Telling Asians Apart

Watch this video, then go to the link in the description and take the quiz to see if you’re someone who can tell different Asians apart at a glance. Are they Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Yet, there are so many varieties of Asians out there - Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai - none of which would ever be anyone’s first guess. To be on the safe side, I guess.

I have a little shame in admitting that I achieved 718. I can’t tell the difference between Asians on the first glance, it seems. But in a way this result is reasonable, it takes more than just looks to figure out where someone comes from. Would I jump to conclusions that if you’re blonde, you must be from Germany for example? Why does this seem to be a unique problem to Asians.

(Although I’m sure that people in Asian countries will on occasion immediately assume that you’re from somewhere ‘exotic’ like Britain the moment they see a ‘white guy’, because who doesn’t like a good ol’ British accent.)

I still get a bit flattered when people ask me whether I’m Korean or Japanese these days, but the question is are these people erring on the side of caution or do they genuinely ask because I look the part? In a world where people can be offended if you are not politically correct, it’s difficult to know politeness from being genuine.

Then again, my boss thinking that my family is Japanese is right out of left field on the other hand, when he’s lived and worked in Japan before and my last name does not sound Japanese in the slightest.