Mind your manners

Observing the differences across countries in customs, like restaurant etiquette, I find amusing and intriguing. While there are themes/behaviors that cross cultures, they often seem positively arbitrary to me. For example, in Germany it is okay to blow your nose at the dinner table, in the US it is frowned upon but not a huge deal, in Japan it is just not done, rather sniffle away.
Here are some others (ratings based on my observations):
1=accepted or neutral
0=frowned upon, but tolerated
-1=not allowed or really frowned upon

US
Japan
Germany
Smoking
in public
-1
1
1
Cell
phone use in public
0
-1
1
Nose
blowing
0
-1
1
Bad
table manners
1
0
-1
Bumping
into people without apology
-1
1
1
Being
loud
1
-1
0
Sleeping
in public
-1
1
-1
Drinking/eating
on the street
1
-1
1
BO
-1
-1
1
Reinforced
toe stockings with sandals
-1
1
0
Informal
clothing
1
-1
-1
NET (total)
-1
-2
3

Based on this highly scientific analysis, we can determine that in ‘liberal’ Germany everything is okay while in ‘ultra-conservative’ Japan most things are not allowed (with a few massive exceptions like reinforced toe stockings with sandals, I mean, my gawd!). America lies somewhere in between.

16 thoughts on “Mind your manners

  1. Hi Nadine,
    how recognizable! But how would you rate “sleeping during business meeting”? I guess it would not fit on the scale that you are using.
    Another example: public nudity! Take a close look at your picture of today’s story.

  2. Ahh, forget it, been on the internet too much πŸ™‚
    NET = Total.
    Then again, Japan doesn’t add up to that, I get -2. A little better πŸ™‚

  3. Portugal (that little piece of land west of spain)
    Smoking in public: 1
    Cell phone use in public: 1
    Nose blowing: 1
    Bad table manners: 0
    Bumping into people without apology: 1
    Being loud: 1
    Sleeping in public: 0 (more likely you’d get mugged)
    Drinking/eating on the street: 1
    BO: 1
    Reinforced toe stockings with sandals: 1
    Informal clothing: 2 (wait we don’t get a 2 right, so 1)
    NET: 9
    What a great place to live… not!

  4. Hi J, glad you picked up on that nudie pic. Gabriel, you are right, bad math, Japan should indeed be -2. I will fix. And, thanks for sharing Portugals NET etiquette quotient.

  5. how come i never noticed life in germany was so great then?
    i’d give “bumping into people” a 0 though, but for the rest, i’d definitely agree with you. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Nadine. I think you were to lenient on the US. In phoenix most of those things are not only tollerated they are just ingnored. People seem to be less concerned more and more with daily inconveniences and stuff.

  7. Nadine, I’m soooo with you on the stockings and sandals. When I was growing up here, unshaved legs AND stockings with sandals was OK too. Now that was a sight.

  8. I thought I was the only one bothererd by the stockings with open-toed shoes (not just sandals, mind you). It’s just strange to see that on an otherwise impeccably dressed woman. I know I totally need to get a life, but I dread early spring every year for that reason. I can’t stop staring.
    (By the way, Nadine, we missed you yesterday!)

  9. Pakistan 1 up Portugal:
    Smoking in public: 0 (only acceptable in front of strangers)
    Cell phone use in public: 2 (ok, 1)
    Nose blowing: 1
    Bad table manners: 1
    Bumping into people without apology: 1
    Being loud: 1
    Sleeping in public: 1
    Drinking/eating on the street: 1
    BO: 1
    Reinforced toe stockings with sandals: 1
    Informal clothing: 1
    NET: 10
    This is for the masses. It is probably -10 in certain other parts of the country where the rich and powerful live.

  10. Actually, the injunction isn’t so much against eating/drinking in the street in Japan, it’s against eating/drinking *while walking*. You see those vending machines everywhere: people will drink their beverage *at the machine* and dispose of the can there.
    I don’t get it either.

  11. Hi Nadine, 6/2/03
    I hear you are visiting Stateside later this week. I hope we can get together for a few drinks and catch up on the news.
    Your godfather,
    Bob

  12. I’ll have to correct the German stuff:
    Smoking in public 1
    Cell phone use in public 1
    Nose blowing 1
    Bad table manners -1 (almost -2)
    Bumping into people without apology 0
    Being loud 0 (almost -1)
    Sleeping in public 0
    Drinking/eating on the street 1
    BO -1
    Reinforced toe stockings with sandals -1
    Informal clothing 1
    NET (total) 2

  13. Although nose-blowing at the table is a common practice, I find it to be crude and distastefull, and certainly not conducive to an enjoyable dining experience. It’s almost as bad as farting at the table.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s