Friday, 3 July 2009

Soju : Or how I learnt to stop fearing the bomb

What Biltong is to a South African , or sheep shagging and being ignorant is to an Australian , Soju is to a Korean .

That is to say an intricate part of their culture .

Soju .

If I had a font that could write the word Soju in blood and vomit I would . That still wouldn't tell half the story .

Soju is the korean national drink . Any korean restuarant , hoff (pub) or random venue were people come in close proximity of each other will be dosed with the stuff . Koreans simply love it .

Soju can be described as the mixture of two things : alcohol and evil . Whilst relatively light in alcohol (about 22%) it's liberally laced with evil . I'm not sure how soju is made but I'm susicious that it might involve somehow fermeting the sweat from satan's ball sack .

The very fact that people drink soju in Korea and still manage to live past the age of 22 is amazing to me . Certainly never one to shy from a drink I've tried to drink Soju with Koreans but failed to retain any semblance of dignity . The hangovers last days and involve your nervous system being fried ,head pounding headaches and advanced insight and familiarity with the bowl of the toilet .

The actual act of drinking soju in itself is quite culturally interesting however . One never pours his own glass and this should be done by your drinking partner . This of course makes total practical sense , as who could or would pour themselves a glass of soju ? You hold the soju glass (which is the size of a double shot glass) in two hands and it is poured and then reciprocate . I'm not sure why it's two hands but I imagine sacrifice is implied .

Before you drink the soju , glasses are "clanked" and a "loud battle" cry of "kumbay !" is roared by all involved . I'm not sure what "Kumbay" translates to , but doubtless it's along the lines of "God help us!". It's slurped down in one swig and often swiftly the glass is loaded again . This practice I'm sure is designed to test the extent of friendship as you have to have a deep seated enjoyment or obligation to a person to want to tolerate the ritual of soju drinking with them .

There are various other quirky rituals involving soju drinking . Younger girls will turn away from you to drink their soju as a sign of respect . Although this is fairly ironic as anyone under the spell/influence of soju is not a being worthy of respect .

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