Standing in the Rain since… 2006

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{ *Edited to Add 1/27/2013: }

Holy cow, everybody. I wrote my “Standing in the Rain” story below in January 2010, when our Cloud USA media blog went live. And now here we are, 6,000 posts, 42,000 comments, 2 million page views, and three years later, just past our 3rd Anniversary.

Happy 2K13!

Firstly, let me thank YOU, World and Korean Cloud sisters, Rain fans, and supporters, for coming here regularly and helping make this not just a promotional site for Rain and meeting place for English-speaking fans, but a warm, happy home. A community with heart. We couldn’t have done that without your belief in us and your unflagging love for Jung JiHoon. When things get rough behind the scenes and we’re sick, or overwhelmed, or just really tired, thinking of him and thinking of you all helps us find that strength to keep on pushin’. And you know how it is with Clouds—all we need sometimes is to get that second wind, and it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So much has happened in my life since 2010. I’ve already been a caretaker for my family members with illnesses for several years, and some of you know that I lost my baby brother in 2008 to his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Well, in January 2011, my mother lost her long battle with multiple myeloma and breast cancer. I was blessed to be with both of them when they passed. It’s been really hard. We were never parted in life and I miss them both so much. My father’s condition, however, has improved by leaps and bounds since his brain tumor was removed and his paralysis was overcome. With the exception of the crazy things that come along with age, he’s puttering along well. My brother Jim is a great team player when it comes to Dad and is always there to back me up when he can, God bless him.

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My son has begun a brand new era in his life. He’s a national champion and world champion in competitive cheerleading, and after a long, exciting career, has decided that this will be his last year as an elite competitor. After this season ends in April, he’ll be retiring and concentrating on his career as an elite coach for the sport, and beginning his studies into sports medicine. He got engaged last summer, and is the proud father of his first child, a bouncing one-month old baby boy. (Yes, that makes me a Glam-mother for the first time! *posing for the paparazzi* LOL)

I finally built an author website for myself and got it up and running. Now I’ve got to get publishers interested in selling my novels. Keep wishing me luck!

Rain has pretty much gone through hell this year, but you know what? He’s got the armor plating and the resilience to make it through this ridiculous storm just like all the other monsoons he left behind. He has inspired me in my everyday life to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what. Whether it’s a physical trial, or a personal impasse, or an unfair attack from someone out of left field, whatever it is, I ask myself, What would Rain do? How would Rain act in order to be a good reflection on his Clouds? The answer has never failed to steer me right and bring me peace of mind.

Whooooo let the Dawgs out? kekeke ;) ^@@^

Whooooo let the Dawgs out? kekeke 😉 ^@@^

I hope you’re letting him bring you peace of mind as well, as you walk through your lives.

May we always be a good reflection on him. May we always be united in him. Here’s to July 10, 2013 and the next era of Jung JiHoon Rain.

His natural talents in the entertainment world will continue to be a sight to behold.

Stephe ^@@^ 

°     °     °     °     °

{ ORIGINAL POST 1/21/2010: }

Annyeonghaseyo…!  Nae ileum-eun Stephe ibnida.. I hope you’re all well today.  The name’s Stephe.

I’ll never forget that fateful day in 2005 (though I don’t quite remember the season, seeing as my mind blanked and left me with partial memory the second it happened)…

I had just finished watching my favorite Korean drama that night (King Dae JoYoung) on the now-defunct AZN (the Asian American Channel), and the cool thing about AZN was that, instead of getting commercials between programs, viewers got the latest music videos from the hottest stars across Asia.  So a Music Break comes on and I get up from the sofa to go into the kitchen for something or other, when suddenly I hear women screaming as if they are being killed and in my peripheral vision I see this:

I stopped in my tracks, backed up, and stared sideways at the intriguing screen shot, which abruptly dissolved into this on my television:

And I remember saying—shouting?—out loud: “Who in the hell is that?”

First of all, I had never seen an Asian man with his hair corn-rowed.  Secondly, while I was raised completely non-prejudiced and had never been one for stereotyping people, I had never seen an Asian man with a) that kind of fashion sense, b) that kind of body, and c) that kind of dancing skill.  The way he moved—even walking across the stage—was so on the verge of being obscene, the man should have been in jail.  He was liquid, like water, with a charisma and a huge stage presence that pulled you right in.  (God, how many people were in that arena?)  Thirdly, he sounded like a Brotha (black guy), which was just unheard of.  An Asian singer throwing around verbal and physical R&B swagger?  Wha—?  Add ridiculously cute to all that, and well, there you go.

I had never in my life seen anything even remotely like him.

My brother (a real Brotha) came strolling into the living room and was like, “Why are you yelling?”

Without looking at him, I said, “Have you ever seen sex walking?” and jabbed my finger at the television.  He took that as his cue to turn around and leave.

I can’t tell you how many evenings I waited for and enjoyed that concert footage between programs (I didn’t have the Internet at the time, and those were the days before DVR, but AZN never let me down).  And then, without warning, the videos disappeared and were replaced with this:

And that pretty much did it. “Who is this guy REALLY?” My brain just flat-lined. EVERY pop entertainer/singer/dancer on the planet that was ringing my bell immediately drained from my mind, never to return. (Do not ask me to explain this. I can’t.) I had already taken the hook with “Na.” “It’s Raining” made darned sure I swallowed it.

Shortly thereafter, I finally got the Internet at home, and happened upon an unimaginably beautiful song track called “Escaping The Sun”, and was like, Why is that black guy singing in Korean?  Hahaha—oh crap, is that—?!

I looked up the actual video. Yeah, it was.  Rain. GAME OVER.

I haven’t come in out of the Rain since.  And why should I?  Life is short and then you die.  When you find something that makes your heart skip, unless it is illegal or will leave you morally bankrupt, why not indulge to your heart’s desire?

°

Music has always been vital to my psyche.  It feeds me almost as much as my writing does (I’ve written alternate Earth fantasy, contemporary and speculative fiction, and a bit of sci-fi for several years now, and I’m being considered for publication by a major NY fantasy house).  It flips a special switch on the right side of my brain that makes me even more creative, and soothes my savage beast.  And it’s not just about the lyrics—the voice, the tone and underlying emotion, make all the difference to me.  Rain’s deep, husky smoothness, even his speaking voice, turns my on/off switch into a 180-degree dimmer.  Some of the most gorgeous songs in the world come out of that man’s mouth, and the amount of endorphins he releases into my gray matter is off the charts.  (For all I know, me being that high constitutes a felony.)  The way he makes me catch a beat and dance around a room is insane.

No—what’s insane is that I am of African American and Native American descent, and he has me speaking Korean.

Multi-talented, sexy, humble, and passionate are a powerful combination, and over the years, the many facets of Rain’s character have drawn me to him even more.  I was born stubborn enough to continue my personal writing journey toward success without ever giving up, but it is motivating indeed to see that a Good Guy did finish first.  And as the single parent of a son who suffered growing up because we were poor, how could I not be moved by Rain’s suffering as a child?  How could the tragic way he watched his mother die right in front of him, from a disease that could have been managed but for their extreme poverty, not fail to rip my heart out?  And how could I not admire the way Rain used all of his inner demons to carve out the amazing empire he sits on top of today, rather than to hurt everyone around him?

There were many times when medications I needed had to go by the wayside so that my son could eat, or so that he could get treatment and such, because your child always comes first.  Always.  Those times come screaming back into my mind every now and then, and I can’t help thinking of how lucky my son is… how blessed he is to have not lost me during those precarious times, the way Rain lost his mother because of no medication.  I’m lucky too—I’m here to watch my son live well in his success.  Mrs. Jung is gone.  I never knew her… but my heart hurts for her nonetheless.

Personally, I think Rain and my son (who is now an elite athlete and coach) both work themselves way too hard, and I don’t know how they keep up the pace without collapsing.  But I do understand the emotional burdens that drive their incredible discipline.  The wisdoms that he and my son have to share, the way they can transition through life, the way they make children believe in themselves… is priceless.  How they find joy in the simplest things, and how mindful they are of others, is inspiring.

Neither man is perfect.  They make mistakes just like everyone else.  But they’ll make wonderful fathers someday—I’ll bet money on that, and I’m not a gambler.

°

I said all of that to say this:

I don’t believe in people very easily—particularly celebrities.  But I believe in this young man named Jung Ji-Hoon, singer, dancer, actor, clothing designer, choreographer, producer, and humanitarian.  Anyone with the compassion, work ethic, and character that he has shown deserves to succeed in every way humanly possible.  A man who has such high regard for his fans deserves the devotion they give him.  There are two reasons he works so hard to this day—to never be hungry again, and the promise he made to his late mother.  How can you not admire that?

Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire, or another Michael Jackson, or another Elvis… there will never be another Rain.

He will be one of the immortals.  One of a kind.

— Stephe ^@@^

StepheThornton.com

» To read Terri’s “Standing In The Rain Since… 2009,” click HERE.

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10 Responses to “Standing in the Rain since… 2006”

  1. You got me with ‘sex walking’ sister! LOL!

    Like

  2. Yep I think the universal response when a woman sees Rain for the first time on her computer screen is “Who da hell is that?” In my case when I first saw Rain perform on YouTube and I saw him pump those hips for the first time my response was more like “What daaaaaa helllllllllll?” . LOL. Thanks for what you do on Cloud USA.

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  3. gracias por la informacion si podria ser en español seria excelente

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  4. Well Steph, well said/written! I’m not someone who can write as well as you but I really hope one day Rain continue his life as any human being, with a loving wife by his side and children to complete the circle. They would being him happiness just like how he gave happiness to Clouds every where!

    Like

  5. Stephe,
    It is wonderful to know how Rain has inspired you. Like you he brought great joy and excitment to my life. He has a magic and beauty not seen often in the world.
    Like you I believe he deserves world wide recognition. Let’s all work together to see that happens.

    Like

  6. […] Stephe’s story […]

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