Sound of Vitality

Blowin up Haengsin-dong. Holla!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pocari Sweat

My older students are fond of English-language profanity, which I have to officially decry. I'm secretly delighted because at least they're using English. One gesture loved by all is the middle finger. I've caught many a student giving another the finger behind my back. One day a plucky student asked me 'Teacher, what it means?' I usually would say 'It's bad,' but I was in a good mood, so I decided to explain the origin of the middle finger.

Okay, so supposedly the middle finger gesture is from the Hundred Years' War between England and France. The longbow was the primary weapon used then, and archers would draw back the bow with their index and middle finger to launch arrows. When captured by their foes they would have their index and middle fingers chopped off insuring they can't shoot their longbows anymore. So, when they got close to their enemies they'd triumphantly hold up their middle and index finger like 'Ha! Haven't got me yet!'

So I explained this to the students mostly through mime. I was drawing back an imaginary arrow, using an imaginary hatchet to chop off my fingers, and then holding up my finger saying 'Ha!' to imaginary enemies. The classes are usually quite chatty during anything that's going on, but my explanation of the origins of the middle finger had them in rapt silence. The story is probably apocryphal, but 'probably apocryphal' is beyond my powers of mime and explanation for Korean teenagers.

I took a risk on the subway and bought myself a can of 'Pocary Sweat' Ion replenishing drink. It sounds unappetizing but it's delicious.


  1. What does it taste like, Mr. Teacher?

  2. WD-40, I'm so glad you're showing those kids middle-finger craziness like that. I'm beyond 'probably apocryphal' myself. I'll match your Pocari Sweet with a Lemon & Paeroa (NZ lemon soda).

  3. Could it be a Japanization of Peccary Sweat?

  4. japan has pocari sweat all over the place. i had it once, it wasn't very palatable, but it definitely refilled my electrolytes.