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How to Be the Coolest Teacher in Korea

December 8, 2008


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We’ve made a few How-To Survival Guides here at Eatyourkimchi.com already. We’ve shown you How to Use your Korean Rice-Cooker and your Korean Washing Machine, How to Get McDonalds Delivered to your House, and How to Drink Properly in Korea. Today, we have an all new How-To Guide. Today, you will learn how to be the Coolest Teacher/Person in Korea.

The vast majority of your students live and breathe on K-Pop music. Many times they’ll make references to these songs, either through hand gestures, odd dances, or even odder ways of saying things. And so, to keep you in the loop, we’ve compiled the eight significant Korean Pop Culture References and explained how they might be used by your students and how you can use them too. Accompanying this list is our Video Guide to Coolness in Korea, available in different formats in the sidebar, or just by clicking the picture above.

And so, here is your list:

#8 – Jewelry’s “One More Time”
Thanks to this video, whenever anyone in the class says “one more time,” another student will sing out “One More Time” the way Jewelry sang it, and then try the super-complicated index-finger-over-the-head-and-behind-the-back touch. It takes practice to master this move. Spend 20 minutes in front of a mirror doing this and you’ll guarantee yourself 10 more cool points amongst your students (and -100 cool points amongst your regular friends and family).

#7 – DBSK’s “Mirotic”
This is a fairly new song, and students are just beginning to catch onto its massive popularity. Show your students that you’re in the loop by referring to this song, either by mimicking the silly chin holding dance and parodying the awful rapping, or just sing out the chorus and pretend that you genuinely like the song. Not that it’s my ringtone or anything…so what if it is!!! It’s catchy!

#6 – Rain’s “Rainism”
This is another fairly recent song compared to the other songs on our list. The chorus of the song doesn’t make a lot of sense, but just suggesting that either you or anyone else – including Rain – will make it “Rainism” (what does that even mean?) will generate laughter from your class. There are two dance moves that are fairly popular from the music video as well, both of which are too complicated to explain. All that you need to know is that the first one can be used in many situations, while the second one needs to be used sparingly (and with great caution).

#5 – Uhm Jung Hwa’s “D.I.S.C.O”
This song was massively popular at the end of summer, and still has a bit of resonance in today’s Korean classroom, even if it is getting a bit stale. There’s a dance that goes with the chorus but you can’t find in the music video, as she did this dance live in concert. If your students ever ask you if you know any Korean music, you can tell them that you not only know Korean music but you even know Korean dances, and then break out into the disco dance.

#4 – Big Bang’s “Lies” (aka) “I’m So Sorry But I Love You”
Your students aren’t perfect, and when they make mistakes they’ll apologize for them. However, don’t take these apology sincerely; more often than not, these apologies are coupled with professions of love. So one student will throw something at another student. You’ll scold the first student, and then hear him say “I’m so sorry…but I love you!” and the class will erupt into laughter. Beat them to the punch, and tell them that you love them after their apologies. You’ll be super-cool.

#3 – Wondergirls’ “Nobody”
Simply put, girls are walking around the school singing this song and dancing its dance. Know the dance. It’s so simple that it can be explained (for once). After saying “I want nobody, nobody but you,” point with your two index fingers while raising one knee. Then clap twice quickly. Point the same way again. Then clap once. And that’s the dance! So simple, yet so contagious. You’ll hear the song playing in the background of our Intro to Peppero Day video, and – if you’re in Korea – you’ll hear it just about everywhere else. Know the song and know the dance.

#2 – Wondergirls’ “So Hot”
This was very useful in the summer. Somebody would complain that it’s so hot, and then do another one of those Wondergirls’ minimalistic dances. You can still use this dance today, because – if your school is anything like ours – then your classrooms are still sweltering hot in the winter. Complain about the heat and then do the weird Wondergirls face-fanning dance. You’ll be like soooo last summer, but at least you’ll prove that you know your K-pop music.

#1 – Lee Hyori’s “U-Go Girl”
Oddly, the impact of this song has nothing to do with its chorus. In the middle of the song, Lee Hyori breaks out into a completely unrelated song, in which the only words are “OK!” Every time she says “OK!” she does the OK symbol with her fingers, and brings it right close to her face with a cute little smile. That’s it. It sounds innocent enough, but it has proven to be unstoppably popular. You will hear the words “OK” far too much, and see smiling OK faces far too much as well. If you didn’t understand why your students were constantly saying “OK!” in such an odd manner, now you now. Check out her newest single “Mr.Big” to REALLY be in the loop.

So, that’s the list for now. We plan on keeping you up to date from now on with other K-Pop references, so don’t be a stranger around here. So as not to miss a beat, make sure you subscribe to our page, either through the RSS link or the Email Newsletter to the left, here. Also, if you have at all found this useful, we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d do any of the things the yellow box below suggests, either Stumbling or Digging or Deliciousing our site. Thanks!



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  1. U guys are crazzzzzyyyyyy!!! :P

    7 years ago
  2. Just found your archives and imma go through eat one…ha ha ha ha!!!!

    7 years ago
  3. I hope this comment is a joke.

    9 years ago
  4. Sui

    Greetings from South Beach, FL (USA). Two of the artists you mentioned (Jewelry and Wonder Girls) did the respective dances with SS501 members. Nice pick! (BTW, I just discovered your site while watching a SS501 video on Youtube. Even though you may appear to not know much about them, they do have the third -maybe 4th now- largest fanclub in Asia – Triple S…and after Kim Hyun Joong, his 4D-ness Leader, starred in Boys Over Flowers, the group became even more popular.) Anyhow, thanks for all your work on this site. You guys are a lot of fun to watch! You do make the day brighter! Thanks again! :D

    9 years ago
  5. what's the ending song for the video? I really want to know.

    10 years ago
  6. I've heard pretty much all of Hyori's songs and "U Go Girl" is still one of my favs. I also don't get the whole "Okay!" part in the song. Shrug. I love how Martina is a Top groupie kekeke. Yay Top groupies!

    10 years ago
  7. Haha very cute. Is "So Hot" still popular today?

    10 years ago
    • The song isn't very popular, but the dance move is still recognized :D

      10 years ago
      • That's good for WG though. :-p Oh on Youtube def look up Korean traffic police dancing to the Wonder Girls. It's really cute and they do a good job of it too. It's from the time when "Tell Me" was popular.

        10 years ago
  8. We kinda never "started" learning Korean. We're just here, picking it up as we go. Nothing formal.

    10 years ago