8 Curious Facts About Asia That Will Absolutely Boggle Your Brain
As the largest continent on the planet, Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population, comprising 49 countries in total. The region is famous for its tall buildings, 2 world wonders (the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China), and rich biodiversity. Still, there are numerous facts about Asia that are not as well-known, but they can easily blow your mind — so we are eager to tell you about them in this article.
1. Japanese-style squat toilets
Although Japan has progressed in its technologies and produced the heated, buttock-massaging, water-spraying robotic toilets of the future, there are still traditional-style toilets that may not seem convenient for people from other countries.
Japanese-style toilets, also known as “washiki,” are squat toilets that are commonly found in Japan, especially outside of the bigger cities. They have some benefits over Western-style seated toilets, like promoting good posture and easier splashing. The squatting position can straighten the rectum and create a better angle for elimination, which some experts believe may help prevent colorectal cancer.
2. South Korea has a separate Valentine’s Day for singles.
Valentine’s Day (February 14th) is widely celebrated by loving couples in Western cultures, with gift-giving as the main tradition. However, in South Korea, it is just one of 12 “love days” celebrated on the 14th of each month. Here, on February 14th, women give chocolates to men as a symbol of affection, and a month later, on March 14th, men reciprocate with gifts on the so-called “White Day.”
For those who don’t have partners, there is April 14th also known as “Black Day,” an unofficial holiday for singles to gather and share a bowl of jajangmyeon, a black noodle dish. It is a popular comfort food in South Korea that is black in color and that perfectly fits the holiday’s theme.
3. In Vietnam, you may find a chicken with lumpy legs.
We are all used to the fact that ’standard’ chickens usually have thin legs, however, in Vietnam, you may find the opposite breed called the Dong Tao. Dong Tao chicken is famous for its distinctive, lumpy legs, which are considered a delicacy and are especially popular during Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
Breeding Dong Tao chickens can be challenging as their large legs make hatching difficult, and they are also sensitive to temperature changes. Hens often crack the eggs with their bulky legs, so eggs are typically kept in an incubator.
4. The head is the most sacred part of the body in Thai culture.
In Thailand, the top of the head is considered the most sacred and pure part of the body, so touching someone’s head or hair is considered rude and disrespectful, especially a baby or a child. So the tourist guides advise: if you accidentally touch someone’s head, it’s important to apologize immediately.
5. You can meet the world’s oldest identical twins in Japan.
Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama, 2 sisters from Japan, have been officially recognized as the world’s oldest living identical twins and the oldest ever identical twins, whose age is 109 years old. They were born in 1913 into a large family of 13 on Shodo Island. Now Umeno and Koume now live in different care homes.
The Japanese life expectancy is the world’s highest, at more than 87 years for women and 81 years for men, hence the country holds several records for supercentenarians. The oldest verified Japanese person and the second-oldest verified person ever was Kane Tanaka, who passed away when she was 119 years old.
6. You cannot take chewing gum into Singapore.
You can take chewing gum freely anywhere in the world except for Singapore. Here the gum was banned in 1992 as one of the most well-known aspects of life, along with strict laws against littering, graffiti, jaywalking, spitting, nose-blowing in public, and urination outside of toilets (and a legal requirement to flush public toilets). These measures have been implemented to maintain a clean environment.
7. Asia is home to the smallest mammal in the world.
Not only you can meet the biggest mammal in the world in Asia, e.g., the elephant, but also the tiniest. Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is the smallest mammal and is informally known as the bumblebee bat that can be found in limestone caves along rivers in Thailand and Myanmar. The bat is 29-33 mm in size and weighs approximately 2 grams. It is known for its distinctive snout and is one of the 440 species of bats found in Asia, which makes up over one-third of the world’s bat species.
8. The world’s tallest and smallest men come from Asia.
Turkish farmer Sultan Kösen is considered one of the tallest people in recorded history (246.5 cm or 8 ft tall), with his height being a result of a genetic condition. Despite his height, Sultan Kösen has lived a relatively normal life, working as a farmer and marrying a woman who is of average height.
In the picture above, you see him meeting with Chandra Bahadur Dangi the shortest man ever, who passed away later at the age of 75. Chandra was one of the most iconic record holders to have graced the pages of the Guinness World Records book coming from Nepal, whose was 54.6 cm (21.5 in) tall, and weighed only 14.5 kg (31 lbs 15.52 oz).