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59

First time I've heard of this, and I think it's nonsense. There is a strong social convention that people should give up their seats (not just the designated priority seats) for elders, very young kids, the disabled/injured and pregnant. Nobody will be offended or think you rude for doing that. They might call you out if you don't. The recipient most likely ...


53

Since the issue is not only with food that you can spill but also with drinking coke (even if you buy it from a vending machine, you are not supposed to drink it while you walk), which is pretty much impossible to spill, this is not a hygiene issue. The topic is much more about the respect for food at large. When Japanese people start eating, they put the ...


47

Take name cards with two hands when given to you, give them with two hands. Look at the received card, put it in front of you on the table while you are talking to the person(s). You CAN punch with one chopstick into food and hold it with the other if it's something hard to eat (dumplings, potatoes etc). Don't stick both in however. Do not soak your sushi ...


47

No, you do not have any right to stop the person in front from reclining, and yes, it's childish behaviour on your part to try to stop them. Everybody on a plane has the right to recline their own seat, and flight attendants can and will enforce this if asked. You put "rest" in quotation marks, but maybe they really do need to recline: they might be sick, ...


31

I live in Japan (Tokyo) and no one gives up their bus or train seats unless the standing person is clearly incapable of standing for long (old, injured, pregnant). Then they are fairly good about it. What's really entertaining is watching two elderly people with canes / walkers etc. arguing about which one of them need the seat more. And it's the "good" ...


28

Funnily enough, I read an article on askmen.com about the top 10 Japanese etiquette mistakes. Boiled down to bullet points, we have: Blowing your nose in public Pointing with your forefinger Don't pour your own beer Wearing toilet slippers outside of toilet Giving gifts in multiples of four Failing to wash first before entering a public bath Passing food ...


22

what is expected of me while I stay there If someone carries your luggage to your room, they expect a tip ($1 to $2 per bag). It's also customary to leave a tip for the maid ($1 to $3 per day). Otherwise, it's really the other way round: it's the job of the hotel staff to meet your expectations (within reasonable bounds) - you're paying, after all. ...


21

I believe you are mixing two pieces of advice. The best currencies are Euros, Canadian Dollars... This is because of the trade embargo against Cuba from the USA. This means US dollars are very expensive to exchange in Cuba, so other currencies should be used. Euros are often said to get the best exchange rate. This is not saying that vendors, hotels or ...


19

Short answer, no -- not really. You could always take a change of clothes (or at least a different top) in your carry on and attempt to freshen up in the toilets. Take some wet wipes too. You could also try and find a shower in the city before heading to the airport. Depending what airport you're in there may be a way to pay for lounge / shower access -- ...


19

I am answering this because I worked as a cabin crew for years (flight attendant) and still a part of the cabin crew now (cabin crew inspector). The best would be a thank you, with some details explaining why you're thanking. Believe me this was the best thing I used to get, because passengers are not always thankful and it is always us who welcome them, ...


18

Actual practice varies widely by country, but there are (at least) four reasons why hotels frown on having more guests in a room than you originally told them. Fire code. Hotels and rooms are rated for maximum occupancy: if they get busted for having two people in a room for one, or (worse) 101 guests in a hotel rated for 100, there are serious legal ...


17

It's all about education. Kids are taught the following table manners from the age of around 2: You eat at the table When you are done, say "Gochisousamadesu" When you say you're done, you're done This is reinforced at kindergarten/elementary school lunches (no snacks, school-supplied lunch that's the same for every student). Those manners stick. And ...


16

I'm Chinese so I can probably tell you this. As you're a foreigner they know already that you're not used to their culture. So, be yourself and you'll be fine. If anything, I guess it must be you to prepare for culture shock. As most of my foreigner friends complain about the spitting and toilets. So be prepared. Another thing is they smoke everywhere, if ...


15

Mark's answer is excellent and covers all the big ones. From experience, just thought I'd add some other / my own social faux pas: Eating in public whilst walking Crossing your legs in front of your superiors (boss or manager, usually) Wiping your face with 'oshibori' (moist cloth given before a meal to clean your hands) Stabbing food with chopsticks ...


15

So, there are two mechanical solutions to, what is, fundamentally social problem, but before I provide them, I want to make clear that employing these is an easy way to be regarded as a jerk by your fellow passengers, and not without merit; the seat is designed to recline, and while putting it back can be inconsiderate, restricting the use of the feature by ...


14

You'll find that it varies from host to host, and this is often indicated on their profile. Some are excited to meet new people, but can't actually host - so they'll often just say they want to meet you in town for a coffee or similar. Others will have a bed and a spare room, and can be amazingly generous. However they do understand that you're ...


13

Having been to both during Ramadan: In all reasonably touristy areas in Thailand, including the southern resort islands, you basically will not notice Ramadan at all -- pretty much everything is open as usual. Malaysia, though, is a different story. While you certainly can get drinks and food, most places that stay open do so a little discreetly, with ...


13

Lifehacker actually has a post about ways to find out which seats are actually non-reclining, so that you can try and book the seats behind them. A similar article of theirs shows the (meaner) option of blocking the seat with something like a water bottle. (from gawkerassets) There's the aforementioned Knee Defender, as well, but that's where you start ...


12

There's good reason why we shower and use deodorant - it's difficult to hide that smell (plus you feel better after one). However, given that wasn't an option, there are a few key points. The smell is trapped mainly in certain areas on the body - key sweat points: (source) So if you want to reduce the smell, you want to target those areas. (Note, those ...


12

Yes, it is correct and fine to wipe your hand, face, neck with it, be it with hot or cold towels. You can see that pretty much everywhere in Asia. In Japan, you will be given one at hairdressers to specifically to wipe your face with it. Specially when it's hot and humid outside, a cold towel on your neck is something very nice!


11

People in CS can tell on their profile which is the maximum number of nights they want to host, so I think that filtering on that you will be able to identify the kind of hosts that fit your travelling policy. In my personal experience, being member of CS since the beginning of 2009 and living in Pisa (so, a lot of requests every day), people ask for 1 to 3 ...


11

Some interesting stats were done in 2008 which found that the average length of stay is 2-3 days. Indeed I've heard of many being turned down for one-night stays - hosts often host because they want to get to know people, not just be a couch for the night. As for longer stays, often you'll find it's cheaper and more sensible to find someone with a spare ...


11

I usually round up to the next 5 dollar increment, with a minimum of 15%. If paying by credit card, I'll usually just use the automatic 20% button (the smallest offered), out of laziness. This WSJ Article claims that the average in NYC is 18-19%. Which is above the national average by a little, but not much. That's a pretty decent number to target, but I'll ...


11

The first thing to know about Couchsurfing is that it is completely free. You are not required to "pay" for your stay offering a dinner, bringing a gift, etc. The only rule that applies is to behave politely. You are not even required to spend some time with your host, even though in some cases this could fall in the "unpolite behaviour". This said, the ...


11

Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your stomach might also work. Avoid sleeping on your back at any rate. Sometimes if I sleep on my stomach I get circulation problems to various areas of my body that I don't seem to get any other time. This never happens when sleeping on my side however. Also keep an eye on yourself. If you notice at any point that you've ...


10

Often Ryokans will either make dinners mandatory and exclude single guests if they feel a too big impact from this. Specially during festivals the rules might be even more strict. If your Ryokan does not exclude single guests and does not include the dinner in the price, you are normally free to come as a single guest and also skip dinner. Of course you ...


10

So, if you're just joining them for dinner, you're NOT expected to bring a plate. However, even for a situation like that it's often expected to bring a wrapped gift for your hosts, so certainly if couchsurfing I'd consider bringing something. Ideally, gifts that can't be purchased in Japan would be a nice idea, and it'd be very special if from your home ...


10

Your first point is almost universally true. Whilst there are a few onsen that allow swimming suits and the like, the vast majority do not. The only one I've experienced was in Kagoshima, and this was because it was a small but famous onsen; too small to segregate men and women and so Japanese yukata were permitted. As for your second point, yes, you ...


10

I give my seat pretty often in Tokyo. I can tell that it is never rude. On the contrary they are very grateful, so much that usually I prefer to keep a distance afterwards. Also sometimes they won't accept it to avoid bothering you, so I insists and say that I will get off soon anyway.


9

I always leave my luggage with the hotel during the day after I check out. Before the flight I then change my clothes and freshen up. Hotel lobby toilets are generally cleaner and more peaceful than other public washrooms. Then leave in good time for the airport. I sweat more when I am stressed so I avoid rushing to the airport. (Hotels are also a good ...



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