Elwood 5566

If I Knew Your Name I’d Write it in Red!

Posted in customs by 노강호 on May 19, 2011

In my endevours to lose weight and get fitter, I rarely drink alcohol and eat sam-kyeop sal (삼겹살) only a couple of times a year. Last weekend, I went to a restaurant near my ‘one room’ to enjoy both and the evening was ruined by a bunch of wankers sat behind us. One man got so pissed he started a punch up, (if you could call it that), with another person at his table. In the event of trying to stop the fighting my friend had his glasses broken. Then, just as the police arrived, the idiot starts attacking another person at his table. Like most Korean fights, it was lame, laughable and ‘pussy,’ with the men patting each other rather than smashing bottles in faces, which is fantastic as real aggression is repugnant. However, it ruined our evening as Ji-won had to go to the police station in order to get compensated.

If I knew you’re name I’d write it in red!

In Korea, writing someone’s name in red is very unlucky and is only done after someone has died.

After-note: Ji-won sustained no injury other than the arm of his glasses being broken – he was compensated by 400.000 Won (£200)!

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.

Five Second Hanja (1F) – Death and its Associates (죽을 – 사 and 넉 – 사)

Posted in Five Second Hanja (Theme) by 노강호 on April 9, 2011

superstition and the number 'F'

During my first year in Korea, in 2000, I studied taekwondo the school of which was situated on the fourth floor of the building. Unlike today, where I can look every anomaly up on the internet, it took me a while before I learnt that the fourth floor was the one designated by an ‘F’. For Koreans and many Asian countries,  the number four, ‘sa’ (사) is as burdened down with bad luck as is the western number ’13.’  The reason for this is that the four and ‘death’ share the same sound, ‘sa’ (사).

'sa' four (넉-사)

Koreans usually avoid numbering floors or houses with the number ‘4’ and in some cases any other number containing ‘4’. While tetraphobia is not as extreme in Korea as some other countries, it is usually either omitted, replaced by an ‘F’ or the numbering reordered, in hospitals and public buildings. In some cases the use of the number can affect building or housing prices. KORAIL (Korean Rail) left out the number ‘4444’ when numbering trains above 4401.

die; death; dead; inanimate; inert (죽을 - 사)

According to Wikipedia, out of respect to Asian customers, the Finnish Company Nokia rarely releases any model phone designated by ‘4’. Their one exception was the Platform 40 series.

For more five second hanja characters:  key ‘five second hanja’ into ‘search’  or select it under the theme ‘Korean Language’ in ‘categories.’

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.