10 Korean phrases you should never translate to English

Literal translation is never a good idea. You risk coming across as either/a combination of rude, confused, angry, offended… basically an infinite list of many things that could go wrong in the process of meaning one thing and sounding like you mean something else.

Here are the top 10 Korean words you should never translate literally to English.

1. “My eyes are flipped/overturned”

Eek, this phrase sounds like something out of a gory horror movie.

That’s what “눈이 뒤집히다” means when literally translated. In Korean, it’s used to refer to a state in which one is very, very angry. i.e. “I was so angry my eyes were flipped/overturned”.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2. “Our husband”

You’ll often hear a married Korean woman use a phrase like “oori nampyeon”, where “oori”refers to “our” and “nampyeon” to “husband”. By the way, the phrase “우리 남편” is not used by married women who share their husbands with another woman/other women.

There’s no reason behind why this puzzling plural form “our” is used to refer to one’s husband (context of monogamy). It’s just the status quo.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

3. “Look at the liver”

“간을 보다”, or “gan eul boda” is used in two contexts:

First, to literally taste food and see how it is. i.e. does it need more seasoning? Second, to do something to guess the thoughts/feelings/intentions/situation of another person.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3. “How would you like your head cut?”

No, this is not some morbid question an executioner/torturer is asking. In Korean, “muh-ri” (머리) is used to refer to “head” and “muh-ri-ka-rak” (머리카락) is used to refer to “hair”, but for some reason, we use “muh-ri” to refer to our hair when we, for example, go to the salon.

So the next time you visit a salon in Korea and you hear a “How would you like your muh-ri cut?”, don’t be terrified.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

4. “The hot soup’s cooling.”

What is this confusing arrangement of two contradicting words?

Koreans- especially older ones- often use the expression “Si-won-ha-da!” (시원하다!) (“It’s cooling/cold!” when literally translated) after they take spoonfuls of a hot soup or stew. Typically, the phrase is used by older Koreans who want to express the pleasant feeling of having their bodies warmed by hot soup.

So don’t down a bowl of soup thinking it actually is cooling!

Photo by SenuScape on Pexels.com

5. “You have wide feet.”

“밟이 넓다”, or “bal-ee-nulb-da” literally means “wide feet”. It’s not a remark by a shoe shop assistant on the breadth of your feet, but a compliment that you are a social butterfly.

In other words, if you have “wide feet”, you have a wide social network.

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

6. “To flip one’s tail”

“Kkori-chi-da” (꼬리 치다) literally means “to flip one’s tail”, but surprisingly, it’s used to describe humans, not tailed animals. It’s a negatively connoted word used to refer to the act of seducing someone/trying to seduce someone in a romantic manner.

The phrase is usually used to refer to women trying to seduce men, not the other way around. The reference to a tail suggests how the woman is a fox (someone who is sly/cunning/a “snake”).

Photo by AdamLowly on Pexels.com

7. “You’re 4 dimensional”

“Sah-cha-won” (사차원) literally means “4 dimensional”, and is used to refer to someone who’s a little quirky, wacky and different from others.

The idea of dimensions is introduced here to refer to someone who seems so different from everyone else in reality that he/she seems to belong to another dimension.

Photo by Ivan Siarbolin on Pexels.com

8. “Gather three three five five”

What number is that supposed to be?

“Sam sam oh oh” (삼삼오오) literally means “three three five five”, with “sam” meaning 3 and “oh” meaning 5. The phrase is used to refer to a group of 3-5 people in a group/crowd doing something/sitting around. The number doesn’t matter that much- the phrase is simply used to refer to a group approximately the size of 3-5.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

9. “Can I have some of your skin?”

Again, a grotesque sounding phrase.

“Skin” (스킨) is usually used to refer to toner (in cosmetics), not literally to the skin, the largest human body organ. So next time if a Korean friend asks something like, “I like applying skin on my face before going to bed”, don’t run out of the house.

Photo by Shiny Diamond on Pexels.com

10. “I ate my mind.”

“Ma-eum muk ut suh” (마음 먹었어) literally means “I ate my mind”. “ma-eum” means “mind”, and “muk ut suh” to “ate”. No Walking-dead style of zombie feeding or philosophical phrasing involved.

In Korean, the phrase simply means, “I’ve made up my mind.”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
A fun video to refer to if you want to find out more about interesting Korean phrases!

That’s it for the top 10 Korean words you should never literally translate to English!

Hope you’ve found this post a good read. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

“Dancing Fish” (Tangs) review

RATING: 5/5

Just a few days ago, I visited “Dancing Fish” at Tangs, Singapore with my mum. It’s a diner on the 4th level of Tangs, a shopping mall in Orchard, Singapore. (Just a heads-up, when you scan the Singpass QR code, you’ll get a “Gratia Pte. Ltd” instead of something like “Dancing Fish”.)

According to “Sethlui.com”, a food/travel/nightlife blog, “Dancing Fish” is “an award-winning Malay-Indo restaurant from Kuala Lumpur with mildly spicy dishes to set your palates tingling.’

When we sat at the table, we were told that a physical copy of the menu would not be offered. I very much liked the fact that we could view the menu by scanning a QR code placed on the table. This is the menu in pdf form. I also liked the clean, calming atmosphere. The restaurant felt generally very well kept, with clean wood-patterned tables and simple lighting. From where I sat, I could even see Ion and its adjacent buildings.

The menu is quite neatly categorized (e.g. “Appetizers”, “Salad”, etc) and there were helpful descriptions of the dishes under the titles, but because I was unfamiliar with Malay-Indo cuisine, my mum, who’d been to the place before, ordered the food.

Vegetables
Tofu, rice and squid

The food was honestly really good. The squid was chewy, soft and marinated just right in the sauce. The “tahu taleur”, described in the menu as “a tower of tahu and flossy egg mixture, served with our tangy special sambal tahu sauce”, seemed intimidating at first because of its height (“How do I disassemble this without spilling everything”), but it crumbled easily and was easy to eat. The outer skin was crispy and the inside soft and sweet. (hungry again) The bowl of yellow rice had both delicious taste and scent. It was my first time with the vegetable dish (still can’t remember the name), and it was so good. The vegetables tasted fresh and the sauce was aptly sweet. Next time I visit the restaurant, I’d definitely want to try new dishes, but I’d order the dishes above too.

Overall- calming ambience, nice and clean scent & tables, friendly staff, very good food- a 5/5!


How Korea was founded on garlic and quarantine: mythology

Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

“Garlic is the reason Koreans have in-body defenses against bacteria and viruses.”

Just to get facts straight from the start (in this age of ludicrous fake news), here’s professionals’ take

“Professionals are skeptical. ‘There is no evidence that Koreans, or other populations, have specifically strong adaptive immune systems’ to the virus, said Gurel.

Asia Times (quote by Ogan Gurel, a non-practicing doctor currently working as a professor in South Korea)

In response to the assertions (for which there is no evidence) on garlic and Koreans’ immune system, some Koreans joke, “Our country was founded on self-quarantine.”

So this is how Korea’s mythology goes:

Once upon a time,

approximately BC 2333, Hwa-In (a god) sent his son Hwan-oong (also kind of a god) to the human world. Hwa-oong, accompanied by spirits of wind, rain and clouds, came down to Mount Taebaek.

In the human world, Hwan-oong looked over matters like agriculture, life span, illness, punishment and good & bad to improve the lives of humans.

One day, a bear and a tiger came to Hwan-oong and said, “We want to become humans.”

Hwan-oong told them, “If you eat only the mugwort and garlic I gave you and stay in a cave for 100 days, you will become humans. If you see the sunlight before the 100 days are up, you will never become a human.”

Painting of the mythology. Photo Credits
Photo by Marco on Pexels.com. The dark journey of becoming a human

Before the 100 days were up, the tiger could no longer tolerate the taste of mugwort and garlic & being in the dark. He went out of the cave and returned to the jungle he was from. The bear, however, patiently waited, and on the 100th day, became a woman.

The bear who had become a woman was lonely and prayed for a child. In response to her prayer, Hwan-oong came to her in the form of a man. He named her Ungnyeo, which means “bear woman”.

Ungnyeo and Hwan-oong became husband and wife, and she gave birth to a baby boy. After many years, the child grew up to become Dangun (or Dangun Wanggeom), the founder and king of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom. That is, at least according to mythology, how the Korean peninsula was founded.

A painting of Dangun of the mythology . Photo Credits

Koreans consume an average of 6.73kg of garlic a year. Our garlic consumption is number 1 in the world- which is not a surprise, considering garlic goes into pretty much every food we consume on a daily basis.

Photo by Vicky Tran on Pexels.com. Commonly consumed Korean dishes
Photo by SenuScape on Pexels.com

A correlation between in-body defenses and garlic may not be proven, but no doubt garlic is good for your health in some ways- how about giving it a try next time?

~ * ~

That’s it for the Korean mythology of quarantine & garlic!

Hope you’ve found this post a good read. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

How episode 1 of “Twenty twenty” shows Korean culture

Photo Credits

“Twenty twenty”‘s out!

I was an avid fan of the “A-teen” series, especially of Kim Hana (played by Lee Naeun).

So when I read the news that Lee Naeun was starring in episode 1 of “Twenty twenty”, I cautiously went on Naver TV to watch just episode 1.

Before I knew it, I’d finished watching 5 episodes in one sitting. (lol my gut instinct warning me not to start another series was right)

The drama stars actress/model Han Sung Min (born in 2001). When this photo was out, she became popular for resembling stars like Jennie (Blackpink).

I personally don’t think she looks that much like Jennie- but with the eye make-up, hairstyle and the way this picture was taken, she does look particularly like Jennie in this pic.

Photo Credits

Han Sung Min’s portrayal of her character (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!!) trying to wrestle out of her frighteningly obsessive mother’s control to become a true independent adult, is quite good, especially considering she’s quite a newbie actor.

Actor/idol Kim Woo Seok (born in 1996). I’m not very well familiar with many Korean idols so I didn’t know him before watching the series, but his acting seems quite okay!

His overall vibe in the series seems to suit his character very well- somewhat mature, laid back, calm and a cat-person (?) (actually owns a cat in the series)- and he portrays his character’s emotions subtly & skilfully.

Photo Credits

and actor Park Sang Nam (born in 1994). He has beautifully colored eyes and seems to portray his character in the series- the kind of guy who’s all nice and gentleman-like but slightly creepy and obsessive- excellently. The character he portrays in the series reminded me of Park Hae Jin’s character Yoo Jung in “Cheese in the Trap”.

Photo Credits

I’m attending university in Singapore, and although I don’t get to engage in that active of a uni life now (covid…), it’s great so far.

But I’ve always still been curious about university life in my own country Korea too.

Going for MTs (“Membership Trainings” which are kinda hanging out with friends time), taking pictures in pretty new clothes with friends in the backdrop of cherry blossom trees, having my first glass of soju, sharing slices of watermelon with friends at Haeundae beach…

Maybe because I was & am so curious about uni life in Korea, it’s fun watching the characters in the web drama go through their first and tumultuous year in uni which I would’ve experienced if I’d grown up there.

“Twenty twenty” definitely doesn’t have the in-depth, sophisticated plots of mainstream dramas. It’s a web drama after all. Plus, the average age and acting experience of the actors might be low compared to that of cable TV series.

But it’s still worth a watch because it’s a realistic portrayal of the growing pains of once-teenagers learning to become adults.

Watching the series will be more fun if you understand the cultural nuances/context of universities in South Korea! Here are some interesting cultural tidbits of episode 1 of “Twenty twenty”. (SPOILERS ALERT!!)

#Scene 1

The episode begins with the three characters from the “A-teen” series having a chat over soju. (a “pass-over” scene linking the Twenty Twenty to the A-teen)

Yeo Boram (played by Kim Soo Hyun) is a full-fledged YouTuber live-streaming her hang-out with friends. Kim Hana (played by Lee Na-Eun) and Ryu Ju Ha (played by Choi Bomin) are university students at Seoyeon University. (FYI for those who haven’t watched A-Teen- they’re a couple!)

Yeo Boram urges Kim Hana to down her glass of soju- but Ryu Ju Ha takes her glass and finishes it instead. (Ohhhhh)

Kim Hana & Ryu Juha, the official couple of A-teen
Screenshot of “Episode 1; twenty twenty”
Screenshot of “Episode 1; twenty twenty”

One of the viewers of Yeo Boram’s YouTube live-streaming comments that Ryu Ju Ha is a “heuk-gisa” or “흑기사“.

The terms “heuk-gisa” and “heuk-jangmi” are commonly used words when Koreans have a drink. “Heuk-gisa” literally means “black/dark knight”, and “heuk-jangmi” means “black/dark rose”.

“Heuk-gisa” is used to refer to a man who chooses to drink a glass a woman has to drink in a drinking game, while “heuk-jangmi” refers to a woman who chooses to drink a glass a man has to drink in a drinking game.

Being someone’s heuk-gisa or heuk-jangmi tends to reflect brewing or existing romantic interests!

Cha Eun Woo acting as Lim Soo Hyang’s “heuk gisa”

#Scene 2

The main character in the “Twenty” series, Chae Da Hee (played by Han Sung Min) lives with her (slightly scary) mum who has Dae Hee’s life plan set out for her.

No drinking, no parties with friends, no joining of fun CCAs. Her mum drives her from school to uni, and wants her to call after school’s over.

A second year student who’s taking a class with Da Hee sarcastically remarks that anyone who is always picked up by car is either an “elementary kid” or a “geum soo juh”, or, “금수저“. (rude much)

“Anyone who always gets picked up by car is either an elementary kid or a geum soo juh”
Can you see the “What the” look on Da Hee’s face

The term “geum soo juh” literally means “gold spoon”. It’s a Korean term for referring to someone who’s from a wealthy family. Of course, we have terms like “heuk soo juh” (“dirt/soil spoon”), “eun soo juh” (“silver spoon”) and “dia soo juh” (“diamond spoon”)- you can imagine which socioeconomic status each term is referring to.

# Scene 3

After the offended Da Hee leaves the lecture hall, a fellow classmate Baek Ye-Eun (played by Chae Won Bin) snidely asks the rude year 2, “Are you bored because you’re the only year 2 here taking a freshman class?” and leaves. (Ye-Eun being the character who says what we want to say)

Annoyed Ye Eun arms crossed
Ye-Eun looking at him pathetically

The year 2 student is left dumbfounded and wonders aloud, “What the heck, is she a bok-hak-saeng?”

A “bok-haek-saeng” is a term used to refer to a student who returned to university after taking some time off. Bok-haek-saengs are not uncommon in universities in Korea- many students take some time off for internships, overseas exchange programs, or simply to go on a vacation.

What’s interesting here, though, is why the year 2 student wonders if Ye-Eun is a “bok-hak-saeng”. That’s possibly because of the strong idea of “seniority” in Korea.

“How old are you?” may not be a very important question in Westernized cultures, but it is still very much so in Korea.

Talking back to or voicing out an opinion so strongly and boldly as Ye-Eun did to someone who’s a senior, is something so unconventional that the year 2 wonders if she’s actually his age or older than him.

# Scene 4

Bo-Hyun (played by Kang Yu Chan), another character in the series, is having a drink with his friends when someone bumps into him. It’s Cha Gi Hyun (played by Ryu Eui-Hyun from the A-teen series).

Bo-Hyun’s already annoyed the passing Gi Hyun had made him spill his drink on his clothes- but he hears Gi Hyun on the phone scolding a friend, saying, “How can a jae-soo-saeng drink? Do you want to sam-soo?”

This comment misses Bo Hyun off because Bo Hyun himself is a jae-soo-saeng drinking with his friends who’re the same age as him but are uni year 1 students. (ouch)

Jae-soo” refers to the act of studying for the Korean university entrance exam, “soo-neung”, for another year. “Jae-soo-saeng” refers to the student who’s repeating a year.

Sam-soo” similarly refers to the act of studying for the Korean university entrance exam again- but now, for the third time. “Sam” literally means “three” in Korean.

Re-taking university entrance exam 1-2 more times could be quite a big deal in other countries, but it isn’t the case in Korea.

Even if students do actually get accepted into a university, they often choose to re-take the exam so that they can get into an even better university- some even aiming for a spot in SKY (stands for Seoul University, Koryeo University and Yeonsei University, the top three in Korea).

There are even “jae-soo hakwons”- “tuition schools” for those re-taking their entrance exams. Students re-taking the exam spend their days in these schools studying, exercising, resting and attending lectures by tutors.

The “tuition schools” are basically schools specially made for the students to study in conducive environments.

# Scene 5

Da Hee is at a casual drink session with people from her university. The problem is, her mother (who’s a tad obsessive about controlling her daughter’s life) has explicitly told her not to drink with her uni friends. Her mother’s calling, and anxious Da Hee wants to go out and pick up the call.

The same year 2 who’d made fun of her for being picked up by her mum, comments, “Where are you going when your sunbae is talking?” and adds, “You should sit down and pour me a drink.” (do it yourself.)

A friend’s “Are you serious” look

First, the concept of “sunbae” and “upper class student“. This concept is also closely linked to the idea of “bok-hak-saeng” mentioned in Scene 3.

The word “sunbae” doesn’t only just refer to someone who’s an older person or a senior at work/school.

In Korea, we speak in honorific to our sunbaes. Not only that- we are less likely to go against their opinions and more likely to cater to their needs (e.g. give them seats, ask for their preference first when going out for dinner, agree with what they’re saying).

These unspoken rules pertaining to the relationship between a sunbae and a hoobae (someone who’s younger at work/uni) are a tad looser nowadays but definitely still exist.

This culture of seniority in Korea is a double-edged sword- one through which we can show respect, but one which can be a source of uncomfortable power imbalance that can be abused by some sunbaes.

Next, on the year 2’s remark that Da Hee should “sit down and pour [him] a drink”. This can be an insult, one that some Koreans believe borders on being a remark of sexual harassment. (Hard for someone to be ill-mannered so consistently…)

In Korea, the idea of a woman pouring a drink can be deemed by some as an act of impropriety.

Women and girls are taught to not pour drinks for men unless for their husbands or fathers.

Even some husbands and fathers themselves don’t want their daughters and wives to pour drinks for them because they deem the act to be inappropriate and insulting to women.

That’s because the act of women pouring drinks has been long associated with women working in brothels/women who are sexually promiscuous.

While this association may have weakened over time, there are still men and women who view requesting of women to pour drinks as rude or inappropriate.

~ * ~

That’s it for today’s post on Episode 1 of “Twenty twenty”!

Hope you’ve found this post a good read. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

If you haven’t already started watching the series, check out the Playlist Global YouTube Channel, Naver TV and V-live to keep up with the latest episodes!

Cheers, Han Seol 🙂

Dr. Bronner’s Hand Sanitizer review

RATING: 4/5

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer for about 2-3 months now. So far, I’ve only tried two variations: the lavender and the peppermint. They look like this:

Photograph I took of the bottles at home

They’re pretty small because they’re “travel size”.

This is how the lavender scent bottle looks like:

This is how the peppermint bottle looks like:

Important details printed on the bottle

NOT ALL IMPORTANT INFORMATION INCLUDED ON THE LIST BELOW. Please read the instructions on the website & bottle carefully before use.

  • Name: Lavender/Peppermint Organic Hand Sanitizer
  • Certified Fair trade
  • 99.9% effective against germs
  • Ingredients:62% organic fair trade ethyl alcohol, water, organic glycerin, organic lavender/peppermint oil
  • Uses: for hand washing to decrease bacteria on skin
  • Purpose: antiseptic
  • Active ingredient: organic ethyl alcohol 62%
  • Inactive ingredients: water, organic glycerin, organic lavender oil
  • Warnings: for external use only. Flammable. Keep away from fire or flame.
  • Do not use near eyes. In case of contact, rinse eyes thoroughly with water
  • Stop use and ask a doctor if irritation develops
  • Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away
  • Directions: spray on palm, rub hands together. Supervise children under 6
  • Other information: store at 20-25 degrees Celsius (68 to 77 Fahrenheit)
  • Made in: USA

Product description on Dr. Bronner’s site

To better meet the recent increase in demand due to COVID-19, Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer bottles may temporarily vary in shape.

Due to the limited supply of our hand sanitizer, the maximum quantity you can purchase is 3 units of the hand sanitizer. Any order that has more than 3 units of the hand sanitizer will be canceled & refunded.

Our Organic Hand Sanitizer kills germs with a simple formula: organic ethyl alcohol, water, organic lavender oil, and organic glycerin—that’s it! None of the nasty chemicals you find in conventional sanitizers, but just as effective. Our Organic Hand Sanitizer is perfect for using on the go, on your little ones’ sticky hands and faces, even as an air freshener or deodorant. Sanitize with a clean conscience. All-One!

SUGGESTED USES:Sanitize with a clean conscience! Spray our Organic Hand Sanitizer on children’s sticky hands—wipe clean! Spray on surfaces in public bathrooms, classrooms, buses, trains, planes! Clean screens! Use as air freshener or deodorizer—spray into air for wonderful aroma!

Purchase Information

  • I got it for about S$6+ from Watsons. Since it’s a hand sanitizer after all, I’d purchase it from websites or shops which can be trusted to sell legitimate items.
  • The products are available on Dr. Bronner’s website as well.

My review

I am no medical professional, so I don’t know if this hand sanitizer is the best one to use/good to use in the covid-19 situation the world is in.

But I do give a 4/5 rating for this hand sanitizer because

  1. It’s convenient to use; easier to spray the sanitizer on my hands (compared to having to screw/turn/lift open a cap)
  2. I can control the amount of hand sanitizer on my hand (compared to other bottle forms which I tend to squeeze too hard- way too hand sanitizer gets on my hands)
  3. I prefer this lavender smell to strongly citrus/perfume-like (flowery?) smell. It feels both like a hand sanitizer and a sort of light cologne I can use.
  4. The sanitizer doesn’t leave my hands feeling sticky.
  5. There’s less chance hand sanitizer will get messy in my bag. In this covid situation when handwashing is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and others from the virus, hand sanitizer has become a necessity. Closing/pressing on/screwing off/on the cap of a hand sanitizer is not only troublesome- sometimes when not closed properly, some sanitizer tends to get in my bag. There’s no chance of that for the spray version of Dr. Bronner’s.

That’s it for this review! Hope you’ve found this post informative. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Sol

Hanyul Lotion review

Photo Credits: from the Hanyul website

RATING: 5/5

I first started using products from the Korean brand “Hanyul” in 2017 because of my mum’s recommendation. (Fun fact: Hanyul’s advertised by actress Kim So Hyun)

As someone who has a peculiar skin that’s sandpaper-dry after I wash my face and abundantly oily just by noon, I’ve always tried looking for a product that would improve my skin tone and break-outs.

After trying out 3 Hanyul products, I’d like to share my thoughts on them.

First, I tried out these 3:

  1. “Trouble toner”
  2. “Trouble cream”
  3. “Trouble spray” (for body)

Note: “trouble”= for skin acne/breakout, etc.

Screenshot of the website; the toner, cream and spray I’ve used underlined in order

I’ve finished using the spray so I don’t have it at home anymore, but the cream and toner look like this:

Photograph of the cream in my house (almost used up)

Photograph of the toner in my house (also almost used up)

Cream

  • Smell & texture
    • I like the cream because it doesn’t smell too strong. Strong smelling moisturizer somewhat tends to feel like it contains a lot of artificial substances. There is a very light scent.
    • The cream feels cool and soft, gel-like. The color is a slightly translucent white.
  • Effects on moisturizing & break-outs
    • I think this cream, at least for me, does the perfect job of moisturizing my skin without making it too oily. It’s always been a challenge for me to find a good moisturizer that would keep my skin moisturized (which is important to reduce break-outs) but not make my skin look too oily.
    • But different people have different types of skin, so I can’t guarantee everyone will benefit from this cream the same way I did.
  • Purchase
    • I bought it for about 12 000 won, which is approx S$13.80, from Korea. You can buy it on platforms like Q0010.sg for about S$25.62 or Amazon for about S$57.35.
    • Given that the cream improves my skin complexion quite visibly within the 2-3 times I use it, I think the price is definitely worth it.

Toner

  • Smell & texture
    • The toner also doesn’t have a strong scent. It’s just like water, so you can open the cap, dab it on your palms 2-3 times, and pat it on your skin.
  • Effects
    • I don’t know exactly if the toner does its job, but I do know that it’s very cooling on my skin and helps to “prepare” my skin before I put on the moisturizing cream.
  • Purchase
    • I bought it for about 20 000 won, which is approx S$23, from Korea. You can buy it on platforms like Q0100sg for about S$28 or Amazon for about S$60.15.

If you want to know more about other Hanyul products & good Korean skincare products, you can check out this video by YouTuber Joohky!

That’s it for this review! Hope you’ve found this post informative. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Sol

Predecessors to BTS “Dynamite”

Credits to original channel. Official music video of “Dynamite”

“Dynamite”, released on 21st August, took “less than eight hours” to be viewed by “more than 45 million”. By now, that’s an unsurprising feat for BTS. The official music video has been watched by 148 million so far, and the number is expected to climb, fast.

Photo Credits

As someone who’s been an ARMY since their “Dope” era (that’s already 5 years ago….), I still can’t fully take in how they’ve gone from the first few years of their debut…

Photo Credits (Jungkook was only 16 at the time…and Jin 21…) The times they used to wear tee shirts with their names on them
Photo Credits The times BTS had 32 fans and had their fan meeting at a small shopping mall/commercial building.

to now:

Photo Credits This magazine cover is pretty self-explanatory… (and how do they take a picture at this ridiculous angle and still manage to look amazing)
Credits to official channel

They’ve truly fulfilled their goal of “surviving” in the industry. They’ve done more than survive.

To celebrate the wild success of BTS and its debut of its first English single, here’s a list of 5 Korean bands who came before BTS.

H.O.T. (1996-2001)

Photo Credits

“High-five of Teenagers”, or “H.O.T”, is the first K-pop idol group to be successful. Consisting of 5 members Moon Hee Joon (now an ex-emcee at “Immortal Songs”, also known as Jam jam’s daddy), Jang Woo Hyuk, Tony Ahn (ex boyfriend of Girls’ Day Hyeri), Kangta (actress Jung Yu Mi’s boyfriend) and Lee Jae-Won, the band enjoyed not only wild popularity in Korea, but also in China and Japan.

In 2011, H.O.T. disbanded due to a contract disagreement with SM Entertainment. Unsurprisingly, H.O.T. fans were furious at SM.

Photo Credits; Moon Hee Joon (at the time of H.O.T), born in 1978
Photo Credits; Jang Woo Hyuk (at the time of H.O.T), born in 1978
Photo Credits; Tony Ahn at the time of H.O.T., born in 1978
Photo Credits; Kangta at the time of H.O.T., born in 1979
Lee Jaewon at the time of H.O.T., born in 1980

All their concert tickets were sold out (10 minutes ~ 1 hour at a time when ticketing was not done online). Safe to say, K-POP might look very different if there was no H.O.T.

Song “Happiness”
Credits to official channel; song “Candy”
Song “Warrior’s Descendant”

Fin.K.L. (1998-2005)

Photo Credits

Formed by DSP Media, Fin.K.L. was one of the most popular girl groups in its era. It consisted of members Lee Hyori (most known to foreigners for starring in 2017 show “Hyori’s bed and breakfast” with IU), Ock Joo-Hyun (now a musical actress, known to be the relative of now-actor Park Hyung Sik) , Lee Jin (recently starred in the show “Camping Club”) and Sung Yuri (also working as an actress; she also starred in the 2006 drama “Snow queen” alongside Hyun Bin).

Sung Yuri, born in 1981
Photo Credits; Ock Joo Hyun, born in 1980
Photo Credits; Lee Jin, born in 1980
Photo Credits; Lee Hyo Ri, born in 1981
Credits to original channel. Song “Eternal love”
Song “Now”
Song “To my prince”

S.E.S. (1997-2002)

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Formed by SM Entertainment, SES was a record-breaking girl pop group consisting of three members: Bada (still working as a singer & vocal trainer), Yujin (turned actress; starred in popular dramas like “Bread, love and dreams”) and Yoo Soo-Young.

Photo Credits; Eugene, born in 1981
Photo Credits; Soo-young, born in 1981
Photo Credits; Bada, born in 1980
Song “I’m your girl”
Song “Love”
Song “Twilight zone”

g.o.d (1999-2005)

Photo Credits; g.o.d

“Groove over dose”, or “g.o.d”, was one of the most popular boy bands of the early 2000s in Korea. They are considered to be a legendary group alongside first-generation K-pop idol groups like H.O.T, Fin.K.L., S.E.S., Sechs Kies and Shinhwa.

The group consists of 5 members: Park Joon-Hyung (active on shows & YouTube), Yoon Kye-Sang (turned actor; starred in dramas like “Good Wife”) , Danny Ahn, Son Ho-Yung (some argue Kang Daniel resembles the younger version of Son Ho-Yung) and Kim Tae-Woo (stars in shows like “Immortal Singer”). This band is known to have a very high average height of 182cm, with the shortest member being 177cm and the others ranging from 181 to 190cm.

In 2018, g.o.d made a special appearance in IU’s “dlwlrma” concert.

Photo Credits; Yoon Kye-Sang, born in 1978
Photo Credits; to the left, actress Jun Ji Hyun; to the right, Danny Ahn, born in 1978
Photo Credits; Son Ho Yung, born in 1980
Photo Credits; Park Joon Hyung ( second from the right in the photo), born in 1969
Photo Credits; Kim Tae Woo, born in 1981
Song “Observation”
Song “0%”
Song “Road”

Shinhwa (1998-present)

“Shinhwa” (literally “legend” in Korean) was and is a six-member group launched by SM Entertainment. The longest lasting K-pop group in the history of K pop, Shinhwa consists of 6 members: Eric Mun (now an actor; starred in dramas like “Another Miss Oh” alongside Seo Hyun Jin), Lee Min Woo, Andy Lee, Jun Jin, Shin Hye-Sung (still an active singer) and Kim Dong-wan (turned actor; starred in dramas like “Cheer up Mr Kim”).

Photo Credits
Photo Credits; Eric Mun, born in 1979
Photo Credits; Lee Min Woo, born in 1979
Photo Credits; Andy, born in 1981
Photo Credits; Jun Jin, born in 1980
Photo credits; Shin Hye Seong, born in 1979
Photo Credits: Kim Dong Wan, born in 1979
Song “Sniper”
Song “Perfect man”
Song “Venus”

That’s it for the top 5 K-pop groups that came before BTS. Hope you found the post fun!

If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Sol

A look at Pohang, Song Ji Hyo’s hometown

Song Ji Hyo with no make-up on; Photo Credits

It’s no exaggeration to say that Song Ji Hyo is the face of Running Man. The now 40 year old actress stars in the drama “Was it love” along aside Son Ho Jun (known for drama “Go back couple”) and Kim Min Joon (known for drama “Damo” & for being the husband of G-dragon’s sister, Kwon Dami).

Photo Credits

She’s got acting chops, flawless skin, brains and stamina (she’s the ace in Running Man for a reason) and is so kind-hearted. (What does she not have??) She’s also originally from Pohang, a part of South Korea where I was born.

Pohang is a city in the province of North Gyeongsangdo of South Korea. The city is divided into two parts, the Buk-gu (the north) and Sam-gu (the south)

It is known for:

1. Seafood

Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

Pohang is a large seaport. That means being able to go the wet market in the morning and purchase all kinds of seafood that’s been really just caught from the sea and sliced expertly.

Pohang is most famous for “guamegi”, which is essentially herring or mackerel spike/saury dried in the ocean wind for about 10 days. It’s food specially eaten in Pohang.

Photo Credits

Pohang is also known for its “daegae” (literally “big crab”; 15-20cm!). Just recalling the taste of the soft daegae and how good it tastes to have rice with it… I’m salivating already.

Photo Credits

It’s also known for mulhwae, a type of sashimi served with cold sauce. Absolutely mouthwatering!

Photo Credits

2. Homigot

Photo Credits
Photo Credits

Beautiful place. (Although I remember thinking the hands are beautifully built but a little queer) I used to go to this place with my family to see the sun rise in the New Year. It’s called “Sangsaeng-eiu-son” and was built in 1999. One hand is built on land and the other is in the sea. Both were made to symbolize the idea that people of South Korea will live in peace helping one other. Google says the hand is called “Hand of Mutual Shake” but… I really think there could be a better English name for the two hands…

Address: 286-1 Daebo-ri, Homigot-myeon, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

3. Posco

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Posco is a steel-manufacturing company in South Korea with its headquarters in Pohang. In 2015, it was the world’s fourth largest steelmaker. An amazing feat, considering Pohang is not exactly the most urban place, located about 7 hours’ (sometimes more) bus ride away from Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

In 2018, the company ranked 9th on the KOSPI ranking behind companies like Samsung and Hyundai.

4. Pohang Jukdo Market

Photo Credits

The market is most well known for its very fresh, just-caught seafood. It only sells all sorts of things (there’s nothing you can’t find here that you’ll need for daily living) from clothes, utensils, food (i.e. kimbab, dalgona, ddukbokki, hotteok, traditional Korean snacks of an uncountable variety). If you visit Pohang and you don’t visit Jukdo Market…you’re missing out on a lot.

5. Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

Photo Credits

It ranked 71st in the QS World Rankings (2018) and after KAIST, probably one of the best science & tech universities in South Korea.

6. Satoori

In other words, “regional dialect”.

People born and bred in Pohang speak with a distinctive accent. They even tend to use certain vocabulary which Seoul people will find hard to understand.

Doesn’t specifically contain Pohang saootri. A video comparing dialects spoken by Gyeongbuk region and Gyeongnam region. (Please turn on subs)

That’s it for the distinctive traits of Pohang, the hometown of Song Ji Hyo! To find out more about Korean culture, history, study tips, living in Singapore and everything in between, follow “Han Style” and give this post a “like”! 🙂

Cheers, Han Seol

Korean law shown through drama “Flower of Evil”

Lee Jun Ki in the wildly popular movie “The King and the Clown” (2005) Photo credits

When the movie “The King and the Clown” was released in South Korea (2005), men and women left cinemas awestruck by the beauty of 23 year old rookie actor Lee Jun Ki. Much understandably so…

Photo Credits

Loads of Korean idols and actors with dazzling looks grace our Instagram feeds and TV screens nowadays, but I think Lee Jun Ki really is a timeless beauty. Plus, this man seriously doesn’t age. This is him 15 years later, a 38 year old in 2020:

Lee Jun Ki in “Flower of Evil” (2020)
Photo Credits

Lee Jun Ki stars as Baek Hee Sung, a man who seems like the perfect husband and father to a lovely girl. Actress Moon Chae Won stars as a fiery detective and a loving wife to Baek Hee Sung.

Lee Jun Ki and Moon Chae Won in “Flower of Evil” press conference Photo Credits

Not many minutes into the drama, it’s clear, though, that the seemingly perfect Baek Hee Sung isn’t really all that he seems on the surface… (hint: possible connections to serial killing & change in identity) For more information on the plot, you can refer to this site or watch this trailer.

A murder that occured 18 years before is one of the central plots in the drama. (Spoiler alert!!) Baek Hee Sung is suspected to be responsible for that murder- a secret that could be doubly ruinous for his relationship with his wife given she’s a detective. (we’re all hoping there’s some big misunderstanding…)

Photo Credits

One small question non-South Korean viewers could have watching the drama is, “How exactly does identity reveal of criminals/suspects work in South Korea?” (SPOILER) It seems like despite being a suspect of a major murder case, Baek Hee Sung was so quite easily able to hide his real identity.

I’m no expert in Korean law, but one thing I know is that it’s not that easy for suspects to go into hiding in South Korea… According to famous foreign psychologist Professor Lee Soo Jung, about 97% of murderers are arrested successfully- a staggeringly high rate.

So yes, Baek Hee Sung’s case is really a fiction in a drama.

Regarding identity reveal of a convict, though, opinions have been divided in South Korea for quite some time. Only in about 2019-2020 did the prosecution/police revealed the faces of the convicted who have committed heinous crimes. Public opinions in South Korea, too, have leaned more toward revealing convicts’ faces.

“The public has the right to know the faces of criminals who committed heinous, horrible crimes.”

“Why prioritize human rights of those who haven’t respected human rights of victims?”

VS

“Criminals, too, have human rights. Their faces/identities shouldn’t be revealed.”

“Revealing criminals’ faces isn’t helpful for reducing crime rates.”

The police and prosecution in South Korea have been under fire for not firmly, consistently setting hard guidelines for when exactly the identity and face of a convict should be revealed. Perhaps that’s why they’re increasingly revealing identities of individuals who have committed shocking crimes in 2019-2020.

Supporters of the policy of revealing criminals’ faces have often compared South Korea’s system to that of others like UK, US and France which make the reveal of convicts’ identities/faces via main media platforms mandatory (e.g. news).

What is your stance on this?

“Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Pact & Powder” review

RATING: 4/5

I have oily skin.

If you have oily skin, you will know exactly what that means. It means showering in the morning and seeing my face/hair oily by noon.

The fact that I live in Singapore, an all-year round summer country, (humid/hot/rainy) doesn’t help much.

After years of spending my school life trying all sorts of not-so-helpful things (like washing my face or wiping my hair), I stumbled upon this glorious product:

“Why did I find out about this product only now?”

“No-Sebum Mineral Pact” from Innisfree (with Jeju natural mineral and natural originated mint, 8.5g/0.29 oz)

It comes in this small grey box:

It works just like a make-up foundation pact.

After giving a few pats with the cushion, I dab the cushion on my skin/hair. (I use one for hair and the other for skin). It immediately makes my hair/skin look less oily.

It looks like this inside:

My used pact

This is its sister product:

This powder form is 0.17oz/5g, compared to the 0.29oz/8.5g for the pact. It looks like this inside:

My used powder case

The pact version is slightly thinner than the powder version as you can see:

The pact version seems a bit wider than the powder version:

The pact version costs S$17.00, according to the Innisfree website. The powder version costs $10.00 (couldn’t find the one exactly the same as mine).

The products are available on sites like iHerb and Amazon, but I think the most convenient & cheapest way of purchasing these products is by just walking into an Innisfree store– as of 2020 August, there are 17 Innisfree stores in Singapore.

Here’s my take:

Pros

-Both products are very good at absorbing skin & hair sebum

-Compact; they’re both 5-6cm, so you can easily keep them in a small handbag/pocket of your bag.

-Aesthetically pleasing cases & nice blue color

-A way for you to keep your face from looking oily without having to put on foundation make-up

Cons

-Not exactly a limitation of the product itself; you’ll have to make sure you don’t dab too much powder on your skin/hair, or you’ll look like you were just snowed on. (I have experience)

-Personally, I find the powder case a little troublesome to open and close. (If you don’t close the lid properly, the powder might spill in your bag/pocket) That’s why I prefer the pact case, which I can close much faster than the powder case.

-Another reason I prefer the pact version to the powder version; for the pact form, I can simply dab on the pact with the cushion and then dab it on my skin/hair. For the powder version, I’ll have to tilt the case so that powder will come out of the holes onto cushion.

That’s it for this review! Hope you’ve found this post informative. If you did, please give it a like/comment! It’ll be even better if you follow my blog “Han Style” 🙂

Cheers, Han Sol

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