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World's Worst Cultural Mistakes...

posted 3/4/2009 10:42:53 AM |
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  casuallylooking

I realize this is awfully long, but I read in and thought some of it was interesting....and some odd.. ...but I thought some of you might be bored also, so I'm sharing it...lol
It is written by Sallie Brady and provided by Travel and Leisure Magazine..

World's Worst Cultural Mistakes

Touching Someone
Where It’s Offensive: Korea, Thailand, China, Europe, the Middle East.

What’s Offensive: Personal space varies as you travel the globe. In Mediterranean countries, if you refrain from touching someone’s arm when talking to them or if you don’t greet them with kisses or a warm embrace, you’ll be considered cold. But backslap someone who isn’t a family member or a good friend in Korea, and you’ll make them uncomfortable. In Thailand, the head is considered sacred — never even pat a child on the head.

What You Should Do Instead: Observe what locals are doing and follow suit. In Eastern countries remember that touching and public displays of affection are unacceptable. In places like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, men and women are forbidden from interacting, let along touching.

Knowing Your Right from Your Left
Where It’s Offensive: India, Morocco, Africa, the Middle East.

What’s Offensive: Many cultures still prefer to eat using traditional methods — their hands. In these cases, food is often offered communally, which is why it’s important to wash your hands before eating and observe the right-hand-is-for-eating and the left-hand-is-for-other-duties rule. If you eat with your left hand, expect your fellow diners to be mortified. And when partaking from a communal bowl, stick to a portion that’s closest to you. Do not get greedy and plunge your hand into the center.

What You Should Do Instead: Left-handed? Attempt to be ambidextrous — even children who are left-handed in these cultures are taught to eat with their right hand — or at least explain yourself to your fellow diners before plunging in.

Keeping Your Clothes On
Where It’s Offensive: Scandinavian countries, Turkey.

What’s Offensive: Wearing bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts, underwear, or any other piece of clothing into a sauna, hammam, or other place of physical purification. In some cultures, a steam room or a sauna is considered a place of purity and reflection, where the outside world (i.e., your clothes) should be left outside. In some Scandinavian countries it’s common for entire families to sauna together in the nude.

What You Should Do Instead: Sitting on a folded towel is considered acceptable. If you’re too modest to appear naked, strip down, but wrap yourself in a towel.

Getting Lei'd Off
Where It’s Offensive: Hawaii.

What’s Offensive: Refusing or immediately removing a lei.

What You Should Do Instead: Leis in the Hawaiian Islands aren’t just pretty floral necklaces that you get when you check into your hotel or show up at a luau. They’re a centuries-old cultural symbol of welcome, friendship, and appreciation. Never refuse a lei — it’s considered highly disrespectful — or whip it off in the giver’s presence. If you’re allergic to the flowers, explain so, but offer to put it in some place of honor, say in the center of the table, or on a statue. Note that closed leis should be worn not hanging from the neck, but over the shoulder, with half draped down your chest and the other half down your back.

Looking Them in the Eye … or Not
Where It’s Offensive: Korea, Japan, Germany.

What’s Offensive: For Americans, not making direct eye contact can be considered rude, indifferent, or weak, but be careful how long you hold someone’s gaze in other countries. In some Asian nations, prolonged eye contact will make a local uncomfortable, so don’t be offended if you’re negotiating a deal with someone who won’t look you straight in the eye. If toasting with friends in a German beer hall, your eyes had better meet theirs — if they don’t, a German superstition says you’re both in for seven years of bad luck in the bedroom.

What You Should Do Instead: Avoid constant staring and follow the behavior of your host — and by all means, look those Germans straight on.

Drinking Alcohol the Wrong Way
Where It’s Offensive: Latin America, France, Korea, Russia.

What’s Offensive: Every culture has different traditions when it comes to drinking etiquette. Fail to consume a vodka shot in one gulp in Russia, and your host will not be impressed. Refill your own wine glass in France without offering more to the rest of the table, and you’ve made a faux pas. In Korea, women can pour only men’s drinks — not other women’s — and if you want a refill, you need to drain your glass. And if you’re in Latin America, never pour with your left hand — that’s bad luck.

What You Should Do Instead: Until you’re culturally fluent, leave it to your pals to pour.
Continued in comments..


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Comments:

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casuallylooking

Mar 4 @ 10:50AM  
Blowing Your Nose...
Where It’s Offensive: Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, France.

What’s Offensive: Some cultures find it disgusting to blow your nose in public — especially at the table. The Japanese and Chinese are also repelled by the idea of a handkerchief. As Mark McCrum points out in his book Going Dutch in Beijing, the Japanese word hanakuso unpleasantly means nose waste.

What You Should Do Instead: If traveling through Eastern and Asian countries, leave the hankies at home and opt for disposable tissues instead. In France as well as in Eastern countries, if you’re dining and need to clear your nasal passages, excuse yourself and head to the restroom. Worst-case scenario: make an exaggerated effort to steer away from the table. Let’s hope you don’t have a cold.

Removing Your Shoes…or Not
Where It’s Offensive: Hawaii, the South Pacific, Korea, China, Thailand.

What’s Offensive: Take off your shoes when arriving at the door of a London dinner party and the hostess will find you uncivilized, but fail to remove your shoes before entering a home in Asia, Hawaii, or the Pacific Islands and you’ll be considered disrespectful. Not only does shoe removal very practically keeps sand and dirt out of the house, it’s a sign of leaving the outside world behind.

What You Should Do Instead: If you see a row of shoes at the door, start undoing your laces. If not, keep the shoes on.

Talking Over Dinner
Where It’s Offensive: Africa, Japan, Thailand, China, Finland.

What’s Offensive: In some countries, like China, Japan, and some African nations, the food’s the thing, so don’t start chatting about your day’s adventures while everyone else is digging into dinner. You’ll likely be met with silence—not because your group is unfriendly, but because mealtimes are for eating, not talking. Also avoid conversations in places a country might consider sacred or reflective—churches in Europe, temples in Thailand, and saunas in Finland.

What You Should Do Instead: Keep quiet!

Road Rage
Where It’s Offensive: Hawaii, Russia, France, Italy, around the globe.

What’s Offensive: Honk on Molokai or fail to pay a police officer a fine, a.k.a. bribe, on the spot when you’re stopped for speeding in Russia, and you’ll risk everything from scorn to prison time. Remember, too, that hand gestures have different meanings in other countries — a simple “thumbs-up” is interpreted as an “up yours“ in parts of the Middle East.

What You Should Do Instead: When driving abroad, make sure you have an international driver’s license; never, ever practice road rage; and keep your hands on the wheel.

Lisa46

Mar 4 @ 11:18AM  
You’ll likely be met with silence—not because your group is unfriendly, but because mealtimes are for eating, not talking.


Good thing at Lisa's house its talking whenever you want!
Cootiesprayer

Mar 4 @ 12:30PM  
Also, not on this list. In korea, if you eat quietly that is an insult. You must slurp, gulp, & make all kinds of noises to let the cook know that you enjoy the meal if you do it quietly you are insulting the chef. Wow, I would be in big trouble in most of these countries. Very interesting blog casual.
1bunny629

Mar 4 @ 1:14PM  
I have so many comments to make it would take all day....Cut, interesting blog! Thanks for the info! I kudo you...and in my world...that's a biggy! ...oh...the lei thing...I never remove a lei !
Wordsofwit

Mar 4 @ 1:19PM  
Knowing Your Right from Your Left

That is interesting. One thing involving dining that many Americans do not understand when in Europe or entertaining Europeans is that you never pick up a fork with your right hand. A formally set table has the forks to the left of the plate for a reason. Usually there will be three forks that are presented in the order they are to be used from the outside in: salad, entree, and dessert.
texastigress

Mar 4 @ 3:02PM  
Talking Over Dinner
Where It’s Offensive: Africa, Japan, Thailand, China, Finland.

What’s Offensive: In some countries, like China, Japan, and some African nations, the food’s the thing, so don’t start chatting about your day’s adventures while everyone else is digging into dinner. You’ll likely be met with silence—not because your group is unfriendly, but because mealtimes are for eating, not talking. Also avoid conversations in places a country might consider sacred or reflective—churches in Europe, temples in Thailand, and saunas in Finland.
texastigress

Mar 4 @ 3:07PM  
Yikes! I didn't mean to post that before I had a chance to comment. Being that I'm half-Japanese and been to Japan 3 times in my life to visit my mother's family - the last time being in October 1996 (with mom, my little sister and baby brother), this isn't true in my mother's family. Mealtime is and has always been the social time and we did a lot of talking, laughing and eating during that time. Maybe my mother's family isn't the norm, but if we didn't talk while having a meal, the family would think that there was something wrong with you.

BTW, it's polite to burp at the table and you must tell the cook a zillion times how good the food is while eating...
onehornytoad69

Mar 4 @ 6:29PM  
Thx For the Warning....!!!
Sunshine79

Mar 4 @ 11:02PM  
Every culture has different traditions when it comes to drinking etiquette. Fail to consume a vodka shot in one gulp in Russia, and your host will not be impressed. Refill your own wine glass in France without offering more to the rest of the table, and you’ve made a faux pas. In Korea, women can pour only men’s drinks — not other women’s — and if you want a refill, you need to drain your glass. And if you’re in Latin America, never pour with your left hand — that’s bad luck

These make alot of sense!!
FriendlyKitten

Mar 4 @ 11:20PM  
Well if I ever decide to go to another country I will remember this info. You don't buy any chance have any advice like this for living in West Virginia do you? J/K
surv6969

Mar 6 @ 10:35AM  
Not sure I have much to worry about. Even though I would love to travel to some of those places I don't see it happening anytime soon.

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World's Worst Cultural Mistakes...