When traveling abroad, there is only so much you can do to really know what is taboo or viewed as inconsiderate in a foreign land. You might even live in a country for a few years, and still find things you never knew until someone told you. That is bound to happen since our behavior and protocol is learned over many years, becoming part of who we are and how we value things. Of course, common sense and being generally open and considerate will prevent you from being considered “rude and uncultured” as a foreigner in any land.
In any case, knowledge does go a long way.
When we recently went to Tokyo, we noticed that the trains and subways were very quiet, there are signs everywhere with a phone and an X on top of them. No talking aloud on the train. However, when we were in Osaka, the trains were bustling with conversations with noise of beer cans being opened. A stranger even spoke to us in English, while his colleagues laughed and cheered him on. We are still not sure if the "no talking on the train" mandate is regional or just a suggestion.
To discover more of these unexpected missteps, BBC recently sought out the advice of users on question and answer site Quora, asking “What should I absolutely not do when visiting your country?” See the etiquette rules that surprised them the most here.
Do you know of any etiquette that foreigners should know when visiting your country?
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.