“PUSAN” AND “BUSAN” AND “CHANG” AND “JANG” WHY THE DIFFERENT SPELLINGS FOR THE SAME NAME?
Until 2011, the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) was held in Busan, rather than Pusan. At first glance, it seems like Pusan and Busan are two different places, with similar-sounding names. But in reality, they are exactly the same place, with a slightly different spelling. Why the disparity? The root cause of this issue is that there have been two romanization systems for the Korean language. The old one was called “McCune-Reischauer System,” used between the period of 1984 and 2000, which used K for Korean consonants ㄱ, T for ㄷ, P for ㅍ, and CH for ㅈ. The current “Revised Romanization System” uses G for ㄱ, D for ㄷ, B for ㅍ, and J for ㅈ, because many linguists argued that it describes the sound more precisely.
When Pusan International Festival first started in 1996, Pusan was the proper way, and until 2011 when the event committee decided to change the official name in accordance with the revised system, the disparity persisted. More examples – in old Korean books written in English, you can find gimchi in place of kimchi, and for Korean last names, Jang was spelled Chang, Jo as Cho, and so on. The confusion coming from the coexistence of two different systems has been causing a major headache for foreigners traveling to Korea (you’d be appalled if you were relying on an outdated tour book for Pusan only to find out that there’s no such place!), but things are getting better as the old system is phasing out.
WHY DO KOREANS MAKE A FIST WHEN TAKING A PICTURE?
I hate to sound like a broken record, but remember? Koreans are the people with a “can-do” spirit, and hwaiting 화이팅 (Fighting/Let’s go!) is an expression frequently used in everyday conversation. This fist-making gesture is the symbol of resolution and determination because there’s nothing like saying hwaiting, to promote harmony and unity among the Korean people.
YOU SAY CHEESE? KOREANS SAY KIMCHI!
Of course, saying kimchi is another popular option because it makes the corners of your mouth turn up and smile, same as saying cheese or whisky (or whiskey, for your Irish readers).