I would like to start by stating that I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope all of you experienced the love of Christ at some point during the season. After all, isn't that what we are supposed to be celebrating?
My mother sent me money this Christmas, instead of sending me presents. I took it as an opportunity to take a trip to Seoul, and complete my winter wardrobe. I left on the Friday before Christmas. I did most of my shopping in Myeongdong, the largest and most prominent shopping area in the city (to my knowledge). Myeongdong has a Polo store, a North Face store, an authorized Apple dealer, and countless other stores that sell brand name items that Christmas shoppers would be inclined to purchase.
The most prominent group of shoppers in the Myeongdong area during my visit seemed to be the Japanese. To the untrained eye, "all Asians look the same," but after being in Korea for over seven months, it's rather easy to distinguish the difference between them and Koreans.
Korean women are rather elegant in their dress. They prefer to wear modest tops, as they never show even a hint of cleavage. They prefer short skirts, dresses, and high heels, which is rather attractive. During the winter, they still love wearing them, so the preferred article of clothing used to keep warm are navy blue pantyhose. They are attractive, feminine, and apparently warm because of their thickness.
Most Korean women are rather modest in the application of makeup, as they choose cosmetics that make their faces appear whiter. They are also modest regarding the alteration of the color of their hair, as the only color they seem to dye their hair is dark brown. Korean women have a variety of hairstyles, and many seem to include bangs. The shoulder length perm is also quite popular, and is rather nice to see. Korean women are extremely feminine in their hair accessories, as many wear bows and clips of all types, as well as hair bands.
As I've stated earlier, to the untrained eye, "all Asians look the same," but that is definitely not the case. Generally speaking, there are two differences in facial structure. Japanese women tend to have a slightly different eye shape, as their eyes seem to be slightly rounder. They also seem to have a rounder more compact facial structure than Korean women.
Regarding eye shape, many Asian women go to great lengths to make their eyes appear rounder and larger. Some wear color altering contact lenses, along with other applicable accessories. Many even have plastic surgery, called double eyelid surgery. Many Japanese women are known to come to Seoul to have such surgeries, because of the lower rates, and that may be a contributing factor to this particular difference. But nevertheless, Japanese women seem to have slightly rounder eyes than Korean women.
Japanese women wear more makeup. This could be another contributing factor to the notion that their eyes appear rounder. A theory that I have is that while the goal of Korean women, when applying makeup, is to make the face appear whiter, the goal of Japanese women in the application of makeup seems to be to make the eyes look bigger. They seem to apply eye liner much more liberally than Koreans, and they seem to wear eye shadow, a cosmetic that not many Koreans wear. And if it is worn by Koreans, it is done more conservatively. Japanese also apply pink blush extremely liberally to their cheeks, while it is rare to see Koreans wear it.
Japanese women are more liberal in the alteration of their hair color. Many had a hair color that was a much lighter shade of brown than what I would ever see on most Koreans. The hairstyles are also noticeably different. It's difficult to explain, but they seemed to be less elegant, and traditional than Korean women. Japanese women seemed to go for a more "modern" look with their hair. Japanese women seemed to prefer not to wear hair bands, bows, and other feminine hair accessories that Koreans wear.
Japanese women definitely have a different fashion sense than Korean women. In Myeongdong, they seemed to be slightly more casual. Their sense of style in the winter seemed to be geared more toward comfort, while still maintaining an elegance. It was difficult to find the attractive combination of miniskirts, navy blue pantyhose, and high heels on Japanese women.
My Korean friends, along with western friends who have visited Japan, tell me that Japanese women take a more individual approach to their sense of style, while Korean women tend to follow the latest trends. I definitely noticed that while in Seoul. Many Korean vendors display pictures of Korean celebrities wearing a particular accessory, or article of clothing they are trying to sell. Korean women tend to prefer the classic look, while Japanese women are more likely to to take risks regarding their style. The goal of Korean women seems to be to appear more elegant, while Japanese women seem to want to appear more hip.
Another way to tell the difference between Koreans and Japanese is by listening to the language. Japanese seems to be a little more rhythmic. It has sort of a cuteness to it. And nowhere is the cuteness more evident than in how they say Mcdonalds. Koreans say, "Macdonardsu." I can't quite explain it like my Korean friends, but Japanese people struggle with pronouncing consecutive consonants, so they say, "Magudonarudo." It's endearing, and I laugh every time I hear it. Saying it is as addictive as smoking cigarettes. For the past week, I've been unable to stop saying "magudonarudo."
While in Myeongdong, I wanted to stop some Japanese people, and ask them, "Do you know where the nearest Mcdonalds is?"
I would have done so only to hear them answer, "Magudonarudo?!?!" I sat in front of the Mcdonalds in Myeongdong for around ten minutes hoping to recognize a Japanese person for the soul purpose of hearing them say "Magudonarudo." Isn't it funny how when you are not looking for something, it seems to be everywhere, but when you need it, and begin to actively search for it, it seems to be nowhere in sight? That's how it seemed when I wanted to hear, "Magudonarudo" from the "horse's mouth," so I had to settle for hearing it from my Korean friends, which was still funny.
Generally speaking, I find Korean women to be more attractive than Japanese women. Korean women are more elegant and feminine in their style. I prefer women who embrace their femininity and wear things such as dresses, skirts, cute hair accessories, bows, and pantyhose. And Korean women definitely do that. While Japanese women may embrace their femininity in a different way, they seem to do so less regarding their personal appearance, and their sense of style.
If you haven't noticed, the last two posts have been on Japan. The reason for that is that I find Japanese culture to be more exotic simply because I was never around them in New Orleans, while I was always around Koreans, so naturally, I am fascinated by Japan.
Update: Please Read