Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The gym.

I'm in the gym 3 or 4 times a week because even in Korea I hate feeling flabby and weak.  I've established a rapport with one of the gym employees.  I exclaim "fighting!" and "hail-suh!" at him every now and again.  "Fighting!" is Konglish for "I/we/you can do it!"  "Hail-suh" is a transliteration of health (Korean has no th sound) and I think it probably means "gym."

Last week the gym guy tried to have a conversation with me about my preceding weekend, which was sweet of him, but not when I'm doing a quad extension with 200 something pounds, dude:  a man needs to focus.  Still, I feel we're well on our way to becoming bosom buddies.

My gym is on the fifth floor of the Grand Convention Wedding Hall, a good example of weird Hangeulization of English.

To wit:

The building's name in Hangeul is just a transliteration of a perfectly acceptable English name and is pronounced, roughly, "guh rain duh kawn pain syawn way deeng hole."  This strikes me as odd because surely Korean contains words equivalent to grand, convention, wedding and hall.  If you're Korean and your intended audience is other Koreans, why give your building an English name and transliterate it into meaningless nonsense they won't understand?  It's beyond me.

The same method was used to name the gym.  It's on the fifth floor.  The name is either "Life Health" or "Life Fitness" or "Total Body Life Fitness," I don't know, the English signage isn't consistent.  Whoever transliterated the name for the official elevator information sign began with "Life Health."  The result is roughly pronounced "rah-e-puh hail-suh," dangerously close to "rape health" and inexplicable because there must be Korean words for life and health, right?

Some elevators display the letter F for the fourth floor because Koreans associate the number with death.  It's like tall American buildings not having 13th floors.

The hall also hosts creepy, indulgent first birthday parties for LOVELY BABIES.

The gym has a bit of roof access.  Plastic palm trees, an obstructed view of the city at night, unnatural, garish neon glow:  it's kind of nice up here.

While you air out your pits, you can get your creep on watching people run themselves to death health on the treadmills.

Guh-rain-duh way-deeng-hole boo-pay (buffet).  Every English-Korean transliteration replaces F with P because Korean lacks our F sound and someone decided P was close enough.  My students constantly puck up f-words.

The entirety of the men's locker room.  It's intimate.  Not pictured:  naked Korean men.  They've no shame about the body in this place.

The hairdryer box doubles as a Deutsch flash card.

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