Monday, May 18, 2009

To all the teachers who told me to shut my trap . . .

Because I was born on July 25, 1982, in the wee hours of the morning my wealth in life (although still unrealized) will come from my mouth. That's according to a fortune teller in Seoul's Myeongdong neighborhood to whom my friend Maria and I paid a visit Sunday evening. Fortune telling is called 사주 (saju) in Korean and practitioners are generally well-respected and curiously trusted. After asking for your four pillars -- year, month, day, and hour of your birth -- fortune tellers consult something of a trade bible of Chinese characters that apparently tells them when you'll marry, what kind of career you'll have, and possibly that your body will have a difficult time breaking down alcohol in your later years (at least that's what my fortune teller told me--bummer).

Fortune telling is quite popular in South Korea with "professionals" commanding about 50 bucks for some quick projections about career, love, and health. Venues ranging from ramshackle street kiosks equipped with kerosene heaters through Seoul's brutal winter to stylish coffee shops draw intrigued customers around the clock. Some fortune tellers sell their wares over the phone or through the Internet. The fortune telling business booms around the beginning of the year but it seems to attract customers year round.

Maria's reading

Maria served as an eager interpreter through my reading, expressing what the fortune teller was saying through at times extremely comical direct translation . As Maria delivered each prediction in English, the fortune teller would pause, lock eyes with me, and nod repeatedly with a solemn stare, coaxing me into belief. I took hurried but comprehensive notes. Here are a few of the things my fortune teller predicted:

-There will be many students in my future; I will likely teach at a university (woo hoo!)
-I make money with my mouth (direct translation)
-My words are like a never-ending waterfall and public speaking is my strong point
-This year or next would be a good year for me to get married
-The end of this year will be very busy for me and will likely include a major move or travel and a new job
-My character won't change as I grow old
-My parents really like my boyfriend
-I'll work professionally into old age
-My health is good, but my body will have problems breaking down alcohol later in life
-November 2009 will be a lucky month for me

The cafe walls are plastered in customers' post-reading reactions

Maria with a recap


Peter said...

A -

Great read; you left out how many of the predictions were valid (or not) though...


Anonymous said...

hey you,
glad to see another update and it sounds like your saju experience has a lot more potential than mine did. mine had so much talk about the kinds of girls i like... xo miss you!

Jazzkevin said...

Interesting story. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to see the videos when I get a better internet connection later. :-)

Abby Rhodes said...

Hi, everyone

Thanks, as always for your comments!

Peter, I'm not sure any of Ms. Saju's predictions will hold water, but check back for updates!


Jeff said...

Hey Abby,

Well, maybe you haven't made your fortune yet, but at least the fortune teller was right that you are currently "making money with your mouth" at KBS.

So, let us know if, by the end of the year you take up a new gig traveling around the world with your new husband giving lectures on "How to Make Your Fortune Though Radio Broadcasting." Just watch the alcohol consumption...