Your Daily Shot of Soju: The Universal Language and Special Lunch Day

Introducing “Your Daily Shot of Soju” This is going to be my daily format for sharing random cultural thoughts, pictures and basically anything I want to in an easy to digest and read format. Expect to be updated Monday-Thursday, and probably once on the weekend. Yes, I changed the name. I like this one better.

Something for you to read:

I once heard something along the lines of “the universal language is mathematics.” I think it was from that Jodie Foster movie about aliens.

I’ve also heard a similar phrase stating “the universal language is love.”

I guess I see the truths in both of those statements. Both have principals that move beyond cultures.

Although with love, Korean culture has a separate word called “Jom,” or something like that. It means some sort of warmth, or kindness that’s similar to love but they tell me isn’t quite the same. Regardless, I feel that this “Jom” they discus is a concept we have in other cultures, perhaps not as wholly defined into a singular word.

I find it telling that the word for love here (sarunghae) only refers to romantic love. Or perhaps a strong liking, as in “I love this song.” Whereas in English, the word love can refer to romantic love as well as a warm feeling. Additionally, we have the term “Agape Love,” which refers to a never ending, unconditional love. I think that these terms encompass the Koreans notion of “Jom,” but they continue to tell me they don’t. I have a new goal in life, I suppose then. To discover the true meaning of the word “Jom.”

This is neither here nor there.

The whole world believes that the only true universal languages are those of “math,” and “love.” Ideas completely contrasting in styles if not amount of letters in the word. Math is impersonal and precise, where as love is personal the fuzzy.

But I found a new universal language, perhaps THE universal language. I discovered it yesterday, as I walked around the shopping district of Nowon, looking for Christmas presents as well as gloves to keep my hands warm. The language, the idea seemed so truly obvious I wondered why I never thought of it before.

As I stared at signs advertising sales on the walls, and luminaries lining pillars I realized the universal language. Something we can all understand. And it’s money. More specifically: commerce, which is the loving religion of money. And suddenly, as I walked through the mall area listening to advertisements I felt like I was at home. Everything else might be different to me but I can always buy something new to make me feel better.

Visual Stimulation:


A group of 3rd grade students poke a smoldering piles of leaves with sticks as they try to build a fire on the edge of the playground. The put out the fire when I approached.

Piece of Pop Culture I Miss Today:

My car. I really feel like getting on a highway and just driving and listening to music for a few hours.

Piece of Pop Culture I’m Diggin on Today:

Wednesday = Special Lunch Day. Every day the kitchen makes the same meal for everybody in the school, from the tiniest child all the way up to the Principal. Everybody eats the same thing. Usually the food is ok, but it’s definitely school food. But then comes Wednesday, and for whatever reason they choose to make a special lunch every Wednesday.

Today we had Stir Friend Rice, Apples, and Fruit Breadsticks. I know this might not sound like the biggest deal in the world, but when I just spent the past 2 lunches eating fish that still had the bones in it I get pretty excited over the little things.

Of course, by calling Wednesday “Special Lunch Day,” (which they do) they are also calling every other day “Not-Special Lunch Day.” I like this particular brand of honesty.

Fun with Engirish:

Today I taught my 3rd grade students the songs “Santa Clause is Coming to Town,” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” They like singing, and they even sang me the Korean version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” I tried to get it on video but couldn’t get my phone out in time. Maybe I’ll try to trick one of the other 3rd grade classes into singing it so I can get a video of it.

Randomly Something to Read:

Malcolm Gladwell discusses the correlation between race and I.Q. As well as dispels the notion that students back in the early 1900’s would be classified as mentally retarded if tested by todays’ standards. If you don’t know who Malcolm Gladwell is, he wrote the book “The Tipping Point,” as well as “Blink.” He is also one of the writers for the “New Yorker.”

I find the article most interesting when I add into it the teaching philosophy of “multiple intelligences,” which essentially says that all students are gifted and smart albeit in different ways. It seems that those students who score higher on an I.Q. test are simply the by-products of a culture that raises their cognitive abilities in the areas the test values. Students who do poorly might have intelligences in other areas. Lots of examples based on different cultures and generational scores.

This may warrant a longer post sometime.

Finally, I won’t believe it’s true til he catches a bullet in his teeth:

The five year old descendant of Davy Crockett kills a bear.


1 Comment

Filed under Things to Entertain You

One response to “Your Daily Shot of Soju: The Universal Language and Special Lunch Day

  1. Pingback: Your Daily Shot of Soju: When is Cheating Not Really Cheating? « Soju and Teaching

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