Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gangnam Style, bebe

I heard on the news the other day that the video, "Gangnam Style," by Psy, has gone viral in the U.S., with the likes of T-Pain and Josh Groban tweeting their praises over it. Even Justin Bieber has contacted him about doing a collab! I didn't fully understand the hype at first (other than the fact that the little boy is frickin' awesome), but this guy is definitely growing on me. Oh, and his video exhibits a pretty amazing and quite representative picture of Korea, if I do say so myself. Let's talk about it...

First, the comedy within it. There's so much of that kind of humor in Korea. Between the dozens upon dozens of ridiculous Korean variety shows on TV and the kinds of jokes my Korean friends make... these people love to laugh! At really goofy things. And poop. Koreans really like to laugh about poop. The buses...yes, everyone in Korea spends a fair amount of time on buses that look just the one in the video. There are actually norae-buses (karaoke buses), though I have yet to experience the disco balls, though I don't doubt that they exist in some bus, somewhere. And while we're talking about the bus... notice the old lady wearing the visor? She is a trademark ajumma, one of the greatest things about this country. I love the ajummas. And the saunas... Yes, you're bound to come across an awkward situation or two while in a Korean sauna, but it's usually pretty cool in the end and totally worth it. Sweet, wrinkled, and oftentimes inebriated Korean grandfathers can regularly be seen squatting on sidewalks, engrossed in a friendly game of...something. I don't really know a lot about Korean board games. The power-walkers in neon tracksuits? That spells Korea right there. Bright colors. Well-thought-out attire. Power walking. Yes...yes, Korea.

And Gangnam -- the area in Seoul that Psy is rapping about? Well, it just so happens to be one of my favorite parts of Seoul! The area has an upscale vibe, and it's nice to visit every once in a while, to feel like I'm back in Uptown, having brunch with my bestie. It also has some awesome places to get really decent Mexican food and other dishes that I dearly miss. Many of the Koreans that you see walking up and down the main street are indeed dressed to the nine's by day. But, like most in this country, they know how to get down at night (Psy wasn't lyin'!). I spent part of my birthday there this last year. So, here's a taste of Gangnam for ya:

Encounters with the random Mario:
 1) We say, "Kimchiiii!" 2) Mario tries to steal a kiss. An older lady looks on with envy. 3) We frolic off in the direction of the Multi-bang. 4) Friend gets angry at Mario's lack of manners. 5) Mario shows his sensitive side.

OK, so that wasn't actually much, nor a very accurate illustration of Gangnam. I thought I would have more photos to share. Unfortunately, the Gangnam in those pictures looks just like every other part of Korea. 

Just know that Gangnam is pretty dang awesome.


  1. Got it. Uptown or "South Side!" or "my team is cooler than your team" kind of vibe.

  2. well "gang" means river and "nam" can be boy or south. In this case, I'm assuming it's south. :) So South River or South of the River would be the literal translation. A lot of names have directional words in them in Korea.

  3. But what does Gangnam actually translate to? ~Annie K



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