"Cultural differences- viewed by the British- "Don´t Mention the war" from "Harper’s Magazine
(...) From a series of “market profiles” by VisitBritain, the official UK tourism bureau, in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, these guides are meant to help British businesses “provide an even more efficient and helpful customer service that takes account of cultural needs”.
- Cleanliness is of major importance to Austrians.
- The Portuguese take great pride in wearing good fabrics and clothes of the best standard they can afford.
- New Zealanders are accustomed to high-pressure showers, not a weak dribble from a nozzle, and are also used to gallons and gallons of hot water being available.
- Although Italians give little care to public places, they are scrupulously clean in their own homes.
- Don’t be offended by Argentine humor, which may mildly attack your clothing or weight.
- Canadians often identify themselves as Canadian by wearing a maple-leaf pin or a maple leaf on their clothing.
- Czechs are very sensitive to price changes.
- Brazilians do not travel lightly.
- Don’t ask personal questions to a Brazilian.
- As a nation, Germans are interested in many things; however, football, cars, travel, culture, their homes, and getting a good deal are some of the most important.
- The Dutch have a strong desire to order their time in agendas and on calendars.
- Mexicans drink huge quantities of soft drinks and beer. Good conversational topics are Mexican culture, history, museums. Never discuss the Mexican American War, poverty, aliens, or earthquakes.
- Avoid discussing personal matters or linguistic divisions with Belgians.
- Malaysians dislike walking long distances and are likely not to be very active.
- Nordic people like to get close to the “natives.”
- The Japanese (particularly women) could be said to have a childlike air to them.
- Russians love the English sense of humor and believe it is very similar to the Russian one.
- The South African sense of humor is based more on American slapstick comedy than on British wit and play on words. Therefore they may struggle to understand the “joke.”
- The Dutch hardly ever invite people with whom they are not closely acquainted for dinner.
- Spaniards use utensils to eat most food. Even fruit is eaten with a knife and fork!
- Thais are generally aware of the Four Seasons restaurant (for the crispy duck), and the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant in London.
- The French will begin eating only after someone says “bon appétit.”
- Koreans do not like to talk a lot during dinner.
- If an Arab stares you in the eye as you speak, it means that he is giving you his full attention. If he doesn’t, it means that he may not care what you are saying.
- If an Arab bites his right finger, it is a sign of contempt, and this will usually be accompanied by muttering.
- Mexicans use a “psst-psst” sound to catch another’s attention.
- Russians may come across as cold and not very open or polite people.
- The Dutch do not believe in lining up and show almost no consideration in public for a person’s status, gender, or age.
- In America, time is a very important commodity. People “save” time and “spend” time as if it were money in the bank.
- Belgians tend to be indirect.
- Nordic people are often very conscious of environmental issues.
- Indians do not like to express “no.” Rather than disappoint you, for example, by saying something isn’t available, Indians may give an affirmative answer but be deliberately vague about any specific details.
- Koreans are not Chinese.