We went to Colamercato for lunch. It is owned by one of JKS’ friends - as I said, almost nothing we did was entirely unrelated. I was advised by the others to eat a lot because then we wouldn't be eating again until 10 p.m. On the way out we walked past Table Star, another of his haunts, and snuck in to take a picture of his autograph and ogle the hot staff.
We took a taxi to the venue, which was the handball stadium at Seoul Olympic Park, but the taxi driver did not fully understand where we wanted to go. The olympic park is big and he kept trying to make us get out in the wrong place! Eventually we found signs for the show and managed to get dropped off relatively near to where we needed to be.
We were there very early. We got excited as we approached because we could hear loud music coming from somewhere in the vicinity and thought that he must be rehearsing. It turned out that there were two venues very close together and the sounds were coming from the other one! JKS hadn't even arrived yet. We found this out because while we were sitting in the shade admiring our new merchandise we heard screams from the front of the venue and moments later we were looking at pictures on Twitter of him arriving for rehearsal!
I had told myself before I went that there was no way I was buying a light stick... .they were really expensive. However, as you can see, my resolve weakened and I did get one. (I made a bargain with myself that I could buy it if I then passed it on to someone else who couldn’t go in a pay it forward kind of way). Anyway, I'm glad I had it for the shows, it's oddly satisfying to wave it around.
My seat was in the second lot of seats back. There were three sections of seats - the ones closest to the stage on floor level, then my section which was raised up a bit and then the balcony seats. I was really pleased with my position because although it was not really close to the stage it was raised so I could see from a good angle.
My row was empty for ages but then some other people arrived - several from Japan and one from China, all quite a bit older than me. The Japanese lady behind me was lovely and we chatted as much as we could given that she didn't speak English and I don't speak Japanese and she gave me a present of a little key ring with a JKS sticker.
This seems like a good time to comment on the number of presents I received on this trip. I had been told that it was common cultural practice to give little gifts but I had completely underestimated the scale of this and didn't have nearly enough things to give out. I was given so many things by so many people that it was impossible to keep track. It was very touching and also a bit difficult because I couldn't reciprocate! I will know for next time...
The show was not a typical concert but a mixture between concert and fan meeting (a new concept for me). There were several songs, which I enjoyed very much. I sang and danced along to everything, although I have to say that at times I don't think he and I were singing the same words… I'm pretty sure it was him getting them wrong but I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that. He also played a big game of 'would you rather' with the audience, showing pictures and questions in several different languages and getting us to point to the one we preferred. He took notes on the answers! Sadly, it's absolutely forbidden to take photos during the show.
The whole show was fantastic. He has serious stage presence - when he went off to get changed the room felt empty even though only one person had left it. He also performed two team H songs, which was a nice little taster of my ultimate dream show.
After the show a group of us went to a barbecue restaurant whose name temporarily escapes me. Val kindly gave me my first ever drink of soju, which went straight to my head.
Dinner had been at 10pm so it was after midnight by the time we left the restaurant. Most people were very sensibly heading for bed but for Eileen, Lubna, Fadilah, Saad and I, the night was just getting started. Eileen knew all the best places to go so we ended up in a very fancy club in Gangnam called Octagon. It was so fancy that we weren't even sure we'd be allowed in dressed as we were! There was a hugely long queue and it was mostly ridiculously beautiful and well-dressed people. Fortunately, the lure of charging us all about £25 each to enter proved too much for the doormen to resist so we made it inside.
This photo was meant to be of the sign for the club... I did consider cropping the man out of the photo but he was so smug about me apparently taking a picture of him that I thought I should leave him in. After I had sampled my first (and last) jagermeister ever and we had all done some very exuberant dancing, we did a lap of the club to see whether any celebrities were there (not that I'd have recognised any of them). There were private rooms all round the edge and at one point a man popped his head out, asked where I was from, and invited us in to his private party! He claimed to be the VP of Jaguar Landrover. We were given free champagne, which I promptly spilled everywhere. We didn't get in until about 4am.