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August 2013

The Three Cools and Their Differences

Northeast Asia is undoubtedly a unique place in the world. While sharing a lot of culture, appearance and customs.. China, Korea & Japan are very different places. Not only the countries are different to themselves but inside each of these countries each area has their own unique style and mannerism. Especially China with it’s vast ethnic diversity is like a culture melting pot.

The biggest difference is with China and Japan. To tell you an example, I was once taking a flight from Beijing to Osaka and the plain had a stopover at Qingdao airport in China. When we arrived to Qingdao we had to get out of the airplane and go through the international security customs check before we could re-enter the flight which was already very late. It was obvious that despite being late, the airplane would have to wait for the last customers going through the security checks. While waiting at the customs, an announcement was repeatedly blasted how the flight to Osaka had changed gate in three languages, English, Chinese & Japanese.

An indeed tricky situation where one passenger could cause the flight to delay even further. Well, arriving to the gate-area I observed Chinese people standing about confused as to which gate to go to and reluctant to take any action to solve the mystery. While Japanese were running to the gate directly in attempt to not cause any disturbance and yes, they all knew which gate to go to.

The display of difference in this story might seem rather negative, but if you look at both without falling into “good” and “bad” categories.. you can see the positive in both. To sum it up, Chinese don’t like to think too much and they just want to be happy. For a Japanese, considering others first will bring happiness to the society and ultimately to oneself.

Food for thought.