A Korean word game, sort of similar to the game Geography. The primary difference is that, while in Geography, there's a topic (usually "Geography," but I've played with names of bands, names of Magic: the Gathering cards, etc.), and you only need to match the last letter of each word with the first of the next. Because the Korean written language, Hangul, is syllable-, rather than letter-based, you have to match the whole last syllable with the first syllable of the next word. This is more limiting, so there's no topic to restrict what words you can use, although they have to be at least two syllables, and they sometimes play with the rule that players must alternate two-syllable and three-syllable words (ie, if the player before you said a two-syllable word, you must say a three-syllable word, and vice versa). You also have to repeat "Koong Koong Ta" after each word to get a sort of rhythm going.

Repetition of a word is forbidden, and if you repeat a word, say a word that doesn't exist, fail to match the syllable correctly, or can't think of anything in time, you lose.

It is common to see this game as part of these strange Korean game shows I see on TV sometimes. I don't know whether people on the show are competing for prizes, or whether they're just paid a flat rate to be on the show and suffer humiliation, but the way it works is this:

A few Koreans, usually four of them, sit in a line. Sometimes it's all men, sometimes two guys and two girls. They then generally do some silly warm up routine that involves doing actions and repeating the syllable "koong" in various ways to start the rhythm. Then the person at one end starts and the game proceeds as I described. For example:

Player 1: Eun-ha-soo, koong koong ta! (Galaxy)
Player 2: Soo-do, koong koong ta! (Tap water)
Player 3: Do-ja-gi, koong koong ta! (Pottery)
Player 4: Gi-do, koong koong ta! (Prayer)
Player 1: Do-ra-ji, koong koong ta! (Chinese balloonflower)

And so on, until someone makes a mistake. At this point, in the television version, the lights go dark, colored lights start flashing, and people charge out of a door at the back of the set and force the unfortunate soul who got stuck to undergo some terrible punishment. For instance, on the show I watched last night, the five punishments were (the players were all male):

  • A leather jacket was put on the victim, and a long wooden pole threaded through the sleeves and behind his back. The punishers then lifted him in the air by the by the stick and and carried him around the set, while forcing him to imitate Trinity's jump-kick scene from The Matrix.
  • The victim was given a gumdo practice sword (similar to a kendo practice sword). Then a short, skinny Korean girl in gumdo uniform, also carrying a practice sword, came out. She was some high-degree black belt in that sword-fighting martial art. She then chased him all around the set and beat the shit out of him (some of those blows to the head looked quite painful) for about five minutes while he looked like a total wuss, pathetically trying to defend himself from this girl who is much smaller than he is. She finished by yelling "Ong-dong-i! (Bum!)" and smacking him on the ass with her hand to complete the humiliation. This was, IMHO, the most amusing of the punishments.
  • The victim was forced to kneel and a canvas with a hole cut in it was placed on him, so his face filled the hole. A professional Korean painter came out and did a traditional Korean rice plant painting in black ink on the canvas/his face.
  • A bunch of hot Korean girls ran out with a lamb hat (i.e., curly white fur, and lamb ears) and a basket of vegetables. The victim was forced to kneel and wear the hat while the girls stuffed lettuce, green onions, hot chili peppers and several cloves of garlic into his mouth, pet his head and told him what a good, cute, little lamb he was. This was pretty amusing, too.
  • The victim was dragged out through the door the punishers came through. He emerged a few minutes later in a tutu, with a male Korean ballet dancer. He was then forced to perform an impromptu ballet. Somewhat unoriginal, but it was funny when he tried to do a pirouette, tripped over a box on the floor and fell on his ass.

Anyway, watching shows like this is very enjoyable for me, as a foreigner, because you don't really need to understand anything that's being said... and if you do speak a bit of Korean, like I do, you can test yourself to see how many of the words you recognize when they actually play the game.

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