Hot answers tagged

272

In general, a genuine invitation is concrete, containing information that helps to make it happen. "Would you like to get lunch tomorrow?" is an invitation, and could be followed up with "Yes, how about [restaurant]?" or "Yes, do you have a place in mind?" to accept. If you responded instead with "No, but we should meet some other time," that could be a ...


208

In Bulgaria, Russia, former USSR countries and others, it's considered offensive not to drink when you've been invited to, and you might need a good solid excuse if you decide not to drink at all. Expect to be on the receiving end of some good-natured banter if you decide to abstain completely. Medical reasons are a possibility, although it will be ...


207

There is an essay which explains the difference between "polite" and "direct" cultures. First of all: For members of the Anglosphere like Americans, Britons and Canadians the Germans are using the term "Angelsachsen" (Anglo-Saxons) which is slightly different from the meaning in English, it especially has a more humorous connotation like "Teuton" for Germans....


122

Do you have some kind of roti or some kind of flat bread that can go with the rice? People may be less edgy if they think of it as eating taco or burritos by hand. It might come down to whom you're eating with. Westerners do eat BBQ ribs, fries, hamburgers with hands as well. Even those that do not might not be appalled if you use your fingers in a ...


113

As a British person, I don't think I've ever seen somebody with a beard like that. Some drunk people might be snarky about it but my guess is that you'll get much more attention from people who think it's cool and almost none from people who want to be shitty about it. If you're in the UK in August, the 2018 British Beard and Moustache Championships will be ...


108

It's not "Indians" that are pushy. Not "Indians". That makes it sound like everybody. It's "rickshaw drivers, taxi drivers, and some street vendors in India." I never found pushiness from regular people other than when queueing up to buy tickets at the train station. Just from people in certain professions, and mostly in touristy areas. So it's not really ...


93

Taiwan's policy, related to trash, is that you are expected to take your trash home and dispose of it properly, that is, using the correct bin for separate collection of different types of trash. This is part of a rather comprehensive policy on how to process trash, after, years ago, Taipei's streets were lined with trash and very stinky. A podcast called "...


76

Likely that a not funny guy tried to be funny, saying something like 'Lazy bones' not knowing or not caring you would not understand. Ignore the kind of guy wherever you go. Unless the grass is clearly private property, or clearly grown for hay, you are alright taking a rest in it. Such a small strip between a cycle path and the railway fence is very ...


75

I have haggled over the scarfs on the Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Marrakesh. The starting price was usually around 200DH and I was able to buy for 65DH. I was totally unexperienced back then but I made some observations: Wait to be invited by the shopkeeper. Pretend you are just passing by and stopping for a moment to look at the wares. Do not express interest ...


73

It's a sign of respect. A bit like using both hands to shake yours. (Source: I lived in Africa for something like 7 years.) I personally found this more common in West Africa than East Africa. Edit: Perhaps as clarification, the right elbow typically is held with the left hand, as if to support the right arm. But, I've also often seen 'just' touching the ...


71

A bit of open mindness will not kill you, the same open mindness you'd like to receive from other people who you think find your habits disgusting. Follow me: First and foremost, you can eat the way you want: when it comes to western culture, the only thing we generally do not like are noises, eating with the mouth wide open (included speaking with full ...


71

I found, when in Europe, that going "beep beep" when trying to get through would instantly get both a way through and a smile from the former obstructors.


69

Oktoberfest is a major international tourist festival in a modern, progressive country. No one will question your attendance, no matter how you look. The only reason it would be awkward is if you told everyone that you didn't like German beer! [The only suggestion of racism I could find was where an Asian customer was asked to move from a table at ...


63

I was in the unfortunate position of being insistingly encouraged to drink 3 years ago on the Trans-Siberian. I was much worse for wear after that experience, and sought out suggestions (in fact I really shouldn't have had that much considering my meds). Anyway, this year I returned. And indeed, the best way if you can't just refuse outright, is simply to ...


63

It depends on how you define "western countries", but if you think of Western Europe + UK + US/Canada, please rest assured that nobody would care whether you use sticks, fork, spoon or hands (well, this one is a bit of stretch) to eat your rice. So yes, this is ok. If you don't get a spoon, please ask for one. Please also note that not every kind of rice ...


62

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: ...


58

While saying "No" in Asia is generally different from other countries in western Europe, I made the experience that - depending on how well you know people and in which environment you are - it is much more difficult to find out what the actual situation is in Japan than let's say in China, Singapore etc. I experienced the biggest differences to the Japanese ...


58

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 ...


55

Yes, TRUE. A good Canadian friend of mine had a Chicago cubs (u.s. baseball team) tattoo on his right arm. Kind of silly, but apparently any tattoo has yakuza (Japanese mafia) undertones, which makes many Japanese, especially older people, uncomfortable. Attitudes seem to be changing and I even knew a few younger Japanese with tattoos, but the perception ...


52

I don't personally think there are any ethical issues with taking change away. One good reason for doing so is to land with a little change next time you visit; I find it quite handy to have a couple of quarters in my pocket when I land in the US, just in case I need to make a small purchase from a vending machine, or a call from a payphone. Visitors to ...


51

Well I think in case they are polite Asian people, you should say more than just 'excuse me'. Because in Asian language, 'excuse me' does not mean anything rather than just an opening of a conversation. So my advice is next time you should add more information like: Excuse me, can I get through please? or Excuse me, can you clear a path for me so ...


50

As an Iranian I can tell you that breast-feeding in public is NOT a crime (at least in Iran) and you don't need to expect any severe consequences for this. Mothers do feed their children here whenever/wherever needed and it's none of anybody's business to question them why they are feeding their children. It's however usually a good practice for breasts to ...


49

As MastaBaba said, it's a sign of respect. As an Ethiopian, most of us were taught as children to hold our hand (anywhere on the forearm) when greeting elders (basically anyone older). It is considered rude to shake hands without holding one's arm, and in most cases the person (elder) will be offended. Sometimes, the person may also look down during the ...


46

Tattoos or Irezumi as they are called in Japanese were criminalized in the beginning of the Meiji period (some time after 1868) as a way to make a good impression on the west. (A bit ironic in this case...) It was legalized again after the war in 1948 but still retains its image of criminality. For many years, traditional Japanese tattoos were ...


45

As a Russian and non-drinker, I want to add some info about the culture of drinking in Russia. First of all: You don't have to drink vodka, even if your partners are. It is ok if you just say: I can't drink alcohol as strong as vodka, I need wine (or cocktails, or whatever you need). Ask women about this - they're more reliable in such situations. But if ...


45

I live in Sydney. When you say "Asian", I think you mean mostly Chinese people since Chinese people are our largest immigrant group by far. In Australia, we currently have over 200,000 international university students living here and 136,000 are from China alone. Many people arrive in Australia with virtually no English language skills at all, and while ...


45

France does not really have one national costume. There are many regional costumes, although not many or even non is/are still used as daily dress. In the last half of the 20th century, the 'typical' French male item was a beret. And it is still used as a cartoon image for the French. If you are on the French coast you will likely also see a lot of ...


44

If he/she is coming from behind, it means normally: You are slow, drive faster or change the lane ! The frequency of the light blinking indicate the urgency, a short one after a while means "Please ?" a whole flurry of it means "GET OUT OF THE F****** LANE, YOU STUPID SNEAKER !!". And no, it is not an exaggeration, Germans can be very offensive behind a ...


44

It is more like air kissing than cheek kissing here in South America and pretty much all over Central America too. You basically put your cheek against the one you are greeting and kiss. Only one kiss and we usually go for the left side, meaning each one has their head to the left of the other with the right cheeks touching. In social situations, even if ...


42

As someone who always used to eat rice with a spoon, the first time I moved to the US for studies and saw people eating rice with a fork, I couldn't stand it. I tried it myself, but damn it - trying to balance the rice grains, without having them fall through the forks was annoying. At first, I would ask for a spoon. This raised some eyebrows, but nothing ...


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