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How Park Chan-ho Met His Bride

Posted December. 12, 2005 08:20,   


On December 11 at Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, Park Chan-ho (32,•San Diego) threw a dinner party honoring both his recent marriage to Park Ri-hye (29) and his 100th win in the major leagues. Attending the ceremony were former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, former Dodger teammate Hideo Nomo, TV stars Cha In-pyo and Jeong Jun-ho, and fellow ballplayers Yi Seung-yeop (Lotte Marines), Choi Hee-seop (Dodgers), Yi Byeong-gyu (LG), and others.

Park entertained his guests with a story of what led up to his marriage. When asked what Chan-ho’s first impression on her was, Ri-hye answered, “He was really odd. He kept calling me in the morning for three straight days; and that was even before we were formally introduced. When I finally met him, it felt as though I knew him for a long time.”

Park then took the microphone from his bride. “I was introduced to Ri-hye by her mother’s friend when I was staying in Korea last winter. When I asked if she could come to see me in Korea, her father scolded me. He said a woman should not do such a thing. So I went over to Japan and met her,” said Park. “Before I got on the plane headed to Japan, I told In-pyo about it, and he warned me that I might get abducted to North Korea; so, he ended up accompanying me to Tokyo. I waited for 50 minutes. Then a tall, stylish girl came in smiling and waved at me. That was Ri-hye,” said Park as he recounted their first meeting.

“Her first impression wasn’t something out of ordinary, but I was impressed by the way she was preparing my shabu shabu for me at dinner.” said Park.

Park recounted more, saying, “The next day I met her again, I was unshaven. She mentioned that I looked like a bear. Even that remark left a good impression on me. I began to fall in love with her after that.”

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com