25 (Tue) January 2011
at Gibun Joge
-Sinchon, Seodaemun, Seoul, Korea-
with KIT, LHS, MtG
Anju is any food item served as an accompaniment to booze. Along with booze, Koreans almost always eat some sort of anju. Most restaurants and drinking establishments make the majority of their profits from anju sales, given the relatively cheap cost of alcohol (e.g., 2,500 won for a 500-cc mug of draught beer). In fact, many places won’t even serve alcohol without an order of anju. The exceptions to this general rule are western-style bars that primarily sell imported beer, wine, whisky, and other hard liquor at exorbitant prices, which offer free anju in the form of peanuts or popcorn or crackers.
Dubu kimchi is arguably more popular as an anju than as part of a meal. Works well both with beer and soju.
This evening, we got together to watch the soccer match between Korea and Japan in semi-finals of the Asian Cup.
Another thing about most/many restaurants and drinking establishments is that they have large televisions or projectors for showing international sporting events (e.g, Olympics, World Cup) featuring the national team. For the more important events, the better places are packed with fans who have either reserved a table or arrived hours ahead of time. Korea vs. Japan, regardless of the sport or the stakes involved, is always a big deal.
It was a last-minute thing for us, so we were lucky just to get a seat anywhere with a line of sight to the screen.
The game was one of the most unusual I’ve ever seen. Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, Japan went ahead 2-1 in the first 15-minute overtime, but Korea equalized at the 14:59 mark in the second overtime, literally at the last second. Amazing. We couldn’t stop screaming in celebration. My wife, sleeping at home at the time (around 12:30 AM), was abruptly awoken by all the screaming from the neighbors. Then, in the penalty shootout, Korea missed the first three attempts. Japan also missed their first, then scored the next three, mathematically eliminating the need for Korea to attempt fourth and fifth shots. Not only did one team fail completely but both teams combined for 3 out of 7. Strange.
We all went home rather subdued, voices rendered hoarse for nothing. Ironically, the name of the bar, Gibun Joge (기분좋게), is something of an adverb that loosely translates to “happily” or “in good spirits.”