Konglish: When English is used so very wrongly

I can’t understand how all this terrible English actually makes it on products. How much money would it cost to ask an native English speaker to proofread or edit before you slap English saying on a ton of products?

Pay me $5 and I will help you… Actually I might even do it for free!

I find it really entertaining, but also really dumb.



1) Doo Doo Fashion

If only they knew what “Doo Doo” meant… although given Korea’s fascination with poop, maybe this was intentional? I will never understand.

2) Make Tasty Make Happy

The first thing I want in the morning is to “Make Tasty Make Happy” smoothies.  A happy smoothie = A happy Sarah.


3) Don’t Worry


This is possibly the best thing I have ever read. I have it hanging on my wall right now.

4) My fairy of Lamp


The. The Lamp. The Lamp.

5) Soresh Throat Lozenges

When I have a soresh throat I take these first.


6) Ex-sense is always pleasure.

This is printed on a plastic bag I got a stationary store. I really, really want to know what Ex-sense means.

7) How I fought my cellulite

This is the front cover of an empty notebook. I can’t understand why someone would want to buy a blank notebook that has “How I fought my cellulite” on the cover. Do Koreans even have cellulite?! They are all skinny minnies!

8 ) I’m a love boy

He sounds like a prostitute. I’m a boy in love.

9) I can’t even

This is ALL so WRONG. Seriously? Why even have english on this juice product if a) it’s unnecessary and b) it’s so wrong.

10) Binkini Virus

Do they even know what this means? No bueno. Failing at trying to be  edgy.

Funny Korea Advertisements

Oh Korea. I get a kick out of you.

1) Is it man? Is it a woman?

Koreans seems to enjoy when men dress up as women, despite the fact they are really anti-gay people here. I find it intriguing that the back cover of the magazine (which showcases Korean people on the street wearing interesting fashion choices) blends the top half of a man with the lower half of a woman. Strange.

2) Vampire Makeup?

Because nothing is sexier than having bite marks on your neck… I know that the Koreans love to be uber white, but this is a bit too much.

3) Man advertising Bra?

Why? Why?

I asked my (male) Korean guy friend to explain. He said it was this guy thinks women look good in this bra?

But for the foreigner reading the magazine, it looks like he promoting the best bra for transgendered people.


4) The burger of choice for vampires

The Korean translated says “Eat it and you will turn into a vampire too!” Since, as you should all know, Vampires just love eating cooked meat with lettuce and bread. Don’t forget the special sauce!

5) James Dean President approved this

I wish someone could explain the need for fake tattoo swirls on this long underwear outfit. Spicing up the drab old nude color with some black swirls? I am curious as to WHO actually would buy this.

6) You must love me

“If you don’t I will kill you and everything you have ever loved slowly and painfully and possibly with a lot of fire and gasoline involved.”

Seriously, this man is frightening. He is airbrushed to the point of fakeness and his eyes look murderous. I can’t look at this without shuddering.

7) Vagina Boas

At quick glance this reads wrong. My friends and I did a double take while passing it on the street.

8) Nobody could look this happy advertising snail cream

Kim Hyun Joong, you could do better than this!

9) Baby cream?

First of all, why is this on the baby’s mouth? It looks really wrong and also he looks like he is about to rushed to the poison control center any minute!

10) Wanna have baby skin

Another creepy baby advertisement. Stop it please. I can’t handle the creepiness anymore!

11) Psy Man Man Man’s Balm

In case it wasn’t clear enough this is for a man. A Man Man Man.

12) Bathhouse fun.

Not an advertisement, this is page in a book for learning Korean & English. Nothing says fun like getting a scrub down from your friend in the bathhouse.


Storyaday Day 99: Bip bi! Bip bi!

Today a 2nd grade student (8th grade in America) kept pointing at my hair and saying “Bip bi! Bip bi!”

I was totally confused and tried writing what she was saying on the board in English. She told me it was wrong and then wrote in Korean.

That didn’t help me at all!

I still was confused and asked my co-teacher was going on. My co-teacher couldn’t really explain it to me and I let it slide to that I could start class.


Some girls came to my lunch class and said “Bip Bi! Bip bi!” and pointed at my hair.

Finally it clicked!

They were saying “Pippi!” as in Pippi Longstockings! I had braided my hair today and it reminded them of “Pippi!”

or as the Korean pronounce it “Bip Bi, Bip Bi”

In Korean the P & B sound kind of blends together and it is hard for many students to distinguish between the two.

For example, when I am trying to help a student with spelling a word and I say “B” they might write down “P” and vice versa.

Glad I finally figured out what the girl was trying to say!

Day 88:Tim Burton OR If at first you don’t succeed try again 2 more times

It was July 2010 and I thought I might freeze to death. I was in Melbourne, wearing a white winter coat I had borrowed from my Australian friend and thinking how backwards it was to be utterly frozen in July.

The changes in seasons from the northern hemisphere (in which I had lived 20 years of my life) to the southern hemisphere(in which I lived 5 months) kept throwing me off.

What do you mean you wear boardies and a tank top during Christmas? What do you mean you feel like an icicle in July?

So. Strange!

Because of this, the whole time I was in Melbourne with my friend Rose we sought to do museum and other indoor activities to keep out of the cold. One the exhibits I went to and loved was the Tim Burton art exhibit.

I have always liked Tim Burton movies (with the exception of Beetlejuice which haunted me as a child and still haunts me today) and so it was cool to explore many works of his I had never seen before.

I saw drawing and stories from the time he was the child and saw various props and costumes from his movies. What I remember the most from the exhibit was seeing some costumes from “Alice in Wonderland” which I had watched in the movie  theater while I lived in Australia.

2010 Melbourne, Australia

Now let’s Flashforward 2 1/2 years. I am living in South Korea and I discover that the Tim Burton Art Exhibit is on display at the Seoul Art Museum. I decide I absolutely must go up to Seoul and reconnect with my memories from the time I was in Australia.

Attempt #1:  A Monday

I go to the museum on a Monday feeling very excited to compare the differences between the exhibit I saw in Australia and the one in Korea.

Problem: The Museum is closed on Mondays! Gahhh!


I  have to leave early on Tuesday which means I can’t see it this time on my trip to Seoul. Bummer.  :/

Next time  I am in Seoul I vow to  make this happen for sure!

Attempt #2: A Sunday
This time I want to go early on a Sunday with my two friends. But it ends up being a lazy Sunday per usual and we get to the museum at 4pm.

Problem: The waiting period for the museum is 2 hours but I have to catch a bus back to the city I live in at 7pm! I don’t have time to make it.

Damn. This is annoying me. Seoul is about a 4 hour bus ride from Seoul with roundtrip bus fare about 52,000 won (about $50 USD). This trip ain’t cheap, so I don’t know when I will next get a chance to be in Seoul and see the exhibit.


Attempt #3: A Saturday
I am up in Seoul for a K-Pop concert and by hell or high water I WILL GO to this museum exhibit!!

I drag my friends out of our hostel and race to the museum where I discover, yet again, there is a 2 hour waiting time.

But this time I had planned for it, so my  friends and I wander around Deoksugung Palace until we can get into the museum. The entrance for the Palace was only a paltry 1,000 won = less than $1 USD. It’s a cool place to kill some time and also to see some of Korea’s history.

Finally, at last, the time comes in which we can enter the museum.  Yes!! Nothing can stop me now, muhahahaa.

I love taking my photos with Tim Burton monsters. Also, it appears as if I only have one outfit I wear in Korea. Ha.

Slight snag: There are hordes and hordes of people at the museum because it is a weekend and also because it is one of the last few weekends the exhibit is open.

I decide to skip over the long lines and wander around the parts of the exhibit that isn’t super crowded. The exhibit has many of the same things I saw while in Australia but a few different things, notably materials from his new movie “Frakenweenie” and from the short “Stain Boy.” If there are any “Alice in Wonderland” artifacts around, I don’t see them through the crowd.

Furthermore, my experience here accompanied by 5 friends is also vastly different than the time I saw it in Australia by myself. When I saw it in Australia my friend Rose decided to go to an Abba exhibit so I ended up exploring Tim Burton on my own.

This time there is a lot more laughing (laughing in a group over silly things is fine; laughing by yourself just causes you to receive strange looks) and a lot more posing for photos. Overall I think the highlight of my epic odyssey to see this exhibit was taking funny photos with my friends next to Tim Burton’s art work.

I just love Batman's itty bitty feet compared to the rest of his body!


Portrait Project: Erin

I have always wanted to take a portrait of strangers  ever since my #DS106 class in the Spring of 2011. 

I myself was asked by Tom Woodward to have my portrait taken 2 years ago. I had just met him for the first time, and after a really nice conversation he asked if he could take my photo. I am terrible at smiling for photos [I always give a fake smile], but this was for #DS106 and for art so I decided what the hell! Game on.

But I never have attempted to ask strangers if I could take their photo. This, in large part, is due to the fact I only had a point and shoot for the past couple of years. It would be weird to rock up to a stranger and ask to take their photo with just a point and shoot camera. However,  if I had a DSLR/ more professional looking camera that would be a different story entirely!

This January I finally decided it was well past the time to get myself a good camera. With the help of a photographer friend, I bought a Canon Eos 650D.

My new baby

Although I have had this camera for two months, I’ve hardly had the time to play around with it. I decided I needed someone to model for me as I adjusted the settings. I managed to convince my friend Erin to be my model and we had a photo shoot along the river. Out of all the photos I took that day this is my favorite:


Red hair, not blonde

I love Erin’s face in this shot. She seems so carefree and happy. I also love the contrast of her beautiful red hair with the blue sky and the water.

In Korea, people are unused to seeing red hair. People tell her all the time: “You have blonde hair!”

This makes me laugh because if you compare my current blonde shade to Erin’s hair you have to wonder if the Koreans are colorblind! Or maybe it is just they  can’t think of the right word to say…..

My photo shoot with Erin marked my first step into Portrait Photography. I need to keep playing with my camera to find the perfect setting, but I think I am almost ready to take it to the next level and start asking strangers if I can take their photo.

However, I am worried how this will work with the language barrier. I need to learn some handy phrases in Korean that basically say the following :”I am doing an art project! Can I take your photo?” and then show them the link to my blog.

Actually, there is one person I already have in mind for this project. He is the security guard at my school and I see him every morning and every afternoon.

He never talks to me other than saying “Hi! how are you?!” but his big smile and enthusiasm at seeing me makes my day! I want to share his big smile with the rest of the world!


G to the D

This weekend I am going to a G-Dragon concert!

For those unfamiliar with Korean Pop stars, G-Dragon is the bomb! He is one of the most recognized artists in Korea with the exception of PSY.

To me G-Dragon is like the male Korean version of Lady Gaga. He is so utterly strange and yet so fabulous.

He is part of the K-POP group Big Bang, but lately he is doing some solo songs. Despite the fact I only understand a little Korean, I find his songs to be super catchy just like Lady Gaga’s songs.

This is probably because the main chorus of his songs are in English:
“Yes sir, I’m one of a kind” ”
“Get your cray on! Get your cray on!”

I have told some of my  students that I am going to see him and their typical response( from the girl’s at least) is: “”**GASP**  LET’S GO TOGETHER!!”

I think it’s gonna be an epic concert!

I leave you with my favorite song by G-D and also my #1 song to sing in the norebang (Karaoke room): CRAYON

Day 76: I like you

Last week I read a Cracked.com article discussing the 5 major Virtues of Mr. Fred Rogers (from Mr. Roger’s neighborhood).

I can’t tell you how many hours I spent watching that show when I was younger. Actually, I’m not gonna lie,  reading the article and watching the video clips made me tear up. Mr. Rogers definitely made a huge impact on me, even though the effect of his show is very subconscious.

In his award acceptance speeches Mr. Rogers asked people to take 10 seconds and think about the people who have helped them become the person they are today. Although many people have crossed my mind, too many to name, some of the first people I thought about are the people I have met in South Korea.

Moving to a new country was TERRIFYING. I spent the whole 13+ hour flight to Korea sick to my stomach, feeling like I had made a horrible life mistake. But once I got here, I calmed down and realized that Korea is really awesome. I love my new life here.

A large part of that has to do with the people I have met, both other foreigners and Koreans. Most of the other foreigners I have met here are not only super friendly, but also, like me, they  are willing to go off on random adventures at any place and at any time.  I also love how most of the people here have such a positive outlook on life! It’s hard for me to talk to people/ be friends with people who  are constantly serious and/or negative because they suck the joy & fun out of everything.

My favorite types of people are the ones who are ready to laugh at anything (even about crummy situations) and I feel that this describes many the foreigners friends I have made here.

Living in Korea I interact with Koreans all day. I have to say that as a whole my experiences with the Korean people has been extremely positive. I find that most Koreans are very kind and friendly, ranging from the students who yell “Teacher, I love you” down the hallway at me (those crazy middle school kids!!), to  the Korean friends I have made, and to the random strangers on the street.

Case in point: Last week it was drizzling and I didn’t have an umbrella. I decided to just tough it out in the rain during my 5 minute walk home from the bus stop to my apartment. As I was waiting on the sidewalk for the light to change so I could cross a busy street, a random Korean woman walked up to me and held her umbrella over my head.

I insisted in Korean I was okay, but she insisted emphatically that I stay under her umbrella. We talked for a few minutes (with my broken Korean) and then we crossed the road together before going our separate directions.

Since Korea is not as ethnically diverse as the US and other countries, non-Koreans really stand out. I feel that many Koreans will go out of their way to try to talk to foreigners and to show kindness that I have not often experienced in America. Of course, there are some things that Koreans do that I find rude (like shoving you in a crowd and not apologizing @__@; coughing/sneezing with their mouth open, etc.) but in general, I find Koreans very helpful and nice.

All in all, I feel really lucky to have met so many awesome students, teachers, friends, and strangers, who  really go above and beyond to try to help me and show kindness to me just because they can, not because they are obligated to.

For them and for all the other people  out there who have offered a friendly smile to me I say “Thank you. I like you. I appreciate you. You make me happy when skies are gray.**”


*Nod to the rainy weather that night.

Day 60: The Koreans probably thought I was strange.

This afternoon you could find me in the Homeplus supermarket surreptitiously trying to smell rolls of toilet paper through the plastic bag holding them together. I felt like a  giant weirdo and kept glancing over my shoulder to see if anyone was staring at the oddball foreigner.

Before you think I am a complete nut, let me give some back story.

Wednesday Night: Cashi’s apartment.

I come over to Cashi’s apartment for dinner and before I can get in more than a casual greeting, Cashi says, “You need to smell my toliet paper.”


Um. What?

“Smell it! It is the worst smell ever! Smells worse than poop.”


I sniff the roll she is holding in her hand. “UGH! What is that?”  The smell is so awful, like some kind of mix of artificial flowers and, as Cashi puts it, “Cheap perfume gone wrong.”

Cashi looks annoyed. “I spent 13,000 won (about $12 USD) on this pack of 36 rolls of toilet paper. I didn’t realized it was the scented kind! But who would want this scent! It’s disgusting. You don’t happen to want it, do you?”

“Well, after you’ve said that, let me think about it…. Nope!”

Later Cashi drags me to the little grocery store by her house and together we try to smell the toilet paper through the plastic. We know that we look like complete weirdos. However, since it is too much of an effort to translate every Korean word on the packaging to determine if a pack is scented or not,  we attempt the sniff test. We find a pack that seems all right and a decent price so she buys it.

It is a success! Cashi leaves the offending toilet paper package outside her apartment building  at night and the next morning it is gone, probably picked up by an Ajumma. (An Ajumma is an older Korean lady. See here for more details about ajummas.)

Flashforward to today. A bit earlier into my shopping adventure, while I was comparing brands of contact Lens Solution, I hear  voices near me chant in unison “(??????) An-nyung-ha-shim-ni-kka”  which is a polite form of Hello in Korean. I turn around to see 10 store employees all bowing to me.

I bob/duck my head into what I suppose you can take as an awkward bow (I never know how to bow properly) and then I  watch as they parade down the store greeting more customers.

Only in Korea would you have 10 store employees going around greeting you as you meander through the store.

When I finally made my way over to the toilet paper section and attempted  the sniff test  I felt awkward.  I didn’t see the brand my friend bought and couldn’t remember the brand I bought when I first moved here. Would the 10 employees suddenly pop out of nowhere and greet me again?  How strange do people  think I am trying to smell toilet paper through the plastic bag?

I felt eyes boring into the back of my head. Never in my life have I experienced such anxiety trying to buy this product. I gave up my “subtle” sniff test and decided on a brand based on the fact there is no flowers to be seen on the packaging.

Later, when I got home I opened the package with trepidation.

Yes! Normal, unscented toilet paper!

English Winter Camp Video (storyaday)

This video is about the two week English winter camp I taught.

It was a mix of a detective camp and a music camp.  There was a heavy emphasis on the detective portion (7 days) and a little on the music (3 days). It was exhausting, but a lot of fun! ^^