On the subway there was this intriguing advertisement for one of those tonics that is supposed to help you not become as intoxicated by all of the alcohol you are bound to ingest at a typical 회식. A "morning after" tonic of a different ilk, if you will.
The thing that caught my eye about this advertisement is that it used 4 사자성어 (actually 2 사자 성어, one famous saying and one quote from a poem if you want to get picky), which had each been changed a bit, in its marketing. I'm not sure how effective this approach is, but it's always guaranteed to catch the eye of the Sanchon Hunjang.
- Top Left: 三遷之敎 (the teachings of moving thrice) from 孟母三遷之敎 (Mencius' mother's teaching by moving three times, referring to the story of how Mencius started out life by a graveyard, but when he started mimicking the mourners in his play, his mom moved to a market. Then he started copying the traders, so finally she moved near a schoolyard and was happy when he picked up proper scholarly habits.) becomes the 三遷之交 ([social] exchange of moving three times)--they're all going to 삼차 tonight!
- Bottom Left: 성삼문's famous rebuke in the form of a 시조 on those who were less than faithful to the deposed boy king 단종, 이 몸이 주거 가서 무어시 될고 하니 What will this body become, when it has died?/ 蓬萊山 第一峯에 落落長松 되야 이셔 A tall pine with drooping boughs on the highest peak of Mount Penglai/ 白雪이 滿乾坤할 제 獨也靑靑하리라 That when the white snows fill heaven and earth, I alone shall be green, becomes 獨夜淸淸 (during the night, I alone will be fresh and clear).
- Top Right: 旭日昇天 (the morning sun ascends the heavens) , a symbol for rising power that was especially popular during the times of the Japanese Empire becomes 旭日勝天 (the morning sun defeats the heavens), which clearly(?) refers to the ability of one who has imbibed this elixir to rise early the next morning, in spite of all of the 폭탄주 s/he has downed.
- Bottom Right: 口尙乳臭 (the mouth still reeks of [mamma's] milk) becomes 口尙有醉 (the mouth still has drunkenness, which, they kindly explain, refers to the remnants of last night's revelry still in the mouth).
Not especially erudite changes, but given the fact that they are trying to appeal to Everyman, the whole thing strikes me as a bit high-brow. After years of all of the kids saying "I hate 한문 class most of all," maybe 한자 are becoming fashionable again. Maybe it's time to take leave of this 속세 and start my own 서원!