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50

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: ...


49

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 ...


25

You can probably use Wikipedia to determine the exact implications of the gesture. From the information: In Afghanistan, Iran and parts of Italy, the gesture is regarded as an obscene insult equivalent to what the middle finger signifies in most of Europe, especially when combined with a sweep of the arms. In these places, it roughly means "Sit on my ...


16

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 ...


13

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. ...


13

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 ...


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

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 ...


11

I think that is just for aesthetical reasons. There are stores in Dubai that do sell round doughnuts, such as Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme or other stores, the only reference to square doughnuts in Dubai that I could find was the ones at Starbucks. Also on the other hand there are square doughnuts for instance in the US, without any mention to it be for ...


10

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


8

I just asked my host here in Kathmandu and without hesitation he replied... CHOCOLATE! Not the local stuff but nice imported chocolate. Apparently it's a big hit.


8

I think that is very subjective as it is up to everyone to choose their style. Living on the Côte d'Azur, when I go to the beach, usually it is the older people that wear speedo-style swimwear, most of the young people wear shorts. The population is mixed so there are several people wearing speedo-style swimwear. But honestly, I don't think people care and ...


7

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.


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

Yep, a good friend of mine lives in Ghana. He says that, when out and about on particularly hot days, he meets Ghanaians who have neglected to put on clothes before leaving the house.


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 ...


5

Wikipedia provides the answer for you: As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم) is an Arabic greeting often used by Muslims around the world and is widely used in the Muslim world even by non-Muslims. It nearly translates to "peace be upon you", but is often considered the equivalent to "hello", "hi" or "good day" in English. The standard response to the ...


5

In addition to codinghands's great answer I would like to add a few pointers: Make sure the onsen provides a large and small towel for visitors or bring your own While you can't wear any clothing in the bath, you can cover up with a small towel When in Rome, do as the Romans Towels Depending on the onsen, towels (a smaller washcloth, and a larger towel ...


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

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 :)


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

Yes, it is true. Smiling or laughing without a reason will make you look like a fool. And no, you will not insult anyone if you smile to a person in the street. But it will make you look strange. And I would not be happy if you start talking to me without a reason. Most of us are not so talkative as in Europe or Asia. But not because we are gloomy.


4

Dominican Republic's currency is the Dominican Peso, DOP. It might be possible that Canadian dollars are accepted, but I suggest to use US dollars (USD), as they are widely accepted. In touristic areas (and resorts), restaurant menus and stores have their prices in USD. You can use either USD or DOP, they will be both accepted most of the time in touristic ...


3

Greetings have in fact been studied extensively by anthropologists and even by ethologists. For example, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt describes many of them in some of his books. Not much practical advice but truly surprising stuff. For example, spitting on the palm of your hand and rubbing it on the other person's face, or turning around and bending forward to ...


3

Many Bollywood celebrities have taken to twitter to celebrate the occasion, and for the most part they're simply saying "Happy Independence Day". However, some are including the phrase "Jai_Hind" or "Jai Hind Vande Mataram". "Jai Hind" often translates to "Long live India", while "Vande Matarm" is roughly "Hail to the mother(land)" or "one mother" ...



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