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Questions tagged [cultural-awareness]

Question regarding knowledge of different cultures.

88
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8answers
22k views

When someone in India asks for my “Good Name”, what are they expecting?

Quite a few times now in India, from hotel staff to taxi staff to in shops, I've had someone ask me for my Good Name. A common form of this question is someone asking me What is your Good Name, Sir? ...
69
votes
9answers
9k views

What kind of things can you take from a hotel?

Hotels normally provide a big amount of sets (well, depending on the quality, but however, many!) that can help you feel more comfortable there. So for example you can get towels, slippers, candies, ...
52
votes
3answers
12k views

Why is this bathroom symbol in Germany “00”?

I'm sitting in the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and just noticed that the signs for the bathroom are a symbol of a man and woman with a "00". Why is this the case?
48
votes
5answers
12k views

Is it culturally acceptable for an American to visit the memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

The title says it all. Is it culturally acceptable (to the Japanese) for an American to visit the memorials to the victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? I realize that a Japanese ...
46
votes
7answers
11k views

Is it socially/culturally acceptable for Indian/Sri Lankan people to visit the Oktoberfest?

I will be in Spain by the last few days in September, and since the Munich Oktoberfest ends on October 4th, I have a few days to visit Oktoberfest. I'm a Sri Lankan citizen, and I look obvious for ...
46
votes
3answers
29k views

Travelling as unmarried couple in Dubai

I'd wish to visit Dubai with my girlfriend, but after reading this travel advice and this question on sex and couples in Dubai I started to get a little worried about it. How should I book an hotel? ...
45
votes
15answers
23k views

Would it be ok to eat rice using a spoon in front of Westerners?

It seems to me that Westerners are willing to learn to use chopsticks in Asian restaurants. However, when spoons are the way the dish is normally eaten within the country of origin, Westerners prefer ...
38
votes
3answers
9k views

“No nudity” signs in changing rooms in Doha?

The changing rooms for the gym and pool at the Doha hotel I'm currently in has a sign up saying Please respect local customs, and avoid nudity whilst using this changing room However, it's laid ...
35
votes
5answers
12k views

How to deal with other tourists taking pictures of my children?

Disclaimer: I am not sure if this question belongs to this site or to interpersonal.SE. However, I only lived the situations described below when traveling and people taking photos were for sure also ...
33
votes
3answers
9k views

Are non-Muslims allowed to build snowmen in Saudi Arabia and similar countries?

I recently read Saudi Arabia 'fatwa over building of snowmen'. A religious scholar issued a fatwa (which merely means legal opinion) against the building of snowmen, or snow models of animals (such as ...
30
votes
3answers
3k views

Should I give my Japanese host omiyage/gift when meeting them first or when I'm leaving?

I'll be visiting Japan soon and I'll be meeting a friend there. I was wondering if the etiquette there was to give a gift when you first arrive or when you'll be leaving. When should I give the ...
28
votes
5answers
17k views

Does wearing imperial beard in the UK attract any ire of general public?

I love Imperial beard, which is also known as Friendly Mutton Chops. Take this for an example: Source: Maria Ly, via Wikimedia Commons Here is a another gentleman that more people can relate to: ...
28
votes
5answers
8k views

What headwear are women legally required to wear in Iran?

In Air France cabin crew angered by ruling to wear headscarves in Tehran, it's stated by Air France that women, even people who are presumably non-Iranian and non-Muslim, are required to wear a "veil":...
27
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it inappropriate to record the call to prayer?

I am currently on holiday in Marrakech, Morocco, and have found that the frequent calls to prayer from mosques throughout the day are quite a core part of life here. To record some of my experience ...
25
votes
7answers
14k views

Travelling as an unmarried Western couple in Indonesia

Basically this question but then for Indonesia. In the coming year I (male) plan to travel through Indonesia (Java and Sumatra) with my girlfriend. We will probably travel several weeks, aim to stay ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

What gesture to make when hitchhiking in Iran?

According to Wikitravel, the thumbs up gesture is extremely offensive in Iran. However, it's generally what you use when indicating you wish to hitch a ride in many other countries. The thumbs up ...
22
votes
5answers
5k views

Are non-Muslims allowed to enter mosques in Malaysia?

When I was in Morocco, I was disappointed to find out non-Muslims, in general, aren't permitted in mosques in the country, but I heard this isn't the case in some other countries. I'm headed to ...
21
votes
2answers
575 views

Why are wheelie bins half-buried in parts of Luxembourg?

Walking around a residential area in Luxembourg, I noticed that each home had their wheelie bin for general rubbish in the front yard strangely placed in a neat, concrete-lined pit. It wasn't ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Traveling to Amish country

Am I allowed to bring my rental car into Amish country? Do they allow cameras for pictures? Will they understand what cameras are? I know it's a very agrarian area but that's about it. Is this a ...
17
votes
1answer
805 views

Can person take a toothpick from a restaurant in Japan?

It is kind of strange question but let's give it a try. Several times after paying a bill in a restaurant in Japan, my friend was going to take a toothpick to carry it outside but a waiter said/warned ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

How common is open carry of firearms in the USA? [closed]

This winter, I am planning to go to the USA for the first time. One of my concerns is the presence of weapons in public. I just came back from Paris and the sight of armed soldiers patrolling public ...
16
votes
2answers
946 views

Bumping into people on the street in the UK

Probably most of us have been in this situation when walking on the street and somebody else coming in the opposite direction, for a moment both hesitate on which side to take and doing a mini-awkward ...
14
votes
2answers
496 views

Singapore - What kind of behaviours must we avoid while staying in Singapore?

This is my first month in Singapore to start working here. I have heard that this country is very strict with their citizens and even tourists to keep the country clean and proud. Are there any ...
14
votes
1answer
628 views

When traveling in Ukraine, when is it appropriate to wear the traditional Vyshyvanka?

Vyshyvanka (Ukrainian: ″Вишиванка″) is the colloquial name for the embroidered shirt in Ukrainian national costume. I have bought this traditional shirt a few years ago and would be traveling to ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Cards, dices, poker chips, board games, etc. in Thailand

I've read that cards have actually been outlawed a while ago in Thailand to crack down gambling. I know that it's illegal to own poker chips as that's classified as gambling paraphernalia, but what ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do US hotels sandwich the blanket between two sheets instead of putting it inside a duvet?

Every US hotel I've stayed in so far sandwiched the blanket between two sheets, instead of putting it inside a duvet cover (example of what I'm talking about) like most people do at home. The first ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it permitted to ask questions of female sex workers in Thailand to be familiar with their real life as a tourist?

As a female traveler I will be in Thailand for around 2 months in mid November to have fun and complete my professional diving lessons. I would like to be familiar with Thai culture and foods and also ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Dealing with nodding or shaking of head confusion

I have recently discovered the hard way that nodding of the head for yes, shaking of the head for no is not quite as universal as I had originally thought. Sometimes, it seems, that shaking the head ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is considered impolite in Central/South American area

In every culture some actions are considered polite, others rude. For example one should not use left hand when interacting with others in India and Arab countries. Can you please provide some ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Asian ladies and older man grabbing cheeks and slapping butts for children

Ok so my kids are 'suffering' (not really, lol) from elderly people in South East Asian countries (Thailand and Cambodia). Their cheeks seem to work like magnets for the hands of old ladies and they ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

How conservatively should a man dress in Kuala Lumpur?

Muslim countries and developing countries often have a more conservative dress sense than big cities in Australia where I live. Often this means it's disrespectful for a man to wear shorts or ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What to wear in Egypt to blend in?

I plan on going to Egypt around Christmas and I have always hated the thought of being a tourist. I want to blend in and experience what it is like to be there without being regarded as a tourist all ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Abaya standards in Saudi Arabia

My fiance and I have an opportunity to travel from the US to Saudi Arabia (we would get married before going to avoid any problems) but she is trying to determine what type of clothing she will need. ...
11
votes
1answer
235 views

Which language is preferable for speaking with Palestinians: Hebrew or English?

Obviously, the best language to use to speak to Palestinians in Palestine is their own language, Arabic. If Arabic is not an option, which would generally be preferable: Hebrew or English? I'm ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

Dos and don'ts at a Vietnamese wedding

I'm invited to a wedding in Ho Chi Minh City. I know virtually nothing about Vietnam, I'll be there for the first time in my life. I know a little about Asian culture, but the only country I've ...
10
votes
1answer
330 views

Will having long hair (as a man) cause me problems when travelling in Muslim countries?

I usually have a ponytail, but when my hair is down it's past my shoulders. I have been considering travelling to a few different countries such as Iran or Algeria, but I'd definitely prefer a general ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What does this symbol on a door mean? (福) [closed]

I live in the Czech Republic in an area where many nationalities live. This year I noticed this strange symbol on multiple doors, although I am sure it has never been there before. What does it mean?...
9
votes
4answers
864 views

How does one respectfully greet someone in Japan?

Every country has different cultural greetings. I was wondering if handshaking is ok in Japan? Or do they have their own cultural greeting. I'm not talking about greeting in their language but more ...
9
votes
1answer
613 views

Are there any laws in Italy about head coverings I should be aware of?

I'm visiting Rome in September with my wife who wears a head scarf. Are there any rules or customs we should be aware of?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Laptop/mobile device in countries with Sharia

I'm traveling to Iran and i need to bring my laptop. For western standards I do not have anything illegal on my hard drive but since I'm not familiar with the Sharia I'm a little bit paranoid. Is ...
8
votes
1answer
330 views

What etiquette, if any, is there for where the knot goes when wearing a yukata or kimono?

When wearing either a yukata or a kimono, what etiquette, if any, is there about where the knot goes? Do only sex workers (whose work is illegal nowadays in Japan) deliberately wear a knot in front of ...
8
votes
1answer
261 views

How to prepare to host a Chinese guest on her first trip to Europe

I will shortly be hosting a female Chinese guest in my home for two days (I’m an Airbnb-er). She is travelling with her daughter, who is studying here in the UK and speaks very good English, so I don’...
8
votes
1answer
734 views

Why do Japanese ATMs dispense money stacked differently to those in the west? [closed]

I recently went to Japan (specifically Osaka and a few other places around Kansai) for the first time in my life, and had an amazing time. One of the many cultural differences I noticed was that ...
7
votes
1answer
427 views

What is the etiquette for declining money from a Japanese friend?

My son's best friend is here from Japan. His parents paid for his plane ticket and sent $1,000 cash. We would like to return the money to them - his stay and expenses are our treat. How can we do ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How should one tip in Manila?

Tipping is done and perceived differently all around the world. I don't really have much money at all, but I still feel it's necessary to tip well according to common local practices. What are the ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do people in Taiwan sometimes use Western-sounding names?

Okay having traveled a bit around this country I commonly hear native taiwanese calling one another English or western sounding names. Am I simple fooling myself into thinking this is the case, being ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What I need to know when going to typical (traditional) wedding ceremony in Philippines?

I'm going with my girlfriend in December for the wedding ceremony and party in Philippines. They're catholic. It's much different from EU weddings? Are there any basics that we need to know (any ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Whispering in other cultures

In America, many people will find it rude if you are talking to others in a whisper within a distance at which they would hear conversation at a normal volume. I guess the assumption is that ...
4
votes
1answer
303 views

Precautions and Customs to observe when traveling in Morocco

What precautions should my husband and I take and/or customs should we follow while traveling in Morocco. We are not Muslim and are unsure of this country's level of tolerance for Americans and ...
4
votes
0answers
109 views

Can I expect to be welcome in Pakistan if I'm an Indian? [closed]

I'm an Indian researching The Harappan Civilization of India as my personal interest. Unfortunately after Partition the area is located in Pakistan. Since India and Pakistan are well-known enemies, ...