A Chopstick in Your Mouth Will Teach You How to Smile

Some firms in China train their customer service staff members to smile with a chopstick. Keep it between your teeth. Don't touch it with your lips. And above all, don't drop it. You. Will. Smile. Understood?

Link -via American Digest | Photo: Asianews

LOL That reminds me of "pencil drills" from broadcasting school. With the pencil as far back in your teeth as you can, enunciate the alphabet as clearly as you can. After a couple rounds, you'll be so articulate people will nominate you for office.
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The purpose of this is to indice a non-Duchenne smile, which according to the facial feedback hypothesis can positively affect one's mood.

A paper by Strack, Martin, and Stepper (1988) showed that people who were instructed to placed a pencil in their mouth so that their lips didn't touch the pencil enjoyed cartoons more than individuals who didn't. This effect has been replicated many times in various forms.
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I'm just going to start disseminating all these racist Asian stereotypes you guys keep promoting.

This is a somewhat common new phenomenon in Asia. In general Asians suppress facial expressions, unlike Americans who smile at everyone and everything (this make us seem 'crazy' to Russians.) So, smile classes have become a sort of training for those who are going to be in the public eye and deal with Westerners. (Like these nice ladies who are working on the newest bullet train but that apparently isn't "neat") It's so they look more friendly to us. If you watch people of Japan in their native country on videos you will generally see them do very polite facial expressions more focused on their eyes and reserved smiles. Though if you know what to look for you can see all the emotions in their eyes. This is why Western emoticons are mostly focused on a mouth like a smile :-D and Asian emoticons are more focused on eyes (^_^).

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"I'm just going to start disseminating all these racist Asian stereotypes you guys keep promoting."

You do know that you just formed your own stereotype by grouping us all in the same category as Schilder and Vonskippy right? I don't think it seems like a fair opinion when I haven’t even heard of Schilder until today, and always have known that Vonskippy has a fierce allergy to human empathy.
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I should have been more specific. I meant stereotypes that Neatorama is promoting. Poor choice of words. I'm sorry for the confusion and offense I may have caused. It seems like at least once or twice a week there's some ill informed article on here without the proper details in the byline that make it seem like "oh those wacky crazy Asians are at it again" instead of writing about what's really going on or some informative articles about culture. Instead it's always thr easy way out linking to some website that has an amausing picture that is representative of a small percentage of a culture or that is taken out of context. It's getting on my nerves. I love Asian culture, particularly Japanese and Neatorama is doing a huge disservice by taking these things out of context and promoting them are oddities to be gawked at. I don't see them doing this with other cultures nearly as much. It's insensitive and just cements in the Western mind this mistaken cultural identity and that it's ok to make fun of people because they're "different."
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Good stuff Nihil, really interesting and insightful - thanks! I never knew about the eastern types of emoticons. I did know about the fact Russians don't react well to people who smile for little or no reason and that Americans seems crazy to them.....to be fair to Russians though, Americans seem crazy to most people who are not themselves American and also to a good proportion of actual other Americans.
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But if something crazy comes out of Japan, isn't that where it came from? Nowhere do I see John saying anything negative or stereotypical about Asians in this posting, and absolutely no comment approaching "those wacky and crazy Asians".

Is this being done in China? Are all of the people in the picture Asian? John has done nothing but present the facts.

You're being way too critical and sensitive, nihil.
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