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45 Going to China 1

 It had been a month already since Gun-Ho put his restaurant on the market, and no one came to take a look at the property. Gun-Ho went to the realtor's office to talk to him.

"Why is no one coming to see my restaurant? Stores in Noryangjin are supposed to sell quickly since the area is very well established for business. What's going on?"

"The market is slow now probably because the New Year's Day is coming. You have to be patient."

That was all Gun-Ho could hear from the realtor as a valid explanation. Gun-Ho was anxious. The more time passed by, the more money he was wasting.

"I help the kitchen work and clean the toilet every day for nothing. I am wasting my f*cking life here. When I worked in a factory, even though the work was hard, I got paid every month. What am I doing here? The more days I work here, the more money I waste. Sh*t! F*ck!"

Gun-Ho requested another realtor for selling his restaurant. He was thinking of putting it on the Internet as well. To make the situation worse, the kitchen lady was not helping. Since she was aware that the restaurant would be closed anytime soon, and she would lose her job then. She didn't work as hard as before. She had even made Gun-Ho work more by asking him to do additional work.

"Please throw this trash out."

"Please turn on that light."

Gun-Ho felt like she was ordering him to do things, and it certainly didn't feel good. Gun-Ho was smoking outside when the shaved-head restaurant owner joined him.

"Did you sell your restaurant?"

"No one was even coming to see it."

"Try this. Tell the realtor that you will give him some incentive. He will try harder."

Gun-Ho wondered why he didn't come up with that idea earlier. The realtor was actually as cunning as a fox.

"Son of a b*tch! He had told me when I made the contract for this restaurant that it was a steal, and now he isn't even trying to sell."

Gun-Ho bought a box of juice and went to the realtor's office, and he told the realtor that he would pay a high incentive in addition to the realtor commission fee. Shortly after Gun-Ho's visit to the realtor's office, the realtor started bringing potential buyers to the restaurant.

The realtor suggested to price the restaurant at 95 million won, the same price Gun-Ho had paid when he had bought it. By doing so, Gun-Ho would lose his additional investment of 12 million won that he spent for the renovation.

"Sir, if you don't sell it for 95 million won now, you will keep losing money every day."

Gun-Ho at first wanted to wait for someone who was willing to pay the full price that Gun-Ho was asking for to appear, but he was getting sick and tired of that restaurant business. He didn't want to waste any of his life any longer without getting paid while cleaning the toilet and doing kitchen chores. He eventually decided to sell it for 95 million won. He agreed to vacate the restaurant within a week.

"I ended up losing a lot of money, but let's try to empty my mind."

Gun-Ho somewhat felt better after he made a contract to sell his restaurant despite the loss he had to bear. He went to his usual smoking spot and saw the shaved-head owner there.

"I guess we feel the urge to smoke at a similar time."

"Haha, I guess so. Did you sell the restaurant?"

"Yes, finally I did. I am leaving within a week."

"That's nice. You have been suffering a lot."

"I feel better now."

"So what are you going to do after you sell the restaurant?"

"I want to take some time off to be recharged."

"If you don't have any specific plan yet, can I suggest something? There is a Chinese restaurant available if you are interested."

"Chinese restaurant like selling Jajangmyeon*?"

"No, I am talking about a restaurant in China."

"In China? I don't even speak Chinese."

"You don't have to. You can use an interpreter; it's not a problem at all. That's actually my uncle's restaurant. The restaurant is doing fine, but my uncle wants to move back to Korea and he needs to sell that restaurant before he could do so."

"Where in China?"

"It's in Hangzhou City next to Shanghai."

"What kind of restaurant is it?"

"It's actually a Korean restaurant. My uncle had used to work as a manager in a big company, and he opened that restaurant after his retirement. So, are you interested?"

"I don't know. I am tired of a restaurant business. I just want to take a rest for now."

The shaved-hair restaurant owner came into Gun-Ho's restaurant when Gun-Ho was sitting on a chair in his restaurant while staring at the refrigerator and the water heater thinking how much he could sell them.

"My uncle is coming to Korea the day after tomorrow from China. Would you like to meet him? Why don't you take a trip to China after you close your restaurant? You can take a rest there. I don't mean to push you to take over that restaurant in China. I am just telling you this because it is a good opportunity. You can acquire a large restaurant with the same amount of money you spent on this one."

"Haha. Well, okay. I'll meet your uncle once he arrives. Why wouldn't I?"

"My uncle will stop by my restaurant once he comes to Korea. At that time, I will bring him here, so you can meet with him. I don't want you to feel imposed."

"Haha, that's quite alright. I will see your uncle then."

Gun-Ho was thinking about closing the restaurant right away since he already sold the restaurant, and then he changed his mind.

"I have to pay the rent anyway whether I close it now or later. Let's keep it open until the last day I promised to vacate it."

Gun-Ho was gazing outside the window from his restaurant hall. The kitchen lady was talking on her cell phone. As he thought more about his failure in this restaurant business, he felt more embarrassed.

"That dandy-looking owner keeps smiling at me whenever he sees me. I feel like he is laughing at me. I'm offended by that!"

He felt like he disappointed Jong-Suk in Yangju and Suk-Ho in Gyeongridan Street.

"I am so embarrassed. Good thing is, I didn't tell my parents about this restaurant."

Gun-Ho grabbed the mini calculator placed on the counter and started calculating.

"Renovation, realtor fee, kitchen appliances, tables, and chairs... F*ck! I threw out 20 million won."

Gun-Ho, let out a deep sigh.

"If I invested the entire 500 million won I had into this restaurant business, I would have lost probably 100 million won. If a retiring man in his 50s went through the same thing I did, it would have been a huge problem. I don't have any dependents, but they have children who go to college; they also have to make a living for the family."

Putting himself in their shoes for a second made him terrified.

Gun-Ho was dozing off in a chair in the restaurant since there was no customer at all when the next door restaurant owner with a shaved head came into the restaurant. He was with someone.

"Sir, this is my uncle I talked to you about the other day."

The uncle person smiled as he extended his hand for a handshake. He seemed to be in his late 50s and he was tall. He didn't look like a business person maybe because he spent more of his life working in an office rather than running a business.

"I'm Gun-Ho Goo. Please have a seat."

"So, you sold your restaurant? If you are, by any chance, interested in running a Korean restaurant in China, please come visit us. In China, you don't need a large amount of money to buy a restaurant. If you invested about the same amount you spent on this restaurant, you could get a big one in China."

"How big is your restaurant in China?

"It's about 100 pyung. It shares the same building with a hotel. You can acquire it for 50 million won."

"That cheap?"

"In China, security deposit and premium are not required. Instead, you make the whole payment up front for the period you rent."

"The entire amount?"

"Yes, instead of a security deposit, you pay the one year period rent in a lump sum."

"Hmmm..."

"Why don't you just take a vacation in China and come visit us. Take a look and make a decision then. You have to first like it to acquire it, right? Haha."

"When are you going back to China, sir?"

"I am leaving in three to four days. If you are interested, you can tell my nephew."

"Sounds good. I will be busy tomorrow in vacating this restaurant, so I will let you know around the day after tomorrow."

"Okay. No problem. And if you don't have a passport, you'd better make one now. If you take your passport and the business license before you close your restaurant to a travel agency, they can help you get your business visa to China with one-year duration."

Note*

Jajangmyeon - Korean style Chinese noodle in black bean sauce