Category Archive: K-drama Culture

The Black Hole known as America

Every person knows that once you go to America you get F*ed up because you know how pretty it is. (Word play on the Korean term for the US, Miguk. Mi also means Beauty/pretty 美) Of course it’s not Britain–that’s the place where characters go for royalty coming back with American accents. And of course it’s not Australia, because that’s where the melodrama people come from. (I’ve watched a lot). No, once you go to America you can’t do things like really call and most people come back smarter, but damaged because their hearts are sooo much colder. Like there is a pit of no communication around well-telephone-lined airports, there are rules about Miguk, too.
1. It’s where you put the criminals of K-dramas. (In Historical Joseon dramas it’s down in Kyeongsang… which is why EVERY gangster must also come from Kyeongsang–they aren’t native to Seoul–no way.)
2. Miguk is a beautiful country with only one university/college (Harvard)–well maybe a few others, but really they don’t count
3. Anyone from this country, has a cold heart–especially adoptees who don’t know how to love. So of course they won’t, you know, communicate with their relatives even if they have Skype. (In Korean terms, not quite human.)
4. They have the best medical care EVER. So that’s where everyone gets their surgery, (Though I think only one hospital ever gets mentioned. John Hopkins… and I’m pretty sure they don’t cover all those kinds of surgery…) be it for health reasons, unless the patient needs Korean native medicine, which is clearly superior to the less painful Chinese version. (Less disgusting, just as bitter, much more painful. Trust me.)
5. It’s where a lot of mothers and fathers mysteriously die. (The Mi in Miguk must be short of “mi-stery”
6. It’s filled with makjang violence. (Also known as the Mi in Miguk must be short for “Mi-sery” “Mi”anhae~) It used to be filled with only white people and discards of the K-drama world, (You know, where you put second leads), but now with a black president, clearly, they need blacks too. (Forget about the other ethnic groups.)
7. The majority of cities are San Fran, LA, and NYC. Boston, which is near Harvard? No–what’s Boston? All super violent, you know.
8. Filled with crazy people who all speak fluent English perfectly with stilted formal dialogue and Australian accents. “Mi”chiseo” 미치서 -crazy

(And yes, I know the Mi in Miguk doesn’t stand for any of those things. =P I read hanja. 미국 mee-gook–short ee sound.)

Makjang gives me hives

Mention melanoma, cancer, a hospital scene and I feel hives coming on. Fill it with birth secrets, cold-hearted adoptees and I’m holding it at the end of a pole like a dirty sock that’s fell into the sewer filled with a cesspool of poo. That makes me allergic to dramas such as A Thousand Day Promise. As much as I love both lead actors and I can eat up Kim Rae Won’s acting with a shovel, I can’t stand melodramas. Probably more Korean ones than Japanese ones.

How to Protect Yourself When Entering Historical K-drama Land

I don’t know what has possessed you, but you intend to go to Historical Korean Drama Land. I must warn you first that though there is marriage, it is not a land filled with clean-shaven men and short-haired women. If you intend to get laid with your heart’s affection, there are only two ways to do so. Either be a Gisaeng or one that employs one, or get married and be a main character. With that case you will produce a child. It’s always one shot go. And don’t think you’ll get to kiss as much as a romantic comedy. I still ask, why go at all? If you land in the Three Kingdoms era, don’t think about finding Gisaeng or being one.!

Alright, you’re still determined to go. Maybe you have a hanbok fetish… you still need a few things.

First, to remember it all, you will need some rice paper, and you will have to learn some old korean with Chinese characters. Write the following on the rice paper with ink. Keep in mind you have to swallow it once you get there.

1. All things written on paper that I swallow become true.
2. I am immune to torture.
3. I am immune to arrows.
3. I am immune to poison.
4. I am immune to ink and paper poisoning.
5. I cannot be smite with a sword.
6. I cannot be killed.
7. The person I love will love me back. (To cinch this check ot the romance points.)

Once you get there, recite it, chew it, and swallow.

Now for some warnings:

You may end up after Sejong appeared, in which case if you misfire, you should have a version in Hangeul. If you end up in a time here he’s around, find out from some villagers (Never anyone else) if Sejong has invented a wondrous system of writing yet. You’ll know which to swalow then. The other one is useless in that case.

You are screwed no matter what side you take. And you are required to take a side, unless you’re a peasant, in which case you’re an extra and your life will pretty much suck. I didn’t add the anti-prison curse, because many alliances are made in prison.

Next, for the duration of your visit, don’t believe what’s around you is the actual history of Korea. Save for the clothing, inventions, medicine, you’re most likely living a lie. Besides, most women back then were required to be fat. And most guys didn’t look girly.

You also have a high probability of getting executed, so be careful. Choose your side carefully.

Also the best defense against death is the silver chopstick. Real silver chopsticks. They will detect poison…

Practice your groveling before you go. When you think you’re going to be executed learn how to beg for your life or ask the person in charge to take it. Know which to do in what situation first. You will be spared. But don’t insist too much and offer the other person power in exchange for killing you, because you are likely to get killed.

You also need a pink hanbok. Light pink, relatively solid color. Only show it to the person you intend to be with. Wearing it, but not making a proclamation first makes you lose points.

Once you have all your belongings, I would encourage you to pack some herbal medicines against the following in your sleeves: diabetes, arthritis, snake bite, arrow wound (you may be immune, but it doesn’t mean your loved one will be.), anemia, neck pain.

You may also have to study the following before going: horse riding, sword fighting, archery, Korean politics of the era, the order of he lords in Confucianism.

May you go forth and not die in the machinations of the palace. Good luck traveler! You’ll need it.

Basic Elements of a K-drama.

1. Hospital Scene.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic comedy or a melodrama… there must be a hospital scene.
Even in Historical dramas there must be one visit from the doctor. Think about wy Dae Jang Geum was popular–she’s a walking hospital!

2. There must be an airport scene.
In his airport scene all cellphones don’t work and people always are running around the airport aimlessly.

3. There is only one wedding scene allowed per drama. If shown once, even in a dream sequence, that wedding scene will never be shown again.

4. One montage scene (with recycled footage)
Doesn’t matter what type it is… must have it, the melodramas are more prone to it than comedies.

How to Learn Korean (or any language) from a drama.

The best way to learn a language quickly is a native speaker that you’re friends with and speaks relatively good English. However, many people live in the middle of nowhere with no native speakers or native speakers that won’t answer questions or won’t be bothered.

So the next option would be language courses. (Which can be enhanced by the former). Unfortunately, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and other languages just don’t get taught in Colleges accross the country. So if you’re one of those people stuck in the middle of nowhere and no when, watching dramas and thinking to yourself, I wish I knew X language, this will help you get the BASICS. It won’t get you fluent, but when you do get to take classes, etc this is ONE method of learning the language. It DOES help if you have learned a previous language formally.

In general, this should also help with other languages as well, such as French, Spanish, German, whatever. It won’t work if you use animation, or dubovers. You need to be able to see the proper lip formations to be able to pick up the proper sounds and speed. Also Animation has the tendancy to have 1. Special speech designed for it (much like poetry) 2. Childish speech. 3. Improper speech. So stave off of animation unless you have a vested cultural interest in learning bits of it that way.

1. First listen to the patterns of the language.
You don’t have to study particular words, but listen for rises and fall of the language. Observe how the language stops, starts, where things are accented, not accented and figure out the corresponding intonation that goes with that. This is also a good time to pick up body gestures. With Korean, as supposed to English, it’s more of an emotional curve. Everything rises to a point and then smoothly falls. Where as in English there is a clear delineal stop after each word where the emotions are seaparte from that curve. Korean rises with the emotions. This make Korean an “emotive” language. Japanese is more like English where it has syllables and doesn’t follow an emotional curve. Chinese is clearly inflective and this makes it much harder to pick up for an English listener. The key to Mandarin, for example, is to listen for the length of the vowel sounds. Copy a few to get the hang of it. This will help you with your accent. It’s better to learn this BEFORE specific words because you are paying attention to how one thing sounds, rather than a specific set of sounds. So you can pitch your voice right, and get proper intonation for the situation you are in.

2. Look up the grammar structure of the language.
Japanese and Korean are SOV while English and Chinese is SVO (S being Subject O being Object and V being Verb). With most SOV languages there are markers for each part and transition of speech. This makes it easier to run together words. If you look up Korean you’ll find “nun” and “un” mark the subject “i” (spelled: wi) is a posessive, and so on. Look those up too. Chinese won’t have those. Japanese will. (ga, wa [ha], no, o [wo], etc) Also look for what drops in the language. Usually for SOV it’s the subject, where the object in SVO usually drops. “I am,” in English is acceptable, but in Korean “Na nun imnida” isn’t. Just the same as “Kim Yunmi imnida” wouldn’t work in English as “am Kim Yunmi.” You have to be aware of these three very basic grammar rules to be able to pick up words. Ignore the verbs for now.

3. Pick up nouns. (Subject and Object)
For example, pick up the word for “friend” or if a phrase is repeated, repeat the phrase “You want to die?” was often repeated in Chun Hyang. “Mind your Business” in My Sassy Girl movie. “I am going crazy” also is often repeated. “Friend” is often said, “yes”, “no”, etc can easily be picked up this way. Pay attention to where the phrases are used and in what context too while you repeat them. Try to approximate them first, write them down and look at the Korean Dictionary link I have posted for proper spelling. (They have a hangul chart, so don’t panic, it’ll be good for you.)

4. Verbs.
Look up next how to conjugate versb. For example in Korean there is formal and informal and it’s not dependant on the subject as much. There are no plural forms like in English for “I” “We” “She” “He” “It” “They” like in English. However, knowing present, past and future forms is important. Your Korean drama of choice (one that deals with the evolution of the characters would be perfect for this) can help you distinguish after you look it up. Reenforce it by looking at your guide.

5. Placements and repetitions.
Once you have a grasp of the basic vocabulary, it’s time to pay attention to the social situation where they belong. So “Mijeoseo” is not said in X situatuion because her grandfather is there, however, she will bow and say thank you. She was scolded when she said X in front of her parents. “Aigoo” was said when X person was crazy. The hick farmer says “Aigoo,” where the business man does not. That kind of thing. This will help you with understanding the context. Because no culture uses language exactly the same. While you might say, “I’m going nuts” to your parents in the US or Canada, in Korea you would more say, “I’m doing horribly because…”

Also look at repetitions. Often the same exact word is translated into 10 different ways. That’s not by accident, it’s part of the language the informal version of hello and goodbye is “annyoung”. Figure out the social situation, then figure out why that word is being used. Many dramas are repetitious, so use this to your advantage to view and learn from it. If you can figure out why it’s done in English, that’s good for you too.

6. Continue to pick up more complex vocabulary.
Listen and look for words you don’t know. Figure out their placing and practice them again and again.

7. Repeat entire phrases.
When you do this you should know enough of the grammar to know which word is what in the sentence. So when you repeat it and know the context, then it will work.


- Don’t assume all English words will be used properly. “Fighting” makes no sense in English, but it does in Korean. (It’s actually p’i-t’in-gu. That’s why it’s worth looking it up.)
- You can also learn about manners and customs which is also good. It will help you use language properly.
- Don’t be afraid to rewind when you want to repeat a phrase.
- Don’t be afraid to look things up. Use that dictionary, online or not and the grammar guides. Having a separate tab or window (tab is in Firefox and Safari, not in IE. IE sucks anyhow, upgrade to Firefox). with the dictionary in question.

Most of the words and phrases I learned off of Korean are from dramas. And I’ve tried them elsewhere without too many crazy looks. I also like to watch shows like Full House “Super Junior” version, which has some interesting notes on speech and X-men for picking up regular and unscripted speech. The speech they aren’t supposed to say is really good for it. Because everything goes at regular speed without annunciation, and the inflections are more culturally relevant. Also the situations will severely differ from the dramas and give a more expansive view. The more you see of a foriegn language, the better off you will be. (Though I still say stay away from animation until you have a good set.)

Oh and this won’t get you a significant other from that language you want to speak. That’s a whole other subject and I have a personal rant about that.

K-Drama Pink Shirt Theory

This mainly works for men, not women. Pink in general is disproportionately in K-dramas and shows up only in a number of ways. Here are the stages of the Pink Shirt Theory.

1. First pink shirt means, “I’m going to fall for her.”
2. If the girl gives light pink to the guy that means they will end up with each other, or at least vie for each other.
3. Repeated pink shirts means that the guy is in love if the rival hasn’t shown up.
4. If the rival shows up with the girl, and the other guy is wearing a pink shirt, it means jealousy.

Pink, as Bright Girl’s Success Story put it is a color of love. The more the guy wears light pink voluntarily (darker pink being secondary), the more likely he’ll win the girl. Wearing light pink first sometimes, but not always helps.

Pink on a girl in makeup or clothes always means she’s the hero of the story. If she suddenly wears a lot of pink, that means she is falling or just about to fall for the main guy.

Patterned Pink, and lavender take second ranking ot pink. Purple isn’t as strong as pink. However, no real explanation for this has been given within the scope of K-dramas.

In Wedding the Pink Princess wins automatically! As soon as she buys that pink tie you know she’ll win the guy! So remember, light pink is a trump color and is even stronger if the wearer does it doof their own free will!

Guide to K-Drama Romantic Relationship Points

(In order to win main girl/ guy)

Note: Don’t take this seriously.

This mainly works for comedic dramas set in the present, and does not work for Historical dramas. Melodramatic dramas it sometimes works for. I’ve watched about 30+ K-dramas. This won’t work for J-dramas, or C-dramas, only K-dramas.

Invariably though in the beginning of the drama they st it up so you know right away who is with whom. Take this for fun!

Disclaimer: Some of the dramas might seem to not conform to this list/ theory. I do not guarentee they do.

Plus Side
Main Trumps: (In order)
1. Marriage
2. Names in Title
3. Produce a child
4. Light Pink Shirt Trump. (See Pink Shirt Theory)
5. Sleeping with the guy before Marriage. (New Trump)

Strong Trumps:
- Practically Married
- Being a jerk that “reforms”
- Obligatory teary airport scene with BG music.
- Frustrating (to viewer) passing shots.
- Meeting first on screen
- Meeting in childhood first/ triggering childhood memory where _both_ parties fell for each other. (Trumps the previous) Has to be ON SCREEN, not just mentioned.

Medium Trumps:
- Going to the Beach (with sand)
- Doing something for the or about the other’s family (not with money).
- Main Romance Theme BG.
- Were together in a previous life
- Sleeping in the same bed (By accident doesn’t work)
- Walking together in the rain under umbrella after meeting at the bus stop.
- Doing laundry together.
- Cooking together alone (rival must not be there.)
- Cinderella Effect 1: anything to do with returning a shoe, or putting one on.)
- Cinderella Effect 2: Rich guy for poor girl.
- Piggy backing a girl home (extra points if the rival sees)
- Taking a guy home drunk and he “confesses” a darker past.
- Guy listening to girl’s troubles and trying to fix them (without throwing money directly at it).
- Girl listening to guy’s troubles. (fixing the troubles is trivial)

Small Trumps:
- Man doing Laundry for Girl.
- Cooking Favorite Dish. (Buying it doesn’t matter.)
- Man only: Cooking for the girl even if it fails.
- Woman only: Makeover
- Dressing the sig. other
- Flowers (of the right kind and color)
- Domescity (Taking care of children, etc.)
- Color coordinated clothes
- Long night out on the town
- Walking together under an umbrella in the rain.
- Meeting a sig other at a bus stop to take them home (and meeting them, cancels if they miss them.)
- Flirt fighting.
- Cinderella Effect 3: Female being compared to Cinderella.
- Men Only: Puts up with loud head-strong girl.
- Main girl wears mainly pink makeup.
- Seeing each other semi-naked after “romantic” relationship is established.

Minus Points

- Forcing sig other to like them.
- Men: Girlish looks
- Being put into “Best” friend category.
- “Younger” brother/ sister look.
- Being nice always.
- Dressing up fancy all the time with red lip stick.
- Guy is younger than the girl.
- Fixing problems with money (directly).

(either plus or minus)

- Dates
- Getting engaged early in the drama
- Being married once and divorcing or near to divorcing
- Guy is much older than the girl. (10 years is not unusual)
- Divorcing off-screen

How to Protect Yourself When Entering K-drama Land

Before you enter this treacherous land full of Love Rivals and drama, you must prepare properly for your journey.

This is a list of things to pack before you ever set foot in K-drama land:

In your suitcase also should be the list of K-drama curses (listed on this blog) and K-drama Romance points. You will need both to make sure that 1. You make it out alive 2. You get the person you want to end up with. It is best to DUCK TAPE these in visible form on your suitcase. You may think “Oh I won’t need my suitcase while I’m there, I’ll find a place to stay easily”, but remember that people often move, leave, or shift a lot. This is the safest place to plaster it. be sure to leave it in a visible place where you can see it away from food, and use a laserjet printer when doing so. Have some back up copies as well on a few burned CDs in case it gets damaged.

You will need a Pink Shirt.
Make sure it’s light pink, and not fluorescent or you’ll get crucified. A dress/business shirt is best. Cotton is preferable. If you don’t have any or your local stores don’t carry those, try to find a light pink over sweater. Make sure it doesn’t have any pattern and is of solid color. If you are a girl, then bring it along and give it to the guy as part of a job interview or when he has to meet someone important. He will never object. Guys–don’t worry about being perceived as gay through wearing this shirt. It is one of your best tools to get whatever you want.

Next, add a Pink Tie to your list.
The best method though is the girl buys it for the guy and then fiddles with it later so it’s straight while the guy stays still. As one K-drama put it, it’s a “leash” to make sure the guy will always be yours. Light pink is again best, solid pattern doesn’t so much matter as long as it’s just pink. Be careful of red and pink ties. It’s just not good fashion sense. In Wedding the tie is a diagonal stripe with light and dark pink. However, one should note she took forever to actually snag the guy, so a solid pink tie might be best for less drama.

To all the men out there, remember to buy a dress, preferably light pink while the girl comes down the stairs or from another room. (Stairs is preferable). And remember to refuse at first the couple clothes, but give in later. This will surely defeat your nasty rival and give you a better chance at those Major Trump points.

Other things to consider bringing along:

A bullet proof vest (lightweight and one heavy weight if you find yourself in a melodrama is best), a good pair of heels that will break (for the ladies), binoculars (to ward off any fast-approaching cars), genuine 100% silver chopsticks and a spoon (to guard against poison) and a list of Korean superstitions (tape this also to the inner suitcase lid). All of which if mentioned will become true. (A book of Korean folktales might not hurt either, since being compared to some characters sometimes becomes true as well.)

Foreseeing common K-drama curses:

These curses include:
Amnesia, poison, leukemia, car accidents (usually you flying over the car while your significant other either finds out belatedly, watches you, or is waiting for you.)

Leukemia is the number one reason that people die in a K-drama. It’s a favorite. Though AIDS is also a concern, this is the one disease you have to throughly check before your arrival to make sure you don’t have it and after. You can do this by before, insisting on a full body scan, full blood work and checking your marrow. The tests will hurt like hell, but it will be worth it. Check for any cancer or other abnormalities too. You specifically want to look for the dreaded Philadelphia genes which are linked with leukemia where you will need a bone marrow transplant. After you arrive, don’t forget to offer to donate some marrow. They will screen you for leukemia and you won’t have to repeat said tests. Crossing into K-drama land is unsure which is why this must be done. It will also earn you points later.

To guard against AIDS you must donate blood to exclusively be used by yourself Be sure that the needle that the nurse inserts is from a new and sterilized package. Don’t accept less. You can’t be too careful when it comes to a fatal disease that no manner of medicine can cure. Getting tested before arriving might also be a good idea.

Amnesia is the next most common of the lot–while not always fatal, it is common. The best way to guard against this is to keep up a journal. It has worked in other country’s dramas, so it might work for a K-drama as well. Be sure to keep it every day and keep in mind that the guy/girl you like will most likely read it later. K-drama people are notoriously nosy. It has worked on Lost, which has a Korean actress in it whose crossed over and it also has worked in many Taiwanese dramas. Especially Prince who turned into a Frog which was filled with amnesia. Give it a shot for the Korean dramas too. It might work out for you later when you can’t remember anything.

Car accidents– bring binoculars, and a good set of lightweight bulletproof vest with you. Look both ways before crossing the street, around corners and especially look out for black cars– black sports cars are usually the people who put a hit out on you. A regular sedan or truck usually is an innocent bystander. (also usually black). If you can spot one by using binoculars in all FOUR directions (and don’t forget alleyways too.

The poison is fairly easy– buy yourself 100% silver chopsticks. Use them and a silver spoon at all costs. All k-dramas dictate that all superstitions are true. If they tarnish, then you know there is poison. And it will work once you get there.

Stray bullets has the words bulletproof vest on them. You shouldn’t worry is they think you are a fashion freak to have this necessary accessory. Don’t explain it to them either, they will find out later from the people around you why you wear it–even better get angry about it. If you have to explain it, make it short and to the point as possible, or risk it will fail in battle. try not to leave room for day dreaming or flashbacks. You might be dead before the end of the next week or so if you do that.

Upon Your arrival:

You need a place preferably in Seoul (If you don’t you will have to return to your “hometown” a lot which is just too tedious and expensive). Make sure though that you have a way to access a beach. The beach on Cheju Island is probably the best place to go with your significant other, though not necessary–any beach will do. However, Cheju worked for Goong, 18 v 29 and My Girl, so it might be a good place to think about. Forget the smaller Islands–those are usually used for melodramas, like Spring Waltz–and you saw how painful that was. So be sure you know your way to the beach. Mark off the nearest one and then Cheju. The success rate is higher with a car than a plane–a plane is too easy to miss and there are no cellphones allowed in K-dramas when there is an airport scene. Trust me, a car is better. When you arrive chase each other along the beach, throw each other in, and splash each other. Don’t just walk and enjoy the sunset–you will get cut from the race and fail to earn points that way.

Situate yourself near a hospital in case you get injured. Not all injuries are fatal, but it will cut down on your chance of mortality. Your loved one can then piggyback you to the hospital for things like high fever, stomach aches, discovery of being pregnant. The ones who have not been near a hospital have a higher rate of mortality in K-dramas, contracting things such a cancer in the time they are trying to get to the hospital. You can also use cellphones in hospitals in K-drama land, so don’t stress out, unlike the airport, you can pretty much use it all the time and get a signal too!

Last thing you need to remember, it rains. Yes! This is easy points and a great way to meet that special other person. An Umbrella scene is a must. If you lack your umbrella, someone else will have one. A guy tends to give a girl his umbrella more than the other way around–so guys bring one extra girls don’t bring any.

Other tips include never blackmailing and manipulating anyone you like save for when you have to become a maid, or are teasing someone because you secretly like them.

Last note: Never worry about a lack of a cellphone. Firstly the Korean cellphones will be better than whatever you have now, usually the standard K-drama one has Internet, a camera (cameras are essential in a phone), text messaging and a number of other things (plays music has games, etc). It’s not unusual for a guy to say, “You don’t have a cellphone in this day and age?” Then berate you, and then buy you one. Accept it only from the person you want to end up with. Accepting two or more just drags on the pain for longer (My Sister in Law is 19). It’s more common for guys to buy the girl a cellphone, but a few girls have done the reverse as well. Promising to pay them back never pans out, but offering won’t be a bad idea.

So good luck brave traveler! May you not be killed in your quest to find true love everlasting in this unpredictable land. If you fail, well, there is the next life where you can succeed… and no matter what your religion, according to Korean dramas you can be reborn!

K-drama Curses

These are common plot devices in Korean dramas, so if someone threatens them just K-drama curse them! Feel free to add to this list.

- Amnesia
- Car Accident
- Sudden inclination toward suicide
- Find out your spouse/significant other has cheated.
- Your whole family dies.
- Instant orphan
- A sudden break up in an engagement
- A sudden declaration of divorce
- Being told you’re destined to fall in love with your enemy/ contracted to marry them.
- Stuck as housekeeper to a total butt to pay off a debt.
- Find out that you’re adopted.
- Find out that the guys you thought were cute turned out fat and ugly (reference to a banjun).
- Contract a horrible terminal disease.
- Go blind. (Yeah KISS MV)
- Find out that you’re the Love Rival and never get a date again.

From Yayit:
- leukemia
- your friend will personally hit you with her car
- your stepbrother will love you

From Ysetiawa:
- a prince/heir of multi-million dollar company falls in love with
you, and the rest of the people are trying to break you up, end up
with everyone finding their own peace
- 2 handsome guys, sometimes both wealthy/related, fight over you
- cats & dogs, started hating each other, then fall in love
- mostly just simply poor unfortunate non-feminine girl get rich
handsome guy

Basics about Korean Culture and Language

This will be edited over time. So give me that it’s not going to be complete.

Any Questions about Language are best directed here:

Learn Hangul, it’ll make your life and mine easier, especially since I’ll be using a few Korean words here and there that don’t do well in romaja.

- 아니(야) (anni) (blunt) -no

- 아니오 ) – (annio/anniyo) (incomplete sentence) anniyo is an informal and slightly incorrect pronunciation of annio.

- 여, 응, 네 (ye (for direct answer), ung (informal/babytalk), ne (general yes)) yes.

- 미안해요 (mianhaeyo)- sorry

- 죄송하다 (jwosonghada)- Sorry (very)

- (아자! 화이팅!) Aja! Fighting! is a phrase that means roughly don’t give up do your best. It’s usually followed by a fist movement up into the air.

- 대한민국 (Taehanminguk!) Means Go Republic of South Korea! Kinda like U-S-A! in America.

- 힘다라힘 (Him dara Him!) Is kind of like Aja fighting without the fist movement.

- 괜찮아 (Kwaenchana) – It’s alright, it’s OK, etc.

- 오빠 (Oppa)- Older brother, honoary most of the time. Some Korean women call their boyfriends Oppa. Girl to boy only.

- 언니 (Eonni) – Younger girl to older girl, honoary.

- 누나 (Nuna)- Younger boy to older girl.

- 혱 (Hyeong)- Younger brother to older brother

- 남동생 (Namtongsaeng) Younger brother.

- 여동생 (Yeotongsaeng)- Younger sister.

-아이고 (Aigo)/ 아이구 (Aigoo)- Exclaimation, kind of like disapproval, or because something was upsetting.


- If you want to pay elders respect don’t look directly in their eyes.

- It’s tradition to ask three times to get something. This shows up in My Girl, among other dramas.

- When you are preparing for an event, or are getting ready to pick up something, putting out your tongue and then touching it between your tongue and nose three times sometimes will show up.

- When something is really hot (temperature), Korean grab their ears afterwards instead of blowing on their fingers like Americans do.

- It’s rude to call someone older than you by their name unless they ask or you are close.

- There are two forms of speech, formal and informal. Most of it depends heavily on verb endings.


- Kimbap is literally seaweed wrapped around rice, which is usually picked. (Kim- laver, bap-rice). The most common version has yellow picked radish in the center julienned carrots (softened with blanching and a little sesame oil), soaked mushrooms, spinach and bulgogi. In English subbing this gets translated as “rice rolls” and “lunch rolls” as well as “Korean Sushi” which are all incorrect. The rice itself usually has rice vinegar, a little salt, and unlike the Japanese, a little sugar to soften the taste. It incidentally is my favorite Korean food and a specialty of the region I come from.

- Bulgogi is thinly sliced beef (off the bone), usually a low grade (which is best for this), marinated in soysauce (korean, as supposed to the Japanese and Chinese grades), ginger, sesame oil, LOTS of garlic (if it has less than eeasy counting range, you haven’t put in enough), and a bit of sugar. Then it’s allowed to marinate for a hour or so. Put on a flaming hot grill. The sugar will caramelize on the meat. Then you make lettuce wraps out of it.

- Lettuce Wraps usually consist of meat (pork belly being best, and cheapest), and then a variety of other things can be put in from Korean Hot peppers, Bean paste, Hot pepper paste, fried garlic, fried onions, kimchi, etc. The cultural note is that if you make it big and another person feeds it to you (usually a significant other), they will see your insides, or your true feelings.

- Kimchi is a stple of Korea. If you don’t eat Kimchi then you haven’t eaten a good meal. When Koreans get colds, they say “Didn’t you eat your Kimchi”. In fact, Kimchi is said to have staid off SARS. Koreans are proud of their Kimchi, and even family recipes are made around it. Anyhow, the majority of Kimchi is in the Nappa/Cabbage form. There are of course Kimchi from everything. There’s squid Kimchi, Radish Kimchi, etc. It gets some getting used to. Koreans accilmate their kids from an early age. It can be spicy or not spicy. The main ingredients are pepper, garlic, ginger, and depending on the region either fish paste, fish sauce, dried shrimp, or another sea-food flavor. The seafood flavor and spice is stronger in the south of Korea. Before peppers, Kimchi consisted of cabbage in brine.

- Bap. If you don’t eat every last morsel of rice, then you haven’t finished the meal. In Korean Dramas, it’s often the men that say that real men eat rice and meat, not ramen/noodles.

- Korean Peppers. There is nothing else like it, nor no other substitute. they have a unique aroma, that’s the signature of Kimchi. They can range from mild like a bell pepper to burning your ears out. Jalepinos are kind of like them in flavor, though not texture and taste. They are strangely aromatic, and sweet.