Only in Korea – Holy Shirt!

When we first started this segment, we shared with you some funny English translations that we had come across in a book store here in Korea. It is one of our favorite things to find, whether it is in our students textbooks, advertisements on the bus, or product descriptions; they are always humorous. Recently we found out that the Korean Tourism board is paying foreigners to point out any bad English on public signs, and we worry that they will succeed in eradicating these gems.

Today, however, we want to show you the English translations that we get the most excited about, when it is found on t-shirts! We don’t know if they actually understand the connotations or the meaning behind some of these shirts, but either way, we appreciate their love for Engrish shirts. We have tried our best to sneak as many pictures over the past few weeks as possible to share with you.

First up is the nonsensical Engrish shirt. We don’t really understand the train of thought behind these particular shirts. They seems quiet random and arbitrary in content, but nevertheless we love them for their whimsy. We found this t-shirt while shopping in one of the many underground shopping centers in Seoul.


“I love me let s defend the secret…”

The next type of Engrish shirt is the mildly inappropriate one. We just have no idea if some of these people understand the innuendos that are broadcasted on their apparel. We’d like to believe that this lady knows what’s up…

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“Reality is for people who can’t dreams… Hot erotic dreams”

We found this next ridiculous shirt a little closer to home, in fact, right inside our classroom! One of Ryan’s students came to school one day casually wearing this coat like it was no big deal. When asked where on Earth she found it, she informed him that her mother had bought it for her. Let us just remind everyone that Korea has some of the strictest drug laws in world, which brings the awesomeness of this shirt to 10 out of 10.


Finally, if you have ever been to or lived in Korea, you know all about the phenomenon that is the couple’s shirt. Sometimes these shirts do include some puzzling English, but most of the time they are just matching. Their sole purpose is to advertise your relationship to the world. We see these quiet often, and usually the couples are only wearing matching shirts, but some people go all out with a complete matching outfit!

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“Dream of a good whale”



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