I haven’t done a “Miss Interpretation” post in quite a while, but today I have a funny story that falls into this category of mistakes and misunderstandings in Korean. Netflix and chill? Move aside.
Let’s go back a few years. When I studied abroad at Yonsei University in 2014, I frequently went to festivals and events held in the area. 신촌’s streets would fill with booths, performers, and music, and my friends and I would wander through it all. My favorite festival was a big art festival where my friend bought a painting and I bought two sets of artist-made postcards.
Korean was written on these postcards, but in a way so different from my usual conception of 한글 characters that I puzzled over them until the artist personally picked them out for me.
Recently, I found these postcards again and decided to put some of them on my wall. I wanted to share some with a language partner and so I sent him a picture of one that I figured would be harmless (most say things like 사랑해 or 그대 그대 그대, so I went for a non-romantic one instead).
“라면 먹고 갈래.”
He figured it out and laughed, asking me if I knew what it meant. Literally translated, it means, “Do you want to eat some ramen and then go?” I told him as much and he started laughing even harder, which made me worried that there was a connotation that I didn’t know.
Yes. Yes, indeed there was. 라면 먹고 갈래 is essentially an older, Korean version of America’s “Netflix and chill.” As far as I can tell, it originated in a movie called 봄날은 간다 (2001). The English title is One Fine Spring Day. In the movie, the female lead wants to invite the male lead to spend the night at her place but she isn’t sure how to go about it, so she ends up suggesting he eat some ramen before he goes home. “라면 먹을래요?
Once he’s inside and she’s making the ramen, however, she changes her question: “자고 갈래요?”
Which is essentially: “Want to sleep here tonight?”
The video creator starts talking about 봄날은 간다 around 3:28 and the car scene with the female lead’s initial question is at 3:57.
Well. Needless to say, I’m glad I never sent the actual postcard to anyone, although I did send a picture of it to my language partner before knowing its true meaning. It’s a good thing he helpfully explained it rather than misinterpreted my intentions. Although he certainly had fun teasing me about it.
It’s considered a pretty cute way to express your interest in someone else.
Another word with a similar theme might be 그린라이트, which just makes me want to go sing TROY’s song, Green Light. Apparently there are other variations of 라면 먹고 갈래 floating around, so be careful what you invite people to do with you, although… 갑자기 라면 진짜 땡겨 지금…
지금 재생 중
Glory. Lee Hi is BACK under Tablo’s HIGHGRND label. Her half album is amazing. 꼭 들어 보세요.