Author Archives: Angela Lee

Haircuts and Rejections

The Informant:

My friend is someone I met two years ago when I first came to USC. She and I lived on the same floor and had similar classes. She was born in Japan and immigrated to the U.S. when she was less than four years old. She heard this reference when she was visiting her friend back in Japan in high school.

When a girl cuts her hair to make a drastic change, it means she was dumped by her boyfriend or rejected when confessing to someone. 

The Analysis:

The saying falls along the lines of a sort of remedy to channel the girl’s sadness or frustration at rejection. It represents the rejection but also a new beginning that comes after a type of failure. The cutting of one’s hair signifies that one has abandoned the faulty past and is working to move one to the future. The hair is significant because a maiden’s hair is a major form of attraction for men. Cutting off this form of attraction can mean that the boy had no attraction towards the girl so she might as well cut it off. The importance of hair in the Japanese culture accentuates the act of cutting it and this in turn accentuates the meaning behind it.

Dung Dreams

Dung Dreams

똥싸는거는, 옛잘에 소가 똥을싸잖아, 소가 길에있는것들 다 막 먹고 똥을싸. 사람들은 지나가다가 길에 많이 이것저것 잃어버리잖아. 그래서 그것들을 소가 먹고 똥을싸. 소 똥에 엽전 (coin)이 나오는거야. 소 똥을 뒤집으면 밑에 엽전있을수있는거지. 똥이 좋다는 얘기는 소 똥이야 사람 똥이 아니고. 오직 소 똥.

 Long time ago, everyone had cows, everyone who farmed. The cows would walk along side the road, the same road as humans did. When humans traveled, they naturally dropped things here and there. The cows would eat this up, whatever it was. And so when it pooped, there was a chance that yeobjeon, coins (the form of money back then) could turn up. That’s why dreams with cow dung are a sign of good luck – not human poop but only cow dung.

Tears and Laughter Together Are Bad Luck

Tears and Laughter Together Are Bad Luck

울고 웃고 그러면 똥구멍에 털이나온다.

엉덩이에 뿔난다 울다가 웃으면.

엉덩이에 뿔나는거는 나쁜의미인거야. 아빠도 잘 모르지만 그냥 나쁜거야.

친구들 도 다 그런얘기헸고 엄마한테도듯고.

사람이 아니라는거지. 짐승이 된다는거지.

If you start laughing in the midst of crying, you will grow hair out of your butt. Small horns will also grow out of your butt. When horns and hair grow out of your butt, it has a bad connotation.

 

It was spread amongst the younger generation in the 1970s in South Korea. It signifies that you have turned into an animal or are becoming a beast. Humans don’t have fur or anything coming out of their butts but some animals do.

Overall, the moral of the saying is that you should choose which mood you are in – do not be bipolar or wishy-washy. Literally it is saying that you should either cry or laugh, don’t try to do both. It transcends this literal situation to imply that one shouldn’t desire to do everything in life. Ultimately everyone has to pick and choose in life and cannot attempt to do everything or gain everything. Only bad things will come out of it if so.

The Hat

The Hat

My friend was born in the U.S. He is currently a second year at USC.

The riddle goes like this:

Q: There are three people who were abducted by an alien. They are each blindfolded and put in a straight line. They are told that there are two black hats and a white hat. Each one of the abducted people is wearing either a white hat or a black hat. The last person in line can see both people’s heads in front of him, the second person can only see the first person’s head, and the first person can’t see anything. The alien then says that if they can guess the correct color of the hats, then they will be let free. Who speaks up and what answer would he give?

A: The person standing last in line would speak up only if he sees that the hats in front of him are the same color. If the colors were opposites then person in the middle would speak up. The middle guy would know that the person behind him is quiet because the hats in front of him are two different colors. By this deduction, the man in the middle knows that whichever color hat he is wearing is the opposite of the hat color he sees in front of him, and the same as the color of the hat color behind him.

The Analysis:

Me: Where did you hear this riddle?

J: My friend, Daniel Chun.

Me: When did you hear it?

J: I heard it about a month and a half ago. After sophomore accountability, we were just chilling in another friend’s room.

Me: Do you guys do this often?

J: Oh yeah, we just chill, share stories, talk, and stuff.

 

It should be noted that there was a similar riddle to this one about hats and prisoners but without aliens.

 

Good Luck Before A Big Day

Good Luck Before A Big Day

The Superstition:

I know for exams, if you accidentally break a utensil or a plate on the day before a really big day, then you’re going to succeed. I guess it’s following the idea that you lose something then you gain something. But it has to be broken on accident, not on purpose.

The Analysis:

The idea truly follows the logic that when one loses something one also gains something else. The broken object signifies the loss. It is also similar to the idea that the storm must come before the calm, or one must get through the night before it becomes day. Nothing comes free in this world and to gain is ultimately to lose.