First off, living in Asia is great, we're not trying to put you off at all. This article is designed to be a light-hearted look at some of the more annoying things about living in Asia (if you're a westerner).
This isn't supposed to be a "hate on Asia" or "compare the East with the West" post. Let's face it, nowhere is perfect!
These are also only annoying things that one can laugh about, so don't take them too seriously. That said, knowing about them in advance will definitely make it easier for you to laugh them off should they be something that you experience too, so there IS an educational tone to this piece.
1 - Walking Speed
People just walk slower in Asia, and with busy sidewalks, this can make getting from A to B pretty frustrating. Naturally, the hot weather means that you're the one being foolish, speeding down the sidewalk dripping sweat, but slowing down to match the speed of the locals will seem unbearably slow.
What's worse, they often have an incredible ability to drift to the left/right just as you're trying to overtake them!
2 - 5am Fire Crackers
A temple's birthday, a wedding, a funeral, or for some other reason that you'll never get to the bottom of; there will be times when you're woken up at 5am by firecrackers outside your window.
These are central to a lot of Asian ceremonies (they scare off ghosts) and there will be one or two times when you find yourself wishing they weren't needed quite so early in the morning!
3 - Interesting Road Laws
They say you should always look both ways before crossing and road, and nowhere is that more true than in Asia, even when you're on a one-way street. Depending which country you're in, the road laws will be more or less ignored, or at least taken as guidelines only.
It tends to be the case that the further away from the capital you get, the more this effect is exacerbated.
4 - Celebrity Treatment
Again this depends on which country you're in and how used to foreigners they are. You won't notice this in places like Hong Kong, where we're a dime a dozen. In somewhere like Taiwan though, requests to have your photo taken with a local or other special treatment can be fun at first, but eventually grow tiresome.
You'll be minding your own business at a bus stop when someone decides they want to practice their English with you, and sometimes you might just find yourself being rude back!
It might be more bearable if you weren't asked the same questions over and over again. Yes, you can use chopsticks.
5 - Spitting
This is pretty much exclusive to China, where it's perfectly normal to spit in public. There's no real way to paint this, you're just going to have to get used to it.
6 - Election Time
When it's election time in many Asian countries, the norm is to drive around the city on the back of a truck, blaring out your name and "Please" on a megaphone. Considering how often elections seem to be, and how many candidates there are, this means that for a few months, you have an onslaught of campaigners that can seem almost relentless.
After the elections, just when you think you'll get some peace, they spend a week doing the same thing, but thanking people for their votes. At least you won't have this problem in China.
7 - Being Complimented On Simple Things
This is similar to the "celebrity treatment" or the fact that you'll always be a foreigner, but it can start to get annoying when people are amazed that you can speak a few words in their language, or that you can use chopsticks. They really aren't that difficult to get the hang of afterall, it's not like the locals study for years and years to master them!
Don't Get The Wrong Idea
Living in Asia is great, it's a wonderful adventure that many people will never forget (and still others will never let it end), so don't take this article the wrong way. As we said at the beginning, no country is perfect, and these are just some of the small things that might irk you from time to time. Overall though, you'll have a blast.