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.
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!
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:
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:
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:
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.