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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

한국인으로 바뀌는 것에 대한 포스트

"A post concerning turning into a Korean person"

The following events happened on two separate nights, both over the past week or so, but at the same restaurant and with more or less the same group of people. So, Dave Eggers style, I'm just going to combine them and forgo standard chronology. However, there will be no embellishment.

The group consisted of: 관장님 (gym director), 코치 (squash coach), 형님 10 명 (honorable older brothers), 누님 4 명 (honorable older sisters), and 나 (myself). Things that occurred or were said:

1) I finally tried 막창 (pig intestines). I lived above a 막창 restaurant for a year but never tried it, for obvious reasons. It was a little different than I expected. I figured it would be served lengthwise, like sausage or something, but it was actually cut along the other axis, so it just looked like oversized cheerios. Not surprisingly, even after a fair amount of 소주 , I still wasn't down with it.
2) I finally tried 닭발 (chicken feet!). I figured that I would never get near the things, but there I was, alone with a horde of honorable Korean older siblings (everyone is family here), all of whom were enjoying it and egging me on. So, what the heck. How bad can it be? I can now say with authority: eating hyper-spicy chicken feet is nastier than eating hyper-spicy chicken sphincter.
3) Got into a feigned argument with 재동 씨 (Mr. JaeDong), who called me a 욕심쟁이 (grabber) because another honorable elder brother kept on scooting the cooked meat over onto my side of the grill. Few things are more fun than pretending to be offended by a 3/4 drunk Korean man, arguing about it for a few minutes, then making peace with a little toast.
4) Yelling at one honorable Korean brother in English for giving the honorable Korean brother next to me a hard time in Korean. HKB1 accused HKB2 of not making enough English small talk with me, so I just started spouting angry-sounding English at HKB1 until he apologized: "OK OK Solly solly!"
5) Caring for a large, overworked, exhausted, full, slightly drunk HKB who fell asleep in my lap. We were all getting up to leave and someone pointed out that he had fallen asleep at the table, so I went to try to wake him up, and he just keeled over. So I sat there cuddling with him and whispering sweet nothings into his ear until he finally came to. The DD drove poor 용건 씨 (his name, Yong-gun) home. He probably had to wake up at 7:30 this morning. Poor man.
6) Getting into other fake arguments with the coach and the gym owner. The first for stealing my meat (he later apologized and fed me with his chopsticks, though when I asked him to do it again, he told me I wasn't a baby) and the second for refusing to pour my drink, at which point I disinvited him from the housewarming party I'm supposed to throw eventually. So he pouted and said he wouldn't come, and I said, good, I don't want you to come, etc. Then we toasted and made up.
7) Being told 너 한국사람이 되고 있네! (No hanguksaramee dwaego innay! You are becoming a korean!)
8) Being told 이렇게 친된 외국인 친구가 지금까지 없었어. (eerokay cheendwaen waegookin cheengoogk chigumkkajl upsusssuyo! No foreigner has ever gotten so close and friendly with us!)
9) Going to a Karaoke room at 1:00AM on a weekday night, doing odd dances and attempting to read the korean lyrics as they flash across the screen way too quickly. Also, introducing Koreans to the karaoke glory of EYE OF THE TIGER!!! And yelling at the HKB who inadvertently skipped the song just as I was turning awesome.
10) Being dared to sprint home, in the cold, at 2:30 in the morning. Doing so.

4 comments:

the bombanaut said...

my my my my my, mikey! you are just mr korea now! that dinner (those dinners) sound awesome. i'm glad you're learning how to make drunk korean men fall in love with you. i think it will be a good skill to have.

Mike said...

to be fair, sober middle-aged korean women love me too. i can pretty much get one of them to buy me lunch any day of the week. or, if they happen to work in a restaurant, i can get them to give me free plates of dumplings, sodas, coffees, teas, etc.

and let's not forget the fruit vendor man. i bought him a beanie in london, so he owes me big time.

the bombanaut said...

P.I.M.P.

Bob said...

Good work on your conversion Mike. I've managed to do similar feats in Britain, although its slightly easier, since all you really have to do is drink at the pub a few times per week... check!