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How would Japanese people react to someone refusing to say “itadakimasu” for religious reasons?

Outside of a temple, or perhaps dinner with the Emperor, "itadakimasu" has zero religious connotations. A reasonable translation would be "thanks for the food" said to no one in particular. The after-...
peter's user avatar
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134 votes

Why do American gas stations' bathrooms apparently use these huge keys?

So that people don't forget them in their pocket and leave the gas station with the key.
Max's user avatar
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126 votes

What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

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 ...
frostshoxx's user avatar
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113 votes
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Does wearing imperial beard in the UK attract any ire of general public?

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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
92 votes
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Why does there seem to be an extreme lack of public trashcans in Taiwan?

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 ...
MastaBaba's user avatar
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91 votes

How would Japanese people react to someone refusing to say “itadakimasu” for religious reasons?

Itadakimasu means, literally, "[I humbly] receive". Yes, the origins of the phrase may be about giving thanks to the gods, but at this point it's about as divorced from that as telling someone "bless ...
lambshaanxy's user avatar
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84 votes
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Is it ok to take a break near the cycle path, on the grass, in Netherlands?

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 ...
Willeke's user avatar
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73 votes

What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

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 ...
motoDrizzt's user avatar
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72 votes

How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way?

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.
MMacD's user avatar
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72 votes
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Handshake while holding own right elbow

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: ...
MastaBaba's user avatar
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64 votes
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Would it be ok to eat rice using a spoon in front of Westerners?

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, ...
George Y.'s user avatar
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52 votes
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Bringing coins back home from abroad; Is that unethical to do?

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 ...
MadHatter's user avatar
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51 votes

How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way?

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 ...
Tien Le Thuy's user avatar
49 votes

Handshake while holding own right elbow

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 ...
Kidus's user avatar
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46 votes

What is France's traditional costume?

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'...
Willeke's user avatar
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45 votes

How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way?

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 ...
Ali's user avatar
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45 votes
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Are there any alternatives to the handshake worldwide?

In France, kissing is quite common, esp. between two different genders. In some Asian countries, bowing is also quite common. There exist many other habits, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeting, ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
44 votes
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Is cheek kissing appropriate when being introduced to a woman in Latin America?

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 ...
Itai's user avatar
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43 votes

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

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 ...
Burhan Khalid's user avatar
41 votes
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What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

Who are you trying to eat in front of? There's no single answer here. If it's strangers: there is no way. You must always respect local custom in order to meet the standards of etiquette local to ...
Jack Aidley's user avatar
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38 votes
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How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way?

To deal with the situations you faced, I will share some tips. If all she does is nod or say something like "Ah~~~", then it is likely that she either doesn't understand English, or is so obsessed ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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34 votes

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

Unless you are in a situation where very specific etiquette is expected, no one will care one bit about which utensil you use. Such specific etiquette may be expected in diplomatic or high value ...
DTRT's user avatar
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31 votes

How would Japanese people react to someone refusing to say “itadakimasu” for religious reasons?

Other answers have pointed out that simply not saying it, as an obvious foreigner, will probably go unremarked, as they wouldn't necessarily expect you to have memorized all the customs. (Nor will ...
SirTechSpec's user avatar
29 votes

What is way to eat rice with hands in front of westerners such that it doesn't appear to be yucky?

The only realistic option is to eat somewhere where others won't see you: either in the privacy of your home or in a restaurant which offers private cabins. Otherwise you will always face people who ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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27 votes
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Handling talkative neighbors when travelling

There's really no substitute for the truth. Expecting people to guess it rarely works. So try: It's been lovely chatting. I really must get back to (or finish) my book now. or I've enjoyed ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
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27 votes

Why do American gas stations' bathrooms apparently use these huge keys?

These are very common in the US, I've usually seen them as a large wooden block, roughly 1"x3"x12". Note, the one in the Beavis & Butthead clip posted looks like an old muffler, ...
nexus_2006's user avatar
26 votes
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Acceptable terms for describing black people in California

Black vs African-American (and in written English, Black vs black) is a complicated language and cultural question without clear answers. Entire books can and have been written on the subject. This ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
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24 votes
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What does this symbol on a door mean? (福)

This is the Chinese character for "Good Fortune" 福. January 28 was the Chinese (Lunar) New Year.
Paul Richter's user avatar

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