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288 votes

How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

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 ...
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227 votes
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How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

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 ...
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133 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.
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  • 14.2k
125 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 ...
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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 ...
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93 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 ...
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83 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 ...
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73 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: ...
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72 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 ...
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  • 5,842
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.
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70 votes
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Is it socially/culturally acceptable for Indian/Sri Lankan people to visit the Oktoberfest?

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 ...
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63 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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 481
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'...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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44 votes
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Flashing headlights on Autobahn

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 ?"...
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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 ...
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  • 40.3k
42 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 ...
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41 votes

How do you know if Americans genuinely/literally mean what they say?

To me, the key is the specificity of the invitation. The vaguest, of course, say "some time" - this is a bright light signalling that it is not a real invitation. "We should do lunch some time" means ...
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  • 73.9k
39 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 14.6k
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 ...
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  • 32.2k
32 votes

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

Munich local here. We welcome everyone at Oktoberfest, doesn't matter where you're from or how you look. The only things you really have to be careful about is getting excessively drunk (the beer is ...
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29 votes

Flashing headlights on Autobahn

It usually means get your slow ass out of the way. The main Autobahns have three lanes: Outer, for trucks. Nominal speed 100km/h. Middle, for normal driving. Nominal speed 160-180km/h. Inner lane, ...
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  • 5,693
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 ...
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  • 79.9k
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 ...
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