Tanaka Satomi (23), a young Japanese woman wearing red glasses and pony tail, showed friendly manners and fluent Korean during our first meeting. “Last year, I stayed at Sinchon, near Yonsei University in Seoul for about ten months. I visited Korea again this year to take a graduate course. Recently, I stopped by Sinchon. Surely, I felt that Sinchon became more splendid and complicated, even after only one year. In a few days, I am going back to my country, back with plenty of precious memories.” Dang dang, which means confident and brilliant in Korean, suited her so much.
Omong, a twenty-year-old Chinese man with a face beaming all over and an affable manner, said, “I arrived in Seoul in March to study Korean language, and this is my first visit to Korea. I have enjoyed many Korean soap operas, even before I visited Korea. Actually, in China, there are many Korean soap opera with murmuring love stories and amusement on TV. I excitingly watched My Girl, Winter Sonata, Our Goong Crown Prince & Princess. Could you recommend other one? Cha Tae Hyun is my favorite Korean actor, and you?”
People often draw broad conclusions about China, Japan and Korea in their head, focusing on common points and difference among these three countries. But do you believe in the obscure images and stereotypes about Korea from people abroad? Of course, answers will vary, but you may say, “Not exactly.” From here, a Japanese girl and Chinese boy are going to tell you their stories. They were classmates in LinguaExpress, the institute of language study for students at SMU.
1. Don’t Forget to use -Yo.
“In Korea, there are many terms of respect, such as -yo. But in Japan and China, except for certain special occasions, people talk more freely, with no concern about age or position of each other. Sometimes it’s too tough for me to use these expressions,” said Satomi. But at least she didn’t forget -yo during interview. Omong added, “I also get confused about Korean expressions of respect depending on the situation. Furthermore, most Koreans are courteous to their familiar superiors and say “hello” with a humble bow even though they are very friendly with each other.”
2. Fashion Sense
“There are many fashionable people in Korea, more than those of other countries. Especially, whenever I walk along a road, I see that Korean women dress well. Some Koreans think that many Japanese show marked individuality with more fashionable clothing such as in costume play in Japan. Actually, such fancy clothing are limited to a certain region such as Harajuku,” said Satomi.
3. Taking vehicles
Omong speaks cautiously. “Most Korean roads tend to be narrow and rough. When I was walking along a street, I was surprised by one very loud horn of a bus. I don’t know that the narrow road is the roadway where many cars were passing by. In China, you could see many people riding on bicycles as well as cars in wide road.” Satomi pointed out crowded street and transportation of Sinchon and near sites. “Whenever I take a subway, I am often stifled. I think many Korean people uses subway, but a space between one person and another is too small. In addition, there is no time table about the arrival time of next train in Korea.
4. Taste of Food in Korea
“I enjoy all Korean food except sliced raw fish. I was not accustomed to eating it. Since I had lived at the center of China, around no sea for about 20 years, I haven’t had many opportunities to eat fish. But now, I eat all kinds.” Omong added his tea story. “I carried many kinds of tea from China. And I often asked my parents to send Chinese tea whenever they can.” Neither Omong nor Satomi has an aversion to Korean food. Even they putting out, “We both like kimchi, we don’t feel like foreigners any more.”
Let Me Introduce My Place
1. Sites they Recommend
“I’d like to recommend Tokyo and Odaiba in Japan. The figures of Tokyo and Osaka looks like Seoul, with full of busy people. If you enjoy amusement parks, you need to visit Tokyo Disneyland. In addition, you should remember a hot spring for you and your parents,” said Satomi. And Omong added “There are many large-scaled structures in China. The Great Wall of China is the general example.”
2. Study in China and Japan
“As person, as region, job preference of people shows difference in China. In large cities, many students want to enter the University of Tokyo and some people of other regions far from the center tend to prefer practical engineering major. Furthermore, recently, trade business has received wild enthusiasm as there is more trade between China and other countries,” said Omong. Satomi added, “There are many kinds of examination of other form for enter college in Japan. The jobs of public servant and business man for big enterprises are preferred over other jobs in Japan. ”
“Next April, I’ll get to join Toyota, a certain big company in Japan.” She had stayed in the U.S. about 5 years and she actually visited other many countries including Korea. Although English education in China and Japan also is focused on reading, both Satomi and Omong seemed to know English well. Additionally, Satomi said that she had learned Cambodian.
Actually, in historical views, there were many affairs good or bad among Korea, China and Japan. Nowadays, the world keeps an eye on Northeast Asia. In the future, fair competition and cooperation among these countries is expected by these young intelligent and confident students.