Asian Culture Tips For Non-Asian Girls: How To Do The Asian Head Bow

I get a lot of fan mail from my blog readers about how much they love Asian culture. They talk about how much of the Korean language they’re learning in class, and how good they are at chopsticks. Up front I congratulate them but deep down in the center of my cold Asian heart — where my future Tiger Father will soon flourish — I want to *politely and gently* slap them with all my might.

“Go away. I’m allergic to Weeaboos”

You see, Asian culture really isn’t that difficult to understand. Whether you’re a pro at it or you can’t tell the difference between Kimchi and Toyota, I have a handful of easy tips to place into your non-Asian bag of tricks. First things first…

Learn The Asian Head Bow!

Obama rockin’ the Asian head bow like a champ.

You know how in movies whenever an Asian businessman meets an American businessman for the first time there’s always that awkward handshake scene? Yea, don’t even try to bow to your hot Asian date. Why? First off, most younger Asian guys don’t even do that kind of bow and second, it would come off as racist if you do it to him.

How It’s Done:

In most cases, 15 degrees is perfect. Anything more and you better be meeting the president of Taiwan or Kim Jong Un.

1. Position your body like you’re ready to bow down

2. Bend from your neck/upper chest — kinda like you’re nodding your head.

3. Bend down only about 15-20 degrees.

4. You can maintain eye contact while bowing down if you want. If not, no biggie.


Why You Should Do It:

“I like my girls curvy, tan skinned, and raised to respect their elders!”

The Asian head bow is something that no one has ever instructed me to do, I just do it because I see other Asians do it. It’s basically a casual way of saying, “I acknowledge you and I respect you” — or whatever kinda of zen bullshit you wanna come up with. It’s essentially the non-verbal equivalent of saying thank you and can be used towards anyone.

When To Do It/To Whom:

If all else fails and you can’t score with your Asian date, bowing to the cute Asian waiter might catch his attention! YOU NEVER KNOW!!

Whenever you’re engaging in some sort of business transaction: paying the cashier at the bookstore, giving your credit card to your waitress, or thanking the Sushi Chef after you leave the restaurant, make it a point to do the head bow. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose spectacle that requires precise timing and background music — you just do it. It’s quick and simple, much like a head-nod or a thumbs up. You especially do this towards older Asian people.


How You Can F*ck It Up:


Timing, intensity, and location are key. You can’t bow too slowly or else you’ll look like you’re seeking attention, nor can you bow too low or you’ll just look like those awkward Americans who doesn’t know jack shit about Asian culture. Additionally, you shouldn’t just do it any damn time you like or you might run the risk of coming off socially awkward.

It should merely be the cherry on top — not the entire goddamn ice cream itself. So relax… it’s not that difficult.

5 thoughts on “Asian Culture Tips For Non-Asian Girls: How To Do The Asian Head Bow

  1. Now I get that this article is probably meant to be taken with a grain of salt. But on a more serious basis, I thought that the head bow you describe is common in Japanese and Korean culture (and maybe also in some other cultures), but not in the Chinese one? I’ve never seen it done here in mainland China and when reading up on it, I’ve found that nowadays you’ll only find people doing the bowing at very formal events, such as weddings or funerals, or to apologise for something very serious.

    • It’s all on a case-by-case basis. If you’re in a younger spot with 20 year olds at a bar then maybe head bowing isn’t needed. But I’ve done it and received positive feedback from all types of Asians.

      Also, the head bow is totally different from the actual bow that businessmen engage in at formal events or meetings. The headbow is super casual and is the non-verbal equivalent of saying “sup” to someone in passing.

  2. I lived in Korea for a little while and bought the bow back with me to the US. I dont even know I do it anymore until I bow to some sweet Ahjumma or Halmoenim and their face broadens into a smile.

  3. Pingback: 15 Reasons Why Barack Obama Is Actually Asian |

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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