Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stories from Korea: Part I

Korean people are extremely animated and social. It was from this quality that even within a week, I was able to meet and interact with so many people. For example, on my second day in town, I took the cable car up to Namsan tower to catch the incredible view. On the way down, a young Korean man stopped me.

"Excuse me. My girlfriend wants to know if you are from Seattle. She says only people from Seattle have that bag."

I replied that I was from New York and that the style (Timbuk2) was widely popular in the States. We struck up a little conversation and shared about each other's background. He mentioned that he had worked with people in entertainment in Seoul and that I should send him a resume. We traded business cards and made plans to meet later.

The next evening, a Sunday night, we met up and he treated me to some delicious Korean BBQ. While we were chatting about the differences between Korean, Japanese, and American culture, three Japanese girls sat down at the table next to us. "Psssst," he whispered to me, "You should talk to them," perhaps curious to see if I could really speak or not. I leaned over and started chatting with them in Japanese.

It turned out that they all knew quite a bit of English so Jeong-Hwan was able to chime in without a problem (he also knew a little Japanese). At one point one of the girls asked me how we knew each other. I was just about to respond that I met him on the mountain with his girlfriend when Jeong-Hwan gave me a stern look, a glance traded down from generation to generation of male heirs, the infamous "Bro Code". From the quiet fire in his eyes alone, I knew exactly what he was communicating; "Don't tell them about my girlfriend." Some things are universal.

Jeong-Hwan and I asked the girls to join us for a drink so we all made plans to go for coffee. It was an awesome night spent chatting for hours well after the last subway. I think I made it back to where I was staying by 2AM. It was an incredible night not to be topped.
One Korean Baller, one American Baller-in-Training, and 3 J-Gals

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