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Engrish…Korean Style

I went to South Korea last month and was super excited to find that like Japan (and yours truly), Korea is also ueber-obsessed with nonsensical English, (otherwise known as EngRish, or random computer generated gibberish). Judging from the sheer volume of shirts and signs sporting EngRish phrases, it would seem that Koreans have a real appreciation for the EngRish language. There’s some deep, heartfelt poetry floating around over there, let me tell you.

Now it might seem a bit unfair of me to poke fun at non-English speakers who’re obviously making some naive (but well-intentioned) fashion choices, but it’s not the people who wear these shirts that I’m poking fun at, but rather the shirts themselves and the people who manufacturer them.

I should also preface this with a little confession. I too, am guilty of owning an EngRish shirt, well the french version of one, anyway. If I could find it amidst the piles of clothing collecting on my bedroom floor, I’d take a photo of it and post on here. I bought the shirt because I love the design and the french was just a bonus (it’s my not- so- secret life goal to one day master french). For all I know, the shirt says: “I eat poo” or something and maybe there’s some french blog out there with a photo of me wearing it and a caption along the lines of “What a dog” …

Anyways, I took a few photos during one of my shopping trips in Busan, South Korea (more about those later). Try to look past what seems to be a mere jumble of random misspelled, poorly placed words, strung together into incomplete sentences, to the deeper meaning behind them. : )

This clothing store sign reads:

“Hey june!! Didn’t you see my panty and brassiere?

Well…Is that yours? No!

How about this one?

It’s mine! My underwear!!

Why don’t go to yes? yes? yes!! yes

Let’s go to yes!!!”

Notice…the clever use of the term “Hey June”, which is an obvious reference to the hit Beetles song of a similar title. Changing the ‘Jude’ to every one’s favorite summer month was definitely a wise move. Doesn’t it make you think of sunshine and lazy days at the pool, lounging around in your underwear? Ingenious.

I also like how the second speaker (in what is naturally a recorded conversation between two girl friends attending an all-girls sleepover party) smartly thinks to ask her friend if the underwear she’s wearing belongs to her. That’s a reasonable question. I mean, don’t you just hate it when you accidentally put on someone else’s underwear and brassiere? So annoying.

I found this one on a sweatshirt and immediately fell in love with it, as I’m sure hundreds of other people have, being that I saw this same exact sweatshirt in a number of different window displays.

My only wish is that when I’m an old grandma, I’ll be cool enough to own a white-polka-dotted pink convertible with a license plate that says “love”. I like the ‘devil-may-care’ statement she’s making with that hair style. It’s like an afro/Pippi-Long Stocking hybrid. How daring.

I also think the caption underneath really speaks to me, being that I so desperately long to ‘makes home my soul’. Now if only the sweatshirt came with some words of wisdom on how to go about doing that.


Ok. I know this one doesn’t exactly fit the definition of an EngRish shirt (in that it well, makes perfect sense), but I felt the compulsive desire to take a photo of it anyway. Don’t you think that just sums up life perfectly?

If the sweater came in a smaller size, in a cuter style, in a more upbeat color and wasn’t paired with that ugly plaid shirt…I totally would have bought it.

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3 thoughts on “Engrish…Korean Style

  1. “everything will be OK in the end….
    and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end”,
    as it said on my friend’s fridge magnet.

    hey this is helena, no longer in tokyo, but back in the US again. and you returned to tokyo,
    you brave resilient woman you!
    love reading your blog always.
    best of luck for the new year!
    actually i’m really missing japan now.

  2. Ink-jet t-shirt printing paper is your friend. Youcould totally make that t-shirt. End of random person making short comment 😀

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