Elwood 5566

Interlude (9) Wank

Posted in Interlude (Theme) by 노강호 on December 31, 2011

'wank' is very popular in Germany where Wankum, in North Rhine- Westphalia, is close to the municipality of Titz.

For many years the  word ‘wank,’ along with other obscenities with which British school kids are acquainted, such as ‘toss,’  or ‘bollocks,’  were absent from the American-English lexicon.  As a boy, I can remember being very amused at a Lost in Space episode in which featured a character named Captain Bollocks. British movies such as Austin Powers have since introduced such words to wider audiences and it would seem that in North America the term ‘wank’ is now commonly understood. For any reader unsure of the others terms, ‘bollocks’ is a slang term for testicles and ‘toss,’ is synonymous with ‘wank’ and it’s various other meanings.  For British people living in Korea, the Toss English Academy franchise is an amusing title. I did once try to explain to a bus driver for the Toss Academy near my one room, the amusing name of his school and ended up embarrassing myself (‘Toss English’ Bathouse Ballads June 2010).

‘Wank,’ like ‘fuck’ is a highly versatile but I have only ever heard the Korean equivalent,  ddal-dda-ri, (딸떨이) in a boys’ high school when it was often the response from others boys, when I asked someone what they’d done over a weekend or vacation

Creative Commons License

©努江虎-노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

.

Interlude (8) Pojangmacha (포장마차)

Posted in Interlude (Theme) by 노강호 on January 12, 2011

a typical snack-type pojangmacha

 

Like most of Korea, the area which I first visited 11 years ago has changed significantly and in Song-so, Daegu, where there now stands Mega Town with the Lotte Cinema Complex, the 24 hours jjimjilbang and a host of restaurants, I remember an enormous vacant lot, uneven and with patches of grass and bushes springing randomly across its expanse. Especially in winter, this was home to numerous large pojangmacha (포장마차).

 

huddling around the steam on a cold evening

 

Now, pojangmacha are basically tents which a range of guises from small to large,  basic to elaborate, some selling snacks, other alcohol and which can stand on their own or be ‘tethered’ to a small van. I particularly remember the tents in the  Song-so lot because they were large, heated and open all night and were what many refer to as a ‘soju tents.’  I remember quite a few evenings where we sat until the early hours wrapped  in thick coats, even though the interior was warm, drinking soju or rice wine while enjoying a bowl of spicy  cod roe soup. Maybe it’s just my imagination, because pojangmacha are around all year, but their bright lights and cozy interiors seem to associate them with winter. Even the more open versions which sell spicy cabbage and rice cake (ddeokkboki) and around which people huddle bathing in the steam wafting off the hot food, warm your spirits on a cold evening.

 

pojangmacha (포장마차)

 

If you walked from Song-so to the main gate of  Keimyung University, 11 years ago, there were a number of vacant lots between  high-rise buildings and often  large pojangmacha would occupy them. Today, they are gone, the lots occupied by new buildings to such an extent that in the entire stretch of road there are no longer any soju tents.

 

snack time

 

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

 

Interlude (7) A Friendlier version of ‘Mr’ ‘Mrs,’ etc. (샘)

Posted in Comparative, Education, Interlude (Theme), Korean language by 노강호 on November 24, 2010

Okay, here is the point. The term ‘sem’ (샘), is a contraction of ‘son-seng-nim’ (선생님 – teacher) using a letter from each syllable block. The contraction is slightly less formal than the full rendition.  Perhaps the closest translation of  ‘son-seng-nim,’ and its contraction, ‘sem,’ is ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’, etc.

 

Education has more than a token value

 

And here is my ‘twisted’ analysis, a micro-rant. Though translated as ‘teacher’ either word fails to slip directly  into English and  presently, in British culture ‘teacher’ is both not too short of being a ‘slur’ and is a bordering  on a euphemism for someone who though highly educated, professional  and constantly vetted by the world’s most rigorous system,  is regarded with great distrust.  The same situation applies to numerous other professions – doctors, nurses, etc. Even the Korean media is learning to pick up on the distrust in which countries like Britain and America hold their teachers and subsequently use it nefariously.

Rooted in Confucian ethics, ”teacher’ (선생님 – 샘) is a term of respect with teachers and education being held in high regard – though less so if you are western. Though not perfect, the Korean education system plays a far greater role in shaping Korean society than it does in many western countries.

As someone permanently struggling with Korean these are my notes on words and phrases I find useful and which are usually not in a dictionary.  Any amendments, recommendations or errors, please let me know.

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (6) The coolest chili -the ‘cucumber’ chili. 오이고추

Posted in Food and Drink, Interlude (Theme), Korean language, vegetables by 노강호 on November 15, 2010

Okay, this is a really tasty chili with absolutely minimal heat probably just a few steps up from the green paprika (green pepper). It is usually slightly lighter in colour than hotter chillies, long and fat and fairly juicy. Rather boring on its own, but instantly transformed if dipped in ssam-jang (쌈장).

the 'cucumber' chili (left) and hottest Korean chili (청량)

'cucumber chili' (오이고추) and bean paste (쌈장) - an excellent combination

Ssam-jang (쌈장) is widely available and is usually in a green container differentiating it from other pastes. It is is a great dip for otherwise boring ‘well-being’ snacks such as carrot or celery.

ssam-jang (쌈장)

As someone permanently struggling with Korean these are my notes on words and phrases I find useful and which are usually not in a dictionary.  Any amendments, recommendations or errors, please let me know.

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (5) and Suneung Countdown – 수능대박

Posted in Education, Interlude (Theme), Korean language, Uncategorized by 노강호 on November 15, 2010

D-Day Minus 3


Suneung Dae Pak (수능대박)

 

Dae-Pak (대박), means ‘awesome,’ ‘excellent,’ ‘jackpot,’ and so suneung dae-pak (수능대박) can be translated as ‘suneung jackpot,’ or, ‘have an awesome suneung.’ Of course, you still need the ‘fighting’ spirit. (화이팅!)

 

As someone permanently struggling with Korean these are my notes on words and phrases I find useful and which are usually not in a dictionary.  Any amendments, recommendations or errors, please let me know.

 

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (4) Su-neung 수능

Posted in Education, Interlude (Theme), Korean language by 노강호 on November 13, 2010

Su-neung

 

This word strikes trepidation into the heart of every Korean student, but most especially those who are third year high school students. The Su-neung exams take place every November, this year on Thursday 18th, and are the culmination of years and years of hard study – well for most students that is.

 

As someone permanently struggling with Korean these are my notes on words and phrases I find useful and which are usually not in a dictionary.  Any amendments, recommendations or errors then please let me know.

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (3) – The Hottest Chili – 청량고추

Posted in Interlude (Theme), Quintesentially Korean by 노강호 on November 11, 2010

Ch’eong-ryang go-ch’wu (청량고추) is the hottest of Korean chillies and is small and dark green in colour. I approach any smaller chili with caution just in case it’s this variety. It is common throughout the year but specially so in Autumn  (Link to post on chillies and the Scoville Heat Scale).

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (1) – 홍시 – Soft Persimmon

Posted in Interlude (Theme), Korean language by 노강호 on October 24, 2010

They’re like a bright orange bag of jelly, the shape of a tennis ball and although they’re relatively tasteless, basically just very sweet, there is something pleasant about them. Like a number of Korean foods, the most noted probably being octopus, one ‘product’ can have several different names rather like the English ‘grape,’ when dried, can be a ‘currant,’ ‘raisin,’ or ‘sultana.’   While persimmons, are  generally called, ‘kam’ ( 감), the specific name for the highly ripened variety is, ‘hong-shi’ ( 홍시).  ‘Yeon-shi’ (연씨) is a similar soft variety but smaller and rounder.

'hong-shi; - like a bag of jelly

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.

Interlude (2) – 놀토 – ‘Play Saturday’

Posted in Interlude (Theme), Korean language by 노강호 on October 14, 2010

놀토 (nol-t’o)

Because Korean uses syllable blocks to build words, ‘syllable acronyms’ are a common means of putting words together to express ‘something.’  School children and students, for example, often use syllable acronyms’ to express ‘things’ to do with school. 놀토 fits this category and depending on your viewpoint, is either a colloquialism or slang. Usually such syllable acronyms are spoken rather than written.

놀토 simply puts together the stem of the verb  ‘play’ (다) and ‘Saturday’ (요일) and identifies the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month when Korean State schools are closed and students enjoy what is in effect, a long weekend.

Note – in March 2012, nol-to was abolished for Elementary and Middle School students. Now every Saturday is free. However, schools have increased the hours of the working week or in some cases shortened holidays.

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2010 Creative Commons Licence.