Friday, April 15, 2011

Zombies aren't global

There are a lot of things I don't think about. Gum disease. How shoelaces are made. Apartheid. What "apartheid" even is. Exercising.

This week, I discovered another thing that apparently I wasn't thinking about enough: how other cultures portray zombies.

I bet you've never thought about that either. I mean, why would you? Zombies seem pretty self-explanatory, right? Walking undead monster. Check. Trying to eat your brains. Double check. Awesome addition to Michael Jackson videos. Triple check.

Apparently, I really should think about important matters such as this more often.

Here's how this all came about. My coteacher and I take the kids to the bathroom approximately thirty-seven thousand times a day. She takes the boys and I take the girls. In the girls' bathroom, there are three child-sized stalls, so three of my girls have to wait patiently while the other three use the bathroom. Since their teacher is "waiting patiently" with them, and I'm the least patient person in the whole world, we usually end up playing.

It started out that I would pretend to be a monster and chase them. Asking why this was my first response to waiting-in-line-in-the-bathroom boredom is futile. There's no explaining things like this. They just happen. Eventually, the girls started lining up on the other side of the bathroom and slowly marching toward me like a band of undead warriors.

They march toward me with their arms raised and I feign indifference until they're directly underneath me. As soon as they're within grabbing range, I stomp my foot really loud and grab half-heartedly at them, which sends them all running in a fit of giggles away from me. Repeat. Normally there's no one else in the bathroom when this happens, so we can be weirder than Al in privacy.

Recently, however, we've been getting caught. A few different teachers have walked in while my zombie army is advancing, and they all look at me like maybe I shouldn't be allowed out of a padded room. JoAnn seems to always be the one who catches me acting like a fool with my littles, and of course, she walked in during one of our walking corpse attacks. I just kind of shrugged because, I mean, you'd think people would be used to the fact that I'm far from normal by now. She laughed for a while, then she told me one of the best things I've heard in YEARS.

Zombies in Korea don't walk. They hop.

According to my sources (aka, wikipedia), these corpses originated in China. The idea was that if someone happened to be buried in another town, the decomposing body would get homesick. When people died away from their hometowns, however, it was often too expensive to transport them home. To avoid dead body homesickness, the corpses were taught to hop home. There are other accounts of the myth (involving criminals trying to scare the police by looking like... reanimated kangaroos?), but this one is my favorite.

Of course, our best friend youtube was there to help us out in confirming this myth. Here's an old Chinese movie with a hopping zombie. Maybe you should turn all the lights on and cuddle a bunny rabbit to avoid being too afraid. Oh, and make sure your sound is up. It's worth it.

I also asked my kids to demonstrate. Obviously.

After I asked them to be zombies for me, I started to get afraid. It's pretty scary being surrounded by three-year-olds every day, but being surrounded by hopping zombies is a whole new kind of terror. I hopped (get it?!) back over to wiki to find out how to vanquish these beings of pure evil, and it told me that all I have to do is write a spell on a yellow piece of paper and stick it on their foreheads. Easy peasy.

You can click on the picture to make it bigger and read what spell I obviously chose to vanquish Rachel.

If you ever visit the Far East, always make sure you have a pad of sticky notes, just in case of a zombie outbreak.


  1. They are so cute! (and they make my first graders look big!)

  2. AHHHHHH!!! i can't believe i read this post...I couldn't even finish that hopping video...brought me memories of the past when I first watched on TV before I left Korea |~~|
    You just made my night "alsdhgahwergah"