Lost in Translation

I don’t think they have a word for “notice” in Korean.

The first time I was in Korea (for a short time), I would see a conspicuous sign or poster saying “NOTICE” and I would walk to it looking eagerly for what the notice was about. But it would all be in indecipherable Korean characters. It was amusing and disappointing on some level.

Then the second time I was in Korea (for a longer time), I would see the same sign at subway stations, offices and important looking places and all I would be able to read was “NOTICE”. But this second time around, it was frustrating. Frustrating because I thought I might be missing out on some crucial information and wanted in on the action. But I realised that when you looked different from a Korean you were forgiven a lot of things, to an extent, of course. And so I slowly came to accept that there were just some things I could not know. Let the Koreans read their notices.

It’s like the baking powder and wheat flour conundrum. I call it a conundrum because until now, I was not able to figure out the name for those things. This is in a country where every second street you turn into has savoury pastries and bites which are absolutely delightful. A huge change from the sugary sweet jungle of the USA. But I just wanted to make some lowly pancakes. Pancakes for crying out loud. But the headache around this mission became too much. At one time, I ended up experimenting with a strange smelling flour which was certainly not wheat flour. My brilliant translators, both on the phone and in real life were not any help. Which begged me to ask the question, what is really going on? Is it just a pancake or is it not just a pancake?

There is no deep reflective message at the end of this. I was just randomly thinking of Korea and in the middle of my thoughts someone brought a “notice” to me thinking that I had printed it out. And you see the way the mind works. It put two together and viola. I hope you haven’t been lost in translation!

Have a lovely day friends!

Oh, and if you can speak Korean and can solve the above mysteries, that will be grand all together! Because it can be just like the picture… a simple explanation for why the car is clean and the tyres are oh so muddy.


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