go. So there will be a lot of photos to explore. Maybe we can have that time in the middle of 2018.

 

I know that JW had said that he'd be willing to do the Ground Forces Festival again this year if he's invited - but I guess the big question, then, is whether the ROKA would ask him to do it. I don't know...is it possible for someone to MC two years in a row? I mean, I doubt there's a rule against it, but with so many celebrities doing their enlistment at the same time, I imagine that there are a lot of other fans of other actors/singers/idols who want their turn - and it's only fair to let them have that.

 

26 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

I still considered that cute. Because... i don't know.. maybe because its joo won that i imagine. I always see him as cute tall man... :lol:

 

Well, I'll tell you what: imagining those scenes definitely gets...interesting. You have to remember that in order for you guys to be able to imagine as you read, I have to have imagined it all first - and then I decide how much I want to disclose in writing :wink: 

 

Not that I have been omitting much thus far: I just mean in terms of deciding what details to include, how to describe the kiss scenes, etc.

 

28 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

And for the highlights of today's post. I want to share why I love him so much. Not just because his good looks and great acting skills but also his heart. I was so touched when i read this. He has a golden heart. ❤❤

 

The reason why JW was bending down and looking at the man.

 

Aw...that's so sweet!

 

lol - The funny thing is that I think I can imagine how JW would react if he knew fans were melting over his actions there. He'd probably get all shy and bashful, and then say that he only did what any decent person would do under the circumstances. And while I know that at times such responses are given for the sake of publicity, I think that, in JW's case, it would be genuine :wub:

 

And now for the second set of pics!

 

Spoiler

First of all, the stuff I'd planned for Seollal - JW with dogs!

 

(Because, you know, this year is the Year of the Dog and stuff :tongue:)

 

 

 

 

(From this Instagram slideshow: https://www.instagram.com/p/BUp3N7rjLOY/?taken-by=kumikumi_1127

 

55e66bf5483aa11d920fc8c1fc4e0704.jpg


Because while it's called Seollal in Korea, I'm used to thinking of it as Chinese New Year :tongue: 

 

714620eed71a14729866ddbdb4c232a0.jpg

 

f7184a7316db3cf5b2c2f40b3d55f7f9.jpg

 

And now for a couple of other miscellaneous pics!

 

This shot from "Ghost" is just gorgeous!

 

 

As is this one from "Nae Il's Cantabile"

 

 

Now here's a version of the classic "hand heart" that I don't think I've ever seen before!

 

 

JW with teddy bears - But why so serious, Oppa?

 

 

Finally...is it just me, or is Cha Yoo Jin's "WTF?" face, like, really funny to look at for some reason?

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, kittyna said:

 

I know that JW had said that he'd be willing to do the Ground Forces Festival again this year if he's invited - but I guess the big question, then, is whether the ROKA would ask him to do it. I don't know...is it possible for someone to MC two years in a row? I mean, I doubt there's a rule against it, but with so many celebrities doing their enlistment at the same time, I imagine that there are a lot of other fans of other actors/singers/idols who want their turn - and it's only fair to let them have that

Actually, i've thinking about that too. Joo won is already have his show in the festival so other celebrity might be get their turn now. But other celebrity or soldier that doesn't involved in the festival might be get holidays to enjoy the festival itself. So we can have some photos of him walking around the festival with his uniform. We can still see his appearance! But before that happen, we still hopping that he can get another appearance again in the show with other celebrities from other camp. 

 

And Ooohh... don't forget that there is another show that his camp might hold. Such as CF, or anything. He might be doing that when his time in the army almost done. 

 

6 hours ago, kittyna said:

Well, I'll tell you what: imagining those scenes definitely gets...interesting. You have to remember that in order for you guys to be able to imagine as you read, I have to have imagined it all first - and then I decide how much I want to disclose in writing :wink: 

Yeah... writing and reading needs imagination. Hehe.. but writing is more difficult. I've tried writing a story, a simple story, but i can't finish it until now. It's so hard for me. I'm good at imagining something but difficult to turn it into words. And sometimes the story even doesn't make any sense. I just can write my own experience. In real life. So i respect writer and their works. 

 

6 hours ago, kittyna said:

lol - The funny thing is that I think I can imagine how JW would react if he knew fans were melting over his actions there. He'd probably get all shy and bashful, and then say that he only did what any decent person would do under the circumstances. And while I know that at times such responses are given for the sake of publicity, I think that, in JW's case, it would be genuine :wub:

Hahaha.. he always do that whenever he get a compliment. He will looking down while saying "No, it's not like that" or "No, I'm not like that" .

He is so humble... I like that. 

 

He always get complimet from his sunbae or other actor that already work with him. And all of them is always saying that he just so adorable, a guy that has so many aegyo, so pure, kind, innocent, hard-working, versatile, and many more. He will get shy and deny all that and say I'm not that perfect. I have many flaws... and i just want to say to him that, Joo won-ah, you are that perfect.

 

Oohh, I remember that Choi Kang hee and his co-star also said that he is more handsome in real life than on the screen. I really remember that joo won is laughing but we know that he is shy. That is shy laugh.. 

 

Ivy and Kim ah Joong also already feel Joo won's popularity. It just so funny watching their reaction and also expression.

 

Hey handsome. His eyes is so dreamy...

 

He looks good in white. Imagine he wear this white suit in his wedding. It will look so great or maybe even more gorgeous and dazzling because it is one of the best day in his life. Tying a knot with his beloved one. The aura will just makes everything looks different.

 

His smile is so addictive. I can't help but smile to whenever i see his photos. 

 

Oohh... don't forget this photo! This photo is taken before the SBS drama award begin. His side view and the expression is just so cool.

 

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2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Actually, i've thinking about that too. Joo won is already have his show in the festival so other celebrity might be get their turn now. But other celebrity or soldier that doesn't involved in the festival might be get holidays to enjoy the festival itself. So we can have some photos of him walking around the festival with his uniform. We can still see his appearance! But before that happen, we still hopping that he can get another appearance again in the show with other celebrities from other camp. 

 

And Ooohh... don't forget that there is another show that his camp might hold. Such as CF, or anything. He might be doing that when his time in the army almost done. 

 

Well, either way, I'll take what I can get - whether JW is the MC, a performer, or just there as a spectator...even seeing him in the background (like the time he was caught on camera in a news broadcast) works for me :) 

 

2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Yeah... writing and reading needs imagination. Hehe.. but writing is more difficult. I've tried writing a story, a simple story, but i can't finish it until now. It's so hard for me. I'm good at imagining something but difficult to turn it into words. And sometimes the story even doesn't make any sense. I just can write my own experience. In real life. So i respect writer and their works. 

 

Well, learning how to tell your own story is a good place to start, should you ever want to go into writing yourself. That's really how I write these fics: I imagine how the characters would tell their stories.

 

But I have always had a really active imagination, which I guess helps in coming up with story ideas. :tongue:  So just like I have a queue of pictures on my Pinterest account that I share out a few images at a time, I also have a mental queue of story ideas that I just keep in the back of my mind until I get around to writing them.

 

2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Hahaha.. he always do that whenever he get a compliment. He will looking down while saying "No, it's not like that" or "No, I'm not like that" .

He is so humble... I like that. 

 

He always get complimet from his sunbae or other actor that already work with him. And all of them is always saying that he just so adorable, a guy that has so many aegyo, so pure, kind, innocent, hard-working, versatile, and many more. He will get shy and deny all that and say I'm not that perfect. I have many flaws... and i just want to say to him that, Joo won-ah, you are that perfect.

 

I remember reading somewhere that we are our own worst critics, because we are the only ones who know all of ourselves - including our flaws. So maybe there are flaws that JW sees in himself that no-one else can see. But as long as he's using that to know how he wants to improve as a person, then it is healthy to be aware of that :) 

 

And since I have time - and haven't had a chance to get to writing again, so there's no fic preview yet - here are some more pics!

 

Spoiler

Speaking of JW in suits....

 

 

And JW all in white

 

 

Lee Min Ho and JW in the same sweater

 

 

I remember really liking this jacket on him when I watched "Nae Il's Cantabile" - The leather lapel was a subtle but interesting touch

 

 

He looks so cool and charismatic here - a bit of a "bad boy" style, too. :wink:

 

 

 

And one more thing I want to share with everyone: Remember the time when I'd said that one of the teenage actors in "Goddess of Fire" (which I am currently watching) looked like a younger version of JW?

 

(For those who can't remember, click the embedded link below for a refresher)

 

 

Well, here's the thing: I'd said at the time that the adult version of the same character in "Goddess of Fire" was played by Kim Bum, but at the time, I hadn't yet had a chance to really get a good look at said adult version.

 

Several episodes later, I have - and I've also noticed that the resemblance to JW did not end with the child actor :wink: 

 

Now, it's not that Kim Bum and JW look alike, because they don't. But the costume that Kim Bum's character wears bears a striking resemblance to the one that JW wore in his McCol commercial.

 

So here's the teen actor, Park Gun Tae

 

128.png

 

So here's Kim Bum:

 

969410_164146000444799_486061002_n.jpg

 

And here's JW (using a behind-the-scenes pic, because all the screenshots from the actual ad I could find were blurry)

 

 

 

So what's been happening recently is that even as I'm watching Kim Bum act, I find myself imagining JW in his place - which is kind of sad, actually, because I do think that JW is the stronger actor between them. Not that that's actually saying much - since I think JW is a stronger actor than many others in his age group - but it sometimes does lead to moments where I'm just like, "Hm...I wonder how JW would have acted out that bit?" or "I wish that was JW there." It gets distracting at times :tongue: 

 

Spoiler

What's also been distracting in a whole other sense is that the king in "Goddess of Fire" is played by the same actor who plays Cha Dong Woo in "Nae Il's Cantabile". Lucky for me, then, that the JW-lookalike isn't playing a prince, or things would just start getting weird :tongue: 

 

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9 hours ago, kittyna said:

Well, either way, I'll take what I can get - whether JW is the MC, a performer, or just there as a spectator...even seeing him in the background (like the time he was caught on camera in a news broadcast) works for me :)

Even though its just an almost blur image or a picture where joo won stand so far from the camera, i'm still happy as long as i see his appearance on my phone. And It will be good if we can see his laugh or big smile in his uniform. Especially hearing his voice from a video. Even though its just 10 seconds video. I'm still happy...

 

9 hours ago, kittyna said:

I remember reading somewhere that we are our own worst critics, because we are the only ones who know all of ourselves - including our flaws. So maybe there are flaws that JW sees in himself that no-one else can see. But as long as he's using that to know how he wants to improve as a person, then it is healthy to be aware of that :) 

Joo won is great in this point. He use his flaw as an encouragement and make himself better than thinking unnecessary thing. Some people is seeing his flaw is something that they can't change and that makes them down. But Joo won is different. Its also the same when he said that everything good is good. Because it also can mean that a failure or flaw is good if you can change it to better things or if you can makes that as a lesson in the future so you will not make the same mistake and improve yourself. Don't make that flaws turn you down!

 

9 hours ago, kittyna said:

Well, here's the thing: I'd said at the time that the adult version of the same character in "Goddess of Fire" was played by Kim Bum, but at the time, I hadn't yet had a chance to really get a good look at said adult version.

Actually, i never seen any drama after I watch my sassy girl. I will waiting for joo won's drama even though it would be released in 2019. I feel like I'm hibernating from K-drama right now because I decide to wait Joo won's new drama. Another reason is because I'm too busy now. So if I have time, I might be watching Bridal mask or Ojakgyo brothers. To make my longing of him gone.

 

9 hours ago, kittyna said:

Now, it's not that Kim Bum and JW look alike, because they don't. But the costume that Kim Bum's character wears bears a striking resemblance to the one that JW wore in his McCol commercial.

His costum is really makes me recall joo won's CF in sageuk warior drama. By the way, we already discussed what kind of role that we want joo won to take after he finish his military. One of them is to be a sageuk warior in joseon or shila era. Because I think its so manly and joo won is so good when he do action scenes. He also can express his emotions very well since we know that most of sageuk drama is a melodrama one. I can't wait for that to happen!

 

And now for pics!

 

Just some clip from Good doctor to make your soul calm.

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

 

Love everything in him especially that smile!

 

Yeah, just wait a little more. Just 12 months again. Its not that hard, isn't it? Time is going very fast but also slow. 

 

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9 hours ago, kittyna said:

So what's been happening recently is that even as I'm watching Kim Bum act, I find myself imagining JW in his place - which is kind of sad, actually, because I do think that JW is the stronger actor between them. Not that that's actually saying much - since I think JW is a stronger actor than many others in his age group - but it sometimes does lead to moments where I'm just like, "Hm...I wonder how JW would have acted out that bit?" or "I wish that was JW there." It gets distracting at times :tongue:

So that what I mean of distracted or imagining him while i watch other actor. I already said it in earlier page. I can't watch other actor without seeing joo won. I also always imagine him as a character when i read a novel too. Sometimes I compare them and think that, "Joo won can do this with more feelings tho." Or "Will Joo won do the same gesture if he does this scene?" 

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54 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

Joo won is great in this point. He use his flaw as an encouragement and make himself better than thinking unnecessary thing. Some people is seeing his flaw is something that they can't change and that makes them down. But Joo won is different. Its also the same when he said that everything good is good. Because it also can mean that a failure or flaw is good if you can change it to better things or if you can makes that as a lesson in the future so you will not make the same mistake and improve yourself. Don't make that flaws turn you down!

 

I remember him saying that on "Healing Camp" - that he would tell himself that everything, even the bad stuff, is good. I do remember, though, that he also talked about times when even he struggled to believe that, which is why I love the fact that he ended up getting the Daesang at that point in his life. It was an affirmation to him that he was doing the right thing and holding the right attitude when his faith was getting shaky - and we see the results of that today :) 

 

56 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

Actually, i never seen any drama after I watch my sassy girl. I will waiting for joo won's drama even though it would be released in 2019. I feel like I'm hibernating from K-drama right now because I decide to wait Joo won's new drama. Another reason is because I'm too busy now. So if I have time, I might be watching Bridal mask or Ojakgyo brothers. To make my longing of him gone.

 

I definitely know that I've slowed down a lot in watching dramas on my own (i.e. in Korean with English subs) - mostly because my free time goes towards fic-writing now :tongue: By the way, I also get my JW-drama-watching fix that way, because I have to re-watch scenes from the dramas I'm writing for (e.g. re-watching the Salzburg footage in preparing for the Seollal/Valentine's fic so I could see where Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il went that first time and revisit the same places)

 

But I still watch dramas in Cantonese dub with my mom, because it's just a really great bonding time. And I know that she likes watching JW's acting as well, so next on our "Dramas to watch" list after "Goddess of Fire" is "Yong Pal" :) I had been holding back, because I was still having that "saving up" mentality, but now that we just have a year to go and I still have "Yong Pal", "Ojakgyo Brothers" and "My Sassy Girl" to get through...I think I can "splurge" every now and then now :wink: 

 

59 minutes ago, moonstrike said:

So that what I mean of distracted or imagining him while i watch other actor. I already said it in earlier page. I can't watch other actor without seeing joo won. I also always imagine him as a character when i read a novel too. Sometimes I compare them and think that, "Joo won can do this with more feelings tho." Or "Will Joo won do the same gesture if he does this scene?" 

 

I know! And that's why I brought it up.

 

It's so distracting at times, though! Like, I want to be able to just take each actor's performance as a separate thing without comparison, because I think it's only fair, but sometimes I can't help it.

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

His costum is really makes me recall joo won's CF in sageuk warior drama. By the way, we already discussed what kind of role that we want joo won to take after he finish his military. One of them is to be a sageuk warior in joseon or shila era. Because I think its so manly and joo won is so good when he do action scenes. He also can express his emotions very well since we know that most of sageuk drama is a melodrama one. I can't wait for that to happen!

 

Well, from what I've heard (i.e. "My Sassy Girl"), JW does sageuk comedy or fusion sageuk well - but, yeah, I want to see him doing a serious sageuk, too.

 

I want to see him as a brave warrior or a righteous prince - or some dark, scheming villain, because he's one of those actors where it's always fun (creepy, but fun) seeing his bad side coming through.

 

Actually, on a bit of a random side note: "Goddess of Fire", right now, is reminding me a lot of "King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu" in its plot and characters. Two half-siblings, a boy and a girl (who don't yet know they're related), who are rival apprentices at the ceramics workshop for the Joseon royal court. The brother, who starts off good but is now turning over to the dark side, reminds me a lot of Ma Jun: he's the sort of person who genuinely loves pottery and wants to excel in it, and he's projected to be his father's heir as the head of the workshop, but he's also insecure about his own - actually good - abilities, so he's now starting to be willing to cheat to stay ahead and keep his father's approval. The one main difference is that he and his father actually get along well, so the pressure on the son is more to meet his father's high hopes for him than, as with Ma Jun, trying to earn any recognition at all.

 

But enough on that tangent - time for pics!

 

Spoiler

Speaking of "Good Doctor", I just noticed something about this bunch of behind-the-scenes photos here. I've seen all of them before separately, and liked them on their own, but it's only by seeing them side-by-side that I notice that JW is actually pranking Moon Chae Won by imitating everything she does. It's adorable!

 

d7a2f70a3fdf897f943ca5749f086e74.jpg

 

bd2c0a0a87f16c5eb3525725ed2caf22.jpg

 

a7c480ddcce1a5c73f323d60037dea6e.jpg

 

Of course, JW also just does straight-up photobombing, too :tongue: 

 

df5d27c7d0906120fbd8a40d899f24ea.jpg

 

5d519242e2339e28bcbd028307387672.jpg

 

Cute bunny face

 

 

All set to go on a trip

 

593a2f7150dd9ba9b20dd10ba24aef2e.jpg

 

Love how this shot from 1N2D was edited by the fans - This moment was funny, too: it was the one where JW and Sung Si Kyung went hiking on their own, and they stop here for a break. So they're both lying down on the edge like this, and then the caption says (in JW's voice): "Hyung...I'm lonely." Because the whole made-up storyline in their segment was the two guy BFFs who are single and pining for a date (presumably with Moon Chae Won :tongue:)

 

 

He looks so cool just throwing on the jacket like this

 

 

Han Gil Ro's poker face...is pretty crappy. :tongue: Like, it would be so obvious to his opponent what he's thinking from these shots! But, hey, we trade inscrutability with cuteness

 

613431be6e161fd90f44d58523c6eb8a.jpg

 

This looks to be an older photo, since that's definitely his earlier "sporty boy next door" style

 

 

Again, kudos to whoever edited these shots from "Yong Pal" together - the result looks awesome!

 

 

 

And now for a few fic-related announcements - plus one bonus feature!

 

First of all, announcements: I probably won't come back to the "Seolleim in Salzburg" series for a while, because the next things that I want to do are related to other dramas. So, there will be the promised, on-the-back-burner-for-ages "Gaksital" fic, but also the upcoming White Day (March 14) special, which I have decided will be for "Good Doctor". So, yes, we'll get to see Park Si On trying to get gifts for his beloved Cha Seonsaengnim :wub:

 

As for the Bonus Feature: Since the next moment I can see myself "checking in" on Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il is for things happening in the spring, this will be it for our look at Salzburg in the winter - at least until next winter :tongue: So what I want to share with you guys is some of the awesome video footage of Salzburg in wintertime that I used as inspiration for the first four fics of the "Seolleim in Salzburg" series. Why? Because there's only so much that I can describe in words - and the images are too gorgeous for me to do them justice.

 

The videos tend to cut back and forth over many different locations, so this isn't meant to show any one place: just to get a general feel for the city, especially the older historic centre.

 

Spoiler

Salzburg during Christmas:

 

 

The focus on this video wasn't Christmas, but it was filmed during the Christmas season - this one stands out for there actually being snow (Europe's winters are a bit on the mild side)

 

 

And winter when the weather is milder - also some really nice HDR nighttime footage here:

 

 

 

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Finally...I've started working on the "Gaksital" fic!

 

It's still a long way from being done, but I'm actually happy enough with what little I've got so far that I want to show it you all as Preview #1.

 

So here goes!

 

Spoiler

“Did you get them?”

 

“Of course we did, Shunji! I told you that you could trust us,” Tamao said breezily as Kang To, kneeling beside him, carefully took the carved wooden masks out of the canvas bag, laying them out carefully on the tatami in front of him.

 

“We did have to lie for them, though.”

 

“Oh?” Shunji, who had just been on the verge of reaching out to pick up the first mask to take a closer look at it, now peered up in interest at his two friends. Rocking back on his heels, he raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

 

“Go on,” Tamao whispered to Kang To, giving him a nudge in the side for good measure. “You tell him.”

 

Although they had already known each other for a few years, Shunji knew that Kang To still had this shier side to him. He did a good job hiding it as one of the junior officers of the Imperial Police, choosing to present a front of stern and charismatic confidence. But Shunji knew the truth: just how much of that was a bluff, and just how vulnerable Kang To still was underneath the surface.

 

Shunji knew that he was the only person in the entire world around whom Kang To fully let down his guard: not even to his own family would he do that. So it came as no surprise to him now that this one of his two Joseon friends would hesitate a moment longer before speaking.

 

“Remember how the man who made these had said that under no circumstances would he sell them to Japanese collectors?” When Shunji nodded, he continued. “So instead, I told him that I was with –” he grimaced for a moment, as though he had a hard time even forming the words “– the ‘independence movement’ and that I wanted to get the masks for safekeeping.”

 

“Basically,” Tamao cut in, “it’s a good thing that Kang To is still almost unrecognizable without his uniform – for now, anyway.”

 

Shunji almost didn’t hear Tamao’s comment, though, because he was focused instead on the way Kang To’s features had settled into a grim frown. He knew that any talk of the Joseon rebels, those who spoke of and fought for “independence”, was still painful for his friend. It was, after all, the rebellion that had driven Kang To’s older brother, Kang San, to madness: harmless and childlike, but a shadow of the kind and loving protector he had once been. And it was his own resentment towards the rebels for what they had done to his family that had led Kang To to the Imperial Police in the first place.

 

So to not only have to talk about the rebels kindly but masquerade as one of them?

 

Smiling warmly at his friend, Shunji reached across the masks spread out between them and patted one of Kang To’s hands where he was bracing them on his knees. “Arigato gozaimasu – I know this wasn’t easy for you.”

 

Only then did he feel Kang To relax under his touch, as though his Joseon friend only needed his acknowledgement to be able to forgive himself for this show of disloyalty to the empire. However, that did not stop him from murmuring a joking, “The things I do for you,” in response; Kang To being Kang To, he always wanted to have the last word.

 

Now, finally, Shunji could take a closer look at these new pieces of his collection. The masks were simple and rustic in their design, brightly painted, their features carved into exaggerated expressions. He was sure that his students would love these; and as Tamao and Kang To explained what character each one represented, he began brainstorming for a way to include them in his lesson plan: a study comparing Japanese and Joseon forms of drama, perhaps?

 

“And this one,” Tamao said, tapping a finger on one mask in particular, “is the Gaksi – the Bride. So, combined with the Joseon word for ‘mask’ – ‘tal’ – it becomes ‘Gaksital’.”

 

“It’s different from the others, though,” Kang To cut in.

 

“Oh?” Shunji leaned forward in interest. “How so?”

 

“I remember hearing my mother talk about it once: while the Gaksi is a bride for most of the performance, she is not just that. Instead, at the very beginning, she enters standing on the shoulders of another dancer. In that moment, she is not a woman – but the goddess of the land.”

 

~~~~~

 

A goddess?

 

Years had passed since that day when Kang To had first brought the masks to him, but Shunji could not help remembering the incident now.

 

He had dismissed the story at the time, only accepting it for its value as a traditional custom and belief of the Joseon people, but now, looking closely at the mask in the classroom he had put aside for his collection of Joseon artefacts, he wasn’t so sure.

 

A white oval face, its main decoration three spots of red: one on the forehead, one on each cheek.

 

This was just a mask, was it not? A simple object carved out of wood, used in a traditional theatrical dance. Yes, it was meant to represent a goddess, but the person wearing it was still just that, right? A person. A human being, no more powerful than Shunji himself.

 

And yet, why?

 

Shunji had seen and heard it himself.

 

His older brother, Kenji, raving like a lunatic, accusing him, of all people, of being Gaksital.

 

His best friend, Kang To, beating Joseon civilians in a mindless rage, drinking himself into oblivion, laughing hysterically as he declared that he would even be willing to kill the woman he loved, if it meant being able to capture Gaksital and bring him to justice.

 

Such a simple object, worn by what must just be an ordinary man.

 

So why was it driving everyone around him mad?

 

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On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

I remember him saying that on "Healing Camp" - that he would tell himself that everything, even the bad stuff, is good. I do remember, though, that he also talked about times when even he struggled to believe that, which is why I love the fact that he ended up getting the Daesang at that point in his life. It was an affirmation to him that he was doing the right thing and holding the right attitude when his faith was getting shaky - and we see the results of that today :) 

Yeah... I was so amazed when i knew that he has that kind of believe. It such a decent and wise personality that the young age person like him can think like that. And I love when the Host said he has Joseon soul or Old People soul because he is indeed like that. He has a faith that only great people from past can think. Its so rare to find person that has that kind of believe in his age.

 

Even older people than Joo won is hard to think like that. Because of this, I'm feeling proud that I love this great person and to be his fans is such an honour. There is not many people or even entertainer can think like this in their scary world but Joo won that already in there for such a long time can still have this believe. And he still have it until now. And it might be get stronger when he got his first daesang. He knew he choose the right path and he knew that he has the right believe in his heart. He already said it in his speech.

 

By the way, I love his daesang speech. So many feelings and meanings in his words. He even mention his family, his grandmother. He really love them. And i also love his sunbae stare when Joo won gave his speech. Its like they knew that feelings and they respect him that he can get that daesang in young age after suffering so much. 

 

On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

definitely know that I've slowed down a lot in watching dramas on my own (i.e. in Korean with English subs)

Sometimes I just watch clip of his drama in youtube whenever I miss him. And because I don't want to waste my Joo won drama list, I just read the synopsis and watch it later when I have time or when Joo won is really don't have any news at all and then i will take out my weapons. I really treasure his drama. Hahaha...

 

On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

And I know that she likes watching JW's acting as well, so next on our "Dramas to watch" list after "Goddess of Fire" is "Yong Pal" :) I had been holding back, because I was still having that "saving up" mentality, but now that we just have a year to go and I still have "Yong Pal", "Ojakgyo Brothers" and "My Sassy Girl" to get through...I think I can "splurge" every now and then now :wink:

You will love it! And you will find out that Hwang tae hee is really cute, Kim Tae Hyun is really cool, and Gyeon Woo is really handsome. I already watch all that drama so I know the effect after that drama finish. So sad and frustrating because you know you don't have joo won again after this. 

 

 

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On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

Well, from what I've heard (i.e. "My Sassy Girl"), JW does sageuk comedy or fusion sageuk well - but, yeah, I want to see him doing a serious sageuk, too.

I can't wait to see him in that kind of genre. It will be great. His expressive eyes will amazing in that kind of drama. Also i want to see him in costume, warior or king and prince costume. Its so fancy and manly. Especially if the hair is long or have some accessories on it. 

 

Ahh... i can't help but imagining him in drama again. I have so many imagination in my head.

 

On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

 

I want to see him as a brave warrior or a righteous prince - or some dark, scheming villain, because he's one of those actors where it's always fun (creepy, but fun) seeing his bad side coming through.

I want to see him crying or act devilishly. Or getting tortured like in bridal mask. Am I like a sadist now? I just like when he act a heavy and painful scene. And i know joo won enjoy that too. Because he like challenging role. Love it ❤❤❤

 

On 2/17/2018 at 10:46 PM, kittyna said:

Again, kudos to whoever edited these shots from "Yong Pal" together - the result looks awesome!

I've seen this photo and first impression that i got was this photo is really showing his hard work. I just want to jump and hug him tightly. And said, "Just rest here, Cutie. Everything is fine." 

 

5 hours ago, kittyna said:

Finally...I've started working on the "Gaksital" fic!

 

It's still a long way from being done, but I'm actually happy enough with what little I've got so far that I want to show it you all as Preview #1.

Wow! New fanfic! And this time is Bridal mask.. can't wait because i like this drama a lot. Can I expect a love story in this fic. I need more fresh air of love. Might be In the middle of the story after some update we can get Mok Dan and Ueno Rie appearance!

 

Now pics!!!

 

And this is expressive eyes that i said

 

I like this MV 

 

 

 

Sparkling like star on the sky!

 

Those cute little cheeks!

 

The highlight of today post!

The way joo won walk is so funny. He such a humoris guy. I love his style here and also his natural hairstyle. Looks good everytime. He is good with every clothes he wear.

 

Hehehe... I know why he wear black mask and big glasses in the mall. Its because he doesn't want to get recognize by people. When even his friend is walking freely without a thing to cover up. A celebrity life is so complicated...

 

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2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

Yeah... I was so amazed when i knew that he has that kind of believe. It such a decent and wise personality that the young age person like him can think like that. And I love when the Host said he has Joseon soul or Old People soul because he is indeed like that. He has a faith that only great people from past can think. Its so rare to find person that has that kind of believe in his age.

 

I think that calling JW a "Joseon soul" is really fitting - possibly more so than an "Old people soul". Because in a lot of ways, he's still young, and he still thinks the way a lot of young people do. However, I have found that his values and his sense of right and wrong seem to stem from something older than the 21st century - especially if I compare him to 21st century North American standards. I dunno...I keep getting the sense that Asia is more conservative overall, and Korea more specifically. So if JW's conservative even by Korean standards, then that's saying a lot.

 

But another way that I think he has an older soul is the fact that he thinks well ahead into the future. He's not someone who plans out his life a whole let, no - some people really micromanage their own lives like that, but he isn't one of them. However, JW does keep in mind that he will be older someday, and so he's making decisions now that he hopes will be ones he could look back on without regret. He doesn't have the YOLO attitude that I see in a lot of people of his age group. He's not the sort of person who will make risky choices just because he can.

 

Although it's funny, because JW has said that he would if he could (e.g. "I want to be able to party hard like a dog" is something he said once on "Win Win"), but always, his more sensible side wins out, so even if he has that chance and says he wants to try...he never actually does it. :tongue: 

 

2 hours ago, moonstrike said:

By the way, I love his daesang speech. So many feelings and meanings in his words. He even mention his family, his grandmother. He really love them. And i also love his sunbae stare when Joo won gave his speech. Its like they knew that feelings and they respect him that he can get that daesang in young age after suffering so much. 

 

I love the way he talks about his grandmother - it's so adorable! He's mentioned that his grandmother (I don't know if it's the same one, since everyone's got at least two :wink:) watches his dramas and, in reference to "Yong Pal", wanted Kim Tae Hyun and Han Yeo Jin to end up together in the end. Or how he said his family told him that Hwang Tae Hee's aegyo towards his grandmother was identical to JW's in real life. Or that time he said his grandmother was worried he would actually get hurt while filming "Level 7 Civil Servant" because Han Gil Ro kept getting kicked in the balls. 

 

Point is: as much as I want to see JW's interactions with his parents or his hyung, I think seeing his interactions with his grandmother would also be cute.

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

I can't wait to see him in that kind of genre. It will be great. His expressive eyes will amazing in that kind of drama. Also i want to see him in costume, warior or king and prince costume. Its so fancy and manly. Especially if the hair is long or have some accessories on it. 

 

Speaking of JW with long hair...I remember seeing him getting into costume for the sageuk-style CF in "Life Log", and I was really impressed. Like, he looked way better in that look than I thought he would :tongue: 

 

Personally, I do like it when he wears his hair a tad on the long side - I think I've mentioned that before. But modern-day long is different from sageuk long, so I was surprised to see that turn out as well as it did :) 

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

I want to see him crying or act devilishly. Or getting tortured like in bridal mask. Am I like a sadist now? I just like when he act a heavy and painful scene. And i know joo won enjoy that too. Because he like challenging role. Love it ❤❤❤

 

Well, I guess if he likes it, too.... :tongue: 

 

But I also get why you would like watching him play scenes like that - and, no, I don't think it's because you're a sadist. I think it's because stories that have scenes like that really make you feel empathy for the characters - especially when they're acted out to feel real like how JW does it.

 

So, for instance those scenes in "Gaksital", it's like looking at a car accident: you don't want to look, because someone's getting hurt, but you also can't help but look, because looking away feels disrespectful in a different sense (as though you don't even care).

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

I've seen this photo and first impression that i got was this photo is really showing his hard work. I just want to jump and hug him tightly. And said, "Just rest here, Cutie. Everything is fine." 

 

Yeah, the close-up in that picture is really impressive. If I hadn't known that it was exhaustion that Kim Tae Hyun was feeling, I would have thought he was crying. But, yes, it is because he's exhausted after jumping into the water with the gang boss to save him (see, I know the story, even when I haven't watched it yet!)

 

1 hour ago, moonstrike said:

Wow! New fanfic! And this time is Bridal mask.. can't wait because i like this drama a lot. Can I expect a love story in this fic. I need more fresh air of love. Might be In the middle of the story after some update we can get Mok Dan and Ueno Rie appearance!

 

Well, this is continuing the series that looks at the drama from Shunji's point of view, and the focus is still ultimately on the broken friendship between Shunji and Kang To. Mok Dan doesn't figure all that heavily in this installment, but will show up more later on.

 

Okay - I've got to run for now, but I will be back with the pics later! :) 

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5 hours ago, moonstrike said:

And this is expressive eyes that i said

 

Love those shooting range pics - thanks for sharing!

 

Well, I say shooting range, but the last one, as we know, is not - that's Gil Ro pretending he's at the shooting range (there's a difference :tongue:). By the way, I think I saw that actual laser gun alarm clock being sold online once - don't remember what the vendor was, but I saw it in a list of gag gifts on a website.

 

5 hours ago, moonstrike said:

The way joo won walk is so funny. He such a humoris guy. I love his style here and also his natural hairstyle. Looks good everytime. He is good with every clothes he wear.

 

Hehehe... I know why he wear black mask and big glasses in the mall. Its because he doesn't want to get recognize by people. When even his friend is walking freely without a thing to cover up. A celebrity life is so complicated...

 

It's not just JW - his friends are a really fun bunch of guys to watch as well :tongue: 

 

I think that wearing the black mask and sunglasses would be a pretty dead giveaway that you're a celebrity, though. :wink: However, what I think does happen when a celebrity dresses like that is that identifying which specific celebrity we're seeing is a lot harder. Also, I know that it's a general unspoken rule in Korea: if you see a famous person looking like that, it means they want to be left alone. It's not seen as being unfriendly or rude when that happens - but can be taken that way if they turn down fans while not dressed like this.

 

And now for pics!

 

Spoiler

More of the sunglasses look

 

 

This just looks so cute and sweet

 

 

lol - What's this, Oppa???

 

(Quick explanation: I don't know how this sort of gesture is taken in Korea or other parts of Asia, but here in North America, that combination of bending slightly sideways while waving with a shy or coy smile is seen as stereotypically effeminate or gay. Of course, from what I've seen, I think JW's straight and would definitely identify as male - i.e. he's not genderfluid or trans or anything like that - but it's still odd seeing that look from him for me. Not in a bad way, just in an unexpected/surprising way.)

 

 

JW's surprised face - I always think it's cute how his jaw just drops whenever he's surprised

 

 

Cute and shy smile

 

 

"Good Doctor" Behind the Scenes - Or, at least I think it's behind the scenes (I'm getting more JW vibes from this picture than Park Si On)

 

 

Sharing this picture because it reminded me of a passage from one of my fanfics, "Angel of Music, Come Down from Above"

 

Quote

“Yoo Jin-ah.”

 

I crack open my eyes to look up at Il Rak from my place in the pull-out next to his bed. “What?”

 

“You know, about what happened tonight at the bar…I’m actually a little bit glad that it did.”

 

That surprises me enough that I sit up to stare at him, frowning incredulously.

 

“All right, so maybe I put it wrong.”

 

“No wonder, Yoo Il Rak – you’re drunk.”

 

He chuckles. “I know. But I mean it, though.”

 

“Mean…what?”

 

He tries to fumble for an answer. “Do you remember how we first became friends? That time we had to play a duet together?”

 

I nod.

 

“I still remember that time you just grabbed my violin without asking and played my part right back at me.”

 

I bite back a laugh at the memory. “Well, that’s because you sucked that much then.”

 

“I know that now, but I remember that I was so mad when you did that. I didn’t know that you were trying to help, then; I just thought you were a show-off.

 

“But here’s the thing,” he continues. “By the time I got home, I’d changed my mind.”

 

This part I have not heard before. “You did?”

 

“It was your playing. Just one line – just one simple melodic line – and it got stuck in my head. No matter what I tried to do to drown it out, I couldn’t. Because it was perfect. Just completely perfect. And so was your performance with the A Orchestra – funny how I don’t mind that anymore now that Si Won and I are together – and so was your playing tonight. Nae Il’s, too, but she doesn’t have the same vibe that you do: she’s fun and quirky and makes mistakes. Point is, she’s human and I can relate to her. But you, Cha Yoo Jin…sometimes it feels like I’m looking at something that’s not of this world. I don’t mean an alien – I mean something more like an angel or a god.”

 

I scoff incredulously. “Now you’re starting to sound like Ma Su Min.” On impulse, I grab my pillow and throw it up into his face. “Go to bed, Yoo Il Rak. You’re not making any sense.”

 

He tosses it right back down at me with a laugh. After we have both settled back down in our places, he continues, “I know I’m not making any sense, but it’s true.

 

“So something like what happened tonight…I know it must have sucked for you, and I can’t say that I wanted you to go through that, but I can’t help feeling relieved that you are just a person after all.”

 

About that angelic or god-like vibe that Cha Yoo Jin sometimes gives off...yeah, this pic shows that really well:

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, kittyna said:

But another way that I think he has an older soul is the fact that he thinks well ahead into the future. He's not someone who plans out his life a whole let, no - some people really micromanage their own lives like that, but he isn't one of them. However, JW does keep in mind that he will be older someday, and so he's making decisions now that he hopes will be ones he could look back on without regret. He doesn't have the YOLO attitude that I see in a lot of people of his age group. He's not the sort of person who will make risky choices just because he can.

Yeah. I also love that he plan his future and know what he have to do to reach that future. He doesn't easily get shaken by people around him. He has a goal that he already embedded in his heart. And Joo won works hard to get that goals and defend himself from other people's interruption. For example, losing his innocent heart in that dark world or defending himself from bad influence from other people.

 

And he manage to do all that! He get what he deserve and he is happy to live like that. 

 

20 hours ago, kittyna said:

love the way he talks about his grandmother - it's so adorable! He's mentioned that his grandmother (I don't know if it's the same one, since everyone's got at least two :wink:) watches his dramas and, in reference to "Yong Pal", wanted Kim Tae Hyun and Han Yeo Jin to end up together in the end. Or how he said his family told him that Hwang Tae Hee's aegyo towards his grandmother was identical to JW's in real life. Or that time he said his grandmother was worried he would actually get hurt while filming "Level 7 Civil Servant" because Han Gil Ro kept getting kicked in the balls. 

Hmmm.... maybe you can watch this as a sketch to imagine how joo won take care of his grandmother and the impact to the grandma itself. It's very cute and lovely. I can't stop smiling when i watched this interview. 

 

The narrator said that the actor that play as grandma and joo won is so close like a friend even though they have a lot of age distance. The even share coffee together. 

 

Grandma: " I like coffee but Joo won also likes coffee because of that he always bring this big bottle of coffee. I'm enough with just a cup of coffee a day but Joo won is not enough with that. And because Joo won likes bitter coffee, he always share his coffee with me."

Joo won: "It's a perfect mix."

Grandma: "(while touching joo won's cheek) He doesn't drink alcohol."

Joo won: "*laugh*" ^0^ ❤❤

 

Grandma: "when actor acting in a project, I"m not Kim Yong Rim (the grandma's real name) but ojakgyo grandma. So everytime I see him, I'm not seeing Actor Joo won but my grandson Hwang tae hee. My most beloved Grandson. My heart always go like that. Because of that, 

everytime I see him, I feel more sorry for him (I 

think she means that she feels want to take 

care of him) and I feel he is beautiful. Sometimes I want to pat him (she means that 

she sometimes want to caressed him or pat 

him on the back.)"

 

And then they show the scene where grandma is slapping Hwang tae hee. 

Joo won: "she caressed me (after doing that 

scene). Seonsaengnim (grandma) is slap me 

very well. Bbyam, like that. Because of that, she keep saying sorry and caressed me" 

Grandma: "Even though I have small hands, 

I have heavy hands. (She means that she has 

strong hands). If I slap someone, I really slap 

that person really hard. Luckily there is no NG. lt will be bad if there are some NG 

Joo won: " Tears will fall, and anger will show even though I just hear seonsaengnim's (grandma) voice. I really admire her whenever I saw her doing rehearsal." 

After that, there are UEE scene. I'm not going to translating that.

 

 

 

20 hours ago, kittyna said:

Speaking of JW with long hair...I remember seeing him getting into costume for the sageuk-style CF in "Life Log", and I was really impressed. Like, he looked way better in that look than I thought he would :tongue: 

That's why after I watch that video, My soul suddenly want Joo won to take a serious sageuk role where he play as a baddas warior or criminal. Yeah, a criminal in Joseon era. A cool and handsome thief, maybe. That would be great. There will be a lot action scene where he keeps running and jumping through the wall. With mask. Wait, why am i remembering about gaksital now?

 

Okay, how about some decent role like a prince. Prince that has untold painful story. 

 

20 hours ago, kittyna said:

But I also get why you would like watching him play scenes like that - and, no, I don't think it's because you're a sadist. I think it's because stories that have scenes like that really make you feel empathy for the characters - especially when they're acted out to feel real like how JW does it.

It also makes your blood pressure raise and also increase your tension levels. It's not good for my heart especially if the one who play it was joo won. I might be fainted.

 

 

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