Rapping to learn Korean..

How do you learn your korean? For me I memorize rap. Haha. I’m the kind of person who can’t let my mind go blank because I associate thinking about nothing kind of degenerative, so I have this nervous habit of memorize chunks of stuff to recite back when I’m bored/nervous and just want to engage my mind in something to calm myself down.

Why & How did I begin?

I didn’t start off with rap immediately. In fact, I memorized drama lines. Which turned into a 5 min soliloquy. For example, for some reason, I just committed to memorizing this for instance:

Then it came chunks of japanese lines from anime and dramas.. (from my Olddddd blog).

I realize I just am fascinated with foreign sounds and I like mimicking them, swirling the sounds back and forth like my own exclusive wine tasting, except with sounds. Even for Korean, what’s more important than actually learning it was that I was such a stickler for pronunciation. So fun when you sound like a native when you’re faking it! So I guess progressing to lyrics was naturally inevitable. However, I liked challenges, so instead of the simple ballads, I opted for rap.

Where to begin?

I began the obsession with Kpop (mostly Beast’s material). Embarrassed to say, but their raps are usually one small portion, easy enough to pick up. From being most excited about the melody in the past, I became more excited about the raps. Then I moved to actual hip hop music. That’s where it actually got really tough. One thing I like about raps was that the content is definitely much more difficult than most mainstream songs. You could very well get stuff like politics, dissent towards the economy, hardships, instead of your usual ‘oh you break my heart and I’m so sad and you’re gone what am I gonna do woe is me this is terrible let me sing to you so maybe you’ll come back boohoo’ 😛

But in all honesty, the benefits are plenty:

  1.  you have to practice again and again and again and again and again x200, so might as well be drilling tougher words into your vocab right?
  2. If it’s your favorite song, what funner way to enjoy than to repeat it many times?
  3. You’ll actually find out what it means yourself. No need to rely on translations. Hardcore. (Okay maybe initially, you still need to rely on them)
  4. The vocabs you learn will be 훨씬 difficult than regular kpop! (For example, Zico taught me 약육강식의법칙 (law of the jungle)
  5. You’ll be reading a lot of hangeul, which will familiarize your eyes with speed faster reading of hangul, and thus making wall of text less intimidating.
  6. You no longer have to deal with poser fake HANGOOLS
    ‘geurimja cheoreom hangsang hamkkaeyeottdeon ‘ <– isn’t this just UGLY?
    그림자처럼 항상 함께였던 = PRETTY;
    Areumdaun ni misoga bichudeon = UGLY,
    아름다운 네 미소가 날 비추던 = PRETTY
  7. In a strange way, it will build your confidence & help pronunciation with similar sounding words
  8. It will help you with your sense of rhythm.
  9. Appreciate your Oppars and Unnirs for memorizing this lyrics too
  10. You can be the kid who doesn’t just sing the chorus and go silent when the rap portion comes on.

How can you do it too?

Start small. Obviously, if you’re still struggling with even recognizing hangul, then learn hangul first, and some standard grammar and vocabs. When you can slowly grasp and identify pretty quickly how to read each letter, then you’re ready to begin!

Find the lyrics to your fav song. It’s often readily, easily, available, unless you have eccentric taste in music that’s so sidestream and obscure..

You don’t have to start off with hardcore music. You can pick something relaxing too:

then find the lyrics. preferably one with hangul and translation (it’s a preview of ‘HERE’S WHAT I’LL BE LEARNING! :D), none of that romanized shit. One tip is to search the keywords of whatever song you want + 가사. 90% of the time it will yield korean lyrics.

CHORUS (original from here)

그렇게 살고있겠죠 시간흐른뒤엔
I will be living like that after time passes

다른 사람 만나 사랑한다 말하고
I’ll meet someone else and say I love you

하지 못한 말들과 내 아쉬움 (regret) 들은 날려보내고(let fly, set free)
I’ll cast away the words I couldn’t say and my sadness

Then you may choose to print it, so you can look at it any time, write your own romanization (but try not to!) and markers like where to breathe, stop, which part is faster etc.  But try to identify the words inside, so you can see how the individual words get translated into the final lyrics/ which words differed in the final translation.

This is the skeleton of how I do it, just keep upping the difficulty. The following is a guide of how I suggest you carry out this activity:



The end goal is for you to be able to recite it back with the song, and understand what the heck you are singing. As for repetition, it helps with pronunciation. For rap music, it can be very fast. At such times, it will be best to slow the music down. I use winamp, so I use an addon called the Pacemaker for times when it is simply too fast to hear what he or she is saying. Slow the music down by changing the tempo.


It’s okay! Small victories. If you come to a part where you just simply cannot remember, practise until you can look at it and follow with the music at least. If not, it’s okay, keep trying. One thing I found helps is to practice before bed. The next day, it will somehow be easier.


Listen to the rhythm first, without caring about the words. After you roughly get the idea of how each beat is gonna go, then slowly start filling it in with the words, then try it out again. Practise practise practise!


Yes it does. It took me months to memorize Zico’s ‘Battle Royal’ because it was so damn fast, and because i refused to cave in to romanization. Took me coupla months to learn Zico’s ‘Attention’ too. and ‘Dead President’ and Epik High’s ‘Noise’. San E’s ‘Wish you to be unhappy’ was much easier cos it’s romance, but Zico’s stuff are never romantic haha.  Basically, understand that these are like projects. Small victories at a time, small victories. When you’re done, it’s so satisfying to rap along with them.


Practice makes perfect, friend. You have to introduce your eyes to korean. Make it seem friendly. Wall of text seems intimidating, but if you do it in small bits, it’s easier. Trust me.


Hey, rapping is like speaking fast but with style (k more than that, but you aren’t holding concerts). If you sound terrible, just don’t do it in front of other people. Think of it as practice!


Woah, I didn’t promise I’ll turn you into an amazing rapper, I’m introducing a new method of korean language training. Some people just don’t have amazing voices, no matter how much we practice. I don’t have a great rap/singing voice either, but I still love music!


You can try google translate. Just put source language as korean, click the speaker to listen to it.


Then I cannot help you. 😦 Maybe you can try practising with reading articles or books instead.


Then maybe finally, you can be dope and do something like this:

Zico live – Battle Royal

Zico Original – Battle Royal


[Learning Korean with Kpop] BEAST – Shadow

If you don’t know by now, I’m a die hard BEAST fan. Hehe. So I feel compelled to post about this song, because I practically dedicated most of my free time to listen to this great song.

I’m a fan of learning korean (vocab) with music, especially with rap, because you learn with your fav music and still, it’s not going at a pace of a turtle. I wouldn’t think anyone would start sprouting lyrics in actual real life situations, so just note that it’s great for understanding vocab. I’ll give some simple breakdown of some words in this song, written by Yong Junhyung and buddy Kim Tae Joo~


For the translation, you can google them (one I found here)

Shadow Shadow Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

RAP ===========

Ha, Rainy Cloudy No light Darkness day N Night 너 (you) 떠나버린
그때부터 (From that moment 어쩌면 (perhaps) Maybe 내 (my) 존재 자체없어졌지
Back in the day 화창한 날씨 화려한 불빛
항상 네 곁에 있었지 내가 있었지 내가
Cause I’m shadow shadow shadow

  • 떠나버린 is a combination of 2 words, 떠나다 (leave, depart) + 버리다 (throw, leave, abandon)
  • 존재 – existence
  • 자체 – oneself
  • 없어졌지 = conjugation of 없어지다 (disappear)
  • 화창한 날씨 = 화창하다 conjugated to form an adjective, describing the weather (날씨), which is a clear, bright sunny day
  • 화려한 불빛 = 화려하다 (conjugated adjective) describing the glimmer, light (불빛) = glamorous lights
  • 항상 네 곁에 있었지 내가 = I (내가) was (있었) always (항상) by your side (곁에)

Give me the light light light
You are ma ma ma sunrise 너 없는 난 아무것도 아냐
넌 내 마지막 You’re my last 언제까지나 You’re my last
네가 불길이라도 난 뛰어들게

  • 불길 = 불 (fire) +길 (road/path) = road of fire
  • -이라도 = suffix form, if you attach it at the end of a noun, it means even if it is ~ (even if [you] are a road of fire). <Note -이라고 is the suffix for ‘it’s called -‘; eg. 이거은 책상이라고 합니다 = This is called a table>
  • 뛰어들게 = 뛰다 (run, dash) 들다 (return) and the 게 ending is a informal form to mean i’ll do ~ for you, in this case, even
  •  불길이라도 난 뛰어들게 = even if you are a path of fire, I’ll run right back to you

너와 나의 저 하늘을 검게 물들인 저 이별을 어서(quickly) 지워줘(erase it)
더 이상 (Not anymore) 내가 다가갈 (leave) 수 없게(can’t) 너를 바라볼(look) 수 없게
네 곁에(beside) 머물고 싶어
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

  • 너와 나의 저 하늘을 검게 물들인 저 이별 (farewell) – everything before that is describing what kind of farewell (이별), so let’s take a closer look: 너와 나의 (yours and mine) 저 하늘 (that sky) 검게 ([making it] dark 물들인 (dyeing) = That farewell that is staining our sky dark 
  • 머물고: conjugated. The dict form is 머무르다 (stay)

간절하게 (earnestly) 원하고 있는데 (continuously desire) 눈부셨던 그때로(that time) 나 돌아갈래(return)
그림자 (shadow)처럼 (just like~) 항상 함께였던(always together) 아름다운 (beautiful) 네 미소(your smile) 가 날 (me) 비추던 (shine at)
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

  • 눈부셨던 – past form of 눈부시다 (dazzling, remarkable, wonderful, brilliant)
  • 그림자 처럼: just like a shadow. But what is? It’s in what follows:(항상 함께였던 = together always) = we were always together like shadow
  • 비추던 – past form of 비추다 (shine on, illuminate)

Early in the morning 오늘도 역시 (as expected) The sun is hiding
빛은(light is) 사라졌지(dissappear) 널 (you) 데리고서 (took) 저 저 멀리로(far away)
Cause I’m shadow shadow shadow

  • 데리다 – 데리다 (bring, take, transport)
  •  멀리로 – conjugated form of 멀다 (far)

Give me the light light light
You are ma ma ma sunrise 너 없는 난 아무것도 아냐
넌 내 마지막 You’re my last 언제까지나 You’re my last
네가 불길이라도 난 뛰어들게

너와 나의 저 하늘을 검게 물들인 저 이별을 어서 지워줘
더 이상 내가 다가갈 수 없게 너를 바라볼 수 없게
네 곁에 머물고 싶어
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

간절하게 원하고 있는데 눈부셨던 그때로 나 돌아갈래
그림자처럼 항상 함께였던 아름다운 네 미소가 날 비추던
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

RAP ==========

Erase erase 잊어 (forget) 지워 (erase) 이젠 (now) 이젠 싫어 (dislike)  미워 (hate)
Fall fall fallin’ down faded faded faded
I’m not a vampire not a night ghost
어둠 속에 (in the darkness) 흐느껴 네 이름 부르고 (call out)
우리가 다시 함께 하기를 기다려
Cause a shadow shadow shadow

  • 흐느껴 – 흐느끼다 (sob, weep)

Oh (너를 잊는다는 건) 나 (I) 역시(indeed) (지워진다는 걸)

  • 너를(you) 잊는다 는(noun modifier) 건(thing) – 잊다 (forget). In this clause, the main point is about ‘forgetting you’)
  • 나 (I) 역시(indeed/as expected) (지워진다(erase)는 걸(thing)) = in this second clause the point is ‘indeed, erasing myself
  • Thus when you put the line together, it goes: (The thing about) Forgetting you is indeed erasing myself

너와 나의 저 하늘을 검게 물들인 저 이별을 어서 지워줘
더 이상 내가 다가갈 수 없게 너를 바라볼 수 없게
네 곁에 머물고 싶어
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

간절하게 원하고 있는데 눈부셨던 그때로 나 돌아갈래
그림자처럼 항상 함께였던 아름다운 네 미소가 날 비추던
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow
Because I’m a shadow shadow shadow

So there you go. Breakdown. I hope it helps. I can’t help but put in a little linguistic terms in it, because that’s how I was taught to analyse sentence structure when I was still studying Japanese linguistics.

Don’t forget to sing along! Singing along helps seal the memory in of what you newly learnt. Even if you are not aware of what words you are using at that time, you can sing back later and identify the words and see how they piece together now you got them memorized.



Image from animevice.com

Ooh! いいことだ! Shanna from Hangukdrama.com (everybody knows her) posted about Bookoff being a great place for 2nd hand cheap Japanese novels, (and since I agree with her, Japanese books in Singapore are priced like they are branded goods) so I quickly did a search and YAY there’s one outlet so close to the hotel I’ll be staying in Osaka this sept!



In fact, the hotel (Monterey La Soeur) is even on the map too. HAHA. Though I’ve been studying Japanese for some time now (and paused it), I’ve always wanted to collect my own Japanese novels. Though I’m really extremely picky about books and novels and writing style, I don’t know if I’ll even find something I like. Hope there is!! 이거로 최고야~

If you are going to Japan too, check that site’s map for the region you are going to (Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kyuushuu) etcetc, then from there it will list several outlets within that region.

I hope this will rekindle my love for Japan. Me and Japan.. we’re like a married old couple.. whose love has lost its spark, so now we’re civil but still trying to make it work. Japan is like a hardworking but hard headed guy who is knowledgeable and very true to himself but sometimes infuriates me with its stubborn over-fishing and endangered species consumption and sales (I still can’t get over that), but we have this long history since I was a child, so I can’t really get too mad at it. Sigh.

But then again, the following month, I’ll be going the sparkly metrosexual Seoul filled with old soul charm and new age glamor. I feel like a girl who gets to go on two dates with 2 guys and then selecting one out of them. Haha so sad for me it’s really 2 countries, and not hot guys from their representative countries. HOH WELL *foreveralonesosad*. I’ll update how it goes. 😀

The Things I Have Been Doing Which May Or May Not Have Helped in Learning Korean.

(The following post is part farcical and part boring life elaborated into unnecessary lengthiness, coupled with a smidgen of sleep deprivation.)

I don’t know if I should apologize for an absence, because I don’t believe I have a readership to disappoint with untimeliness. Ha! *rebellion* So, I have been busy with various things, in which I shall explain in a whimsical manner because serious is overrated.


For starters, preparing itinerary for Korea and Japan! I will be going to these two places, later this year! Kansai with my kazoku (가족) and one month later to Seoul my predestined 고향 with a friend, despite having never gotten used to the spicy and sour food of Korea. I’m worried because I may be putting these two places too high up on my pedestal of expectations. And you know what about expectations? Root of heartache. But I shan’t think too much about things I can’t control, because procrastination comes first.

I’m also worried about whether to get Gardasil vaccination. It’s a vaccine to prevent 2 strains of HPV virus that may lead to cervical cancer. Which is spread through sexual activity. It’s a highly controversial drug, and I’ve read good and bad things about it. I have less than a year to decide because that’s when the government won’t subsidise it anymore, and when I stop being 26. Growing up sucks. As if figuring out life isn’t hard enough, strangers are pushing insurance and health packages down my throat ‘BEFORE YOU REGRET IT AND IT’S TOO LATE, GET THIS’. People really capitalize on fear. Fear drives people to desperate measures and fork out incredible amounts for insurance, vaccination, horror movies, haunted houses, kidnapping.. but I digress. Geez, I barely learnt how to crawl and you’re telling me to fly!

걷지도 못하면서 날려고 한다

歩きも出来ず 飛んでみる。

Trying to fly before you can even walk.               

걷다 – walk 歩く

못하다 – unable, cannot, can’t できない

날다 – fly 飛ぶ


Next, I’m also trying to read the Hello Wedding naver novel. And hello, it isn’t easy. I feel seriously inadequate reading it because I get stuck at say, every 2 seconds. Naver is my best friend, and Daum is my older brother whom I can kinda rely on and sometimes even Google Translate when I want his irrelevant take on things. Together, we form a team of the Nerd and the Antisocial 2.0I printed 제1화 out, carried all over to work and home, bus and train, to my 주방 dinner table and to my bed. It’s been dog earred, folded it all over, highlighted, written on it, searched a million entries (a slight exaggeration). I ignore the world and avoid eye contact all because of you, Chapter 1. I’ve pored through again and again, the text that doesn’t make sense, over and over till it does. And then the sense of feeling stupid washes over me because I had been interpreting stuff wrong. If I learnt anything, feeling stupid is critical in the process in learning something new. Feeling dumb and humiliated motivate you to move PAST the ignorant stage so you remember better.

[Language tip! Remember those embarrassing times when you said something really foolish and got laughed at, and this memory never leaves you? To remember something really well at your own expense, go out and translate something wrong and publish it to the world. When the 40th person corrects you, you’ll remember it well.]

Also I’m reading several webtoons at once. Several because I’m hardcore like that (and because it’s easier and it has large pictures). Because I have commitment issues, I prefer to do the quantity over depth thing, you know. cover more ground. I have been reading more 2011 Horror Short stories because.. it’s horror and I love it. Also I found another semi horror webtoon ‘A good day to study’ 공부하기 좋은 날. Omnibus webtoon. Have you wondered what Omnibus meant? I did. Man. I always thought it was Omniverse (lit – multiple universe). Turns out, it’s a film term, to mean several short stories, linked by a general common theme. So ombnibus-ly in this context, is a webtoon with a collection of short toons with the common theme of studying, stress, school, horrible people, and suicide. If you’re familiar with korean societal issues and recent news, you’ll see suicide of teens and students aren’t uncommon. There is another webtoon with that similar theme too, I’ve previously reviewed  – 기기귀귀 (and I STILL think it’s creaking noises. Nope, it’s 奇奇怪怪. It’s similar because our protagonist is a bullied boy who feels like Raito with his death note because he has found a way to murder others students by hanging people’s portraits. Really, that’s the gist of that story.

Thinking. Yes thinking. I think my brain is a flood gate that switches on the minute I wake up. I think about things like ‘why do I think aloud in a language all the time?’ That’s stereotypical. I mean, in films, people think aloud in their heads in their voice and accent, in the language they speak. I wonder if watching those movies someone subconsciously influence me to think in a language and in my own voice too? Wouldn’t it be equally possible to think in terms of colours, music, numbers and other languages? I try to monitor my thoughts to see if I can think of concepts without actually thinking in words, but of course, the moment I’m aware of trying to do said mental action, my brain has announced and alerted the rest of my consciousness, which renders this subconscious stealthy surveillance experiment on on my cognitive process completely futile. This is probably why people do mental experiments on others.

Rap. Oh really. it’s an activity I do. Calms me down. Doing repetitive stuff, even if your brain is familiar with it triggers some kind of a stress relief agent. Typically, I move from remembering set phrases, movie scripts, korean rap lyrics, and recite them back when I don’t want my brain to atrophy (when I’m walking, peeing, waiting for people, bathing). Currently, I’m trying to memorize this unreasonable Busan rap music ‘Eh Heh’ by the unreasonably fast Simon D. I’ve gotten the whole first chunk till the chorus down pat.



Pinning. I don’t pine for people, I pin for myself. Ohloldidyouspotmyreallybadpin? 헉, i mean, can you really help it if you’re addicted to aesthetics? No. Even if it’s at the cost of holding in pee for 2 hours just to pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin..