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46

Yes, it's true. In general, Russians never smile without a reason. No, you will not insult anybody in Russia if you smile. But, in some cases it can be assessed as rude or strange. For example, if you smile at a stranger he or she might think "Why is this guy looking at me and smiling? Do I look stupid?" Smiling when you say "Hello" is OK. In addition: ...


45

In defense of @MikkaRin's answer, I offer a contrast of cultural norms regarding emotional expression in Russia versus USA. This may not clearly represent differences between Russian and global norms (to whatever extent these exist), but hopefully it'll help. In psychological literature concerning culture and affect, opposite norms have been described: to ...


15

I never used a bidet, but in my travels I always have a pack of wet tissues with me. There is a lot of choice around - from individually packed to large, 50+ pieces packs, antibacterial, scented, for make-up removal, etc. You can choose between hand wipes, facial wipes or even baby wipes. There are a couple of good things about them. First of all, they are ...


14

This is actually conditional. In your particular case it will not be strange or insulting though as MikkaRin pointed out they may think "What is this guy so happy about?". Reason that it won't be for you is that you are an obvious foreigner in that country and you will be looked on as such and there is certain leeway that is allowed. In Russia there is a ...


12

At least one onsen has recently (September 2013) refused a Maori woman with a traditional tattoo. From Tattoo ban at bathhouses raises concern in Japan: TOKYO: With the Olympics headed to Tokyo, Japanese government officials are raising concern after a New Zealand woman with a traditional Maori tattoo was recently denied entry to a bathhouse. ...


12

According to the article in the Global Post it is possible as long as she's in a female only area and hence you can't be with her. This information obviously is a little dated but the only area that is known for laxer regulations would be the island of Kish but that information is even more dated. The most recent English news I was able to find is an ...


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

Really, there's no need to mail them about it. Just deal with it when you get there - it may not even be a problem. Then, when you get there, IF there is none, ask the staff. Either it's missing and they forgot to put some there, and they'll refill it. Or, they'll be used to non-Bangladeshis asking about this, and will offer you some suggestions. Even if ...


11

Great question! As it has been already mentioned in the comments. There is no such thing as a "European" protocol. Look at kissing. In the Netherlands people tend to kiss three times. In Belgium it is one kiss on greeting. In Sweden hugging is the way to go, when meeting people. Kissing is considered more intimate. In France people kiss either 2 or 4 ...


10

Whenever I go to Europe I am struck by how differently the European men dress than North American ones. First and foremost, their feet. They almost never wear running shoes. Their shoes are small and fit close to the foot. They are never white, and if you see the same man on several different days he may very well wear a different pair of shoes each day, to ...


9

The simple answer is no! If you are thinking of the Caspian sea, there may not be any "police" watching you per se, but the people of the North are quite religious, and they police themselves. Bikinis are out of question. If her scarf flies away, they will give you friendly warnings. Don't be scared, they won't harm you, they just will tell you to keep your ...


9

Many pillows in hotels are decorative. You certainly don't need to keep them all there. Generally you just put them to the side / on a chair / on the floor until you make the bed in the morning. It may also be easier if you tend to sleep in the fetal position, rather than stretched out, but it's up to you to find the position that suits you best.


8

It has three forms, the short one: Salam Which means "peace", this is usually used between friends or when entering a shop or with people you usually meet. Second form is the medium form: As-salamu alaykum The medium one means "peace be upon you". It has no religious meaning or whatsoever as it stands this way even though it was first used by ...


7

Nah, you should be fine in Europe. Fashion change all the time. In winter I often wear waterproof jacket, that has some bright colors, and don't think that is something, that stand out. It depends on the jacket itself, but especially in autumn and winter, in cities, wearing bright colored hiking or skiing jackets would be something completely normal. Thus ...


7

I told a friend after I returned from Russia that Russian smiles are made of gold - they don't let go of one without a good reason. But when I was introduced to a new person, they would often smile as they said здравствуйте. When I bought half a dozen books on Russian for Foreigners, the cashier smiled as she asked "Are you learning Russian?" If a Russian ...


6

Unfortunately, this is not easy to answer, and highly dependent on the country. As discussed here for example in the context of young people for Japan. You will have to specify what type of people you want to meet and in which country you are to get a good answer with concrete points to follow on this. Some general pointers that will drastically improve ...


6

There's some sort of "animosity" between people from northern and southern but not like the kind you described in your question. Northern Italy is considered more developed and there is, unfortunately, always be a somewhat large part of people living in the north that thinks that Italy could be a way more advanced country IF they would get rid of the south. ...


6

Gestures First of all there are quite a few gestures you should master in order to understand Italians. Here is a nice picture of the most importants: [A note about the first gesture "What? (Where) (Why)": if you do that with a angry face it means something like: "What the f*** do you want?". It's not particularly nice. So, in order to really mean ...


6

Yes, it is. You can read so on some pages, for example this one: Mongolians greeting one another rarely kiss each other on the cheek. An older person will often grasp the head of a one younger during the greeting and smell their hair or face. This book has a whole section of the meaning of body odors in the Mongolian culture.


5

In addition to the other answers, I would like to share some of my recent experience. In the subways of the large cities, one is of course expected to offer your seat to older people or pregnant women. In contrary to the Western subways I've been in, it is also expected that you offer your seat to small children. (This probably has something to do with the ...


5

My recommendation - dress like you normally would. What matters most is being comfortable - if you want to avoid drawing attention to yourself as to avoid pickpocketers...don't scream at everyone in English and keep your head up! Always be aware of your surroundings - pay attention to a map and know where you are at all times. Not "acting" like a tourist, ...


5

I am from Russia, Yekaterinburg (it's almost Siberia you know). I tend to believe that people are not very friendly here mostly because of bad weather. Either it's really cold, or it's not, but still there is no sun because of lots of huge clouds. It's very difficult to be in a good mood when you see sun once a week. But when I travel to south regions of ...


4

Don't worry too much about the bright jacket. I've traveled and lived in Europe and you see all kinds of clothes — everything from sleek and modern to huge puffy coats. And a lot of the countries you're going to visit will be pretty rainy during that time of year so a good rain jacket is a must. I recommend that you just enjoy your time in Europe!


4

Schorem is a barbershop in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) which allows men and dogs, but is not accessible to women. This is stated on their business hours page. Probably other barbershops exist with the same rule, but their webpages do not state it explicitly. I'm not affiliated with Schorem, just thought it would be a valid answer.


4

I am French and I was told American people usually just say hi, shake hands or sometimes hug if they know well each others. This is correct. Americans rarely initiate cheek kissing. If you initiate a cheek kiss, and the kiss-receiver understands what you're doing, they will probably reciprocate and think, "Oh, how charming and foreign!"


4

The behavior and acceptance of this behavior generally differs. Kissing someone on the cheek is generally considered to be a great degree of familiarity with the person you're doing this with. So here goes: In the business setting I've only seen this done by French or Canadian(Quebec) expats. Between friends it is acceptable but again only if you know ...


4

From Wikipedia: According to the March 8, 2004 edition of Time Magazine, "a single [kiss] is [an] acceptable [greeting] in the United States, but it's mostly a big-city phenomenon The Wall Street Journal points out how it's affecting business, and when to do this. Chicago Tribune has a piece on how it's spreading, and notes that it's not just a ...


4

According to local rules, women cannot swim in bikini in presence of men around. They are limited places for women to swim in the sea which men are not allowed to enter there. However as a Iranian i recommend you to visit here since there are many other wonderful stuff which will inspire you :)



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