Culture Shot: Pepero Day

If you thought Valentine’s Day was a farce of a commercial holiday, then Korea will once again prove your Western assumptions wrong. Ladies and Gents, I present to you Pepero Day.

Pepero Day is the celebration of a Korean snack food of the same name. These snacks are bread sticks dipped in candy and come in a variety of flavors. They do not sound altogether appetizing, but let me tell you, I managed to put away a sizable amount yesterday…

Pepero

These gifts came from my friends at Muay Thai. One guy even made the ones in the cellophane!

As Valentine’s Day has it’s roots in a celebration of a saint, it’s hard to criticize Hallmark et al. for cashing in on it’s Capitalist potential. Pepero Day on the other hand, has no such origin. Instead, it comes from a 1983 news story, in which two school girls exchanged Pepero in order to become tall and thin like the Pepero sticks. These superstitious, and wildly misguided, girls exchanged these gifts on November 11th, the date that looks most like Pepero sticks. To a simple reasoning, or a homeopath, this logic is sound and the trick should work. Sadly, it doesn’t. I woke this morning at the familiar 5′ 8.5″ (that half is very important to me), and I believe I may have even gained weight in the night!

From Christal

One student even took the time to personalize the box!

I digress, however. So seeing that this could be turned into an incredibly marketable phenomenon, the parent company had the day enshrined in the commercial calendar. Now, you can buy Pepero everything, from gift-sets to plush toys. According to Wikipedia the Pepero company make 50% of their annual sales on this day! Not that the same isn’t true for florists and their ilk back home on V-Day I’m sure.

As you can see in the pictures, everyone gets some Pepero on this day, from friends, form teachers, from students. It’s all very cute, which makes it even more Korean, as almost everything here is either cute or for couples, or in this case both!

So now you know folks, the rest of the world also have holidays as outrageous as Valentine’s Day! Gooooooooo Capitalism!!!!

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The Weekend on Wednesday

Halfway there folks, it’s finally Wednesday! Although, that said, it’s also already Wednesday and it’s taken me until now to get myself in gear to post the pictures from last weekend’s adventure.

Having had a lazy Saturday going to the “pictures”, as they say in dear old Ireland, to see Gone Girl, we decided to use Sunday to visit the Children’s park for the first time, as we mistook the Citizen’s park for it last time (here’s the scoop on that).

Front Gate

“Reports show Rubik’s Cubes, Hello Kitty, Pooh Bear and Disney are among the best-selling toys. Which should we use in the statue ma’am?” “Yes!”

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The Rain in Sp….Korea

[NEMA] 3 days 1:30 like Secret Sunshine, sunshade, Gimhae, Busan rainfall alarm, humidity and flooding risk areas to evacuate, go out, please refrain attention to safety

What a wonderful way to start the day! An indecipherable message, from what I can only assume is some form of spy organization. Obviously, they work in some way akin to ISIS from FX’s Archer (as opposed to the unaffiliated, yet similarly initialized ISIS/ISIL of the Middle-East).

This came in at about 8AM this morning in the form of a text message. It’s not the first message of it’s kind, nor do I assume it’s the last. I mean spies always have to communicate right?

In actuality, the message was written in Korean, and it was the infamous Google Translate that resulted in this garbled smattering of warnings followed by negations of said warnings… I surmise the intended purpose was to warn me that it was going to bucket with rain this morning, and thus save me from the thorough soaking I was to receive.

Sodden as I was, I decided to cab it to work, where everyone else was also feeling the effects of the depleting vitamin D levels as a result of the rain. It was thus I found myself standing in class trying to convince the children that the “long O” sound does not make an “ow” sound, I very nearly resorted to the Henry Higgins method of pronunciation coaching just to ease my way into the day.

 

Overall, today has been somewhat of a damp one, but at least the weather is reinforcing what the kids so often tell me: “Korea has four seasons teacher”.