June 25th, 2002


Connecting With My Roots, The K-Town Way

Korea woulda, shoulda, coulda lost that game against Spain. But Destiny with a big-ass "D" thought otherwise, and the team won.

As soon as the decisive penalty kick slammed into the net, I stood up and raised both my fists as if I was the man who made the winning shot. Me, in my "Be the Reds" t-shirt and matching bandana, not feeling the slightest bit gay. Lord knows when I’ll ever be this goofy about fucking soccer again.

Driving through K-Town afterwards was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The place had turned into a whole ‘nother planet. A planet where everyone wore the same red shirt, waved the same flag, and honked the same cheer on their cars’ horns. "Dae Han Min Gook!" (honk, honk, honk, honk, honk - honk!) And everybody on this planet absolutely loved everybody. As my car inched its way through the massive parade of traffic going up and down Western Boulevard, I was high-fiving complete strangers in other vehicles.

I don’t know when I’ll ever be around this many uniformly ecstatic people. Maybe when we capture bin Laden and have him publicly ass-kicked by a long line of World Trade Center survivors.

We partied like this ‘til 5 in the morning. And when our euphoria was totally expended, I passed out.

It was somebody’s birthday today. All week there were so many emails flying around from various people telling us about whose birthday was being celebrated that I just said "fuck it" and showed up at Karnak.

Our friends and acquaintances were scattered throughout the joint, but I sat at Chuck’s table. Chuck was one of the birthday people, although his birthday was last week but was somehow scheduled to be celebrated next week with another friend. See how confusing this birthday crap is? It just made me want to drink.

Granted, just being able to spell my name correctly is reason enough for me to imbibe. But wouldn’t you know it: On our table was a bottle of Johnny Fricking Walker. Black Label is like my alcohol Terminator, relentlessly hunting me down all the way from Shanghai. It … just … won’t … quit.

Exaggerated attempt at humor aside, I had just spent two straight weeks partying in China, and the last thing I wanted to do was do shots. Especially J Black shots. No more partying for this boy. I was just going to sit there and engage in thought-provoking, completely sober conversations.

This lasted, oh, about two minutes. Wutchyagunnadoo? It was my friends’ birthday. Not drinking alcohol in their honor would’ve been just gauche. And as you are well aware, I’m all about being courteous. Besides doing that and dancing, the rest of the evening was spent hopping from table to table, and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in what seemed like ages.

As we were having a good time, I realized something. Asian chicks in LA are fucking hot. Maybe it’s because I’d been exposed to weeks of the Shanghai female ideal: tall, elegant, and butt-ass thin. Not so in this city. Curves galore, baby. Not J Lo-type curves where you can put your encyclopedia collection on their shelf-like asses (C’mon, we’re talking about Asian people here. We’re an ass-less race), but impressive nonetheless. At that very moment, I felt so fortunate to be back in the land of 36-24-36. USA! USA!