Word Wednesday #2: A Completely Irrelevant Word Outside Korean Context

Upon request, I was going to share the most basic of Korean words – hello – but then I came across this one and I absolutely couldn’t resist.

It was taught to me by my co-teacher, JH, when we were scavenging our English office for drinks and came across a box of juice left from a meeting that had been held in the room the day before. When she found it, she laughed and said that this juice is said to make men “vitalized”. I asked why, and she answered. Thus my word of the week happens to be the name of this juice.

Word: 복분자, or bokbunja (bohk-boon-jah)

Definition: While the word literally means raspberry, it also has another cultural connotation. There isn’t an equivalent even close to this in the English language, because it’s a derivative describing a very specific context: the word is also used to describe the event when a man pees in a traditional korean urinal too hard and it flips it over, getting his pee everywhere.

Apparently this was an occurrence that troubled quite a few men back in the day, especially if they had a very strong stream going. Therefore the juice’s name is a pun – and honestly, who wouldn’t want to buy juice that implies it’ll make you feel like you’re sitting on the Nile? I tried really hard to find a picture of what a traditional Korean urinal looks like, but to no avail. I’ll see if I can get my co-teacher to help me out.

Also I know I promised a post on Korean couple culture, and it’s 98% of the way there, but I’ve been so exhausted with late nights that the grammar’s all over the place and I’ve chosen to edit it vs. give you guys half-baked content. It’ll be ready by tomorrow though!

So that’s it for Word Wednesday til next week – and once again, comment below and let me know what words you’re keen to learn.


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