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View Full Version : What manners do you agree/disagree with ?



Maciamo
22-10-05, 09:35
All culture have different etiquettes and manners. Often these manners contradict those of other cultures. For instance, it is impolite in Thailand or China to finish one's plate when invited at someone's home, because it makes the host feel as if they were not able to provide enough food, and appear as poor or stingy. On the contrary, it is usually regarded as impolite NOT to finish one's plate in Northern Europe, because it is wasteful. I tend to agree that we should avoid wastes, but I wouldn't get offended if someone else didn't finish their plate. In China an Thailand, finishing one's plate can mean causing the host to lose face, a potentially fatal mistake (people have killed others, or more likely themselves, for losing face in Asia).

In most Asian countries, it is impolite to blow one's nose in public. This is acceptable in Western countries though. But Westerners frown upon slurping one's noodles or make noise while drinking or sipping from a straw. This, however, is acceptable, and even polite, in a country like Japan. Likewise, belching is impolite in Western cultures, but required after a good meal in Arabic countries. I personally dislike both slurping and belching, or any unnecessarily noise reminding of body fluids and digestion.

In many Asian countries, it is considered natural to spit or pee in a public place. It is becoming less common in Japan, but the Chinese government is having a hard time trying to eradicate this practice in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, that should look "civilised" to the eyes of the outside world (as they get most of the foreign tourists, students and business people).

The Japanese strongly dislike seeing someone eating while standing or walking. I have personally be scolded many times by my wife (and sometimes in-laws) for just eating a croissant or a piece of chocolate in the street or at home while standing. This just doesn't make sense to me. I would consider eating in bed improper (bad for digestion, uncomfortable and risk of staining the sheets), but not eating while standing, which is as natural as sitting.

Japan offers plenty of 'new manners' that the authorities are trying to impose on the population. The train is a good place to start looking at this phenomenon. Tokyo Metro in particular is trying to educate its customers with a different poster lesson (http://www.tokyometro.jp/sasshi/poster.html) every month. As I mentioned in the thread English-friendly Japan (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19984), these ads are bilingual Japanese-English (although not everything is translated into English). I usually agree with these manners. However, I can't see the problem of girls adjusting their make up in trains. I also wouldn't criticise somebody eating a little snack (as long as they don't unfold a whole set lunch with miso soup). Yet, many Japanese take the liberty to sleep laying on the seats with their shoes (when there are few passengers) or some even sit cross-legged (without their shoes), which I find rather inappropriate - but I haven't seen signs discouraging it yet.

Another contradictory etiquette is that Japanese businessmen give their business card at the beginning of a meeting (just after introducing themselves), take it with both hands, and place it in front of them (on the table) for all the length of the meeting. According to the British magazine The Economist (http://www.economist.com/cities/Displayobject.cfm?obj_id=1603251), British people tend to exchange cards after a meeting, and it indeed mean that the meeting is over. They usually put it straight in a pocket, which a Japanese would never do. I personally don't mind either. I give my card whenever I feel it necessary, and put one I receive immediately in my wallet.

As for arriving on time, some countries are very strict about it (Japan, Germany...), while in others arriving 15min late is standard (esp. Latin countries). Despite growing up in a country where lateness is normal, my personal tolerance does not exceed 2 or 3 minutes for others (1min for myself).

Is there any rule of etiquette of manner in your country of any other country, which you particularly disagree with or find strange ?

Tsuyoiko
22-10-05, 21:35
What an interesting subject Maciamo - one I care about a lot. It does seem that manners differ a lot between countries. Of the ones you mentioned, I find spitting in public disgusting, eating in the street is completely normal here, and eating in bed is OK - in fact it's a tradition here for Sunday breakfast. In the UK you are expected to empty your plate, and I feel I must give an excuse if I can't. Nose-blowing is OK if it is not too vigorous, but is unacceptable when people are eating. Eating or taking your shoes off on a train I think are both normal. Being late I find annoying, but being early is just as bad. I expect people to be on time, give or take two or three minutes, if they have an appointment with me. It annoys me when people turn up early and expect me to drop everything to accomodate them, or turn up late with no apology and throw the rest of my day out.

The things that annoy me most are cars not stopping to let you cross, people letting doors go in your face, queue-jumping and people not saying thank you. And I hate smoking in public places.

Jack
22-10-05, 21:37
the best manners i like is politeness, its good to be nice to others.

Ma Cherie
22-10-05, 21:37
Manners that I disagree with are loud slurping noises while eating, I hate when people blech without saying excuse me. I especially hate when people chew with their mouths open, it's disgusting and I hate the loud smacking noises. That annoys me and I've been known to yell at people because of it.

Nose picking is looked down upon, sneezing in public without covering one's mouth is so unacceptable here in the US. It annoys me when people don't cover their mouths.

I also don't see what the big deal is about standing while eating. I kind of find that strange that Japanese society consider's that rude.

Jack
22-10-05, 21:39
some people like taking there shoes off, but sometimes its not nice to have in your house, coughing those that dont cover there mouth while coughing is ridiculous.

Kinsao
22-10-05, 23:40
Hmmm - interesting.
I agree with Tsuyoiko, in the UK I do feel I have to give an excuse if I don't eat my whole meal, no matter if there is a lot. :sick:

It used to be considered bad manners here in the UK to eat in the street, but that is really old-fashioned now (I know that my grandmother used to frown on it when she was young; that was about 1950s). People would think that was a crazy reservation in the UK these days. However, having said that I used to work with someone who's husband was extremely posh (actually they were both real SNOBS!!) and he would refuse to eat in a public place to the extent of not even an ice cream from a van. :o But that certainly isn't normal here!

Sniffing is frowned upon even though blowing your nose (quietly) is OK.

On trains, I think there is no problem with people eating or adjusting makeup (I am a bit puzzled why it's considered to be impolite to do makeup on the train!) I guess as long as they don't eat really noisily and messily! :okashii: As far as sitting on the train goes, people seem to sit anyhow, but it's not common to see someone actually lie down to sleep (must be afraid of missing their stop!). I think it doesn't matter how someone sits if there is plenty of room, but if it's crowded they should be considerate and use only one seat, put luggage in the rack, etc.

The business card thing seems to make sense the Japanese way, because then you can have the cards on your table during the meeting and put them in order to remember who the people are.

In the UK, people are really strict about queue jumping! If you queue jump, you are a social outcast! :o (or something!)

I don't know if it's really an "etiquette" rule, but one thing about the behaviour in the UK that bugs me sometimes... people are often so wary of TALKING! It's like, if you're sitting next to someone on a train, they will never speak to you, if you speak to them they reply quite shortly and look at you as though you were not quite right in the head. Blehh, I realise I am generalising... sometimes I have got talking to strangers on public transport and they become really garrulous and start telling you their life story, but those are very much in the minority. It's just weird... on transport everyone will choose one own seat unless they are absolutely forced by lack of room to actually sit next to another person ( :shock: )... and it's the same in any situation where you are waiting around with strangers, everyone retreats into their own bubble and doesn't want to talk or even make eye contact usually. :o

nice gaijin
22-10-05, 23:55
The only rule in manners that I need to adhere to is putting the other person first. This means that when I'm dealing with someone from another culture or country, it is my responsibility to observe their culture's concept of etiquette.

Elizabeth
23-10-05, 00:40
The only manner I routinely flaunt is eating/drinking on the street or at station platforms -- it's practically a necessity in Japan for on the go tourists with a ready-made conbini meal. There simply aren't enough benches or stone plant stands :p to make anything else practical. I am very discrete, though, try not to smear my face too much and only do it out of a bag...:blush:

Maciamo
23-10-05, 04:38
Thanks for the replies. I had forgotten quite a lot of differences between Japan and Western countries.

In Japan it is ok to sniff, but not to blow one's nose in public. In the West, it's the opposite.

In Japan, people tend not to keep the door open for you (they are usually surprised when I do it for them, like in convenience stores), although it is perfectly normal in most European countries.

Sneezing in public without covering one's mouth is often seen and normal in Japan, although it's usually not acceptable in Western countries.

I think that nose picking, farting, and chewing mouth open are unaccptable almost everywhere. However, I found that many Japanese (and Americans) tend to find farting or belching funny rather than shamingly impolite.

Queuing is vital in Japan and the UK. Less or not at all in other Western counries. I am more British or Japanese on this one.


I think it doesn't matter how someone sits if there is plenty of room, but if it's crowded they should be considerate and use only one seat, put luggage in the rack, etc.

Well, I wouldn't want to sit after someone had lain with the potentially dirty shoes on the seats, nor after someone's potentially juicy and stinky socks. :bikkuri:


I don't know if it's really an "etiquette" rule, but one thing about the behaviour in the UK that bugs me sometimes... people are often so wary of TALKING! It's like, if you're sitting next to someone on a train, they will never speak to you, if you speak to them they reply quite shortly and look at you as though you were not quite right in the head.

I tend to feel almost exactly the same way. It's weird, because I want to speak when I am with someone I know on the train/metro/bus, but because of the people around who could overhear the conversation (no privacy), I feel like I have to talk in a very low voice. My wife does not understand that and asks me why I talk so low. It's the same in restaurants where there is little space between the tables (or seats, like in a ramen-ya). I just fon't feel comfortable talking there, except if it's a language that the locals probably won't understand (easily). In fact, the more strangers are around and the closer to me, the quieter I become (with the people I am with). This is almost the opposite of the Japanese. I also dislike talking in noisy places (like Starbucks when they are brewing coffee). I just wait that the noise level goes down and move somewhere else.


The only rule in manners that I need to adhere to is putting the other person first. This means that when I'm dealing with someone from another culture or country, it is my responsibility to observe their culture's concept of etiquette.

I see you have probably never lived with people from several countries at the same time. I used to live with an Italian, a Swede, a Brit and a Japanese in London. Interesting mix. Which rules of etiquette should you follow at a dinner together ?

CC1
23-10-05, 04:45
I think that nose picking, farting, and chewing mouth open are unaccptable almost everywhere. However, I found that many Japanese (and Americans) tend to find farting or belching funny rather than shamingly impolite.

Maybe only the immature ones...but I would think that this is the same in most places.




Well, I wouldn't want to sit after someone had lain with the potentially dirty shoes on the seats, nor after someone's potentially juicy and stinky socks. :bikkuri:

I think that dirty shoes or dirty/sweaty socks are the least of your worries. There are much worse things that could happen...Ever seen someone changing a diaper on a train/bus seat? Many things can happen or get on a seat when doing that...and many people don't clean up well after themselves.

Brooker
23-10-05, 04:54
Japan:
Although I usually tried to follow Japan's customs while in Japan, I routinely broke the eating while standing/walking rule because I just couldn't see the harm in it. I would eat a breakfast of onigiri and Ritz crackers every morning on my way to work and would sometimes get dirty looks. If I was on a long train ride and there weren't many people on the train, I would sometimes eat one of those bowls of conbini gyoudon on the train. :worried: Gaijin hell, here I come.

I was shocked to see old men peeing in ditches without making barely any attempt at concealing themselves from passersby.

I understand and respect the taking the shoes off thing, but I got a little tired of it after a while. At my apartment, I walked all over my tatami room with my shoes on.

And the blowing your nose thing - sometimes you just have to.


America:
Contrary to the Japanese, Americans have terrible cell phone etiquette, but it's getting a little better. And I think people shouldn't be able to talk on their cell phones while they're driving. Statistically it's just as dangerous as being drunk.

I think putting your napkin on your lap during a meal is kind of dumb, although I do it at restaurants because I know you're supposed to. It's handier to have it next to your plate and you shouldn't be dropping food in your lap anyways.

I like the handshake. An introduction seems more meaningful if you touch the other person (as opposed to just bowing).

Any other annoying things in America, I'm probably just used to.

nice gaijin
23-10-05, 05:06
I see you have probably never lived with people from several countries at the same time. I used to live with an Italian, a Swede, a Brit and a Japanese in London. Interesting mix. Which rules of etiquette should you follow at a dinner together ?
You'd be right about that, I only have to deal with individuals from one or two cultures at a time, which makes my philosophy fairly easy. In the situation you described, I'd follow the rules of etiquette that offend the least amount of people. There aren't that many things that are considered polite in one culture and completely rude in another, so as long as you understand where the other person is coming from it's hard to be offended by their customs, and easy to avoid doing things that you'd understand to be offensive to your flatmates.

Maciamo
23-10-05, 06:08
I think that dirty shoes or dirty/sweaty socks are the least of your worries. There are much worse things that could happen...Ever seen someone changing a diaper on a train/bus seat? Many things can happen or get on a seat when doing that...and many people don't clean up well after themselves.

I have never seen (or heard of, until now) someone changing nappies/diapers in a train. But I have seen people lying with their shoes or sitting cross-legged dozens of times.

Maciamo
23-10-05, 06:19
I was shocked to see old men peeing in ditches without making barely any attempt at concealing themselves from passersby.

I was also shocked by that, the spitting, and female cleaners passing through male changing rooms in fitness clubs or swimming pools. All these are fairly normal in Japan. The older people are, the more normal.



I think putting your napkin on your lap during a meal is kind of dumb, although I do it at restaurants because I know you're supposed to. It's handier to have it next to your plate and you shouldn't be dropping food in your lap anyways.

I rarely put it (in Japan), but often get something on my lap (esp. liquid stuff, like ramen soup, pasta sauce, or water condesation from outside a cold glass).


I like the handshake. An introduction seems more meaningful if you touch the other person (as opposed to just bowing).

Despite being from a handshake country, I have always favoured a little bow or nod. I am often surprised when a Japanese extend his/her hand to be shaken. I sometimes look at it wondering what he/she wants for a fraction of second. :p

Kara_Nari
23-10-05, 15:18
Oh, I think I would have forgotten most of the good points people mentioned above....

I dont mind:
Eating on the move, doing makeup on public transport, blowing noses, noodle slurrping, finishing or not finishing your meal... let me get back to more things....

I do mind:
People doing their makeup for too long and not moving out of your way in public restrooms, nose sniffing, chewing or talking with your mouth full, not stopping at pedestrian crossings, queue jumpers, littering, spitting, peeing in public.. im so sure the list goes on

Brooker
23-10-05, 23:24
@Maciamo...
Oh I forgot about the women in the bathroom. At work, the custodians closet was in the mens' room (!) and female workers would often come in and even say "ohiyo gozaimasu" in the mornings while I was standing at the urinal. I would never respond and really didn't appreciate it. I don't care what country it is, I'm not talking to anyone, especially a female, while I'm taking a pee.

CC1
24-10-05, 00:22
It really doesn't bother me that the cleaning ladies come through. They usually keep to themselves and stay at a resonable distance. I've seen similar things in other asian countries, though you would never see something like this in the US. (too many crazy people and I'm sure it would result in a lawsuit of some type!) I really don't see a reason for this to be a cause for concern though.

Tsuyoiko
24-10-05, 15:19
Sniffing is frowned upon even though blowing your nose (quietly) is OK.I forgot about that one! I hate sniffing, it makes me heave. Especially when the person swallows after and you know they have sniffed a big gob of snot down their throat! Yuck!
I think that dirty shoes or dirty/sweaty socks are the least of your worries. There are much worse things that could happen...Ever seen someone changing a diaper on a train/bus seat?I saw someone changing a nappy at a table at a Christening party once. When the buffet opened I must have looked like a pig, as I had to get before them in the queue!
Contrary to the Japanese, Americans have terrible cell phone etiquette, but it's getting a little better. And I think people shouldn't be able to talk on their cell phones while they're driving. Statistically it's just as dangerous as being drunk.It's been illegal in the UK since last December, but it doesn't seem to have made a big difference. It scares the hell out of me to see someone doing 90 in the fast lane of the motorway while texting on their phone!
I was also shocked by that, the spitting, and female cleaners passing through male changing rooms in fitness clubs or swimming pools. All these are fairly normal in Japan. The older people are, the more normal.In some public toilets in Bruges there was an old cleaning lady taking money at the door of the toilets. My husband walked past without seeing her. She followed him in and stuck her hand out for money in front of him while he was peeing!
litteringAaargh! I hate that one too! I will pick it up and put it in the bin for them, if it's not too gross.

Winter
02-11-05, 07:45
When you start catagorizing customs in terms of manners, it just gets ridiculous. I mean really, you eat too much in Thailand, then the host is offended, you dont eat enough in Ireland, the host is offended, blah. Eat enough until you're not hungry, I say.

When it comes to other stuffs like nose blowing or slurping foodstuffs, one rule of thumb I like to live by is 'discretion'. Whatever you do, when in public, try to be discreet about it, thats what I think.

Apart from that, simply using common sense seems to be universal in terms of respecting others and their dumbass customs.

Index
02-11-05, 14:45
Japan:
At my apartment, I walked all over my tatami room with my shoes on.


Ha ha I used to do that too, but it felt kind of dirty or disrespectful at first until I got used to it.

Contrary to the Japanese, Americans have terrible cell phone etiquette, but it's getting a little better.
I think its particularly rude when someone answers their phone in mid-conversation without saying something like "excuse me" first. The same for when a third person interrupts a conversation without saying anything or your interlocutor suddenly starts talking to another person without a comment.

Sensuikan San
03-11-05, 06:13
I think its particularly rude when someone answers their phone in mid-conversation without saying something like "excuse me" first. The same for when a third person interrupts a conversation without saying anything or your interlocutor suddenly starts talking to another person without a comment.

I totally agree!

Even worse is the person who makes a phone call during a conversation, waves his hand at you and says "carry on ..."

Culprits? .... Usually, Sales Managers ....

W

Maciamo
14-11-05, 06:40
Others things I dislike in Japan are people who do not respect the "keep your left" signs in train stations, pedestrians walking on the bicycle lane on a congested street and (older) people who burp in restaurants.

I have just returned from a 3 days tour to Beijing. I was told by a Japanese man (about 60 years old), who was in the tour with me for 3 days, that my manners were very Japanese, because I always asked other people whether I could finish one dish on the table in Chinese restaurants. He said that the American or British people he had met before didn't care and just ate whatever they wanted without aksing. Nevertheless, this manner of mine has little to do with my living in Japan for some time. It is just basic manners in Belgium or France to ask before finishing a dish (even in one's family), and always leaving a little bit to be polite (until other people tell me to finish it off). My general impression in Japan had rather been that people cared less about that than Belgian or French people. Yet, I do not doubt than many native English speakers care even less, except maybe for the upper class.

Overall, my impression is that the Japanese are much more polite and respectful of good manners than, say, the average Americans, but a bit less than the average Belgian (among the people I know). There are still manners which would make some Japanese (usually older men) look like pigs in almost any Western country, like the habit of spitting or pissing in the street, or pushing and groping in trains.

Tsuyoiko
14-11-05, 13:12
I was told by a Japanese man (about 60 years old), who was in the tour with me for 3 days, that my manners were very Japanese, because I always asked other people whether I could finish one dish on the table in Chinese restaurants. He said that the American or British people he had met before didn't care and just ate whatever they wanted without aksing. Nevertheless, this manner of mine has little to do with my living in Japan for some time. It is just basic manners in Belgium or France to ask before finishing a dish (even in one's family), and always leaving a little bit to be polite (until other people tell me to finish it off).I don't know if it is just my family, but we never finish a dish without asking everyone first. Of course, if you want the last onion bhaji, you say "No wants this do they?" If you're not bothered you say "Who wants the last onion bhaji". ;-) But I would never just take it.

There are a couple of things at work at the moment that are really annoying me. I am the only person who fills up the kettle. No matter what time I use it it is always empty, and I always fill it up before I leave it. The other thing is people leaving the door to the courtyard open. It has a sign on each side saying 'please close the door', but people keep leaving it open. It is pretty cold now, so I wish people would think about those of us that have to work here in the arctic draught. We are so fed up of it that the receptionist is keeping a tally chart of every time one of us has to get up and close the door, so that we can petition the management for an automatic closer.:okashii:

Now I have written those down they sound so pathetic! I need to get a life! :D :blush:

shadowcatcher
14-11-05, 22:51
Need to come up with a cell phone etiquette book that comes along with your cell phone. You can't go anywhere without someone talking on the cell. This is especially annoying at the movies. Leave the cell in the car I'm here to watch a movie not listen to someone else's conversation.

How about the car radio. When at a stop light I like to hear what's on my radio. Not what the person 3 cars ahead of me is listening to. I don't know if this is a problem in Japan or not since most people walk or take the train to work. Some of the kids in my neighborhood, you know when they leave because the pictures on the wall rattle as they go by.

I don't know if you consider this a manner or not but when using the bathroom, PLEASE wash your hands. Sometimes I wish I lived to a country where you just bowed when you meet someone. That was drilled into my head when growing up, it just became a habit. I thought everybody did. I'm suprised how many people don't. YUUUUUCK.

Kinsao
15-11-05, 02:21
It's not so very pathetic, Tsuyoiko - everyone has some gripes about workplace manners, I think. For me, it's people who don't put their dirty cups in the dishwasher. For chrissakes, it's not that difficult! All you have to do is pour the dregs down the sink and put the damn thing in the machine! And people still leave them all on the side... so guess who ends up loading them at the end of the day... :okashii:

[/whinge] :blush:

Oh god yeah, Shadowcatcher. I hate it when people don't wash their hands when they use the bathroom. :sick:

One other really sad and pathetic one of my gripes, lol... is when someone makes a call on their mobile and they are walking behind you on very silent feet and all of a sudden they say "HELLO???!!" really loudly. :bikkuri: :okashii: :D

shadowcatcher
16-11-05, 20:01
I hear about the dishes thing at work all the time. Fortunately I don't get stuck clean up. I want to know what up with the water coolers. We have 3 in our office and it seems that they are always empty. If you use the last bit of water either get a new jug for it. Don't leave it empty.


Oh god yeah, Shadowcatcher. I hate it when people don't wash their hands when they use the bathroom

It's almost as bad as people who sneeze/cough while at the buffet. "shivers"

Isn't it to bad some people dont' come with a volume control. A friend of mine sound fine when you talk to him in person but hand him a phone and all th sudden he has to yell everything. Don't understand it, don't understand it at all.