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Author Topic: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?  (Read 24293 times)

Offline CeilingofStars

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Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« on: June 12, 2011, 11:17:36 PM »
Hey guys -

For those of you who've traveled around or lived in one or more of the countries above (or any other Asian countries, for that matter), how would you compare them?  I'm curious about

-how people view foreigners
-cultural and behavioral differences
-lifestyle differences
-your favorite things and pet peeves

Once I get fluent in Korean (somedaaaay!) I'm thinking about where to go next.  I'm interested in how other Asian countries compare.  Thanks!

Offline kdawg860

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 12:19:47 AM »
ive traveled to both countries.  korean and japanese culture are more similar than korean and chinese, i think.  japanese people bow but chinese don't.  japanese people are the nicest people in the world.  chinese people ... well,,, they weren't as friendly but i never got any super rude encounters.  i went to china 5 years ago and things were pretty dirty but i heard they cleaned up a lot for the olympics.

english fluency is not very good in either countries from what i remember.  learn some basic pratical phrases before you go to either.

japanese grammar is very similar to korean.
chinese grammar is more similar to english so it might be easier to learn for english speakers.

Offline cragesmure

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 03:31:20 AM »
Hey guys -

For those of you who've traveled around or lived in one or more of the countries above (or any other Asian countries, for that matter), how would you compare them?  I'm curious about

-how people view foreigners
-cultural and behavioral differences
-lifestyle differences
-your favorite things and pet peeves

Once I get fluent in Korean (somedaaaay!) I'm thinking about where to go next.  I'm interested in how other Asian countries compare.  Thanks!
I've been living in China and Korea for 10 years, and have been to Japan 5 or 6 times.  I never experienced any negativity towards me in Japan for being a foreigner, but I was just travelling there.  It may be different to live there.  However, I always found Japanese people to be extremely polite and helpful, despite the fact that I know about 10 words of Japanese..  The only downside of Japan is the cost of living, and that's not as bad as everyone would have you believe.
We all know how things roll in Korea, so not much point going into that.  Definitely the most racist of the 3 countries.  Teaching in Korea is definitely worse than in China, but the day-to-day stuff is easier in Korea than China.  I'd say urban China beats urban Korea hands down, but rural China is a world away.  It's not for everyone.  There are also differences between cities in China that we don't really see in Korea.  I'd say that China is a fine place to live, but I'd reccommend heading over and checking a place out before you commit to it.  It can be heaven or hell.  Just depends on you.

Offline doolin.nc

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 05:43:37 AM »
ive traveled to both countries.  korean and japanese culture are more similar than korean and chinese, i think.  japanese people bow but chinese don't.  japanese people are the nicest people in the world.  chinese people ... well,,, they weren't as friendly but i never got any super rude encounters.  i went to china 5 years ago and things were pretty dirty but i heard they cleaned up a lot for the olympics.

english fluency is not very good in either countries from what i remember.  learn some basic pratical phrases before you go to either.

japanese grammar is very similar to korean.
chinese grammar is more similar to english so it might be easier to learn for english speakers.

This. You hit on it a little. Japan and Korea have more-or-less outpaced China in development in most areas, leaving the rest of China to be rather, er, dirty. The truth behind the cultures is true -- China is a lot less warm & welcoming than Korea and Japan. I don't really know why this is. Perhaps a different national opinion of foreigners? Haven't really thought about it. Either way most Chinese people are as nice as any other Asians just not as first.

I've read a statistic that said Korea spends the most out of all the Asian countries, yet has the worst English fluency? Take that with a grain of salt -- I can't pin a source on it. Just throwing it out there.

Just a little tid-bit:
Chinese grammar is like this: Subject, Object, Verb OR Person, Time, Location, then Action.
Korean grammar is also Subject, Object, Verb.
Japanese is also Subject, Object, Verb.
All of these differ from English which is Subject, Verb, Object.

Just throwing that out there. However Chinese is actually farther than English because Korean and Japanese have a more similar writing system with the alphabet, conjugation of verbs, etc. I've taken Chinese for 2 years and have been learning Korean for a couple weeks now and I gotta say Chinese is a lot harder simply because you really have to memorize those characters and while it's really easy to remember the ones you use constantly (the first few hundred), remembering the others is pretty tough unless you're exposed to them constantly.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 05:47:19 AM by doolin.nc »

Offline natale_laplante

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 09:09:36 AM »
I haven't been to China, but I lived in Japan five years ago. From what I see between Korea and Japan, Korean sounds loud and angry to me. The Japanese tend to speak more softly and more politely. Also, in Japan, the fashion scene is more varied and extreme than it is in Korea. But they both will do their best to help you if they see that you are have difficulty. Honestly, I can't even imagine someone in America giving me a spare bag when mine split open, or asking me if I need help getting somewhere. Or randomly inviting me to their apartment for dinner.

Offline Darkeru

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 10:52:41 AM »
I've only traveled in Japan and China, but here are my impressions:

Japanese people are a lot more helpful and polite. They're also more willing to speak English in general (even if they're not great at it) and the ones who didn't speak English tried speaking Japanese. In Korea and China I've gotten the silent treatment more often, though it was worse in China. My favorite thing is the sound  and ease of the language.

Korea (or at least city Korea) is a lot cleaner than Japan or China. I get the most stares here, even in the capital. There have been a few occasions of people being very helpful, but only when I already had some relationship with them. The most help I've gotten from a stranger is some acting to help me figure out which item I needed. My favorite thing is it's easy to make friends from language exchange due to the English obsession.

China I had a single person outside of the group I was with speak English to me, which was about one word from a young teenager helping run a shop. Less stares than Korea in my case (though I heard my traveling companion got a lot and even got asked to hold a baby for a photo - she's very tall, very curvy and has very dark black skin though). It was the dirtiest place of them all, but also the most picturesque. My favorite thing is the food.

Of the three languages, I found Japanese the easiest personally. Many people say Korean is easier, but the pronunciation is a lot easier for Japanese I think. Chinese is the most difficult. I only studied the speaking parts though - I assume Korean is far easier to read and write.

[In Korea once more - Working in Pyeongtaek]

Offline CeilingofStars

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 11:10:27 AM »
This is all great information!!  And it kind of confirms the suspicions I had, too.

Out of curiosity - do you know if there's a way to teach English in Japan that doesn't involve the JET program?  Or other jobs available to English/Korean speakers?  I'm not fluent in Korean yet (obvs!) but when I am I'm thinking Japan might be a good next stop.

Keep the anecdotes coming! ^^

Offline tfung31

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 11:21:59 AM »
I'm not sure what your ethnicity is, but as a Chinese-American, I've never felt so unwanted than when I visited China. If you look Chinese and can't speak the language (or if you speak the wrong dialect like me), get ready for some unjustified hate.

I've visited Japan a few times and loved it. The cost of living, as people above me stated, is much too high for me.

Offline CeilingofStars

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 11:28:54 AM »
Yeah, that's what I've heard from everyone I know who's visited China (except my dad, because he was on a business trip).  They said that people were extremely rude to them.  One of my friends even had a Chinese ajumma (whatever they're called there, lol) shoo her out of the store just because she was 'foreign'.

And I'm white with dark hair and eyes, btw.  Won't be mistaken for Asian, but I'm also not the stereotypical blonde-hair/blue-eyed girl that I feel like gets a lot more attention in Korea, for better or worse.

Offline Darkeru

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 11:32:51 AM »
Out of curiosity - do you know if there's a way to teach English in Japan that doesn't involve the JET program? 

Let me know if you find one!  :laugh:

I've been looking into this too. Unfortunately most jobs I've seen seem to have high requirements and/or require you already live in Japan. There are some jobs at places similar to hagwons, but the shady business practices are apparently also similar to hagwons.
[In Korea once more - Working in Pyeongtaek]

Offline mycombs

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 11:36:27 AM »
There's an awesome graphic novel called "Korea Unmasked" that goes a long way towards explaining fundamental differences between the 3 countries. Very insightful; helped me understand Korea. Here's a blog about the book, with some of the sample pages about this subject:
http://gwangjublog.com/683
Can't recommend it highly enough. 18-20k won at a bookstore. Go buy it.
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Offline kiwikimchi

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 11:50:20 AM »
I can only compare Japan and Korea

Japanese are a lot more friendly, helpful, nicer, kind, welcoming than Koreans.
They are not xenophobic and don't stare like Koreans do.
They don't tend to spit (2 weeks I never saw it)
They take more pride in their country/traditions, Always saw women wearing komonos and streets are spotless, Can't remember seeing any rubbish on the streets.
The food is way nicer.
Only bad thing about Japan is everything is so expensive.

Basically Japan is everything Korea is not.

Offline andrewkc

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011, 11:55:12 AM »
I have traveled to both Japan and China (and lived in Korea) and I think Japan is totally different than China or Korea.  While the Japanese language is similar to Korean, and has similar characters to Chinese I find that Japan is a world unto itself.  It has so many different types of youth culture which obviously sets it apart from the uniform youth culture of Korea.  All while maintain a strong respect for history and the past.

Korea and China share a lot of similar culture, and I find the only thing that really sets them apart is wealth.  I think the Chinese have a lower level of English mainly because of the wealth gap, which is closing fast!

Offline natale_laplante

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2011, 01:16:51 PM »
This is all great information!!  And it kind of confirms the suspicions I had, too.

Out of curiosity - do you know if there's a way to teach English in Japan that doesn't involve the JET program?  Or other jobs available to English/Korean speakers?  I'm not fluent in Korean yet (obvs!) but when I am I'm thinking Japan might be a good next stop.

Keep the anecdotes coming! ^^

There are a ton of places you can apply to that's not JET. However, just be sure to do your research. Here's an excellent site that gives you the straight up: http://www.all-about-teaching-english-in-japan.com/

Check this out too: http://www.ohayosensei.com/

Offline Hoosier_Jedi

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2011, 01:52:11 PM »
I lived in Japan for about three years and the English level in Korea is much, much better.

Maybe it's because I spent two of those years in the boonies, but people here seem to be a lot more relaxed about foreigners. I haven't yet had people follow me around a store or aqaurium just to see what I'll like I did in Japan.

Speaking Japanese is easier, reading and writing is easier in Korean.

Spent three weeks in China some years ago with some other people from my college. Had a lot of good times but people there were more agressive about it if they didn't like foreigners. I saw a dude chuck a bottle at our bus when we were waiting at light. Got hassled by drunks in Shanghai and had some guy in Hong Kong get really snotty with me because he thought I was "a rich kids traveling on my parents' money."

Non-JET jobs in Japan are out there but you have to look. And you're stunk from the start on a lot of them if you're not already in Japan.

Offline CeilingofStars

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2011, 02:32:33 PM »
Wowww thank you for those resources!!  I'll definitely spend some time with them. :)

Yeah, I'm really drawn to the youth culture of Japan.  I feel like there are more subcultures there, and in a way...like Korea is very shiny happy all the time, which Japan has too, but Japan also has dark/moody/crazy stuff, which I feel like is sorely lacking in Korea.  Korean culture in general seems kind of...naive?  Innocent?  To be fair, I'm sure a lot of my opinions come from the waygookin echo chamber on the internet.  But like, can you ever imagine a group of Korean goth girls walking around Busan with black lipstick and petticoats?  Maybe it's different in Seoul, but it seems soooo homogenous here.

Then again, I love how relaxed and open Koreans can be, which is not the impression I got from my Japanese friends when I studied it in college.  So I'm afraid to leave here a bit. :(  Also I'm poor, lol.  Maybe I'll switch once I pay off my debt.

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2011, 02:38:43 PM »
They are not xenophobic and don't stare like Koreans do.
They take more pride in their country/traditions, Always saw women wearing komonos and streets are spotless

On these 2 points, I know of some disagreement.  Honestly, I've never been to Japan.  But those who have spent considerable time (not vacation) in both countries say it's way more xenophobic in Japan.  The people just don't show it as openly as Koreans.

Also, I would say Koreans are extraordinarily proud of their country and traditions (some might say to a fault).  I often see people wearing hanbok.


As for China, I only visited there for 10 days in Beijing and Nanjing.  I found people to be very open and engaging (and not just to practice English).  While it may still be a form of racially segregating people (I don't know how to phrase it), people seemed genuine in social contacts.  Also, I found the Chinese to be very laid-back in ways.  Yes, I know there is pushiness and straight-forward attitude.  However, people were not rigid.  People seemed relax, whistling down the street and openly enjoyed life.

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Offline mycombs

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2011, 03:17:52 PM »
And apparently foreigners living in these countries judge an entire population based on their personal experiences.
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Offline kiwikimchi

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2011, 03:31:22 PM »
They are not xenophobic and don't stare like Koreans do.
They take more pride in their country/traditions, Always saw women wearing komonos and streets are spotless

On these 2 points, I know of some disagreement.  Honestly, I've never been to Japan.  But those who have spent considerable time (not vacation) in both countries say it's way more xenophobic in Japan.  The people just don't show it as openly as Koreans.

Also, I would say Koreans are extraordinarily proud of their country and traditions (some might say to a fault).  I often see people wearing hanbok.


As for China, I only visited there for 10 days in Beijing and Nanjing.  I found people to be very open and engaging (and not just to practice English).  While it may still be a form of racially segregating people (I don't know how to phrase it), people seemed genuine in social contacts.  Also, I found the Chinese to be very laid-back in ways.  Yes, I know there is pushiness and straight-forward attitude.  However, people were not rigid.  People seemed relax, whistling down the street and openly enjoyed life.

I am speaking of my first hand experience of being in Japan. Those are the things I noticed, not from others who have told me what it is like, The difference is black and white between Japan and Korea IMO. I found them totally different.

I didn't say Koreans were not proud of their country and traditions. I said I thought the Japanese seemed prouder. The fact they don't treat their streets like a rubbish dump is one reason...They actually have rubbish bins there.

Because you haven't been there you don't really have grounds to challenge my thoughts. I suggest you pop over and visit Japan then you can see the differences for yourself. I'm sure you will like it.

Offline wafflebunny

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Re: Difference between Korea, China, and Japan?
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2011, 03:45:57 PM »
Errr...language and food. I dunno!

No, really every place have their pros and cons. At the end of the day, the whole world is a hot mess.

 

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