The Seoul’s Dictionary

Fishing for Fuck Ups

When thinking about writing a post on my 10 months spent “studying” at Yonsei University in South Korea the task seems daunting to say the least. Take a city of 25 million Koreans, all plugged into the StarCraft zeitgeist and filled with cheap liquor, add a few million foreigners with a penchant for smashing things and an equal affinity for 20% booze at a 1.50$ a bottle, stir in with cops who behave more like taxi drivers and taxi drivers that behave more like gangsters and you have Seoul, the bright, claustrophobic, neon clad metropolis of every alcoholic’s dreams. Understandably stories abound and so the question becomes, where to begin?

I thought I would take my first bite of this monster by laying out a bit of vocabulary to help the reader better understand the region’s local slangs and idioms.


The traditional Korean rice wine is actually nothing more than cheap paint thinner sold for 1.50$ a bottle at 20%. It tastes like I imagine a homeless man’s taint does but somehow it mixes better than anything I’ve ever drank.

Somek (etymology: Soju + Mekju [Beer] = Somek):

Somek is beer and Soju mixed into the same glass, its excellent for those times when you don’t feel like standing up anymore.

The Chinese Philosophy Drink:

To make the Chinese Philosophy drink take two shot glasses, fill the first with Coke and the second with Soju. Rest the Soju shot on top of the Coke shot and place both into a beer glass. Fill the glass with beer and chug, the shot glasses should slide towards your gullet and once the Somek is all gone there should be a shot of Coke at the end to cleanse the pallet. As the philosophy was explained to me, you have to go through the bitter to get to the sweet, which is a really deep way of saying this gets you fucked up.


The traditional meaning of a bed still applies in the city, however it has now grown as a term to encompass all areas where Koreans are used to sleeping; bushes, sidewalks, subway floors, the middle of the fucking street and of course the hood of our stopped cab. Be warned though, when a passing Korean passes out on the hood of your cab excercise caution in how they are awakened. As for us, our cabbie honked the horn, our winno woke up and looking quite indignant, kicked the bumper, unfortunately for him he was wearing sandals.

He started up on the seat but stop by stop tipped his way off the side until he fell over, although it didn’t seem to bother him

미국 (Pronounced: Mee – Gook):

This translates literally to American but has taken on an entirely different interpretation. As no one likes to embarrass their nation and I myself am Canadian, I took to shouting out “Mee-Gook!!” whenever I was drunk enough to be getting myself in trouble or irritating the locals. Soon enough the French and Germans caught on and eventually the term came to be yelled out every time a westerner fucked up. Broken glasses and smashed bottles would soon come accompanied with cries of ” America! America! We’re American!!!!”, all in Korean of course. The way I see it this is just Karma for Americans who sewed the Canadian flags on their back, damn hoser posers!

DVD Bang:

The proper Korean term is a DVD Bong, a room which can be reserved by whomever to lay on a bed and “watch a movie” for a few hours. Don’t let the quotation marks fool you, there really is a movie, the only thing is that you’ll be seeing clips of it at best, as you should be using the time to fuck.

Putting Money In The Bank:

If you ever find yourself in Seoul and you happen to be in Sinchon (my old district), stop by Echo Bar. From 2010-2011 they had a running deal that for roughly 10$ you can drink unlimited MGD, Smirnoff and Heineken from whenever you get there to 1am, we usually got there about 6pm. After beer #5 we came to the realization we were starting to drink  more than we paid for, around beer #20 I’d banked about 30$, the more beer, the more money in bank, with logic like that who needs a job?

Pulling an Abby Road:

In Seoul one often finds one self drinking on a street corner or the deck of a convenience store only to come to an impasse. Where in this maze of alleyways can a man find a little privacy to take a piss? Luckily while hanging out in front of one of our favorite Family Marts my friends and I spotted an oasis. Over the door of the abandoned stairwell were written the words, Abbey Road and so…. Pissing down an abandoned stairwell was henceforth known as pulling an Abbey Road, we later amended the abandoned part to be more inclusive. On a side note you always wanna keep close attention to which stairwell you happen to be pissing down, otherwise you may get disoriented and find yourself fleeing a bar tender who wishes to stick his piss covered loafers up your ass.

The Upside Down Abbey Road:

Why just piss down a stairwell when you could piss up the stairwell and race yourself, trying to shake off the last of your piss before the stream reaches your feet, brilliant.

막걸리 MAN!/ Makgeolliman:

This super hero is said to drive a Ferrari and be a secret millionaire but rumors persist of him being homeless. In any event he wanders the streets of Sinchon & Hongdae clanging his town bell and calling all lovers of cheep Makgeolli, Korean milk booze. He greets his beloved clients with high pitched cries of, “I love you!!!” and offers free samples in small paper cups… then he asks for the cups back.