Elwood 5566

A Candy for the Teacher

Posted in Food and Drink, Korean children by 노강호 on April 28, 2011

the tangy candy version

What’s that noise you make in your language when you’ve eaten something intensely sour, like lemon or a kumquat which isn’t sweet enough to rescue your distaste? In English-English it might be ‘shhh-it!’ In Korean it’s ‘ai-sh-yo’ (아이셔), though in practice it probably sounds more like  ‘ ai-shhhhh-yo!’  The duration of the ‘sh’ a measure of intensity.  Not sure what I mean?  Let me elucidate; this is ‘sh-it!’  or ‘ai-sh-yo!’:

Apart from being the sound to accompany something unpleasantly sour, like munching on a lemon,  Ai-sh-yo is also the name of a  chewy confectionary. Kids love to give these candies to teachers and they can be considered the Korean equivalent, innocent and friendly, of spitting in your coffee or putting a tack on your seat. When I was first offered them I noticed a strange expectation on students’ faces, a twinkle in their eyes and the slight anticipatory twitch of a smile but took little notice; I’m orally fixated and the candy was quite nice, initially a little tart and tangy but quickly rescued by sweetness as you continue to chew. I’d eaten quite a few over the week until I discovered their more sinister purpose

I was busy chewing, waiting for the sweetness to  curb the rapidly soaring sensation of  intensified sourness… Then I realised, with a curse, ai-shhhh (the Korean equivalent of ‘fuck!’), that there wasn’t an iota of sweetness in it but  a solely nasty sourness.  My students were in hysterics by the time I spat it into a tissue.

Yes, in every blue packet of the gum, 450 Won (about 25 pence) exists one surprise candy that is simply revoltingly sour. The yellow packet is a tart candy that starts off sour but mellows.

an 'ai-sh-yo' face

and another...

the blue packet is the most entertaining

‘Ai-shhhhhhhh-yo!’ ‘Super sour flavour in it.’

Further references

Punishing Naughty Students with an Aishyo

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

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5 Responses

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  1. shotgunkorea said, on April 29, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Fantastic– I can’t wait to try these.

  2. wetcasements said, on April 29, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Korean kids are nice about sharing their candy with teacher but man, just the thought of those germy, pee-pee laced hands makes me want to gag.

    • Nick said, on April 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Yea, but they are in wrappers and as first pee laced hands – a recent study of germs on the hands of British adults revealed that as many as 53% of people in some cities have bacterial fecal matter on their hands. On average it amounts to around 25% (BBC UK). Another report suggest that as many as a third of British teenagers only shower twice a week. Now, I only accept candies in wrappers but I know many of the Korean kids in my school wash their hands after using the toilet as they often flick their wet fingers at me! You’re certainly not at danger from airborne bacteria on a Korean kids hands as they prefer to cough in your face.

  3. wetcasements said, on April 30, 2011 at 5:02 am

    “as they prefer to cough in your face.”

    Hehe, very true.

  4. Nelly said, on February 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Couldn?t be wrteitn any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!


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