May 15, 2007

tastes like yellow

Johnny T and Samuel L.'s catchy Amsterdam scene from Pulp Fiction occasionally rings in my ears as I try to really comprehend the motivations behind Korean style:

"I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it's just there it's a little different."

Yeah, could be, and I am tempted to chalk it up to Travolta's infamously ubiquitous line, but as much as the Korean scene looks somehow familiar, it is the little differences that give it away - it's a lot more complicated than that.

And sometimes, the 'same shit' takes a whole other perplexing route to 'different'.

Take what I typically see on my walk to school for example: why build a flimsy plywood wall around seemingly nothing, then staple-gun wrap it with expensive [but obviously fake] wood-patterned vinyl to make 'nothing' look good? Why have I found more than one instance of this? Why put not one, but three plastic 'brass' knockers on a gate twenty feet down a drive and too far from earshot to be heard from the house anyway? Who's knocking? Stranger still, who's listening? What breed of men are these who can truly rock (and frequently do rock) the pink shirt and/or pink tie combo? What mystical power do they possess allowing them to make that work? Why adorn home decor with English phrases that don't make any sense (to be fair, the Western equivalent is the Asian character tattoo that's supposed to mean 'peace and beauty', but unbeknownst to its wearer unfortunately translates to 'monkey tit'), or that you can't read anyway? Is there a message? Why cover all the seats of your padded leather chairs with heavily embroidered ass pillows that say things like 'rose flowers love deep decoration' in eerie medieval calligraphy? Whose ass deemed this necessary?

The English bit is the most bizarre. Everywhere I go I'm following what looks like the evaporating trail of the ghost of a mad simpleton Asian Ginsberg obsessing about emotion and Edwardian gardens in halting Konglish.

"My bunny is my love liking flowers curiously. I bringing her carrots. You are in love. She sits with holding her hands. Little beautiful bunny."

Disturbing robotic beat poetry. No wonder Westerners have some puzzled existentialist view of the Far East.

Everything is a little off from what I know. And it seems if it's not somehow tacky, it's a copy of a copy of an original copied to ad nauseum, or an illusion; a false recreation attempting something someone thinks aptly mirrors an American trend, but the mirror's from a fun house. Sometimes amusing, sometimes just weird.

And when the weird spreads to the food, look out. I cut open some fruit for breakfast this morning, and check out what I found. I mean, who ever heard of a yellow kiwi? I'm freaking here.

Travolta must admit, the creepy yellow kiwi is just a little different, but tartly delicious.
 

4 comments:

Sam said...

The Konglish is everywhere...

In the subway I saw a young father walking hand-in-hand with his two little girls. His purple shirt said "Assman" on the back in rhinestones.

I've also seen numerous shirts which announce their obviously Korean owner to be "100% fuckin' Canadian."

As a gift for Teacher's Day, one of my kids gave me a tiny notebook with a picture of two happy dogs, and the baffling, but colourful catchphrase: "Let's Dog!"

Let's...

riley said...

too funny.

it may be the rural factor, but not many Koreans in this area are pushing fashion statements (unless we're talking about the disorienting array of mismatching going on - animal prints combined with fuzzy blue cardigans and floppy-bowed polka for starters).

no assmen unfortunately.

I did see girl wearing a shirt that said 'sex new york', but that just struck me as accurate ;)

Oh, we're on for Carne Station (but dogging is out of the question)! I'll send you a message...

lisa said...

it won't let me comment on the newer post with photos but that looked really fun! you look good.

also, i think you deleted a post that i read when i was drunk about your goals for post-korea riley. if i'm imagining things i need to lay off the booze. if not, i'm proud of you.

riley said...

fixed. I musta hit something.

yeah you are drunk and I did delete it :P (but that doesn't make it any less true).

xo