Public Relations Office August 28, 2014
Pak Bo-Young (South Korea), exchange student from Hanyang University
-Please tell us about your campus life at KG.
I participate in a futsal circle. In South Korea, female students seldom play sports, so I was surprised to see female students enjoying playing futsal at KG for the first time. I always chat a lot with my friends and I’m interested in the Kansai dialect and unique abbreviations that are only used in Japan.
-What is interesting about Japanese?
Right after I had my hair cut, a friend of mine asked me, “Imechen (abbreviated word for ‘image change’)?” and I found Japanese abbreviations interesting. And the Kansai dialect sounds cute to me, because it has a lot of “n” sounds, such as “Nandeyanen! (No way!).” Japanese-English expressions are similar to Konglish. Konglish refers to unique Korean expressions using English words. For example, if a Korean uses the word “dash,” it means that a man asks a woman out. But the Japanese word “otaku” also has the same meaning and pronunciation in Korean. I feel the closeness between the two countries.
-What do you like about KG?
The Nihongo Partner system that supports international students. A KG student, who is my Nihongo Partner, took me to Koshien Stadium to watch a Hanshin-Orix game. I was excited when Lee Dae-Ho, an Orix player from South Korea hit a homer. I also like the relaxed atmosphere of the vast Kobe-Sanda Campus.
-What kind of behavior of KG students interests you?
They use their commuting time effectively. In South Korea, almost all people, from young to middle aged, use their smartphones to play games or access SNSs on trains. Smartphone addiction is a social problem in South Korea. I am impressed by the fact that many KG students read books on trains.
-Please boast about your home country.
One of the virtues in Korean society is to “work hard when you have to and have fun when you can.” Korean people tend to concentrate hard on their work or study to finish it quickly and then to have fun. Koreans are quick to change between the modes of work and play. I think this nature has contributed to the country’s speedy economic development. It is said that about 20 percent of all the cosmetics products in the world are purchased by Korean men. It’s surprising that South Korea, with only about 19 million male adults, has the world’s largest men’s cosmetics market.
-Finally, please tell us what your favorite Japanese word or phrase is.
My favorite is “Ogenki desuka? (How are you?)” This phrase is famous as a line from the “Love Letter,” which was a blockbuster Japanese movie in South Korea, so every Korean knows it. At first, I thought people always use this phrase in Japan when greeting. When I said “Ogenki desuka?” to a Japanese friend of mine I see daily, she gave me a grin. It seems that this phrase is not used very often.