What is your number 18?

I was googling some Korean song lyrics yesterday when I first encountered “This song is my # 18”. Does it mean my 18th favorite song on my top 20 fave list? And what’s the big deal if it’s the 18th? It’s not like your number 3 or 2 or 1. I later learned that “My # 18” means the song that I can sing the best.

And this morning, as I was watching Episode 5 of Ohlala Couple, I encountered that expression again. Soo Nam (on Yeo Ok’s body) was blurting some classical song when his mother (Yeo Ok’s mother-in-law) asked him (thinking it was her daughter-in-law) to turn the radio off.

니 18번이 ‘밤 비 내린 영동교’잖니!

Isn’t your # 18 “Night Rain Falling on Yeong-dong Bridge”? How come you are suddenly on classical music?

But why 18? What’s with the number 18?

A Korean friend briefly told me the expressin originated from Japan and later on spread in Korea as well with a slight modification on the original meaning (and he didn’t elaborate further! :p).

I found THIS on Daum 지식. And according to the answers, it has something to do with Japanese culture. One explained it further saying it has something to do with Kabuki – a classical Japanese dance-drama. Though # 18 means one’s favorite song, usually it also has the meaning of the best and most interesting thing. And the latter meaning is the one that originated from Japan. Anyway, in Kabuki theaters there is usually an intermission in between scenes. The intermission is a popular one-act play that are separated into 18 parts distributed all throughout the kabuki performance. And usually the last part of these one-act plays, the 18th, is the best, most interesting and most popular. Therefore these meanings (best, most interesting) is attached to the number 18. And probably where the expression “What’s your number 18?”, which is frequently used in noraebangs, originated from.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of this information though. I don’t know much about Kabuki either. I just relied on the answer I found on Daum. I am not even sure whether my understanding is 100% correct or not. If you know more about this expression and why and how it started, leave a comment below. 🙂

Sadly I don’t think I have a # 18. I don’t sing very well. 😦

How about you guys? What’s your # 18?

2 thoughts on “What is your number 18?

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