Hi, it’s Ari, your friendly Korean source! I’m back from Chuseok holiday break🎉 Today’s newsletter is full of squids🦑 & reviews. Let’s start!
What Up Korea?👋
Spoiler-free Squid Game review
I binge-watched Squid Game, a new Netflix K-Drama series, during Chuseok holiday last week. In the series, 456 people, who have struggled financially in life, are invited to play a mysterious survival competition. They risk their lives to compete for a 45.6 billion KRW or US$38.6 million prize. In the competition, they play a series of traditional Korean children’s games including squid game which is the title of the series.
Ever since its trailer👇 was dropped, I looked forward to the release of Squid Game because it looked like a new kind of K-Drama. I believe it’s the first survival game K-Drama ever. There were some plot twists that blew my mind. I even screamed at one time1 (👈minor SPOILER warning). A lot of Koreans could relate to the games in the series because of their childhood memory. (Though I never heard of squid game before. When I was watching the series, I thought the game was made up. It turned out to be a real children’s game which had been popular till 1980’s in South Korea. It was the biggest plot twist for me🙃) The series is currently topping Netflix charts in many countries including South Korea. It’s a little gory but totally watchable. I only had to close my eyes for a few seconds about 3 times. If you loved the message of Parasite, a big-hit Korean movie, you’ll love the one of Squid Game, too.
Squid Game V. Reality (Red light, green light)
A Korean children’s game, 무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다, translated as ‘Red light, green light’ in Squid Game, has become a viral TikTok meme. I used to play the game when I was a kid and I want to tell you what it’s like in real life. In the series, a giant doll/commander speaks the phrase, 무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다. While speaking the phrase, players can move and run toward the finish line. When it stops speaking, players should stop moving. If they get caught moving even a little bit, they get shot to death.
But the real 무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다 game is a little different. First, there’s no shooting, of course😅 Second, when a player gets caught moving, he/she becomes a hostage of the commander instead of getting removed in the game. The first hostage should cross a finger with the commander. The second hostage crosses a finger with the first hostage. It repeats making a chain of hostages 👫👫👫 Remaining players can recue all hostages by breaking a finger connection between the commander and the first hostage. As soon as the connection breaks, the commander runs toward players and players should run away from the commander. When a player is touched by the commander, that person becomes the commander of the next round. So in real life, it’ basically a recue mission game which is a little different with the one portrayed in Squid Game.
UN Assembly speech review
You must’ve watched BTS’s UN Assembly speech last week if you’re an ARMY. I watched the speech and here’s my review. First, for language perspective, I could clearly see that they made their Korean speech easy to translate into English. I think they did it for international fans to understand their message easier. It was very kind of them!
Second, they confirmed that all of the 7 members got vaccinated. J-Hope said, 저희 일곱 명 모두 백신을 맞았습니다 meaning “All of our 7 members got vaccinated.” I would’ve been shocked if they didn’t because being not vaccinated is becoming rare in the country. South Korea is a very divided country when it comes to politics just like many other countries, but we’re united in terms of vaccination and wearing a mask. If you visit the country now, you’ll see there is not a soul without a mask either on the street or indoor. By September 27th, 86.3% of adult population got at least one dose of vaccine. Last but not least, they all looked soooo cute in suits of an upcycling fashion brand💜
📺 Learn Korean with Squid Game
I watched the first episode of Squid Game paying attention to quotes hoping I could use one of them for my newsletter. After the first episode, I concluded that this series is great for learning Korean swear words🤬 There were many offensive words that I don’t recommend you to use unless you’re very angry. However, since the series is about children’s games, there were some beautiful & cute Korean words as well. One of them is 👇
무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다.
The quote means ‘Hibiscus syriacus (Korean national flower) has bloomed.’ Like I said earlier, it’s a Korean version of ‘Red light, green light.’ 무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다 is a very popular children’s game in the country. Though it was described as a bloody game in the series, in reality, it’s a really fun game which requires good running skills and strategy. I made three Korean sentences using 꽃 meaning ‘flower’ in the quote. Here they are,
(꽃집)을 하고 있어요 I run (a flower shop).
(꽃미남)이 좋아? (상남자)가 좋아? Do you like (a handsome & pretty guy)? Or (a tough guy)?
너한테서 (장미꽃) 향기가 나 You smell like (rose).
👂 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 October 4th, Monday ET, your voice could be on the next podcast episode. If you want my feedback for your Korean speaking, leave a comment after submission. I’m all ears!
🍳 Soy sauce egg rice
There are some food ingredient matches made in heaven. Two of them are soy sauce with rice and egg with rice. If you combine all of them, it becomes a soul food for lazy Koreans. 간장계란밥 or soy sauce egg rice is incredibly easy to make, very delicious, and surprisingly filling. There are many variations of this food and I prepared the hot🌡️ one. Check out the ingredients list below, watch a how-to-make video and bon appétit!
210g Cooked rice
1.5 Tbs Soy sauce
1 Tbs Cooking oil
(optional) 1Tbs Sesame oil
(optional) A pinch of Sesame
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment or share this newsletter! Your comment, share, or voice message will make my day💕 See you next week! 안녕👋
(recommended to read after watching Squid Game) It was when the frontman revealed his face. My guess about his identity was right, but I didn’t expect him to be my favorite Korean actor! I was like ‘It was … YOU???!!!’