Author Archives: Su Young Kim

The Sister’s Appreciation Night

The informant is Korean American student studying International Relations at USC. She is born and raised in California. She was born a Christian. 

Informant: “KCM is a USC student church ministry. We hold services every Thursday, and there are morning prayers almost every day. It’s an open service so anyone can come. I have participated in KCM since my first year at USC, and it instantly became the central part of my college life. Even when the service ends, people at KCM hang out often.”

“In the half way through the semester, KCM holds a night called ‘sister’s appreciation night.’ It’s a day when guy members of KCM prepare videos and performances for girl members of KCM, appreciating them for being sisters in Christ. It’s a tradition that is keep changing in KCM. Until few years ago, there were both ‘sister’s appreciation night’ and ‘brother’s appreciation night.’ However, we don’t do brother’s appreciation anymore. I think we got rid of them because, guys will still come even though we don’t appreciate them? I am not being Sexist, haha. I actually don’t know the exact reason why. It was decided by the officers of KCM.”

“The Sister’s Appreciation Night goes on for about two hours. Both sisters and brothers dress up nicely. Then, sisters sit on chairs while brothers go prepare what they have planned. It’s nice for girls because we don’t have to prepare anything. It’s the guys who have to prepare videos, performances, etc. I guess the Sister’s Appreciation Night really makes me feel appreciated. It’s just a fun experience and I felt more connected to the guys.”

The Sister’s Appreciation Night is once a year occurrence at USC. By calling each other ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters,’ they strengthen the sense of being a family under Christ. It is a tradition that is changing. Before, there were also ‘The Brother’s Appreciation Night’ but the Ministry got rid of it. There must be contextual reasons why, but unfortunately the informant does not know. We can know that KCM is right now undergoing changes, willingly trying different alternations to its traditions. 

Urban legends about doppelgänger

The informant is Korean American. She was born and raised in California. She has been to Korea only for few months. She went to schools in the States.’


Superstition:  If you encounter your doppelgänger, it’s an warning of death for both you and your twin.


Informant: “A doppelgänger is an exact replica of  yourself.  Looking at your doppelgänger is like looking at an mirror. It’s claimed that there are three people with exact appearances on earth. That means you would have two doppelgängers on this planet.”

“The urban legend says encountering a doppelgänger is an omen for death. One version of the legend says you die the day you encounter a doppelgänger. Other version says the day you die depends on how close you stood with the doppelgänger. Thus, you should run for life when you see a replica of yourself. There is an argument that you die from suicide once you encounter a doppelgänger, because of serious mental illness.”

“I think this urban legend came up as one of the scary stories my friends and I shared back in high school. The thought of someone who looks exactly like me gave me shivers. It was just creepy.”


A doppelgänger is a exact look-alike or double of a living person. Encountering one’s doppelgänger is considered as a paranormal activity, that can not be explained by reasoning. It was discussed in numbers of literatures historically, and it was usually discussed with a notion of terror and death. However, there are modern cases which people claim to have encountered their doppelgängers and after all remain alive. Of course, the validity of their arguments depends on the question of what a real doppelgänger is. Those people provide “same” appearances as an evidence, but in many cases they are considered more as a strong look-alike. How similar should the appearances be in order to say they are doppelgängers to each other? There is no standard.

The urban legend of doppelgängers originated from Germany. I don’t exactly know how the story came to the states, but it is certainly a compelling story that fascinates people, including writers. Adgar Ellen Poe, a famous American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, tells a story of encountering a doppelgänger in his short story “William Wilson,” in which main character eventually dies. 

Beatles Jokes

The informant is Chinese American. He was born and raised in California. He calls himself one of the biggest Beatlemania, and he went to Paul McCartney’s Los Angeles Concert in 2013.


Beatles Jokes


1. On my way to work, I saw a guy beating his wife. He was hitting all over her and she was screaming. Ever since then I could not concentrate.

He punched her in the stomach, as she lay on the ground. When I walked by, she cried “Won’t you PLEASE help me?!”

Ever since then I can’t get the Beatles off my head.


2. What is yellow and lives off dead beatles?

Yoko Ono.


3. My wife left me because of my Beatles obsession.

Informant: “These are some of the funniest Beatles jokes I heard. I literally burst out laughing after hearing #2. How can someone thing of that? That’s brilliant. #1 and #3 were as if I was looking at my self. It was so funny because I could relate myself to it so much.”
The informant’s love and respect for the Beatles is expressed through the Beatles jokes he picked out. By saying that he relates himself to #1 and #3, he implies that he religiously loves the Beatles, and that he thinks the Beatles music are bigger deal than anything. #2, the Yoko Ono joke, implies that the informant has negative feelings towards Ono. The point of the joke lies on deriding Yoko Ono, and #2 is truly funny when you deride Yoko too as you understand the joke. 

Seeing my future husband

The informant is Korean American, and she was born and raised in California. She attended schools in Los Angeles.

Saint Agnes’s Eve

Night of January 20th.

It’s a day a virgin can dream of her husband-to-be.



1. Take a shower

2. Place a sprig of rosemary under the pillow.

3. Say before falling asleep: “St Agnes, that’s to lovers kind / Come ease the trouble of my mind,”

4. Go to sleep before 12am.


Things to note:


1. If you can’t attain a sprig of rosemary, set a picture of rosemary as a lock screen on your phone, and place the phone under the pillow. A printed rosemary on paper is also fine.

2. If you see someone’s face clearly, that man is not your future husband. If you see a blurry face, that man is your future husband.


Informant: “I first heard this from my friends when I was in high school. On January 19th, one girl from my class got to know of the Saint Agnes’s day and told her friends about it. Eventually, the story spread through words of mouth and by the lunch time almost the whole class got to know about the ritual. It was January 19th, so it was the night of that day. I still remember that day. Girls were talking about it wherever they went. The story went into the teachers’ ears, and the topic was even brought up on class.”

“Some girls said they would just put a picture of rosemary on their phone, but my friends insisted having a real rosemary. I followed my friends, and at a flower shop we could obtain sprigs of rosemary. We just wanted to make it really work, so we followed the traditional methods as possible. At night, I took a long shower, placed a sprig of rosemary under my bed, and talked with my friends over the phone. We were all excited and we were asking questions like “what type of husbands do you want?” After the phone call, I said the prayer and went to sleep. It was before 12.”

“The next day all the girls were once again talking about the Saint Agnes’s day. Some girls saw a face, while others didn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything. I opened my eyes and it was the next day morning. My friend insisted strongly that she saw a face in her dream, and she explained his appearances too. I still don’t know if the ritual really works. I never tried after that day. But it seemed like some girls really saw faces that night.”



This folklore originates from England. The prayers girls are supposed to say before going to sleep, are from ‘The Eve of St. Agnes,” a poem (42 stanzas) by John Keats, written in 1819 and published in 1820. I don’t know how this folklore reached the informant’s high school in Los Angeles. However it is certain that there were modifications to the ritual, since the procedures that were told to the informant differ from the traditional Saint Agnes’s Eve ritual. The traditional way is has more things to prepare, as well as more steps and regulations. I bet today’s story of Saint Agnes’s day is different from the story the informant heard. The ritual spreads mostly among young girls, especially since the ritual claims to have an effect on virgins. 






Green Tea Facial Pack

The informant is Chinese, and she lived in China until her middle school years. She went to high school in the states, and currently is a Cinematic Arts student at USC. Her home is Shanghai, and she returns home every break. She is an only child.


How to make Green Tea Facial Pack.

1. Prepare a bowl.

2. Fill the bowl with water, then add green tea powder. The ratio should be 1:1.

3. Place cotton pads in mixture, so that the pads will soak up the substance.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

5. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

6. Once it becomes cold, take the pads out and put it on clean face.

7. After 30 minutes, lift the pads.


(Do it 2~3 times a week. It brightens skin tone and helps treat acne.)


Informant: “I learned about this facial pack from my mom, who learned it from Grandma. It’s a traditional skin care routine in China. According to Mom, it is better than purchased facial packs, because it only uses pure and organic materials. She also told me there is a reason why this routine didn’t go out of date after all those years.”

“I definitely saw positive effects on acne treatment after using this method. I don’t really care about skin tone brightening, so I don’t know about effect on that. I’m a lazy person, so I don’t do it 2-3 times a day. Instead, I do it day before I have special occasions, such as performances, photoshoots, etc. My mom loves this facial pack so she have been following this routine consistently. Her skin is clean and healthy. My mom once told me about this girl whose face was covered in acnes. She tried this method, and after few months her face was clean as a newly born baby.”



Green tea is the most popular form of tea in China. It is interesting to see Chinese people utilizing green tea in various ways. This method was passed down from generation to generation. Hearing about her mom’s clean skin and a story of the girl  who cured acne, I want to try this Green tea facial pack. Words of ‘I heard someone saw positive effect through this routine’ would help spread this routine to various people.