Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Life has moved at a frenetic, caps-locked pace ever since I added Shaq to my Twitter, but I've been experiencing immense inner peace after finding someone who could translate Korean TV commercials for me. For months, I sat there every night mesmerized by the woman who sips orange juice in ecstasy, the man who talks to a koala, and the androgynous model who mysteriously says "uncle?" Some of them don't really need translating, like the one with the beautiful girls eating fried chicken and singing "one five eight-eight, nine-two, nine-two!" The best ones do need translation, like the male model curiously posing, though translation removes all the wonder.

The moral of the story here is that if you're still buying skin lotion and some other product separately, you must be an old man. I liked it better when I thought he just mysteriously raised his eyebrow and the commercial was a complete cipher. That's the case because a language you don't understand is a lot like music. Some words are just nice to hear, even if they have ordinary meanings. When it comes to Korean, I really enjoy hearing "if you'd like" in a polite, formal voice, along with "this train", "okay" when a waiter says it, the time when it's 11 or 12 o'clock, right (as in the direction), and the number 8.

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