By In basketball, essay, Korea

Away Games

The first time I questioned my decision to move from Hawaii to Korea was, not surprisingly, winter. Back home, cold doesn’t happen without consent. Not so in Korea. If my first winter in Seoul taught me anything about existential threats from the north, it’s that Siberian winds make daily life a lot more unlivable than any nuclear artillery. I took fatalistic comfort in knowing that if North Korea ever attacked, at least we’d all die together. I felt just as helplessly unprepared for the winter, but I had to face the cold on my own.

I was lucky, for that reason and others, that I knew Jay—that’s the Englishified version of Jong-il (yes, like Kim)—and that he was sympathetic to the plight of a warm-weather waygookin (foreigner) living in a blustery Asian city. I was luckier still that he’s a basketball fan and was willing to scoop me up from work to watch the showdown between Anyang KGC and the Seoul SK Knights in the Korean Basketball League. I hadn’t seen a live basketball game of any sort since college, but it seemed like a better way to deal with the miserable cold than my usual routine of hibernating in my apartment and overeating…

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