why I <3 Asia

spring6

I really love Asia. From the time I was small, I was devouring its food, language, and pop culture (Saturday morning cartoons!). Trying to pin down exactly why is a little hard though. Mostly, it’s just personal taste. Some people love Europe, some people love the Caribbean, some people wouldn’t leave America if you paid them. Me, I love Asia, and after actually living here, I’ve come up with a few reasons why.

The people are incredibly polite. Even their kids are more polite than American kids. Of course, there are exceptions, but when viewed as a whole, the culture itself is more oriented towards showing respect than pushing independence. I think it’s due mostly to the influence of Confucianism that has permeated every East Asian country. There’s a lot more to Confucianism than I can say, but just know for now that it stresses filial piety, extreme respect to elders, and the maintenance of a harmonious society (yes, I know there are many negatives to it as well – that’s for another time).

For instance, to Asians, it’s much more important to keep good relations than assert one’s independence or superiority. Generally you don’t find people loudly voicing their opinions just because they can.

This respect and attitude of general politeness is evident everywhere, from the classroom to the tea stand. Seriously, Asian salespeople are the nicest ever.

I love that it’s so safe here. I thought Taiwan would be a lot like America, with plenty of petty crime going on, outbreaks of violence, or general rowdiness by hooligans. I haven’t seen any, and apparently it’s not just that I haven’t seen it, but that there isn’t much. I checked some crime rates, and Taiwan’s crime rate is significantly lower than America. Like, a lot.

We’ve experienced this in person too. My friend left her wallet in the bathroom, and went back several hours later and someone had turned it in to the desk, money still inside. When we go to stores, everyone leaves their umbrellas by the door, and they’re all there when you’re done. In apartments, most people leave their shoes and various other belongings outside their doors, and no one takes them. I would never dare try that at home.

Food is big on my list of important things in life. (I don’t think I could live without it.) I’ve obviously had a lot of Americanized Asian food, but I think it can be pretty authentic. Of course, Asian food varies from country to country – I love the spiciness of Korean food, the fresh taste of sushi and tempura from Japan, and the sauces and dumplings from China and Taiwan.

I’m studying Linguistics in school, so it’s natural that I love languages of every kind. I’ve always particularly loved Asian languages – Korean more than the others. If you’ve ever tried learning Chinese, you know how hard it is, but you also know how poetic it is.

Perhaps I see things differently because I’m a foreigner. I know I get special treatment where a native resident wouldn’t, and it’s nice to be treated as a perpetual guest.

Overall, I think I just like the way Asians view life. It’s a slower pace, even when they’re frantically moving from place to place, and there seems to be more appreciation for holistic living and enjoying the moment.

I will always love America though, don’t get me wrong. I am an American at heart and always will be, loving the great nation with all its quirks and quandaries. But I think I’ll want to live in Asia. There’s not enough good kimchi in America.

otter.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “why I <3 Asia

  1. Yeah, I’ve noticed. It caused me some trouble when I first got here, since I had learned some Mainland Mandarin first. The materials you get for language learning are generally skewed towards China-style Mandarin. I still have a hard time understanding Mainland speakers.

  2. I don’t know. It depends on the Asian country. I think it’s because of the one child policy in China (my husband who is Taiwanese also realizes this) is that the kids here are generally spoiled ROTTEN. Never ask a Chinese person if he or she has any brothers or sisters. Most likely, no. =/ Communism is all about atheism , so when I go to a temple here, it is more like a gift shop than a temple. Sure, the buildings are beautiful. Beautiful on the outside; hollow on the inside. A local Shanghainese went to Taiwan and was shocked how alive the temples are over there. We both had opposite culture shock.

    • I’m fascinated to hear all this. I always assumed it would be similar, but I guess that was a little short-sighted of me. I thought even though everything else was different, the culture would be the same. Now I really want to go to China, just to see that difference. Thanks for sharing! And you’re right – the temples here are very alive (we can hear them shooting fireworks well into the night…)

      • Both countries has Chinese culture and some of the food are the same. Although, even though my husband speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese use different ways of saying things that may confuse Mainland Chinese and visa versa. Example: My husband says, “I would like to exchange tokens.” Mainland Chinese clerk, “Exchange…what?” The woman beside her says, “He means buy. People from Taiwan say it that way.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s