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Post Reply Apparently, I look Japanese while my wife looks Korean
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39 / Inside your compu...
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Posted 12/23/16 , edited 12/23/16
Previously, I've always been a firm believer in the falsehood of the adage:

"All Asians look a like" ("Asians" here implies East Asian, of that great vague swath of earth called East Asia)

Now, I'm not so sure. Perhaps all (East) Asians are just (East) Asians because well, they're (East) Asians.

It all started when my wife got mistaken by Koreans at Korean restaurants as a Korean. Koreans start to talk to my wife in Korean. They never spoke to me, much less in Korean... and I get to laugh at her expense later by making up jokes about how she should star in a K-Drama about a girl who accidentally went from rags to riches, or a K-Drama about a clueless girl who ended up solving a big mystery case, or a K-Drama about pretty much any random female protagonist involved in a silly romcom plot.

She got her revenge when it was time for us to go to Japan. The people at the ANA counter at the airport started greeting me in Japanese, the ANA air stewardesses on the plane greeted me in Japanese (while only nodding and smiling at my wife, who is "Korean".....) That was before even leaving San Francisco. Then my wife got to laugh her head off at my expense, speaking mockingly in faux Japanese at me and nodding and bowing, then making up some story about me being a prince in the Japanese royal family that got abandoned somewhere etc etc etc

Ok. I'm Chinese. So is my wife. I don't see how either of us look anything but Chinese (actually I'm not sure how "Chinese" I look but I am dead sure it's anything but Japanese). HOWEVER, to other people, I'm Japanese and she's Korean.

There was this one time when I went to a hair salon and this Taiwanese girl was shocked when she finished cutting my hair and I spoke Mandarin Chinese to her. "I thought you're Japanese", she said. At the time I thought she just needed to have her eyes checked; either that or she doesn't know what a Japanese guy looks like.

Guess not. Japanese people somehow think I look Japanese too. That, creates some awkward situations in Japan.

Japanese person: [begins speaking Japanese to me, and only me. Not to my "Korean" wife]

Me: [responds with broken Japanese with shite grammar]

Japanese person: [awkward momentary silence, then caters to my demands because even though my Japanese is shite, it was still borderline understandable]

Me: Arigatou gozaimasu!

Yeah. Lesson: Asians probably just looks Asian, except the ones that look Korean which a Japanese wouldn't automatically speak Japanese to, and the ones that look Japanese which a Korean wouldn't automatically speak Korean to. It's that simple.
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☆Land of sweets☆
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Posted 12/23/16
plot twist: that Japanese person was actually a Korean-Chinese tourist who just came to Japan and wished to practice his Japanese.
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Hoosierville
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Posted 12/23/16 , edited 12/29/16
Haha even you asians can't tell one another apart!!! I knew it your all the same! You and your slants for eyes...



\s

Well at one point in time the people who settled in China also crossed the frozen ocean to get to Japan. Korea was pretty much a puppet/pet of China for much of history. During the mongol invasions large numbers of Chinese moved to Vietnam so you took over their gene pool too.
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31 / M / PlayStation VR
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Posted 12/23/16
How was your demeanor vs. that of your wife? I don't look Japanese at all. I could probably get away with saying I'm haffu. Still, depending on how I was dressed, how quiet I was, looking like I belonged, and how much I kept to myself seemed to correlate with how often people tried speaking to me in Japanese first.
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Posted 12/23/16
Your story reminds me of how the US Army distributed pamphlets in WW2 to help troops distinguish between Japanese and Chinese based on physical attributes like shape of the face and feet. Perhaps it might be of interest:


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Posted 12/23/16
If that was you in that one picture from your Tokyo adventure, I would not have pegged you for Japanese.
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Posted 12/23/16 , edited 12/23/16

Rujikin wrote:

Haha even you asians can't tell one another apart!!! I knew it your all the same! You and your slants for eyes...



\s

Well at one point in time the people who settled in China also crossed the frozen ocean to get to Japan. Korea was pretty much a puppet/pet of China for much of history. During the mongol invasions large numbers of Chinese moved to Vietnam so you took over their gene pool too.




But anyhow, I dunno who took over what but it's super easy for me to trace my ancestry. My unique last name pretty much pin-points the location to some ancient city in the Spring-Autumn period.


HideyoshiJP wrote:

How was your demeanor vs. that of your wife? I don't look Japanese at all. I could probably get away with saying I'm haffu. Still, depending on how I was dressed, how quiet I was, looking like I belonged, and how much I kept to myself seemed to correlate with how often people tried speaking to me in Japanese first.


Hm. When we were out, we didn't really speak that much until spoken to... Spoken to with Japanese and Korean............... But she is a bit more outgoing than I am.


cyberfaust wrote:

Your story reminds me of how the US Army distributed pamphlets in WW2 to help troops distinguish between Japanese and Chinese based on physical attributes like shape of the face and feet. Perhaps it might be of interest:




Darnnit how they'd know I expected to be shot...?


gornotck wrote:

If that was you in that one picture from your Tokyo adventure, I would not have pegged you for Japanese.


Yep that was me, tourist backpack and all.
Posted 12/23/16

Rujikin wrote:

Haha even you asians can't tell one another apart!!! I knew it your all the same! You and your slants for eyes...



\s

Well at one point in time the people who settled in China also crossed the frozen ocean to get to Japan. Korea was pretty much a puppet/pet of China for much of history. During the mongol invasions large numbers of Chinese moved to Vietnam so you took over their gene pool too.


slants eyes? I saw one person who review anime get kinda trigger by that.
I think the movie they were reviewing was Spriggan.
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(´◔౪◔)✂❤
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Posted 12/23/16
Its kind of like trying to tell the difference between white American and white European.

I'm sure there are some differences between Italian and french people, but sometimes it can be confusing.
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Posted 12/23/16

FlyinDumpling wrote:

Its kind of like trying to tell the difference between white American and white European.

I'm sure there are some differences between Italian and french people, but sometimes it can be confusing.


It really should be easier than that!

I wouldn't even try guessing a Caucasian-looking person's ethnic background.
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Posted 12/23/16
Newsflash*** People make mistakes in judgement, this may or may not change in the future.

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37 / M / Alberta, Canada
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Posted 12/24/16
Probably the first time I've checked profiles and been sad there are no selfies. I'm considered 'ok' at telling Asians apart and now I'm curious. Not curious enough that you should put the effort in to post pics, but the interesting anecdotes lack something without the visual.

A response to the 'all Asians look alike' topic is that, honestly they kinda do. Generally speaking, a Japanese person is identifiable from a Korean, lighter skin, deeper facial features, yet more demure cheek bones. However a Han Chinese person looks like a Han Chinese person. Even if they are like a fifth of the human population, round face, triangular nose from the front, fairly flat in profile, flat face, round cheeks but muted cheek bones, brown almost black hair, thick in dimension but thin in hair density eye brows. Mono lid eyes in almond shape, lids resting 2/3 top of iris. Almost literally every single one. In contrast, dispensing with stereotype gingers, what does an Irish person look like? Blue eyes, Green, hazel, brown, gold? Brown hair, red hair, blond, dusty blond, shades between? Mono lid eyes, double? Crooked nose, flat, bold, button? High cheekbones, pronounced, fine, bold? French? English?

Is it possible to tell where a white person is from just from looking at them? I can kinda tell a Russian on sight (it's the tracksuit for guys, and the black eye for the women, sorry awful jokes). Black people can kinda give you clues, but it's still sorta hard. Nigerian to Sudanese to Kenyan there are massive jungles and huge mountains between them all so they are different peoples. Can you stand in front of one look for a few minutes and really get the same read as looking at an Asian? They come in every shape and size.

Annnnnnd now I am definitely not getting a visit from Santa unless it's coal. That last round of whiskey was a mistake. Cheers folks and happy holidays.
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Posted 12/24/16
It is entirely possible to identify a probable region for almost anyone. Eyes, skin, teeth, mannerisms, height, weight, clothes, there are many details that give away a person's probable origin.
Posted 12/24/16 , edited 12/29/16
Every race looks exactly like their own.
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28 / M / New York
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Posted 12/24/16 , edited 12/24/16
During our stay in Japan, I've been asked a few times if one of my parents is Japanese. I've been asked twice if I'm Chinese-American. But in New York, people try to talk to me in Spanish quite often. I can speak/understand enough Spanish and Japanese to get by but the moment I open my mouth, it becomes apparent that it's definitely not my native tongue.

Although it might not be as easy when it comes to regular people, in the case of celebrities, it's a lot easier to tell a Japanese person from a Korean, a Chinese, a Tibetan, or a Filipino. In Korea's case, it's probably because of how common it is for celebrities to go under the same plastic surgery procedures to create their generic idea of beauty.
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