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Exploring East Asian Culture

Based on the location and topography of each country, Asian culture varies. East Asia, including China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, is seen as having a Confucian worldview. It is crucial to understand and abide by the restrictions and limitations put in place over many years while traveling to these nations. Many of these nations have rich cultures and traditions that never cease to intrigue. Asian culture often fascinates those of us in the West. We often have many questions about how Asian culture, such as why they eat certain foods, wear certain clothes, or have certain values.  

Have you ever wondered why Chinese people love to drink hot water?

Drinking hot water is more than just a personal choice in Chinese culture. Every human organism has both yin and yang components, according to traditional Chinese medicine. When the yin and yang are in harmony, a person stays healthy. The body’s internal temperature rises, though, if the yang becomes too strong, making that individual more vulnerable to many diseases. The individual has to release surplus yang, or excess heat, in order to treat these ailments. Consuming foods and beverages from the yin group is the most effective approach to do this. Hot water is a yin beverage. It is said to reduce the body’s core temperature, restoring the body’s natural equilibrium and, consequently, the person’s health.

Did you ever wonder why wearing colorful clothing is popular in Japan?

Every element of Japanese life is impacted by their customs. Over the course of thousands of years, certain customs surrounding clothing have developed. The traditional Japanese clothing known as the kimono is a shared practice that is well known, even by people outside of the culture. A kimono is a colorful woven cotton garment, worn directly against the skin. Until very recently, the kimono was the standard attire for Japanese people; now, it is only worn for significant festivals and to commemorate special holidays. Customs of Japanese culture that aren’t as well known as the kimono are also represented by these festivals, such as bowing to other people. 

Did you know that respect is number one in Korean culture?

Respecting people who are seen as superior, whether by income, status or age, is a traditional practice in Korea. In everyday life, hierarchy plays a fundamental role in Korea, dictating practically all social interactions. In Korea, civility is defined as a style of life that serves the group rather than the self, and civil individuals are seen as modest and law-abiding citizens. Respecting family and ancestors is also very important. Koreans are taught in schools and homes not to steal or take from others since doing so disrespects their family and ancestors.

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