Archive for the ‘pepero’ Category

Belated 빼빼로 (Pepero) Day

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I was standing in the hallway last week about to go to class when I hear “EMILY TEACHA!!!!” and footsteps thundering down the halls. I turn around and there’s one of the third grade boys, panting and out of breath.  I say hello, and he thrusts a box of Pepero in my face.

“Teacha! You know PEPERO Day?!”
“Yes, but Pepero day was in November?”
“I… no give Pepero. NOW today I give Pepero!” he beams.
“Oh wow, thank you” (I look down at the Pepero box – which might I add is half-opened. Pretty sure he was about to eat it when he saw me and then changed his mind). Not sure what to say now as Pepero is normally given either by same-sex friends to each other (normally girls) or by boys to the girls they like and vice versa. I was just given Pepero by an 18 year old boy… kind-of awkward. Then this third grader’s friend whose standing behind him chimes in.

Bell rings. I escape to class. The pepero was delicious.

EDIT: As I am sitting at my desk working on my winter camp lesson plans I just got a giant square of 덕 (deok Korean rice cake) from afforementioned student along with this note:

“to, Emily ~ <3
Hi, My name is Park-Sung-Girl~
um… bye bye ~ ^^

I love you ~ <3″

Pepero Day take 2

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Okay so even though today is Pepero Day I did not get a single box from my students, just one solitary box from a fellow teacher. Very sad :( . However I got something even better, a really nice compliment. I was standing at the bus stop ready to go home next to one of my favorite 3rd grade boy students (remember I teach high school – so in Korean high school a 3rd grader is the same as a senior in an American high school). He turns to me, puts his arm on my shoulder, and says “I have many English words but… I respect you. That is all.”

Pepero Day (빼빼로 데이)!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today, my friends, is a very important and monumental holiday in Korea. It is Pepero day (빼빼로 데이). What is Pepero? Think of it like Korean pocky. It’s like a biscuity-stick that is either covered in chocolate, covered in chocolate and nuts, or filled with chocolate. It’s delicious. According to wikipedia it comes in 10 different flavors – “Regular or Chocolate” (the one sitting on my desk right now); “Strawberry-flavored;” “Almond Chocolate;” “Nude” (chocolate in the center – the one I was given two sticks of earlier); “Nude Lemon Cheese” (one I have never seen nor do I think I want to taste… o.O); “Cocoa;” “Soft” (?); “Cheese;” “Woman in White” and “Man in Black” which again, accoriding to Wikipedia, are “classy” brands of Pepero, and both have chocolate cookie bits scattered throughout the chocolate dip; and last “Topic” which is a style similar to Japanese Toppo.

Korea is well-known for it’s couples holidays, and Pepero day is the first major one that I’ve observed. As I’m currently at school and not much is different but I’m sure if I was in an area with more young people/in a department store I would be able to tell more. Pepero day is somewhat similar to Valentine’s Day, except more blatantly commercial. On Pepero day (November 11, since the date “11/11″ resembles four sticks of Pepero) young people and couples give each other Pepero sticks, other candies, and gifts.

Some people say that Pepero Day was started by girls at a middle school in Busan in 1994. They gave each other Pepero sticks as gifts to inspire the girls to develop the figure of a pepero stick, so basically “here’s this cracker stick dipped in chocolate, eat it and then try to look like this stick.”

Pepero is ONLY manufactured by Lotte Confectionery which means that as Pepero day is a holiday, it is in effect a monopolized holiday. Lotte usually does about 55% of their Pepero business in November every year. There is some speculation as to whether or not Lotte actually started the holiday as a method to increase sales of Pepero but Lotte denies this, merely stating that when it saw a spike in its sales in Novemember (that it had nothing to do with) it decided to take advantage of this and start advertising.

It’s such a weird holiday, and not all Koreans seem to like it or even understand why it is around. Some seem to think that it’s really romantic, stating that “if you give a package of Pepero to someone on Nov. 11 at 11 minutes past 11 o’clock your love will last forever” whereas others confess that they don’t care about the holiday, they just buy Pepero for their significant others so that they don’t end up in the doghouse.

I can’t help but like Pepero Day. It’s like Valentine’s Day but instead of making Valentines, expressing love, etc, this is either about giving candy to someone so that they’ll be your true love forever, or trying to support your friends’ desire to lose weight and look like a stick by giving them candy. What’s not to like?