I had a different blog the first year I was here titled 'Soggy Waffle Fish' after a terrible run-in with a red bean ice cream concoction that was shaped like a fish. It was entirely dedicated to the fashion mishaps and faux pas of the Korean culture. I am deleting my baby today as I haven't posted on it in months and I am diggin my new blog. I thought it would be appropriate to end it on a high note and put together a little blog scrapbook of the more clever moments...
#1 The Visor
Do you find yourself in urgent need to protect your skin from the sun and weld sheet metal at the same time? Look no further. Korean's wear these giant visors to protect themselves from the sun during outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing. However I am conviced that some people just wear them because they like the way they look as I have seen many a person wearing the visors at night and/or with 98% cloud covering.
#2 The Couples do Matchie Matchie
This very real phenomenon is an every day occurance. It consists of couples, who are so ridiculously in love that the only way to express said love is to match each other so that the entire world can see that they are in a commited relationship. Nothing says love quite like: matching purple converse, plaid shirts and acid washed jeans. Je t'aime.
#3 The Mixing Patterns
I know back in the USA, plaid is all the rage. Anyone who has survived the Nirvana grunge phase back in the early 90's, kept one throwback plaid shirt that has recently made a comeback throughout the Forever 21's and H&M's of the world. If you listen to Sufjan or Sigur chances are you own a plaid shirt. If you hunt and have a full beard chances are you own a plaid shirt. If you are in love with Salvation Army, Goodwill or any other vintage or discount clothing store chances are you own a plaid shirt. Korea is no exception to this trend. The tartans are out in full swing and everyone from infants to the elderly is not immune. I think the quality I appreciate most in Koreans is their dare to go there attitude when it comes to mixing two different plaid prints into one outfit. If you like the design of something the logical equation is to wear more then one of them.
"Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinate nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy." -Albert Einstein
#4 The Dressing Your Children Like Grandparents
Have you ever experianced the awkward sitution when an older adult tries to have you guess their age? The question is usualy posed "How old do YOU think I am?" To eliminate the chance of guessing too old and possibly offending or insulting said older adult you choose to lowball the age as to offer the most seemingly sincere compliment the universe has ever heard since someone told Michael Jackson his nose looked realistic. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would feel this same awkwardness when trying to guess a Korean childs age.
#5 The Man in Tight Pants
Flesh colored pants painted to your physique, when did this become a good idea? I feel borderline immoral posting this picture but my task when writing this blog was to show the world real things people are wearing over here and folks this is as real as it gets. I spotted this man standing in line for the Pirate ship ride at the local amusement park (and yes, he did come dressed like this to the amusement park). It actually wasn't his pants that caught my attention but his John Travolta hairdo circa Saturday Night Fever that he and his buddy were sporting. I feel as if I am doing this man and other tight pants wearing Koreans a giant injustice by not telling them their bums are highly visible much like the way someone tries to politely tell you when there is something green caught inbetween your teeth. When it comes to pants, men in Korea (although this list is appliciable to all) should abide by 3 basic rules:
1. If you size 2 girlfriend has larger pants on then you perhaps you should go up one size.
2. If you need to lay on a bed and/or apply baking grease to your thighs in order to button said pants perhaps you should go up one size.
3. Leisure suits died in the 1970's...let's keep them there.
#6 The Animal Hat
I would like to take a moment to apologize for my several month long sabatical from this blog. After complaints from my 3 groupies back in Michigan I felt it was time for a quick Soggy Waffle update. Since we are making our way into the summer months, I really feel a deep burning passion to share with you one last winter trend. Very popular among infants and toddlers 'round the world but catering to a greater niche market here in Korea I give you the furry animal hat. As far as my take on this fashion flop it does serve a very functional purpose of warmth but...so do many other winter hats. Why wear a beanie when you can wear a cow, bear, duck or pig? This fits into the very feminized culture where the men can carry purses and dress pants can be tighter then spandex and there is a desire to wear furry animals upon their head. I will be looking forward to beach season which starts promptly on June 1st. Perhaps there will be fluffy animal speedos...cross your fingers.
#7 The Mullet
Mullets (sigh)...where do I even begin? First off I would like to dedicate this post to my principal. She is a well respected educator, went to gradute school at Penn and got a mullet yesterday. Despite the hard knocks I deal asian fashion Korea, for the most part, is very up and coming on fashion trends. If this is the direction the tide is turning it may be time to jump ship. The first mullet recorded in history was donned by Welsh pop singer Tom Jones in the 1960's and later the faux-mullet by glam-rocker David Bowie in the 1970's. The mullet seems to take on a persona of it's own. People who rock out with their mullet out no longer need to be addressed by their proper name but are referred to as "oh, that one guy/girl with the mullet." Mullets are like the band Nickelback...were not quite sure how they became popular but someone must like them because they have survived this long. I spotted this woman while on the island of Jeju a few weeks back. It was a beautiful hike, gorgeous sunset, pristine weather, good conversation...no matter how hard I tried to draw my attention to something else my eye kept catching her mullet. Thats the thing about mullets...they are show stealers. In Korea: where the jewelry is bedazzled, the booty shorts reveal major crackage and the heels are 5 inches tall anything used to grab attention is a good thing...even the mullet.
Soggy Waffle Fish...Thank you for being a friend.