Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Korean Drama

Rocking it Hermione style since 2011

Ramen will make your face puffy. (But it’s worth it.)

Noble idiocy is the fourth leading cause of death in Korea, after cancer, dangerous intersections, and constipation.

In spite of a global population skewed toward females, every relationship begins as a love triangle between two men and one woman.

If there’s a pool, someone will almost drown in it.

If there’s a glass of water, it will be thrown in someone’s face.

No matter where you go or what you do, your first love will find you. (Especially if you met as children and were then tragically separated. Then there’s really no escape.)

Brooding is best done in the shower.

Prosecutor Princess: I feel your pain, Park Shi Hoo, but I’d rather feel your abs.

The primary purpose of flower pots is hitting people on the head. The secondary purpose of flower pots is potting flowers.

Most “off” buttons on cell phones don’t actually work; to be sure no calls come through, you must remove the phone’s battery.

Twenty is the new sixteen.

After dark, it’s fine to drink your body weight in soju. Drinking as much as a sip before the sun sets, though, is an indication of a serious drinking problem.

Tying your head-towel in the most complicated way possible is key to fitting in at the sauna.

Gravity in Korea has a very special property not seen in other nations: any falling human being will inevitably fall onto the lips of another human being.

There are two kinds of noribang singers: the laughably bad and the Kpop-idol good.

Protect the Boss: Exhibits A and B.

Approximately one third of all Koreans own their own department store or upscale hotel. The other two-thirds make a living by delivering milk and sewing on doll’s eyes.

A meal without rice is not a meal.

Always insist on a blood test before the wedding. Odds are in the upper 40 percent range that your husband-to-be is also your brother.

In Korea, it’s impossible to leave your house without seeing a dramatic public declaration of love.

The state of a person’s lips is an important indicator of their well-being. Shiny lips means they’re about to be kissed. Pale lips mean they’re sick. Pale and cracked lips mean they’re dying.

No blind date in the history of the world has ever resulted in marriage.

If someone says “You’re not making trouble, are you?,” say yes. If you’re talking to an American, they’ll assume that you’re making trouble and are therefore fun to be around. If it’s a Korean, they’ll assume that you’re not making trouble and are therefore a valuable member of society.

The smaller your face, the more attractive you are. (Say Korea and Beetlejuice.)

Never give shoes to someone you like, or you’ll have to spend the next three episodes talking about how you shouldn’t have given shoes to someone you like.

Forehead kisses are PG-13.

Boys over Flowers: “Are you crazy, Ji Hoo? There are children here.”

Have a bad day? No problem. Just go to the hospital for an IV drip of some nameless fluid, no questions asked, no reasons given.

Korea is comprised of three locations: Seoul, Busan, and Jeju.

Your forehead is the second most logical place to crack the shell of your hardboiled egg. (Your friend’s forehead is the first most logical.)

Nosebleeds mean certain death or tragic overwork.

All Koreans have giant framed photos of themselves on hand at all times, just in case they die suddenly.

Two classes of people use mini-vans: Celebrities and kidnappers.

Flawless skin is only as far away as the nearest paper face mask and sliced cucumber. (Unfortunately, that’s very far.)

Adding “yo” at the end will solve all your problems.

Hospitalized people are very easily confused, which is why “hospital” should always be written on their clothes in at least one language.

At any given moment, most of Korea’s adult population is studying abroad.

The best kimchi comes from unrefrigerated jars stored in the backyard.

Fermentation Family: “Let me get this straight.
We’re going to eat produce that has been out here how long?”

The ultimate signs of true love are: unsolicited sharing of earbuds, straightening of discarded shoes, and couples pajamas.

In every story, there’s a second lead. Don’t be it.

If you’re good, hardworking, and kind, you will always win in the end. Or die.


  1. "All Koreans have giant framed photos of themselves on hand at all times, just in case they die suddenly." - You're right! Now that I think about it...if I would die tomorrow, there would just be an empty frame. Should I get one done? I'm not going to have a Korean funeral, but maybe just in case...I mean you never know, right?

    1. It never hurts to be prepared! And anyway, a photo of yourself might come in handy if you someday contract amnesia and need to be reminded what you look like, another important Kdrama concern. Two birds with one stone, and all.

  2. All you have to do is fall down on your knees and all is forgiven, no matter how wicked and evil you are or how dastardly the deeds are that you have done.

    1. Totally true. There must be a bustling market for knee pads in Korea, huh?

  3. - there is only one coffee shop, 1 convenience store, and 1 street vendor in all of seoul

    - everyone in korea goes to the han river to "think" (just not at the same time)

    - if the humidifiers are any indication, the air in all of korea's hospitals must be really dry

    - 40% of korea's female population are in the fashion industry (clothes, shoes, accessories, etc)

    - if the female lead calls someone who is not her brother "oppa" they will most probably not end up together

    1. Excellent additions!

      At any given moment, there must always be at least one drama filming at the airport or the banks of the Han. I bet that gets old if you actually want to go to one of those places for legitimate purposes.

      And in One Fine Day, the female lead starts off calling Gong Yoo oppa because she believes he's her brother. By the end of the drama, she's calling him oppa because he's her boyfriend. Ick. You should not be able to use the same word to describe people filling these two very, very different roles :b

  4. -No matter how poor the heroine is,she's always dressed fashionably.
    -When u walk the streets at night in seoul,u see it filled with guys giving piggy back rides to drunk girls.
    -When you visit a resturant or coffee shop,chances are,u'll see angry guys wrist-grabbing a girl n dragging her away.
    -Nosebleed is also an indication that you've worked yourself to physical exhaustion or cramped for a test whole night.
    -Majority of middle-class ajjushi's have a gambling problem.
    On a diff note,me being a university student,n not adjusting to mess food,i thrive on instant ramyun,but dunno why somehow they never make my face puffy.. :-)

    1. "No matter how poor the heroine is, she's always dressed fashionably"

      So true! I would add: she's always dressed fashionably with different clothes EACH day. Even if it's winter!

  5. - If you're out-of-luck money-wise, you alway get the rooftop room, a sure indication that you've hit financial rock bottom.
    - If you are average-looking and from a poor family, you can be the lead female protagonist. And by the same token if you are a sex kitten and evil to the bone, you can take on the 2nd female lead role.
    - It's always the homely, poor girl/handsome rich guy scenario. Never the other way around.
    - Someone always gets amnesia one way or another.
    - if the leads are to break it off for the greater good, there is always one last perfect date that they can both hold in their hearts forever and ever. Usually only one of them knows it's their last date and the other one is the poor ignorant one who doesn't know what grey skies lie ahead.
    - If you want to study your butt off, tying a cloth with encouraging words on your forehead helps greatly.
    -Getting hiccups is a clear indication that you like somebody.

  6. oh, korea is a place where the guys wear skintight jeans and low neck sweaters, while the girls wear the most oversized coats you can ever imagine!

    and the men's hairstyles probably take twice the time to achieve than the women's messy ponytail

  7. At least one of the first and second leads in the drama changes their hair style and/or color right in the middle of the drama!

    1. so true! This never fails... 'we should talk' next scene sitting with tea.

  8. Thought of another one...

    It's always either Christmas or spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Sometimes both?

  9. Buahahahahaha! LOVE this post! Oh man! Oh Kdrama, we love it, but sometimes it's crazy!

  10. EVERY household has a first aid kit.

    1. That is not always true - most often, for the most trivial ailments someone will have to run out (usually in the rain, at 2 AM) to get some "medicine". Apparently only in Korea do they have all night roadside pharmacies that sell an all-purpose, good for anything generic medicine. Koreans never keep a bottle of Aspirin around, they always have to go buy it (apparently those are not included in the first-aid kits).

  11. gaaaaah - i love this!

    - Every person has self-portraits either on their desk or blown up on the wall in their room (these must be the ones they use at the sudden funerals)
    - A single drop of rain will give you an instant raging fever
    - Sleeping in the cold will cause your "mouth to turn", a.k.a. Bells Palsy

    A lot of good stuff in the comments too!

  12. Bwa ha ha!! All of these are so true!! "If there, is a pool, someone will almost drown in it." So BoF LOL!!!

  13. Every conversation between two people rquires having a cup of tea or coffee or juice.

    1. Or must take place in front of a Seoul landmark and/or staggeringly gorgeous scenery. Not that I'm complaining ;)

  14. In Asia, a meal really isn't a meal without rice. Words from my own mother. Just saying.

    Great list, and the comments are awesome as well. Adding one myself: if you're rich and your mom knows and will hate your new poor girlfriend, she will have another girl, most likely very spoiled, at the ready ready to be your wife.

    1. The comments are better than the list itself, I think =X

      This is definitely another good addition. (I really wish Jun Pyo had gone with the girl his mother wanted for him in BoF.)

  15. no matter how poor someone is, they will always have a fancy samsung smartphone.

  16. The true healing power in a Korean hospital is not the amazing talent of the medical staff, nor the innovative surgical techniques that have been devised, nor the miracle of a wonder drug, it's the humidifier in each hospital room!

  17. You and the comments left out several vital ones, some of which K-dramas could not exist without. Among those are:
    1. There is something in the air, or water, or maybe gravity waves that make all high heel shoes - cheap or imported designer - fall apart. Of the 3,495 Korean dramas that I have watched, only 7 did not have a broken high heel - and 6 of those were 1000 year ago historical dramas. I don't recall which, but one drama had over a dozen broken ones.

    2. All mothers of rich girls and boys are totally evil, all mothers of poor ones are kind-hearted and loving, even those that deserted their kids on a rainy night in the street or sent them to an orphanage and moved to America.

    3. Koreans waste a crapload of expensive food, usually in upscale places. This usually occurs because someone storms out after taking one bite. Not sure if anyone ever actually pays for it or not...

    4. If you are 29 or under, you can be the biggest player, or hermit, or obsessed with work person in the universe. But once you hit 30, your mother, grandmother, friends, and people you don't even know will set up hundreds of blind dates for you. That is because in Korea (and China), if you are over 30 and single, you are dead meat and will never be happy.

    1. For number one, may you tell me what the title of drama that have a broken high heel shoes?
      I want to make some cut collection of that scenes.

      Your help will be appreciated. :)

    2. Goong (Yoon Eun Hye)is the first one that comes to my mind.

    3. Flower Boy Next Door had one, too. I think it was in episode 2.

    4. Style has broken hills. So does Lie To Me, Good Job, Good Job. I believe I need Romance...

  18. I laughed so hard reading this post!! This is GOLD :D I showed it to my mum and she loved it too!

    Thanks for the giggles, absolutely resonate with all your points! The K-Universe is a unique place indeed! ;D

  19. If you need a taxi, never call one, one will always come within 2 seconds (5 if you are in Jeju City suburbs).

    If you have a car accident or one of your relative fall gravely ill, don't call 911 (or 119), call the male lead.

    You absolutely cannot eat your hamburger with your hands. Use a fork and a knife.

  20. you made my night hahahhaha. So true, gotta love Korean drama land, so different and out of the ordinary lol ..that s why it's so entertaining ,,, thanksss

  21. omg this is so funny! I was just wondering the other day where they get those pictures to use at funerals.

  22. Funny!!! And true!!!

  23. It doesn't matter who is sweeter, better looking, smarter, richer, or better to you. If you didn't meet him first you wont end up with him!

    If the female lead is strong its a reason to tease her and love her all at the same time.

    The more derogatory the nickname the more he likes you, retard, old lady, rock brain...

    Without make up or a new hairstyle all it takes is a pretty dress to make her suddenly beautiful!

    For 17 episodes she looked just like a boy but as soon as you realize she is a girl she is beautiful and you are in love with her.

    When a character falls asleep you risk imprisonment or death if you do not cover them up with something, no matter the current temperature of the room.

    The best place to talk is on a busy street because there is always a car, motorcycle, or bicycle ready to almost run you down but don't worry the quick reflexes of our male lead will save you with a tight intimate hug!

    If by chance you didn't get a glass of water to the face it is probably because the glass broke and the tiny cut on your finger almost scared the male lead into having a heart attack!

    It doesn't matter how many times you fight, argue, or endure the misunderstandings as soon as someone admits their feelings you spend the next 3 minutes of the drama in the most loving montage of happy moments, and then someone has to run away or die.

    Its not about how sweet or nice they are, or even about how much they love you, its about how often you can argue and still end up stuck together in the most absurd situations.

    Don't worry you only call out the name of the male/female lead if you fall asleep in front of the second male/female lead.

    Even though the second female lead and second male lead are likely made for each other they will both end up alone when that final episode finishes!

    If the longing intimate stare doesn't give it away the loud sound of two hearts thumping tells you just how each person feels.

    It will take you approximately 3 minutes to get from point A to point lips when moving in for a kiss and yet it still surprises her so much that she looks like she is about to get hit by a truck the whole kiss!

    You've hugged, held hands, and kissed but ANY physical contact still makes her bat her eyes and blush.

    You may have argued every moment you were together but the second someone admits their feelings you suddenly agree about everything.

    That first love eventually ended but no need to worry this second time is going to last till you die, and it always survives the year or two you spend away from each other as soon as everything else works out.

    You either lost both parents at the same time, one parent when you were young or if you have them both then likely one or both of them is a complete screw up but don't worry the person you fall in love with will likely have the same experience.

    If someone close to you died in a dramatic and slightly mysterious way then its likely that either the other lead or their family is somehow responsible for the whole thing.

    oh so many more...

  24. Here are my additions to this excellent post:

    ALL females portrayed in dramas LOVE to eat...mainly to the point where they shovel hoards of food into their mouths at one time!

    EVERYONE in Korea drinks Soju like water; everyone can hold their liquor

    EVERYONE knows how to cook amazing cuisine, even packets of noodles come out looking like Italian cuisine

    If you do not have any where to stay: bathhouses are always open; towels MUST be worn like Princess Lai from Star Wars

    Drama Kisses will always done at least 4 times: from the right, the left, in slow motion, and in flashbacks

  25. Great post.. What about...

    The most passionate kiss is always done in a merry go around way... with the camera going in circles around the kissing couple with a good close up when the male open his lips just enough to make us faint... but who's complaining? LOL

    The cut on the side of his lips is either (1) a sign of the lead actor first fight with the second lead, (2) he got slapped by his father for refusing to work in his company, or (3) for wanting to date that poor girl. OHHHH and that same father has the power to send that poor girl out of the country regarless of what she or her parents say.

    Your noona is stronger than you even if you spend the whole drama fighting bad guys and kicking trees and car tires. LOL LOL

    Draging the girl by the arm is the first sign that he likes the girl. OH wait no... The first sign is the longer stare with questioning eyes... then comes the dragging by the arm.

    In Korean dramas is vey easy to spend 3 episodes without the main lead knowing their names... Yes... even if they spend the whole time together.

    In a society so ahead in technology, where even the poorest have/own a samsung phone, it is fascinating that they have to take the battery off to stop all incoming calls (HEY, there is a power off button in case you didn't know.) And it seems that the ability to send texts and calls to American, Paris, Spain, or any far city away in Seoul is impossible which explains why the main actors never contacted each other for the 3-5 years they were oversees.

    Kids acting as the main lead when they were kids get 1-2 episodes and as much as we want them to grow up, we end up missing them so much and wish they could come back some way some how back in the drama.

    The more the main actor says "Aish!" the more adorable and sexy he gets!!! BOF Goo Jun Pyo is a good example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vix4QjWHnrY

    Last, but not least.... Why is it that in Historical Korean Dramas the talk of poop, farts, and some other body functions is used and discussed so freely and it is sooooo common? Can't get over that one!!!

    Yep... I am officially a KDrama addict... I've noticed all the things metioned in this article and in the comments. Thank you for a good reading.... Oh NO... Well, sorry, I got to run! I just received a notification on my phone that "Fated To Loved" was just subbed. Gotta go! LOL LOL

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  27. In Kdramas, the female protagonist saves their crush or would be crush in their phones as ' pervertlawyer' or some other derogatory name.

    Also strong footsteps indicate your crush or a psycho is near.

    Most strong female leads tend to threaten or beat up their crush. They are also quite Loud.