We followed James up the Omokkyo Station exit number One which opened up in front of a 24-hour convenience store. "Stop here for some beers," James advised. "The party's just down that sidestreet. Go in that door there by that full-sized cardboard Korean Air Flight Attendant. Up to the third floor above that billiard hall and that's it, walk right in."
Inside the 24-hour store JT and I couldn't decide between Cass, Hite, or OB Lager (the Budweiser of Korea). "Remember that time you went to Oregon and brought back that box of Weinhards for my birthday because we couldn't get it where we lived yet?" JT asked.
"Let's get OB Lager," he suggested. "There's this commercial on TV for OB Lager with this funny guy. I don't know what he says or anything, but it's funny and the kids love it."
"OK," I agreed.
At the door to the party was a huge pile of shoes so big the door wouldn't shut all the way. We fought our way through it and went in. The apartment was mostly filled with Canadians with only a few Koreans. James was on the couch next to a tall Korean beauty. Both were laughing and drinking. I got close enough to hear James trying out his unstrong Korean on her. JT came up, "I'm better looking than that guy and he's got Korean Love. See he speaks Korean. That's all it takes, I know it."
"He's a geek. Maybe Korean babes dig geeks," I offered. "I know geeks, you're no geek. Besides I just heard him ask her old she was by using 연세 for age not 나이. 연세 is only for older people. His Korean is not so strong as it seems."
"She laughed," JT pointed out.
"True." She had laughed, but I wasn't sure if it was because James's blunder was cute, or because she was being polite, or if she was just drunk. Could have been a combo of all three.
Four hours and two more trips to the convenience store later, the OB Lagers gave JT the courage he needed to spark up some conversation with one of the three Korean girls at the party. JT’s cheeks always get a little flushed when he’s drinking, and he’s quite proud of the fact that he’s a lightweight. His eyelids sag and his grin shows the top row of his cosmetic teeth. I’ve seen that look a thousand times and it always makes me laugh. He thinks it’s irresistible. He really needs to get that level of self-confidence back full time. Too bad the girl he is hitting on is living in this very apartment with the Canadian guy hosting the party, who by the way, is sitting with a scowl on the other side of her from JT.
Being a Love Finder is going to be a full-time job...