Seoul Street Novel-ing – Gangnam

More street novel-ing pages have been found and posted on the Just Seoul – Street Novel Tumlbr blog! This time the 5 new pages are located on the famous streets of Gangnam in Seoul, where the most affluent people in the country come to hang-out:

And now here is my own set of one-paragraph short stories to accompany the action in those Street Novel pages. Last time, millions of North Korean refugees took up on the streets of Seoul, none of whom could speak English – the only language being used in South Korea in this alternate universe. And so now a new form of language communication will emerge: speaking total gibberish!

Just You – Part 5 – Gibberish

You are the head office of the DIP Cool Schools located in downtown Seoul. Just a few months ago, you were spearheading the fastest growing expansion in the cool school industry, opening new franchises in the busiest parts of the country every week. Your staff went from 50 one year earlier to the then 200 eager, hardworking Koreans willing to put in a good 12-14 hours a day for your cause. But everything changed when your one foreign employee, a white guy from Canada, came up with the idea of teaching all of your classes in gibberish. This decision started a national fad that earned your company ten times more money and led to even further prosperity. The gibberish content was just pure nonsense and therefore it was very easy to make and then never needed to be updated or changed. This was a problem because, while the different school franchises had to hire many new teachers and staff, you started to lose employees as the work creating new material became obsolete. After a while there was only a few people left working in your lonely cubicles, as the firings bled over into the marketing and human resources departments. Even accounting was rendered useless, as the popularity and influence of the gibberish language craze was leading to a near communist belief in sharing that mirrored the universality of the nonsense words, and these schools taught themselves, sold themselves and then paid for themselves in a cannibalistic social revolution that everyone seemed to welcome gladly or had no idea was happening.


You are a horrible sounding mash of music being performed by a group of Korean kids parading through the Seoul streets. Unable to properly converse, since the South Koreans only spoke English and the North Koreans only spoke old-fashioned Korean, this group of about a dozen middle schoolers started to play you after using gibberish to communicate their feelings. Whatever they said in those conversations somehow led them to go and get traditional Korean instruments and march through the city making your music. You sounded just like their conversations: jumbled, stuttering, awkward and funny, hammered out on drums and cymbals, spit through recorders and flutes, and even one guy screeching away on a violin. At first they were met with resistance in the crowded downtown intersection that was also a confusing mix of hurried South Korean work day foot traffic and the motionless North Korean refugee camp. You eventually won over the agitated adults, as refugee and commuter alike were almost hypnotised by the kids’ circular dirge and joined in singing gibberish and dancing like maniacs. That crowd on the street beamed massive smiles and instinctively held hands, inspired by your sounds to become one big musical blob.


You are a group blind date made up of 5 guys and 5 girls. Surprisingly, you were having a nice, comfortable time hopping around the pubs on a street popular for university students like them. You were nervous beforehand after hearing all the horror stories of awkwardness from your older relatives who’d lived in Korea prior to the All-English changeover. At best there was often a few guys who were interested in one girl and then blatantly ignored the others, but usually it just ended up with the guys hanging out on one side of the table and the girls on the other. You experienced none of that and it was all thanks to the new cool school gibberish language craze. These young university students hadn’t actually suffered much following the elimination of their native language in Korea because their English level had been pretty good, and thus they excelled in Business programs at university and enjoyed cool school classes that let them use English outside of the academic frameworks they were used to. When the idea of speaking gibberish came along, all of a sudden grades, studying, and even Business degrees, didn’t matter to them anymore. Like many of the students at that time, they’d all switched majors, taking up Drama, Dance, Music, Art, Film Studies, History, Literature and even Creative Writing. Doing all of this in gibberish let them finally reach their full creative potential and it was overflowing into their personal lives as well. They’d made peace with their parents, no longer having to hear about future plans for marriage and careers, their friendships were not about competition or hierarchy, and they were free to say and act anyway they felt. Romantically, there was no more pressure to win a prize based on who they hooked up with in some kind of superficial ranking, it was loose and free and very, very cool – just like you.


You are the new ‘gibberish language’ theme park that just opened up outside of Seoul. Kids were flocking to you, teenagers loved to hang out in your parking lot, and university students were looking to you as a wonderful location for a date. There was a combination of factors that made you so much fun, the first being how people wanted a place where they wouldn’t be judged on how they spoke English and with you being an all-gibberish place there was no one here to evaluate the English level of your customers. Secondly, after the cool schools had taught these young Koreans how to be more creative, you were a place where everyone could show off their crazy new styles. You also liked to think that some of your attractions were responsible for your popularity too, rides that brought gibberish to tangible life – the maze with no exit, the roller coaster that didn’t move, the haunted house filled with farm animals and bright lights, and the ferris wheel that rolled randomly through your streets like a awesomely angry dog biting everyone in his path. And then at the end of the night, a huge parade would rumble through you, picking up people from every section as it swirled around led by your mascot Dip, who stood on the main float, dancing around and pumping his fists. The parade would end at your centre when Dip, costumed in a royal red robe with a big fake head that looked like the caricatured handsome face of a generic white guy, would sit on his throne and everyone inside of you would bow down to him in nonsensical reverence.


You are just another random office building on the streets of downtown Seoul, but unfortunately you were in the way of the infuriated President of South Korea. Having taken his media nickname of ‘King Korea’ perhaps too literally, the President decided to hit the reset button on a country that he felt was getting too far out of his control. He absolutely hated the gibberish language fad. All of his hard work following the revolutionary All-English policy was being undone and Korea was going to be a laughing stock soon, not the dominate force to be reckoned with that he had envisioned. Even his idea for cool schools and the covert invention of ‘Korth’ discrimination over the massive number of North Koreans refugees on his streets, were then meaningless in the face of the gibberish language wave. The appeal of using gibberish to communicate was incredibly making everyone – smart and dumb, old and young, pretty and ugly, North and South – feel equal and happy. They were sharing, enjoying the company of strangers, and feeling creatively fulfilled all day long just by speaking. No work was getting done and King Korea was quickly losing all of his power over the people. So he went up to the old North/South border and started to slowly walk through the countryside and down into Seoul like a warlock, casting a tornado of spells by describing every object that he saw as vibrantly as possible in his old language of Korean. This magical poetry disintegrated the infrastructure as he walked past and left behind only the pure forestry that had once separated this peninsula into two countries at the DMZ. King Korea planned for this path of deconstruction to go straight down until he hit the ocean, as a condensed mass of zombified Koreans would push south behind him. He stepped up to you and described your revolving door, grey walls, multiple windows and so on, as your molecules swirled up into dust and scattered wordlessly into the air.

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