Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Don't Speak Asian!

The other day, I had in my hand a bag of seasoned dried seaweed, my favorite snack, when someone asked (pointing to the writing on the seaweed bag), "Japanese?" "Uh, no, that's Korean," I answered. "Looks like Chinese to me," came a response. "It's Korean," I said, briefly explaining to her the difference between the Chinese and Korean scripts and how one easy way to tell them apart was that Korean script had a lot of little circles.

"Well, easy for you!" she shook her head in what seemed to be fake exasperation. "These Asian languages look the same to me," she said as she walked away. "I guess you have to be Asian to be able to tell them apart."

If I wasn't annoyed before -- and I wasn't -- I was at that point.


Someone can tell Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Asian languages apart not because they pay attention or have studied at least one of them, but because they're Asian? You've got to be kidding me.