Tag Archives: Engrish

Engrish #3: The Movable Stick

“Happiness is homemade” is an apt motto for someone who loves to bake at home~~ Whether it’s sugar cookies, focaccia, biscuits or pizza dough, every now and then I find myself in need of a rolling pin to get the job done.

When I first got to Korea, it took quite awhile to get access to an oven, and even longer to find baking supplies. I didn’t give up, however, and at the end of my hunt, I was not only rewarded with a rolling pin, but a great Engrish sighting as well!

And now I present to you a Korean rolling pin, aka THE MOVABLE STICK!

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Engrish #1: “Eat Dirt!” Or rather, “Eat Sand!”

It’s a known fact that Korean society is absolutely crazy for English. There are tons of English words that have been adopted into everyday language. This also extends to the practice of product branding and marketing. However, as Engrish.com has shown us time and again, the English doesn’t always make it quite as it should.

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Jenny’s Engrish Sightings #1

I love having my camera on hand for those unexpected moments when I’m faced with funny English phrases around Korea.  I’ll try to post Engrish sightings on a semi-regular basis, since there’s an endless supply in Korea.

Here’s a sampling of some of my recent “Engrish” sightings:

This is a notebook which explains that one day a pistachio wanted to become a crab…at least according to the Korean written on the bottom.

There’s a number of signs in Korea for the trash cans that always make me smile because wording alone seems to encourage littering!  Aside from the pic below, another favorite of mine are signs near wastebaskets labeled, “WASTE PLEASE”

I’ve been baking a lot, so I was on the lookout for a rolling pin.  I never expected that finding one would make me laugh!  “Movable Stick,” anyone?

Given the crazy driving/parking situation in Korea, it’s a given that all car owners put their cell phone number on the lower corner of the driver’s side of the windshield.  This is so a person can call you if you’re double parked, which happens ALL THE TIME in crowded Korea.  This sign made me laugh though.  I couldn’t tell if the person was admitting to parking badly, or if this was supposed to be more like the line in the movie Clueless like, “Oops!  My Bad!”

This sign lines many of the major streets in Gwangju, a city between Seoul and Icheon.  I saw these and couldn’t help smiling:

That’s all for now, but trust me, there be plenty more sightings!


First Ski Trip of 2009!

The day after New Year’s, Yoongu and I met up with his good friend Dong Hoon for some fun at Phoenix Park ski resort. It’s been AGES since I’ve been there—probably about 4-5 years? And that’s where Yoongu and I met for the first time in 2002!


Overall, the snowboarding wasn’t bad, and I had fun flying down the mountain as usual. Since were were night skiing, I’ll admit that it got pretty cold, so I headed for the lodge a little earlier than the others, and came across the following shining examples of how Korean culture is oddly poo-centered.

Can you imagine that this is someone’s bag? I was discreetly snapping away at her bag while in the lodge. (choco poo?! I don’t even want to know….)


And this sign cracked me up. It was a sign above the toilet at the lodge for the newly installed dual flush toilets. Aside from the size differential of the buttons to help you determine which one flushes #1 and #2, the #2 side has the word “Much” thoughtfully added–hahahaha! I know it’s a lot better than “Poop” and “Pee”—but “Much”? It still makes me smile!


Gallery: Plastic Surgery Ads & Signs in Korea

Plastic surgery signs and ads in Korea–> They’re EVERYWHERE. Many refer to Korea as the plastic surgery capital of Asia. As an experiment, I once stood in a single spot in Myeongdong (a popular place where lots of young people congregate to shop, shop, shop), and took a picture of all the signs I saw for cosmetic surgery clinics in a 360 degree turn. It was disconcerting, since it probably numbered about eight or so. Here’s a collage of my little spin:

I have a lot to say about plastic surgery, but I’ll save that for another post to give it fairer treatment (after all, I do realize that there are some valid points made by the pro-plastic surgery camp regarding its “value/benefit” to women).
Here, I just wanted to share some of the pics I’ve seen, and my translations for some of the texts–be prepared to be offended by some of them, since the sales pitch for plastic surgery generally boils down to, “You’re not pretty enough now, so let us help.”
This ad says, “A beautiful body is not something you’re born with–it’s something that’s made.” (*I find it very interesting that almost all Korean plastic surgery ads feature these animated ladies instead of real people…I mean, how much further can you get from a human being?!)


This orange poster says, “Starting today, I am beautiful. [This clinic] is where plastic surgery specialists gather.”

The poster with the woman holding her hands to her face says, “Are you tormented by your small eyes? Would you like a face this small?” (as indicated by her hands) Basically, the first comment is about getting eyelid surgery done so your eyes appear bigger. The second comment is about a more drastic procedure where your jawbone (and perhaps even cheekbones) are filed down to make your face appear smaller.

The message in this one at least isn’t offensive. It simply says, “A clinic with good results.”

“You will become more beautiful. Nose agony? We will solve the problem!”


“We are a woman’s confidence”

And this is a booth I saw recently in a movie theater lobby for “Virtual Plastic Surgery.” Looks like this girl wants to know how she’d look if she made her eyes and lips larger, got a nose job, and did the drastic jawbone filing surgery to make her face smaller. Before/After pics can be purchased for about $6, whereas $10 gives you a “Face Story Book” with a face analysis, virtual plastic surgery and fortune telling based on one’s face. $15 gives you some kind of 3D rendition feature.

As you can see, I find these ads and signs morbidly fascinating–so I know I’ll have plenty more to post on this blog as time goes by. I guess I see these signs as “snapshots” of the underlying cultural climate of Korean society and the status of women. But as I said before, more on this in a later post…

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