Sunday, June 16, 2013

The story of a tank top.

As many of you know or have seen on this blog, you can find some really, really strange, random t-shirts in Korea. To give you a taste, here are my favorites that I found while wandering around shops in Osan last week.

"Erpretatiou, and theint the words of the wivi"

"In every other state that the wolf lives in they are endangered
She was disappointed his face that ugly enough to tree a wolf."

And then here's the one I actually bought, because it was the cheapest (and strangest) at only $5:

The front, with a big "Save Ferrets," instead of the popular "Save Ferris."

And then the back: "Get it dyed red" and "Naute not to asy for anything from but simply tc say thank you." 

It absolutely baffles me as to how some of these things end up printed on shirts -- we've found logos for various stores back in the U.S., different organizations (Red Cross, Girl Scouts), a wealth of strange Engrish, and the occasional logo for something that appears to be from a personal event (family reunion, wedding, etc.).

Normally, when I've seen the latter, I've assumed someone is just making up names and stuff for the sake of slapping it on a shirt. However, while in Osan, there was one that really caught my eye:

I did a double-take as soon as I saw "Tulsa" on this shirt, surprised to see something with my hometown printed on it. After getting a good laugh, showing everyone I was with, and taking a picture, I put it back -- $20 was too much to spend on a tank top while on my current budget (called "it's two days before payday and my three month vacation took all of my money..."). And, yellow just isn't really my color, you know?

In hindsight, I've made a huge mistake. I should've bought that shirt.

Why? (Besides the obvious reasons of it being so damn random and also about my hometown?)

Well, because I found Jason and Kasia. 

Once I got home that night, it dawned on me that I should Google the info on the shirt. Was this a real wedding? Are these real people? Could I somehow find them and send the picture of the shirt?

A quick Google search led me to the website for their wedding photographer, where I found a password-protected album of their wedding photos. Unable to access it and find any more info about this couple (like their last names so I could try to find them on Facebook or something), I emailed the photographer, explaining this strange situation and my mission to show them the photo of the shirt.

Their wedding photographer quickly emailed me back, also sharing my confusion and amusement. He then forwarded my message to the contact email he still had on file for Jason and Kasia, and I had a message in my inbox from Kasia when I woke up last Sunday morning! Apparently the logo is from their wedding invitation -- the girl who designed it must've had it up on her website, and somehow, someone found it and decided to make a shirt.

And this is where I started kicking myself for not buying the shirt -- Kasia, of course, would like to have the shirt and has offered to pay for me to send it to her. But, it was in Osan, which is two hours away from where I live in Incheon. I was able to enlist the help of my friend, Amy, who lives in Osan, but by the time she made it back to the store, the shirt was gone. Sigh.

I hope that I might be able to find the shirt elsewhere... next weekend's plans involve a shopping trip to my dear Bupyeong Underground Shopping Center, which is home to all of the wonderfully bizarre shirts I buy (and give to family and friends). Bupyeong has a remarkable mess of completely random things, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that fate will reunite me with this shirt.

Kasia has been understanding about not being able to get the shirt to her, and I can only hope that somehow, I'll come across another one. If nothing else, she's got a great story and a photo to prove it! And hey, I do too.

ps. Anyone in Korea that is reading this, whether I know you or not: if you find this shirt, buy it and contact me. I will pay you back! And then you can feel awesome about yourself for helping me complete this unusual quest to send a very special shirt to some complete strangers. :)


  1. Those t-shirts are the epitome of perfection. I am confused, but I feel like an explanation would just kill the mood.

    1. right? with so many of these shirts, it's best not to ask questions. just accept it.

  2. Engrish... only one of the reasons why I love browsing Korean boutiques! Maybe the biggest reason? Keep the Engrish coming! :)

  3. Today I have bought one of those shirts in Lithuania. The shirt with cats "Erpretatiou, and theint the words of the wi")