Slainte to Michael J. Connolly (aka Milo) from Ventura, CA, for sharing this story about finding Irish culture as he travels to Asia for his job.
As I was sitting in the lounge in my hotel in Korea, across the room came the lilting sounds of an Irish accent. I noticed a man in an Irish soccer jersey and started a chat. We discussed some sports (Ireland winning the 6 Nations in rugby) and what brought him to this part of the world – he worked on electronics on commercial ships which is pretty similar to what I do for Navy ships.
Work takes me around the world, and I can always find a good pub and some great company wherever I go. Today was O’Briens Irish pub in Busan. Yesterday was the Wolfhound in Iteawon, Seoul. Throughout Japan, there are many, Murphy’s in Osaka (the 1st Irish pub in Japan) now run by a crazy man Michael O’Carroll from North Dublin (and I mean that nicely). Yoshi and Michael’s sister Shioban actually opened the place and I was there back over 10 years ago. They are now back in Dublin running a Sushi place. Paddy Foleys, in Roppongi in Tokyo was always a good place to find the craic and once myself and a friend had a $400 Guinness tab.
The Irish ex-pat communities in these areas are going strong. They have Futbul teams (soccer) in leagues which I have had the opportunity to play in. Last month in Korea, I got to go to the Korea Gaelic Games championships between club teams from Korea and Japan. A Korean women’s team won the ladies trophy while St. Pat’s beat out Celtic for the men’s. While in Ulsan last year, an Irish ex-pat team played a round robin pool tournament against the likes of US, Germany, Poland, Russia and other countries.
It also funny how some of the pubs I’ve been in are not even owned or run by the Irish. There once was a Murphy’s in Nagasaki that was run by a Russian girl. And in Norfolk is Mo and O’Malley’s that is owned by a strict German lady. I almost was thrown out for spilling my beer (sacrilegious I know) when Martin the singer from Sligo came to my rescue.Or there are all the pub-in-the-boxes in the US and elsewhere that one of my neighbors in California used to install.
As I continue to travel, I will continue to find the local Irish pub. I have many friends I still communicate with and look forward to meeting more. I also continue to enjoy my time on travel keeping up with the Fireside. It was a pleasure to meet the lads on their road trip and hope to someday have a pint with them over in Ireland itself.