Military Service, Tteokbokki Aglio e Olio

It’s kind of similar with spaghetti agilo e olio but with tteok.

Hello! I’m Ari, your friendly Korean source & your weekend reminder🎉 Today’s newsletter is about a new K-Drama, a love that is in your DNA, and some others. Let’s start!

🎧 You can listen to this newsletter on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other your favorite podcast platforms.


What Up Korea?👋

New Netflix Series for Korean Men

Many Korean men are looking back their old days with D.P., a new Netflix K-Drama series which released on August 27th. The drama is about D.P. (Deserter Pursuit), a real-life unit of the Korean army's military police that chases after AWOL soldiers. It’s reportedly portraying various elements of Korean military including a dark side. Many Korean men are posting reviews online saying it’s very realistic and it reminds them of their time in the military.

Every healthy male in South Korea is required to serve in the military for 18 months. Most of them are enlisted after finishing the first one or two years in college. Except for a few exceptions like medalist Olympians, celebrities (who often choose to be enlisted at about 30) or kids from rich families (who often escape enlistment using their parents’ connections both within and outside the military), you can assume all healthy Korean men above about 23 finished serving in the military. Good dramas or movies about the military are always loved by almost all generations of Korean men because they all share one common memory.

Unusual Status Symbol

There are many status symbols including luxury brand bags, watches and sometimes iPhone (which is also an age symbol in South Korea since it’s mostly used by young Koreans while Samsung phones are loved by old people). But there’s an unusual one among the list, it’s an university varsity jacket.

Varsity jackets of prominent universities are status symbols for many students here. On the back of the jackets, university name, major and sometimes students’ school entrance year are written. If you search the word, 과잠 (an acronym of 과 잠바, meaning ‘major jacket’) on YouTube, you’ll see a lot of videos featuring many different universities’ jackets. They are long-sleeved and quite thick (mostly made of synthetic leather) so they are usually worn during cold days. But recently one student who must have been very proud of to be a prestigious university student wore it in the hot and humid summer when he scold a delivery man after being told to wear a mask in the elevator. His video went viral.

Welcome, People of Special Merit!

Last week, South Korean government secretly completed a special military mission called “Operation Miracle” which was to rescue 380 Afghans who worked for the government in Afghanistan. About half of them are children and they were given teddy bears upon arriving at Incheon Airport. Seeing the little kids and their parents arriving in South Korea was a special moment for many Koreans.

We have a long history of being refugees ourselves because of colonization and Korean War. Since the country is divided into two Koreas, many families are still separated and can’t meet each other. Parents of the current South Korean President, Moon Jae-In, were two of ten thousand people who escaped North Korea during Korean War. Just like President Moon said earlier this week, “we used to be refugees,” and we know how they can face discriminations just because of being refugees. So they’ll be called and treated as “people of special merit.” Welcome to Korea!

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🎵 Learn Korean with DNA

I vividly remember when this song came out in 2017. I was watching a music program on TV on the weekend and I saw BTS’s comeback performance of this song. I was shocked at their freaking-awesome choreography😇 DNA’s lyrics is very romantic, it’s about love destined to be together. Today, we’re gonna learn some Korean with a quote from the song.

걱정하지 마 love
이 모든 건 우연이 아니니까

The quote means: ‘Don’t worry, love. All this is not a coincidence.’ I made three daily Korean sentences using the expressions in the quote. Check them out,

  1. 걱정하지 마, 다 잘될 거야 Don’t worry, everything will be alright.

  2. 걱정시켜드려서 죄송해요, (엄마) Sorry for making you worry, (mom).

  3. (어제) 우연히 전남친을 만났어 I accidentally met my ex-boyfriend (yesterday).

Change the bracketed word to make a different sentence! You can practice speaking the sentences with my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other your favorite podcast platforms.

👂 I Have Voicemail

Send me your Korean voice message! If you’re a beginner Korean learner, speak the three sentences you learned today. You can change the bracketed word in the sentences if you want. If you’re a more advanced learner or adventurous, send me your voice message about today’s newsletter (your opinion about WUK articles, etc.).

If you send it by September 13th, Monday, 9 pm ET, your voice could be on the the week after next podcast episode. If you want my feedback for your Korean speaking, leave a comment after submission. Deadline is by the week after next Thursday and I’m all ears!

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🍳 Tteokbokki Aglio e Olio

Ordinary tteokbokki is quite hard to make even for Koreans. It takes a lot of time and ingredients. But there is a way you can easily and differently enjoy tteokbokki at home. 기름 떡볶이 means ‘oil tteokbokki’ and it’s made with (of course) oil. It’s kind of similar with spaghetti agilo e olio but with tteok. It’s very easy to make and also safe for vegetarians. After checking the list of ingredients below, watch how-to video and cook for yourself!

  • 200g tteok or rice cake

  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flake

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Next week, I get my first shot of COVID-19 vaccine🎉 I might not be able to write a newsletter because of side-effects so I decided to take a break next week.

Thanks for reading! Share this newsletter and leave a comment. Your share, like, and comment help me keep creating the newsletter💕 See you in two weeks! 안녕👋

Ari