Sunday, March 19, 2006


Around noon today I heard a low, rumbling sound being carried on the wind in downtown Seoul. I immediately guessed what it was. Walking south towards City Hall, the crowds grew thicker. Giant TVs mounted on buildings, that normally were used to show ads, were instead tuned to the baseball game against Japan, broadcast live from Anaheim.

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but the World Baseball Classic has absolutely dominated the front pages of the newspapers here. The excitement is probably giving me a preview of what the World Cup is going to be like in a few months. As I strained to see the TV over the heads of all the people standing in front of me, I was able to make out all the important data: Japan 2, Korea 0, top of the 7th.

Then I went to Starbucks to read and study. The place is next to empty - apart from me, it's just one guy slumped in a chair and the 2 employees. This particular Starbucks has a history of being very quiet on weekends - it's a place I like to go if I just want to nurse my coffee with a book in front of me - but it's almost unreal how quiet it was.

After a while the stream of people walking away from the giant TV screens began to pick up. They didn't seem too happy. I guessed the outcome of the game.

Now I am in a PC room full of young guys playing computer games. They're probably the demographic who cares the most about achieving national pride through sports, and they don't seem too depressed. I guess Korea will recover.

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