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2009-04-10 North vs South Korea: World Cup Stadium

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South Korean fans at the World Cup Stadium

*Note: While this entry is posted on April 11th, it was actually experienced on April 1st. Today (April 1st) I got the awesome experience of seeing North and South Korea duke it out in World Cup Stadium! While both of them would have qualified for the World Cup, this was a battle for the top ranking in the Asia league, but there were obvious historical and political tensions underscoring the atmosphere of the match. Especially in light of N. Korea's threat of launching a missile/satellite (whichever, you pick), the game's tensions were running fairly high. I will admit: the actual soccer playing wasn't the most interesting. The players kept getting injured, so there were constant lulls in the action, and the fact that S. Korea kept shooting but kept missing got more and more frustrating each time. What I found extremely interesting was the fact that there were no North Korean fans allowed in the stadium. It must have been really hard of the N. Korean team to play with an entire stadium cheering against them: at least, I would have found it hard to focus. At the same time, seeing a stadium FULL of S. Korean fans was definitely a sight I'll never forget. What was fun, though, was teaching Koreans the wave. At least, the Koreans in our section didn't know the wave, so we got to teach them, and over the span of about half the game, we got the ENTIRE stadium into it. So, I can now honestly say: I started a wave. With the rest of the I-House group, of course, but who's looking at those details? There were some old Korean men (harabuhjees) sitting next to me, and they kept laughing at how we were doing the wave and cheering with the Korean songs. They seemed to really appreciate it, though: I've noticed that Koreans are a very patriotic people, so when they see foreigners appreciating Korean culture, they are very happy. I wish that Americans were more like that. I feel like in America, if you don't speak perfect English, you are looked down upon instead of praised for learning a second language. In Korea, even when I use my broken (and probably incorrect) Korean, I get praised for my "good Korean." I wonder why that is: is it our sense of superiority compared to the rest of the world? Maybe. Not to bash the U.S., but I've just noticed that trend regarding second languages. Oh, and of course, the game result: in the last three minutes, South Korea scored a goal, so we won! Final score: 1-0 to S. Korea. -Jenny

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