A soccer night out

Last week Thursday I had an appointment in Seoul in afternoon and thought it would be such a waste to come all the way without watching a soccer game with other fans. Since there is nothing going in Chuncheon and Germany was playing that very night I decided to stay out and go back to with the first train in the morning. Well, that was the initial plan.

After having dinner with a friend I met up with Katy, the other Korea correspondent of K-Colors whom I actually never met in person before. Since Katy has already been to the “Deutsches Haus” already we figured we’d try the “PLATOON Kunsthalle” in Gangnam for a change. There was no entrance fee although the German beer was quite expensive, but that wasn’t anything unexpected. There weren’t as many people as we thought and the screen was huge. The game was shown through a Korean channel, therefore the commentators spoke Korean and many of the foreigners present probably didn’t understand, but at least the broadcast was not delayed and no one told us in advance that a goal has already been achieved before we could see it for ourselves. I don’t watch soccer that often, so I can’t really judge but the game seemed kind of boring uneventful except for the time when one of the US players ran into the referee and another time when the exact same player crashed with a player of the same team. But in that way Katy and I had time to chat with each other and the friends who had joined us that night.

The game ended at 3am and most people went home afterwards because they still had to go to work later that day and needed some sleep. But I didn’t really have anything to do besides waiting for the first train which was 5.30am. A Korean friend of mine had told me that he would watch the Korean game at Gwanghwamun the same morning at 5am and I spontaneously decided to leave school be and watch the game with him. Why? Because I was pretty sure it would be my last chance to experience this kind of public viewing in Korea since the Korean team didn’t play so well before and it was very likely that the game against Belgium would be their last one. And I was right. Katy changed her mind as well and decided to join me, so we took a taxi from Gangnam to Gwanghwamun, met up with my friend and sat down in the middle of thousands of Korean fans. We were too far away from the stage to watch the game there but around the whole Plaza there were big TV screens, usually broadcasting commercials, that all showed the game this morning. Around 4am, one hour before the game started, Katy and I went in search of a toilet which we found in a faraway coffee shop, bought some canned beer and chicken, and equipped ourselves with fan accessories.

It was a lot of fun and a great experience to watch that game with so many other fans, although the mood declined as the game went on. Belgium was obviously the stronger team and as they scored many Koreans already left without watching the game till the end. Katy and I, however, hung in there till the end and cheered for the country that we both love so much, but unfortunately to no avail. As the game ended and all people went towards train station we decided to get ourselves some bagels for breakfast before going straight back to Chuncheon or, in Katy’s case, taking a shower and leaving for work. I was so tired that I almost fell asleep standing while waiting for my train, but it was worth it. I will never forget the fun I had during this soccer night out.