Recently my office mate and musical DJ has been on vacation. His absence makes the office a much quieter place. Often too quiet. Hear-the-tummy-grumble-of-someone-five-desks-over quiet. When it reaches the point that I can hear a coworker breathing, I plug my phone into my speakers and listen to NPR.
When I run out of "new" news stories I do random searches and will generate a themed playlist. (Really, go get this app. It is fantastic.) Recently, while searching "Asia", I listened to a great brief on the Asian Poker Face.
I was laughing (okay, quietly chuckling) because this is something that has bothered me for a long time. Not just when out exploring the country, but in my work environment. Side note: I work in an office of predominately Japanese people, many that have never traveled to the US.
I smile a lot. I'm from the South. We smile at everyone. We smile at the dog. We smile at the mailbox. I was raised to smile. There are many years of culture instilled in me telling me to smile. Because if I don't I am being rude and unfriendly. In Japan, you do not smile.
I highly recommend you follow the link to listen (or read the transcript) of the Asian Poker Face. I can attest that every word is accurate.