Rising Sun

For a lot of Westerners, spotting where an Asian person is from is as difficult as playing Monopoly with a penguin. And for having been living in Chinatown, I confirm this is also the case the other round: my hairdresser is Chinese and ask me every single time I bring along a friend of mine whether she is my sister, even when we have no common trait whatsoever.

For always having been fascinated by Asian cultures generally speaking (mainly Indian and Japanese), I am actually pretty good at identifying the country of origin of any Asian person I meet, just by having a look at their faces. The thickness of the features, the shape of the face along with the color of the skin are all very good indicators of where a person is from. 

Anyway, the other day - at my hairdresser’s again, an interesting subject came up: while he was blow-drying my hair, Jin (really like how short Asian-americanised names tend to be) was playing with my chair, making it lower, mentioning at some point that I was tall. Being only 5”6, I know for a fact that I am NOT that tall but no big headline on that one: I was actually feeling very tall compared to the people around me while I was living in Chinatown. I joked at it and played it cheeky saying that indeed I was a bit taller than a Chinese lady. He also laughed and added that it meant that I MUCH taller than a Japanese lady then as Japanese people were all really small.

As I have always been focusing on people’s features, I never noticed it but I thought it was rather funny that a Chinese person - considered by most Westerners as being generally small - was making fun of the Japanese for being even shorter than them. The funny thing about it is that in Europe for instance, the rule is simple: the further North you go, the tallest people tend to be. (not applicable everywhere as for instance the tallest people in the world are apparently from Sudan does not work everywhere). Anyway, I started wondering what the rule would be in Asia for it - the closer to the country of the rising sun, the shortest?