That would be today’s date, and that would also be the subject of much blogging by anybody who has a blog and is living in Korea. But, since my friends and family presumably aren’t reading all the blogging about living in Korea, I will elucidate what the 1111 means.

No wait. Others have done it before and better than me, so here’s the post from blogger, the truth thus far:

Pepero Sticks!Pepero Sticks!

I don’t know much about it except that it’s a genius marketing ploy by the Pepero company. Apparently 11/11 looks like Pepero sticks, and so everyone gives away a crap ton of Pepero on the day.  It can be romantic (as many of the boxes are shaped as hearts, etc), but you can also give it to friends, coworkers, anyone…. Some of my students said they’d bring me some either today or Wednesday so I’m pretty excited because Pepero is frickin delicious. Ne way. I’m copying and pasting what Wikipedia said below…

Pepero Day is an observance in South Korea similar to Valentine’s Day or Sweetest Day. It is named after the Korean snack Pepero and held on November 11, since the date “11/11″ resembles five sticks of Pepero. The holiday is observed mostly by young people and couples, who exchange Pepero sticks, other candies, and romantic gifts.

According to one story, Pepero Day was started in 1994 by students at a girls’ middle school in Busan, where they exchanged Pepero sticks as gifts to wish one another to grow “as tall and slender as a Pepero”[citation needed] (Pepero means “thin like a stick”). However, it is more likely it was initiated by Lotte, the company which produces Pepero.

In Japan, a similar Pocky Day was held on November 11 in 1999, which was the 11th year of the Heisei era. The date, 11/11 of the 11th year, resembled 6 sticks of Pocky.

Lotte, by the way, is as ubiquitous in Korea as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. From candy and gum to hotels, apartment complexes, department stores, oil, credit cards, an amusement park to a baseball team, it’s everywhere…a jaebeol (conglomerate) of over 60 companies, all run by one family.  The anti-multi-national corporation rebel in me has a hard time finding any candy or junk or gum or anything without Lotte on the label.  So I prefer to buy the  – I can’t remember what you call it – from the hippie lady street vender:

(she’s usually so cute and bohemian-looking, but today she has on sportswear)

anyway, these toasted rounds of hearty whole wheat goodness from the back of a truck are so crisp and warm, and then you bite into them and voila!

you bite through one layer which cracks off in your mouth like a super hearty croissant flake, and it MELTS in your mouth because inside is coated with -i-don’t-know-what – but it’s sweet and sticky and super yummy and then hit another layer and they land in your mouth all warm and you collapse them with your mouth and they continue to expose sweet goodness as you crunch away.  Much better than those too soft and mushy sweet bean paste filled fried fish shaped things, or the walnut and sweet bean paste filled too soft and mushy fried walnut shaped things.  Highly, highly recommended. Too bad I can’t remember what they’re called…

The horrible thing I have recently realized is my own capacity for taking the path of least resistance.  At first I would fret about not knowing what something was called or that I didn’t know how to do something and felt helpless.  But the horrible thing is that, instead of learning how or investigating more, I simply learned to work around the problem or do without.  Basically, I stopped learning.  And I’m really really skilled at it.

For example, getting cash out of a Korean ATM machine.  Someone showed me once.  I didn’t take notes on what hanguel meant what, or which buttons I should push, so the next time it was too overwhelming and I said to hell with it.  Now, if I can’t get money from an English ATM, then I just don’t even try.  And I forget it’s something I should make an effort to educate myself on.  When I remember, I realize how LAME I can be.

But on the other hand, it’s also amazing to me just how many things most people do every day that they feel is essential that really isn’t.  So in a way I really like being the deaf mute person with little connection to anything and little vocabulary to communicate.  It makes me feel basic and easily content and whole.


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