Seoul baseball, etc

More observations from here:

*I mean, fun is relative, but they do seem to be having more fun at baseball games here than in the U.S. There’s that over-the-top, everybody-must-be-drunk singing that they do, like they do in European soccer games. The fans have made up a song for every player. Well, I couldn’t understand what they were singing, but that’s what an American/Vietnamese/Korean (probably in that order according to overall influence) girl told me at the game after I happened upon some English-speaking people.

Jamsil Stadium, where the game was, is the stadium for both the Doosan Bears and LG Twins. This was a home game for LG, but both teams had big, loud cheering sections. Which made it kinda awkward, you would have thought, for the LG fans once their team fell behind 17-1. (Doosan is really, really good, I think basically every year.) But a lot of the LG fans stuck around till the bitter end, probably quite drunk, and were still singing their players’ songs whenever they came up to bat, even in the 9th inning. U.S. fans, almost 100%, would have been booing, and would have been about 30% likely to be throwing things on the field, and probably at least 1% likely to engage in at least one attack on an opposing fan.

game
Jamsil Stadium

A probably not unrelated fact to all this fun that they were having is that big Cass beers (brewed in Seoul) are like 3,000 won (under $3 U.S.). It’s like a big, plastic water bottle with beer in it. After you order, you grab small plastic cups from a stack for sharing. I have to think that if you made the price of beer that low at U.S. games, they’d be having more fun, too, but you’d probably unleash so much unruly behavior that they’d have to jack the price right back up again. cass

*Being immersed in a foreign culture is great and exhilarating and all, but the urge to communicate and be understood, and be understood on kind of a deep, subtle level — so that, you know, your jokes and pithy observations can be communicated — is an urge that never goes away. It’s like a primal need. And going even a few hours without having this need met is a little bit maddening. So I was relieved when, as I was sitting on the steps of the aisle (they allow this, no problem) in the cheap, general admission seats at the stadium, I saw a white dude sitting a few steps above me. Zach (Zack?) from Montreal. Ended up watching the game with him, his friend Maya (possibly not spelled that way) Vietnamese from Seattle, and another friend Salwa (definitely not spelled correctly and probably not remembered quite right) Korean but from Ecuador and L.A. They’re all early to mid 20s and either tend bar or (only at the moment, and only because of circumstances beyond her control, it was insisted) don’t work (Salwa). They’ve all seen a lot of Asia. They all made me feel pretty old but also young, to the point that I even teased them at Korean BBQ that, did they know they were hanging with an actual dad (bearing pictures which were then shown)? Which of course they didn’t mind because people in their early 20s traveling around Asia and tending bar aren’t really bothered by much.

group
Zack, Maya, Salwa (spelling extremely suspect), me

*There are some quality of life things here that it would be nice to have in the U.S.:

  • On the subway, a short jingle is played to announce the train’s arrival. Either a little sort of kids’ jingle, played on what sounds like a xylophone, or, oddly but not in an unpleasant way, a brass jingle that starts out sounding like the theme from Rocky. Also, the subways are mostly very clean, the ones I saw anyway. And there’s a clear barrier between the platform and the tracks (recently installed).

    IMG_4783
    Sinnonhyeon station
  • They seem to go out of their way to make quite a few of their skyscrapers aesthetically pleasing. Like this one:building
  • Eating is exceedingly communal here, especially when it’s Korean BBQ, with everybody sitting around as the food is cooked (the youngest is supposed to do the cooking.) Of course, people go out for hibachi in the U.S. but it’s certainly not the standard as Korean BBQ is here, and not as communal.

    korea bbq
    Korean BBQ in Gangnam district
  • I’m gonna exclude this from this list of things I’d like to see more of in the U.S.:

    intestines
    an unordered menu item

Okay, thanks for reading.

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