14.166 Pungcheon Jangeo

Cycle 14 – Item 166

20 (Tue) June 2023

Pungcheon Jangeo


at Pungcheon Jangeo Maeul

-Jangji, Songpa, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with DJ and IZ, HL and family, HSK, DP

HL is in town.  My best friend from high school.  Starting in 9th grade, when we had both entered SIS as new students.  Though I’d like to think that we would’ve become friends anyway, the relationship was kick-started by us being among the handful of students who took public transportation to/from school, rather than the school bus (me, because my parents couldn’t afford the fees; him, because he lived in Suwon, where the school bus didn’t go).  Although a major drag in the mornings, we were better off in the afternoons, because we were free to do whatever once school was over, like getting a snack at one of the restaurants near campus.

After high school, we were in constant touch.  When I was at Cal for undergrad, he was at UCLA.  When I was in law school at USC, he was working in LA.  At his wedding, I was his best man.

But once I left the States after law school in 2003, we kinda lost touch.  I saw him once in 2007, as I was swinging through LA on my way to a research trip to Boston (when DJ was born prematurely).  Then, nearly nothing for 16 years, other than an occasional email or Zoom call.  When we visited LA in 2018, he was living in Northern California.

In the afternoon, we visited our alma mater – here, recreating a pose that he’d struck on his last visit, an homage to a class photo in our sophomore yearbook in which classmate MM is doing the same thing with a goofy grin on his face.

This visit to Korea is his first in 25 years. The previous visit was in 1998, just prior to his wedding, when he brought his fiancée J to show her around and meet his extended family.  He is joined this time with J again, as well as his son E and daughter K, both in Korea (in Asia) for the first time in their lives.

Clockwise from top left: JL, HL, DP, IZ, DJ, KL, EL, HSK

Given the proximity to SIS, I hosted them to dinner at the eel restaurant.  We were joined by HSK and DP, also members of our high school crew.  Everyone seemed to join the food, especially HL and family, who had never experienced eel in this form.

(See also HANSIK)


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