Go Premium
Facebook Twitter Google Plus

Naughty Things to Do With Your Hands in Korea

November 14, 2013

Comments

Share Post

How many LOOOONG time Nasties here now? Remember when we were filming in our first apartment in Korea, back in Bucheon? Do you remember this really old video of ours explaining Korean Hand Gestures?

Whoa, that’s an old video. So, we’re not going to talk about the hand gestures for politeness. We’ll make you suffer and watch that old video. Buahaha! Oh man, we were so uncomfortable on camera back then. I can’t even watch that video it’s so slooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. We’re far more shameless now. And Martina looks so…professional in that video! Now she is happily pink haired and channeling 80s rock bands. Ah…where did we go wrong?

Anyhow, there are just a few more hand gestures that we want to talk about. The first is a fairly self-explanatory one, the Perpendicular Forearms of DOOM! Oh? You don’t know it by its name? If you visited Korea before, and you aren’t Korean or Asian looking, you probably have seen people do it to you when they want to say that they don’t have something in stock or that they’re not open. They’ll cross their arms in order to say no. Not sure why they just don’t say no, and why the arm gesture is necessary, but you’ll see it in Korea a lot and we often chuckle about it. We chuckle about it but it has become part of our normal hand gesture movements now. So even when two foreigners are talking to each other, we’ll often throw up the huge X sign without even knowing it. It gets rather embarrassing when you visit back home and you’re throwing up X’s to unsuspecting people just to say “no”. Do you want whipped cream on your hot chocolate? “NO thanks!!!! *giant x*” Slowly creeps away…Korea will change you man.

Another gesture we wanted to mention was how the typical handshake has changed in Korea. The placing of the left hand on your right wrist or forearm for politeness (which we actually mentioned in our old hand gesture video) is awkwardly used when shaking hands with someone. This is something I really had to teach my students to not do. Shaking someone’s hand is something people don’t really do in Korea, they usually just bow or do a polite head nod. But if they’re meeting with foreigners, especially in a business situation, the handshake hand might have to happen. But it often comes out with an awkward left hand place on the the right arm while hand shaking. It’s like the polite drink pouring meets the polite object giving mushed into a handshake. If you’ve lived in Korea you’re totally used to this, but if you aren’t from Korea and someone does it to you it gives you a kindof weird first impression, like you’re caressing your own arm or closing up in fear. Even for us when we shake hands with someone in Korea it’s hard to break that habit because we don’t want to insult them by NOT including the hand but then again, it was never supposed to be there to begin with. So we’re kindof in a sticky situation! For some of you that have met us before in Korea, we 100% did the awkward pigeon head bob of “nice meeting you” that comes with living in Korea (and I’m sure Japan) for a while.

On the cuter side, you might notice the way Korean people pose for pictures includes a lot of hand gestures. There is the “V” with your fingers that looks like a peace sign but it doesn’t actually mean peace. I heard it’s V for Victory kindof stolen from manga and anime posing after a victorious battle but I’ve also heard lots of other stories to explain it. One that might seem baffling is what I call the hamster pose. You put your hands into fists and jam them up against your cheeks like you’re trying to dig out secret nuts and seeds. ლ(╹ε╹ლ) It’s called “BuWING BuWING” 뿌잉뿌잉 and although there isn’t a “W” in that word you kindof of say it quickly so that it sounds like “BOOINGBOOING” or “BuWINGbUWING!”. I personally can’t break the habit of using as many hand gestures as possible when in photos because, gosh darn, it just makes them look so much more fun even if it makes me look like an idiot. Note the attached photo of me looking like an idiot.

IMG 5929

It’s supposed to be a very cute gesture but I theorize it is popular because many young Korean people like to cover their cheeks when they take picture in an attempt to make their face look smaller. This bizarre “my face is so big and your face is so small” concept really confuses me because Korean people have lovely small faces. Yet I’m so often said to have a small face…and they jam their fist into my face to prove that indeed, my face is the size of a fist. Oh OH we totally talked about that YOUR FACE IS SO SMALL fist to the face along with the ORRRRIIGOOOONNALLLL hand slapping gesture that Simon learned from his students in a different TL;DR!! If you haven’t learned about those two, you can view it here.

So that’s it for some of the gestures we’ve seen. If you can think of anymore that we haven’t mentioned please share in the comment section! Also, I want to know your country’s hand gestures as well because there are so many that overlap and so many that are TOTALLY different!

Comments

203

Share Post

TL;DR

HIDE COMMENTS

Naughty Things to Do With Your Hands in Korea

203 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

  1. Can you a tl;dr about social classes in South Korea? Also does SK have any welfare system in place and is there a high poverty rate.

    3 years ago
  2. In Norway, when you show your little finger, it’s like “Throw your d*ck over the fence and pee.” I usually did it to dare someone as an younger… I can’t come on more now… maybe I do it later…

    3 years ago
  3. Lol I do the “X” thing with my arms all the time cause I watch waaay to many animes and dramas. Another thing I have picked up from them is waving my hand sideways in front of my face to disagree. It’s hard to explain a hand gesture….anyone know what I’m talking about? haha

    3 years ago
  4. gaaah! I was lied to for a long time in that case! I was told it was meant to “prevent bad luck” or “thank your lucky stars you got out of a situation unscaffed” …. Thanks for clarifying this mystery in my life aahaha.

    3 years ago
  5. hi Simon & Martina love your videos & blog but I was wondering if are you going to upload the shinee interview thanks xx

    3 years ago
  6. What about that hand cringing they do on variety shows when something too cheesy or cursi is said? They even slap their hands to get the back to normal? what is that all about?

    3 years ago
  7. haha i laughed so hard about the pinkygesture XD but actually the second thing you did with the thumb and pinky to your face means in austria “lets grab a beer/drink” or “wanna have something to drink too”. you will often see people doing this in a club or at crouded places. so please touristkoreans dont get offended by that :-) we only want to drink beer hahaha

    3 years ago
    • In Peru it means that too… but is not exactly the same gesture, for us you wouldn’t put your hand on your face instead you would just shake it a little… kind of like the gesture u make when u hold a pint of beer

      3 years ago
      • For us we keep our hand away from our face all together, more like from pinky down u flip ip up… I don’t know how to explain it… I wish I knew how to make gifs so I could show it T.T

        3 years ago
        • In the Netherlands we just act like we hold a glass and twist it quickly a few times towards your mouth, like you would do if you were drinking something.

          3 years ago
      • argh im sorry im posting this from my phone and it keeps looging me in and out. sorry i just wanted to put up ONE picture.

        3 years ago
      • yes we shake it too :-) but we dont put our pinky to our forehead. i tried to make a picture but yeah it looks kinda funny in that frozen position. :-P

        3 years ago
  8. In Brazil The act of hitting the right hand closed on the open palm of the left hand means something like “you F****d up” ;A;

    3 years ago
    • Hmmm… I’m brazilian, but I use it differently. Instead of “you f***ed up”, I kinda use it more like “you’re f***ed”, specially when trolling people over their failures. Like, a brother getting scolded, you do that.

      3 years ago
    • hahaha in Croatia as well! When you associate a name with it or say “your mom” “your sister” “your wife”, etc…it means “I F*** that person from behind”… cringe…

      3 years ago
    • True! I hadn’t realizes that, when Simon did it, but it’s true!!! … and also in Brazil, the middle finger going through the palm of your hand GENTLY means I want to F**k you

      3 years ago
  9. I grew up in an Italian immigrant neighbourhood and wiping the back of your hand under your chin and outwards towards someone is the equivalent of the middle finger, much more expressive though….and easier to pretend you weren’t doing it when your Mom notices….eheheheh……

    By the way, lately the blog posts have been even more interesting than the videos. Not that the videos aren’t great, but thanks for giving me TWO great funny and informative things to enjoy on the same(ish) subject ^_^v

    Hahahaha! About a year ago, my son started doing the “X” with his arms when he didn’t want something. I knew what he meant but I wondered where he got it from since he doesn’t watch anime – hah! too much Eat Your Kimchi! LOL!

    3 years ago
  10. Well, in England, we have the V sign where we do the peace sign but with out palms facing to us and the back of our hand facing the people. This means ‘F*** You’ and is used quite a lot in light hearted jokes~ I’ve also heard of putting up your pinky finger and that means F*** You as well but that might have been a joke when I was little :)

    3 years ago
  11. Oh and here is an awesome derp face! :P Sorry guise..had to share.

    3 years ago
  12. In Argentina we pull down our eye too, but for us it means “be careful what you do because I have my eye on you.” My mom would do that to me when I was little and getting too rambunctious.

    We also do one where we touch all our fingertips together and wag our hand up and down. It basically means “what the hell are you saying?” That one is pretty rude, so you should only use it with your friends.

    3 years ago
  13. “SCREW YOU JESSICA ALBA” O_O AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!

    in Bangladesh the thumbs up sign means you call someone a frog, and it’s a really bad thing to do!

    3 years ago
  14. In the UK the backwards peace/victory sign is rude, like the middle finger pretty much. Kpop idols do it all the time though.
    Taemin, that’s a rude gesture! Lol.

    3 years ago
    • I always cringe when idols do this. I’m American, but I’ve been chastised in England before for ordering ‘two’ plates of something that way. My English buddies told me it was because it was a way back in the day to mock people. As punishment, archers would have their fingers cut off. So when someone flashed two fingers it meant “I got my fingers and you don’t so f*** you!”

      3 years ago
    • This picture is particularly great because of the happy expression on his face. I’m mentally adding, “F*** YOU!! TEE-HEE!”

      3 years ago
      • Taemin the evil maknae

        3 years ago
        • are we really the only country that finds this rude? 0.0 I know its somehow connected to cutting arcers fingers off in olden day battles and stuffs

          3 years ago
        • In america (or at least texas) you’re considered a weirdo for throwing up a peace sign in a picture, but nope, its not at all offensive

          3 years ago
    • oh yeah! I remember being so confused when I first got in to k-pop. I was like ‘why is everyone swearing at me?’ lol

      3 years ago
    • You just ninja’d my post, haha! The UK’s forwards ‘victory’ V sign supposedly comes from that photo of Winston Churchill during the Second World War, when he used it to say to the British public that we would win.

      I think now the backwards one’s becoming less common as more people from different countries where it means something different learn English, but definitely in the UK and I assume in Ireland too… yup. I do a small giggle inside every time I see a K-pop idol or other figure use it to say ‘Look at me, I’m awesome!’. Also, Martina you don’t look stupid, it’s a very aegyo photo and I love it <3

      3 years ago
      • I thought it came from the wars in middle age, where the British and the French had different kind of bows: the British shot with these two fingers, and the French with… their middle finger. So, the British would show two fingers to significate they still had arrows, and the French would reply by showing their middle finger! But since the British won, I don’t know why it’s the French way that went global ^^

        3 years ago
        • Yeh was the Battle of Agincourt, the French would cut off the first finger of captured Longbow men, so they couldn’t shoot their bows, the two fingered salute was “Fuck you we can still kill you!” …. what a geek lol

          3 years ago
        • ^ Maybe that’s why Churchill made his V sign forwards instead of backwards, if it’s been an ‘eff you’ for so long :-) I just tried typing this into Google and there’s an entire Wikipedia page about ‘the finger’ xD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_finger

          3 years ago
    • Omg when I first saw pictures like this I was like “stop swearing at me!” lol

      3 years ago
    • I’ve seen that with someone saying “toss off”

      3 years ago
    • ahahaha when i first saw an idol doing that i was kinda shocked!!
      but then i came to realise it’s not like that over there!!

      3 years ago
    • The famous “up yours”hahahaha See it all the time in Kpop.

      3 years ago
      • Yep, that awkward moment where it means “up yours” in your own country but you honestly had no idea… So you use it like Korean Idols do… Needless to say no one looked at me the same again and most wouldn’t accept that I seriously had no idea T^T So many friends lost that day…

        3 years ago
  15. The gesture you’re doing with the nose, in my country (Spain) in you do it like an L talking about a guy, it means he’s tall but has a small member. But, if you’re doing it the other way, like a gun, that means he’s short but big size.

    3 years ago
  16. The Ok sign here in Brazil, kinda means (free translation) to “Go *uck Yourself” (in Portuguese: Vai tomar no cu)!!!

    3 years ago
    • Really?? OMG I have to remind myself no to do that if I ever go to Brazil.

      3 years ago
      • Don’t worry, we are very laid back here. Probably, you’ll get some giggles out of the person you’re talking to. I would not advise you to do so with an angry face, nonetheless!!! Where are you from?

        3 years ago
        • Portugal!!! That’s why I was surprised. I’ve read another hand gesture thing you guys do, you do have a lot of stuff.

          3 years ago
        • We do and I think because we had a lot of Italians coming to Brazil in the early 1900s … We talk a lot with our hands!

          3 years ago
  17. WHAT? Ive been doing the “i got your nose” thing with my Korean kindie class for like a year. no wonder they think its so funny. my GOD I feel silly

    3 years ago
    • …….uh okay…. he says it’s not regional, it’s everywhere in Korea and it means sex or “f – you”. He says it’s worse if you do it to old people, sooo at least you are only doing it to children!

      3 years ago
    • I’m just waiting for my husband to get home to check if it’s a regional thing. Maybe it’s just down South! haha…

      3 years ago
  18. There’s also the toothache pose, where they just hold their jaw/cheek to hide it.

    3 years ago
  19. This is the greatest thing I’ve read all night. MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY PALM TREE! “We are lesbians, you know you want it, youuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!”

    3 years ago
  20. This was hilarious! Hahahahah! :D Great stress reliever and now back to my godawful assignments. @_@ #lifeofaunistudent

    3 years ago
  21. If a person in Holland is suddenly waving their hand next to their ear, it means the food was yummy. :) Also, if you ever happen to go back to the middle ages, if you flick your thumb on your front teeth, it means fuck you! We did this a lot in drama class, lol.

    3 years ago
  22. I was not at all prepared for that hand gesture that involves mothers, I had a mouth full of liquid at the wrong time & ended up spitting it all over my female cat Elphaba with she did not appreciate. I know we use this hand gesture in Australia & I think it may be used all over the world, you make a fist, stick your little finger out, curl it around & then wiggle it this means a man has a little penis ( can I say that word on here )

    3 years ago
  23. the thing with the eye! in poland, you do this gesture to let someone know that you know that they are lying to you

    3 years ago
  24. This is more my fault but my son now repeats the na na na boo boo

    3 years ago
  25. The level of aegyo-ness in Martina’s picture is too damn high!!! *faints from aegyo overload*

    3 years ago
  26. So, I recently learned one hand gesture used in Brazil that means something bad but I was innocently using it as something good o_o ok, let me explain: you know the “OK” sign, right? when you touch your index finger with your thumb, just like Lee Hyori’s U Go Girl dance. Well, I thought it also meant “ok” in Brazil, even though I’ve never seen someone here use it, so i’ve been giving the “ok” sign for 4 years I think. Buuuuuuuuuut a few weeks ago, due to a scandal (??), people started trolling using this sign. The index-thumb touch means anus. I DIDN’T KNOOOOOOOWWWwwww TT.,TT

    3 years ago
    • This hand gesture got really popular lately when a sex tape went viral with the same hand gesture suggesting… well, what it means.

      3 years ago
    • Bya

      Yes. As a brazilian, living in Sao Paulo my whole life I can atest to this: this sign means something really offensive (something bad to happen to your buttocks). But is normally used among friends in a more light way, so if you are among people you know it’s okay… if you aren’t… BEWARE OF BRAZILIAAAN TROLLS BD

      3 years ago
    • I was told it meant telling the person to go have something happen to their anus.

      3 years ago
  27. That’s what I do with my hands when I run. Been doing it for years!! :s

    Good to know, good to know…

    3 years ago
  28. Thank you!

    3 years ago
  29. Here (Portugal) we have a sign that basically means “Suck it!” (watch the image below). If you turn to someone and do that, it can be insulting if you don’t know them or are in bad terms, but it can also be friendly if it’s with your friends when you win a game or something. it depends on the way you see it. Basically, it’s like the middle finger. Oh, and the guy in the image is a symbol of the portuguese working class and that mocked the powerful. The move is called the “Manguito” and his name is Zé Povinho.

    3 years ago
    • In Argentina it also means “de aca”, it’s similar to the portuguese meaning.

      2 years ago
    • That means something similar in Croatia too…Basicly ” suck it ! ” or ” f*** you! ” or “screw you! ” .
      It is also like the middle-finger…
      But when you’re talking to friends ( let’s say, about a teacher which really annoyed you or angered you ) and mention what you were thinking in that certain situation and do this motion, it means that you basicly wanted to insult your teacher but kept your mouth shut. In such situations, it’s only insulting to the subject of the conversation (because, obviously, your friends get that you are not insulting them).

      3 years ago
    • It means the same in Brazil, but we call it “banana”…

      3 years ago
    • Ross didn’t do that. He hitted is fists together twice. I do that all the time to my friends when I’m mad at them. Some of them get it, others don’t. That’s the joy in it.

      (this was the best image I could find)

      3 years ago
    • Zé Povinho is the man! Hi to portuguese nasties! <3

      3 years ago
    • yeahhhhhh Zé Povinho is the man! Hi to portuguese shawols! <3

      3 years ago
    • Manguitos 4ever!!!!!!!!!

      3 years ago
    • MmM

      It always makes me laugh when this comes up in choreography. It happens in Mirotic. :P

      3 years ago
    • Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. It became a symbol of the “common people”, it’s still used frequently when satirising the political elite.

      3 years ago
    • I usually combine this one with the middle finger, to be sure to be understood anywhere :-p

      3 years ago
    • That means exactly the same thing in my part of the US.

      3 years ago
  30. What the? Why didn’t Soo Zee tell us about this!

    3 years ago
    • Ask her! Go do it and say “Got your nose!” and do the sign.

      3 years ago
      • I asked her! She wasn’t familiar with it, but then she thought about it for a bit and said “oh yeah!” so it took her a while to process. But you’re right :D

        3 years ago
      • She’s not in the studio now (it’s 1AM!) but we’ll ask her tomorrow when we see her :D

        3 years ago
        • Nev

          Man, thats a nightmare, I always do that with my thumbs. just cos. Will hope SZ says its not popular .

          3 years ago
        • It is bad one…

          3 years ago
  31. I know that in Greece we have this really specific one that basically means “f*ck you” or “you moron”: if you have your hand open (like showing the number 5) and palm-forward and you quite rapidly move it towards someone’s face, often simultaneously shouting “NA!”. See video for demonstration:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt9W09dnYNQ

    It’s really commonly done. You mainly see it when people are driving, actually. Also, when someone says something really stupid it gets quite fun because you can make a joke out of it: put your hand in front of their face, fingers closed (like you do when you’re using your hand to imitate talking) and tell them “fisa” (which means “blow”). When they do, you do the gesture, screaming “NA!!”

    3 years ago
    • Lmao, I live in Greece, but I’m not Greek, so I didn’t know that! :P
      …and my name is… Maria -___-
      Seriously, when I first came to Greece I thought everyone was calling for me (it’s like every second girl’s named Maria here! :S while “Maria” isn’t a very common name in my country )

      3 years ago
    • I’m Greek and I still laughed at this!! :D

      3 years ago
      • I still laugh at ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ XD That movie is a goldmine!

        3 years ago
        • Hahaha…. This movie portrais the Greeks perfectly!!! Especially the ones living abroad… My Greek uncle has been living for years in Australia, and he is too funny!!! He calls the laptop “η κομπιούτα μου”!!! Hahahaaaaa…. Oh, by the way, nice seeing some Greek Nasties here!! XD

          3 years ago
        • I was about to say, this makes me want to go watch that movie again (I still have the VHS tape). Especially with the Greek music in the background.

          3 years ago
        • I still have the VHS too!! lol Although I don’t even have a VHS player anymore…

          3 years ago
    • auto tha elega! :D

      3 years ago
    • OMG I laughed SO hard watching this! NA!!! Anyone named Maria, “NA!!!”

      3 years ago
      • “NA!” Basically means “Here!”.. Just thought I should add that. The main point is the gesture.

        3 years ago
      • Hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

        3 years ago
      • Somehow I have a terrible feeling you’re now going to unleash this on some unsuspecting Koreans.

        I have done nothing. I’m innocent, I tell you! INNOCENT!!

        But if you have time and you found this funny, I seriously recommend the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ :) I laugh so hard every time I watch it.

        3 years ago
  32. Also, Shout Out to all fellow long time Nasties who remember the polite hand gesture video! :D (Whats that Martina? TOP has a new single soon? When? Where? I need moar infooooo)

    3 years ago
  33. Haha – why is this only in NSW? I think this applies to a wider range of guys – WA for example! haha

    3 years ago
  34. In my country, pulling down your eye thing means “WATCH YOUR BACK BECAUSE SATAN IS OUT TO GET YOU IF YOU MESS UP” so no pressure..xD

    3 years ago
    • Really? A stretched eye says all that? Where I’m from it just means “Keep talking, I don’t believe you”!

      3 years ago
      • Hahaha yeah it’s basically a threat to watch your back. This thread is so interesting xD

        3 years ago
  35. I don’t know if this is in all of the US, but in my particular area, the eye pull down thing is a little more rude than just a “Ha Ha!” gesture. Here the meaning is much closer to “F*** you!” It is kinda playful though and used between good friends, so I would say it is more rude than just “ha ha”, but not quite as rude as giving someone the middle finger.

    3 years ago
  36. The hand gestures are the most difficult habit to drop when you come back home! In Cambodia I took the habit of saying “thank you” while joining my hands, imagine the face of the cashier at a French supermarket when I thanked her like that! I also kept the habit of handing money with both hands for quite a long time, I had the feeling of being rude every time I would take it in one hand.

    3 years ago
  37. I actually did see that video of polite hand gestures before! But the weird thing is that I saw it while looking up Korean etiquette, and I had never seen your channel before. A couple of months later, I watched your KMM and after a few videos, I started browsing through your other videos and found the etiquette one! I completely did not recognize you at first >.<

    Anywho~ It's nice to see this topic revisited. The naughty gesture where you touch your thumb to your mouth and your pinky to your forehead is really close to the ASL symbol for beer (at least, from what I remember). Awkward…

    Perpendicular Forearms of DOOM! is really similar to what my cousins and I would do as teens to let each other know that we were horrified that they would even suggest such a ridiculous/stupid idea. An awesome face went with it. We should start doing that again and see if we can get a trend going.

    3 years ago
  38. NASTYYYYYYY

    3 years ago
  39. I’m watching this instead of finishing a paper for my AP English class due in about…seven hours. Oops~

    3 years ago
  40. woohoo! <3 first again?

    3 years ago
    • Ha! That’s two in a row now :D

      3 years ago
      • VICTORY!

        3 years ago
        • *bakes you a cake shaped like Spudgy* Here. I made this for you. :D

          3 years ago
        • T-T I’m eternally grateful but I could never eat the Spudge!
          I also thought of a hand gesture, I’m dutch and when you’re eating something and think it’s yummy/delicious, you can put your hand next to your head, palm open and facing your head and wave, kinda like you’re waving hello to your ear. Generally you go “hmmmmmmmm!” *^^* in the process. No idea if in other countries people do this as well, but so far my foreign friends hadn’t heart of this yet.

          3 years ago