The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

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The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Holyjoe » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:37 pm

It's the question that most Korean football fans want to know, and almost every single foreign import has been asked it at one point or other during their stay in Korea - there have been loads of hard-hitting interviews with foreign players down the years regarding how well they're settling into life in Korea so it's about time we had a thread to keep them all together.

Can't find the great one where Senol Gunes talked about and gave directions to his favourite Itaewon kebab street stall, that was a good one, and just a couple of weeks ago Daegu boss Moacir Pereira announced to everyone that he liked ramyeon and kimchi which is nice to know.

Anyway there have been a couple of articles in the topic of foreign players adjusting to the K-League published in recent days so might as well stick them in here:

POSCO : Adjusting to K-League was no problem, says Steelers striker Zicu
04/19/2012

Ianis Zicu, nicknamed the Romanian Express in Korea, has gained a reputation for being the Steelers` go-to striker, emerging as the team`s top scorer by hitting the mark in every game since the opening of the K-League season this year. He rivals Lee Dong-gook of the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as the top scorer in the league.

Zicu`s skill overshadows others in terms of purity. He has appeared as a replacement player in three out of five games. He scored goals in two of those games, despite aggregate playing time of only 57 minutes. He has outstanding shooting skills, having hit the net on five of his 10 shots in his five appearances.

The Steelers` match with Seongnam Ilwha on April 8 highlighted Zicu`s importance to the team. He scored a goal less than 2 minutes after coming off the bench as a replacement. Keeping a watchful eye on Ko Moo-yul`s penetration, he received the ball and scored the goal with composure. Both of his shots in the Seongnam match were counted as shots on goal.

``He`s an extremely quick thinker. His passes outmaneuver others and he is very decisive,`` said Manager Hwang Sun-hong. ``His position and tactics make it hard for him to play in the first half, but he is a player that I can rely on to do well at any time.``

Zicu expressed his opinion that the team`s success on the field is more important to him than personal playing time. ``It`s not important whether I play 10 or 90 minutes. I don`t get to decide how long I play. What matters to me is whether my team wins,`` he said in an interview with Sportal Korea after the Seongnam match.

Thanks to Zicu, the Pohang Steelers is undefeated in five consecutive matches, including two draws. The Steelers now ranks fifth in the league.

Zicu, a previous Romanian national team player, has also suited up for Inter Milan (2004-2005), Dinamo Bucuresti (2007-2010) and last year played for CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria. Known there as a star scorer, notching 13 goals in 15 matches, Zicu joined the Steelers in January this year. When asked about the secret to his successful adjustment to the East Asian game, Zicu replied, ``Soccer is the same everywhere. The rules and the methods are all the same. The club is very accommodating, and I`m happy.``

He has proven to be versatile positionally. Manager Hwang uses two main striker tactics alternatively by positioning Park Sung-ho as the main striker and Zicu as the shadow striker.


Foreign K-League players adapt to Korean life on and off the field
20/04/12

When Bas van den Brink arrived in South Korea last year to join the K-League, the Dutchman was still recovering slowly from an ankle injury. His new club, Busan IPark, wanted to show him to the fans quickly. The defender, who came from the more laid-back environs of the Australian league, apparently returned to action too soon and did not impress. Soon, his contract was canceled and he returned down under.

It was a sharp lesson in adapting to a new culture, one quite different in Korea, according to foreign players.

Since becoming a K-League player, Derek Asamoah, 30, a Ghanaian international now with K-league's Pohang Steelers, trains harder and more often than ever before. He acknowledges that he is prepared to train and play even when he is not at his optimal condition because in Korea, players often go that extra yard for the team.

"Before there were certain injuries or pains that I was not willing to play through or train through, but now that has changed a little," says Asamoah, who has spent much of his career in England.

"There have been times when I wasn't feeling great or just wanted a day off but kept going and kept training. It is the way things are, players work tirelessly here. There is much less time off and you are playing for the good of the club and everything is geared towards that."

From pre-match meals to locker room culture, foreign imports, who in the 2012 season come from such countries as Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Belgium, Australia, Japan, Montenegro and Ghana, describe an environment that has its good side and bad.

"In Korea, the players say little," says Dzenan Radoncic of Suwon Bluewings. “Sometimes I keep quiet, too, but sometimes I like to talk because I want to improve as much as I can and I want to see my team improve, too."

"And if I see something that somebody else is missing then I mention it to the coach. It is easier for foreign players though, they have more freedom and leeway to act in this way," he says.

Reports of locker room unrest or divisions at a club are virtually unheard of in Korea in comparison to many European countries.

Foreign players learn that in Korea, communication at clubs generally travels in one direction: top down.

"The coaches here are more like your boss whereas in Europe, some of them can almost be your friend and you can talk to them about whatever you want," Asaomoah notes. "There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages. The Korean way ensures that things get done when they need to be done. You can't express yourself. I tried a few times when I was new here but I just got used to the idea that you can't chat to the boss.”

One aspect that every overseas player appreciates is the hugely supportive fans in K-League stadiums. Win, lose or tie, the people who come to watch applaud their heroes. Some imports talk of occasional embarrassment at the practice of the entire team going to their fans after the match to bow in unison, even after a severe defeat. But in the main, it is a welcome part of Korean soccer.

"The fans are definitely a big difference, if you play in Europe and lose, you get jeered and abused but here that never happens and that's a good thing, especially for the players," says Radoncic.

The higher percentage of female fans and families at K-League games than in Europe may explain the friendlier atmosphere, according to Asamoah. "In Europe, they really let you know if they think you haven't done well and you get jeered and abused. To be honest, I think that it is great that the fans cheer us even when we play badly, but I miss the tense atmosphere of European football."

As well as bowing to the players, it is also customary for players who have been substituted from games to, as they leave the field, bow to those still in action and bow to the fans. Most from overseas also appreciate this custom although Eninho of Jeonbuk Motors had to apologize to fans for forgetting to do so in 2011.

Radoncic, who hails from Montenegro, is one of the longest-serving foreign players in the league. He first arrived in 2004 to play for Incheon United yet, the pre-match meal is one of the few soccer habits here he chooses not to follow.

"The pre-match meal is just normal Korean food like jjigae (soup) with rice, the same as the players eat every day. For me, it was difficult to adapt to that before the game. I like to eat spaghetti or something like that," he says. "Foreign players can order something different if they want. In Europe, clubs often have nutritionists who monitor and advise with that kind of thing. It is not so common here and that could be improved upon."

But players do adapt, as did Asamoah, who is playing his second season in the K-League. Training with players who work tirelessly isn't easy, he says, "but I would recommend it to players in Europe. If you can come here and adapt on and off the pitch, you will become a much better and stronger player. There is a lot to learn.”

"I am like a Korean player now," he laughs.

Now at his third club in the league, Radoncic has adapted so well to South Korea that he is in the process of applying to become a citizen of the country.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby eujin » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:56 pm

Thanks to Zicu, the Pohang Steelers is undefeated in five consecutive matches, including two draws. The Steelers now ranks fifth in the league.

Sounds good to me. For a shares trading site some of their news doesn't seem very up-to-date.

``He`s an extremely quick thinker. His passes outmaneuver others and he is very decisive,`` said Manager Hwang Sun-hong. ``His position and tactics make it hard for him to play in the first half, but he is a player that I can rely on to do well at any time.``

...at any time except the first half apparently. This is a new one for me. How can a player have position and tactics that make it hard to play in the first half? Are Hwang's tactics built around the concept of not scoring in the first half?

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby anamerican » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:00 am

Maybe the coaches don't have to take a lie detector test about match rigging.

Naturally, every choice of the coach is a direct effort to rig the match. Every change in personel.
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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Tomzep » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:05 am

I think you see it with Molina too, much more effective in the second half. Teams start games ery defensive and organised, compressing the space between the midfield and defence making it hard to find room. During the second half teams either need to begin to attack more creating more room or they are tiring and find it hard to maintain the level of performance and organsation allowing the likes of Zicu and Molina to find more space. That said id still start him as he can still have a positive effet on the first half it just may bea little tougher. It also puts pressur eon him to quickly get intot he rhythm of a match and make something happen in just 45 minutes
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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby eujin » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:31 pm

Tomzep wrote: It also puts pressur eon him to quickly get intot he rhythm of a match and make something happen in just 45 minutes

More like 4 minutes in a lot of matches.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Holyjoe » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:41 pm

Bogdan Milic said he crapped it when the police told him to get off the roads for a Civil Defence Drill, Korean taxi drivers are nuts and Chuva ordered jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk at his housewarming party. Exciting times in Gwangju then.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Holyjoe » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:45 pm

From Korea.net:

Brazilian footballers talk Korea
Apr 27, 2012

On the roster of the 15 teams in the Korea Professional Football League (K-League), Korea's most prestigious football league and the first professional league to be established in Asia, it is not difficult to find names of foreign players. Not only do these players possess unique playing styles that distinguish them on the field, but they also come from different cultures with different languages and customs. Though their backgrounds vary, what these players have in common is the experience of adapting to Korea and its culture.

Numerous foreign football players active in Korea have expressed their affection for Korea, but for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC's midfielders Enio and Luiz Henrique, playing their fifth and sixth seasons in the K-league, respectively, Korea means much more. Over the years, these Brazilian shooting stars have shown their adaptability both on and off the field. With their contributions, Jeonbuk began a winning streak that included securing the K-league championship title in 2009 and 2011. Despite a weak start to the current season, Jeonbuk is continuing its offensive-oriented tactic called ”Dakgong” (keep quiet and just attack) in order to bring home their third championship title. Korea.net interviewed the two pivotal figures of "Dakgong" about their journeys from their homeland to Korea.

Teamwork in Korean football and Korean tradition

Q: What was it like adapting to Korea when you first arrived? Were there any difficulties that arose due to cultural differences?

Enio: It is certain that Korean culture differs from Brazilian culture in many aspects. Personally, however, I didn't have any difficulties adjusting to these differences. I thought that, as a foreigner and a recipient of Korean culture and Korean-style football, it is my responsibility to get used to it all. But it was quite challenging in the beginning -- the cold weather and the conditions on the field that differ from those in Brazil affected my performance.

Luiz: As Enio explained, it was less a challenge to adjust myself to Korean culture, but the cold temperature that drops very low in winter and the short turf that influences your passing made it difficult to fully prove myself on the field. Moreover, Korean football has its own unique style and getting a firm grasp of it also took some time.

Q: Can you explain what you see as the unique characteristics of Korean football?

Enio: The most distinguishing difference is that Korean players are physically strong. It is easy to notice that they cover greater distances compared to Brazilian players. But in Brazil, more emphasis is given to individual abilities, such as passing and technique in general.

Luiz: I agree with Enio. Brazilian football is based on individual technique, but Korean football places more emphasis on physical strength and stamina. In addition, instead of being about proving individual skills on the field, Korean football is more team-oriented. Teamwork, I think, is the underpinning piece of Korean football culture and tradition.

Building relationships with teammates and fans: “It’s like being in a big family”

Q: How do you communicate with your teammates, on and off the field? Have you come up against any language barriers?

Enio: Undoubtedly, being able to speak Korean is very important. However, in my opinion, you just need to have time to build up mutual trust and confidence. Over the years we have developed trust on and off the field, so fluency in Korean is not a necessity.

Luiz: Being a football player means, I believe, having a larger family. During the season, we spend more time with our teammates, because we are travelling a lot. Since we share the same memories of the past and present, we don't even need spoken words to understand each other. It's like being in a big family.

Q: As you know, Korean collective culture upholds a strict hierarchical structure according to age. Was this tradition a challenge to get used to?

Enio: I don't think it is much of a challenge to overcome. It is evident that there are cultural differences that shape cultural identity, but in my case, it was rather a joy to learn about a culture that shows respect towards others. Also, already having experienced Korean culture in 2003 in Suwon helped me to have a smoother transition into Korean culture in 2007 with Daegu FC.

Luiz: I must admit that my teammates enthusiastically helped me to learn about different aspects of Korean culture. As Enio mentioned, it was fun to learn how to treat and address older people and teammates. I don't necessarily consider it a cultural difference, though, because an attitude of respect toward others is a universal norm.

Q: It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that football players live on the support and love of their fans. What do you think about your Korean fans and fan culture? Are there any fans who are particularly special to you?

Enio: When I stand on the field before our fans in Korea, I often get the feeling that they respect me. Honestly, in Brazil, football players are judged by their performance and results, so when we fall short of the fans’ expectations, we often find ourselves facing criticism. Of course, this is the essence of sports. In comparison, however, I think Korean fans have more patience, and this is based on their trust in their players. It has already been six years since I have played in the K-League and I have seen a lot of the growing fan culture. The most remarkable moment I had in was when we lost the final match against Al-Assad in the AFC Champions League last year. Despite the disappointing loss, I saw tears falling down the faces of some of our supporters. They were tears of affection for the club and the players.

Luiz: It is true that we received much love and care from the fans in Brazil but at the same time, pressure to produce better performances and results is embedded in their support. Winning is also important for our Korean fans but I have never considered it the most important factor in their affection for the club and players. I have one fan in Jeonbuk who dresses up on every match day in gear with my name. As a player on the field, receiving such love is the source of greater motivation to excel.

“Korean culture is a part of our identities”

Q: Getting balanced nutrition is very important for football players. How is Korean cuisine in this respect?

Enio: Like dolsot bibimbap, kimchi jjigae, samgyeopsal, and sogogi (beef), there are various Korean foods I like. It is now so natural to have three Korean meals a day, and it is a good diet that helps athletes to perform well. But I don't think I am courageous enough to try raw things such as sannakji (live octopus) or yukhoe (raw beef).

Luiz: I don't think there is any Korean food that I don't like. My favorites are of course galbitang and all kinds of jjigae. Also I love ramyeon for snacks. To be honest, the distinct taste and smell of Korean food made me hesitant to try it at first, but now I consider myself a great fan.

Q: How do you spend your free time in Korea? Have you been to any cultural landmarks?

Enio: I have been to Jeonju Hanok village several times and I also enjoy going to traditional places in Seoul with my family. Recently, I visited Gwanghwamun and Gyeongbokgung with my parents. They purchased a bunch of classical figurines in Hanbok to take back to Brazil.

Luiz: We have visited several tourist destinations together with our wives, who are quite close. My wife and I enjoy taking photographs. I think it would be exciting to take a photo with my wife together in Hanbok.

Q: What brought you to Korea? What factors influenced you in your decision to come to Korea?

Enio: I came across the opportunity by chance. When I first came to Suwon in 2003, I was young and inexperienced and didn't even get a chance to show myself properly as a player. When I returned to Korea in 2007, I was determined to establish myself on the Korean stage. I am happy to be with Jeonbuk Motors at the present. It was an especially great honor for me to be a part of the Championship Cup wins, the first in Jeonbuk's history.

Luiz: My path has been similar to Enio's. I also began my career in Suwon in 2008 but found it hard to qualify for games and eventually returned to Brazil. Afterwards, though, I got an offer from Jeonbuk, and I am now enjoying my life here in my green uniform. Looking back, I can say my experience in Suwon was necessary to build me up and bring me to where I am now.

Q: Enio, it's been reported often in the press that you are interested in becoming a naturalized Korean citizen. Could you give us your side of the story?

Enio: My reasons for wanting to naturalize are simple. I love Korea, it is where my family feels comfortable, and it is the birthplace and home country of my daughter. I just feel happy where I am now, and I do not want to disrupt this life. I sometimes get in touch with my friends in Brazil who returned there from Korea. When they tell me how much they miss Korea, I feel proud to be here.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Tomzep » Tue May 01, 2012 1:56 pm

Holyjoe wrote:Bogdan Milic said he crapped it when the police told him to get off the roads for a Civil Defence Drill, Korean taxi drivers are nuts and Chuva ordered jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk at his housewarming party. Exciting times in Gwangju then.


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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby SaintsCanada » Tue May 01, 2012 2:29 pm

Holyjoe wrote:Bogdan Milic said he crapped it when the police told him to get off the roads for a Civil Defence Drill, Korean taxi drivers are nuts and Chuva ordered jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk at his housewarming party. Exciting times in Gwangju then.


Jjajangmyeon isn't even Korean.
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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby SteveW » Tue May 01, 2012 6:56 pm

SaintsCanada wrote:
Holyjoe wrote:Bogdan Milic said he crapped it when the police told him to get off the roads for a Civil Defence Drill, Korean taxi drivers are nuts and Chuva ordered jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk at his housewarming party. Exciting times in Gwangju then.


Jjajangmyeon isn't even Korean.


Nor for that matter is tangsuyuk :p

We'll let him off though.
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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Holyjoe » Wed May 02, 2012 6:38 am

Bogdan we can forgive as he's relatively new to the country, but Chuva should have known better than to order Chinese food for the party... hope he at least got a bowl of kimchi jjigae or a few rolls of kimbap to balance things up a bit. Perhaps he got one of those fresh cream, sponge, fruit and tomato cakes that Tous Les Jours are famous for?

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Holyjoe » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:51 am

The kimchi gods must have punished Chuva for that Chinese food faux pas as he's announced he's had to quit the game through injury. He managed just three games for Gwangju since joining earlier this year, but his overall K-League record of 53 goals and 24 assists in 135 matches makes him one of the league's more successful imports, particularly as he didn't really play for very long at any of the bigger clubs - he had a year with Pohang in 2011 but played for Gwangju FC, Chunnam and Daejeon during the rest of his time in Korea.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby eujin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:08 am

Holyjoe wrote:The kimchi gods must have punished Chuva for that Chinese food faux pas as he's announced he's had to quit the game through injury. He managed just three games for Gwangju since joining earlier this year, but his overall K-League record of 53 goals and 24 assists in 135 matches makes him one of the league's more successful imports, particularly as he didn't really play for very long at any of the bigger clubs - he had a year with Pohang in 2011 but played for Gwangju FC, Chunnam and Daejeon during the rest of his time in Korea.
Holyjoe wrote:The kimchi gods must have punished Chuva for that Chinese food faux pas as he's announced he's had to quit the game through injury. He managed just three games for Gwangju since joining earlier this year, but his overall K-League record of 53 goals and 24 assists in 135 matches makes him one of the league's more successful imports, particularly as he didn't really play for very long at any of the bigger clubs - he had a year with Pohang in 2011 but played for Gwangju FC, Chunnam and Daejeon during the rest of his time in Korea.

Good player he was.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby Evergreen » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:31 pm

Holyjoe wrote:The kimchi gods must have punished Chuva for that Chinese food faux pas as he's announced he's had to quit the game through injury. He managed just three games for Gwangju since joining earlier this year, but his overall K-League record of 53 goals and 24 assists in 135 matches makes him one of the league's more successful imports, particularly as he didn't really play for very long at any of the bigger clubs - he had a year with Pohang in 2011 but played for Gwangju FC, Chunnam and Daejeon during the rest of his time in Korea.


What a shame.

He will always be a legend in Daejeon for THAT goal in 2007 vs Suwon which saw us qualify for the championship playoffs.

Edit: I remember that I saw him at Gimpo airport once when I was flying down to Ulsan for a game. I was wearing my Daejeon shirt and he came over and said hello to me (I think he was at Chunnam at the time). Nice chap.

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Re: The "Does he like kimchi?" thread

Postby eujin » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:18 pm

According to this article Zicu has abandoned the Korean restaurants and prefers to eat at home nowadays. I wonder if that means he's making his own kimchi.

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