What might be culturally acceptable in the West might be taboo in China and vice versa! See our article on Chinese Dining Etiquette to learn more about Chinese table manners. Not sure what to gift your new Chinese friends?
One of the most exciting things about traveling is the chance to explore other cultures and traditions while trying to blend in with the crowd. Visiting foreign lands is not only an exceptional experience that broadens the mind, but it's also a fantastic way to make new friends and learn more about other people's lives. For instance, Asia has got a colorful palette of unique traditions and bizarre cultural etiquette.
China is a country that has long been known for its ceremonies and etiquette through the ages. However, it can be something of a culture shock when it comes to the differences between the social niceties between the country and the western world. The following is an introduction to the daily manners and courtesies of social life in China.
In Asia, food isn't just sustenance and Instagram fodder. It's often a symbol of prosperity, honor, longevity, and togetherness. As such, you'll encounter dozens of rituals and cultural subtleties around eating and drinking that are rooted in superstition, upholding deep respect for your elders, and cultivating an honorable self-image. And as you do, guaranteed, you will screw some of them up.
Asia is very broad a term and includes several cultures. Due to the Euro-centric nature of our teachings, it is vitally important to divide the parts of Asia in order to understand its many manners and etiquette. The basic culture around these regions is collectivist, in other words highly interdependent, and more socialized than the European-based individualistic nations.
Etiquette in Asia varies from country to country even though certain actions may seem to be common. No article on the rules of etiquettenor any list of faux pas, can ever be complete. As the perception of behaviors and actions vary, intercultural competence is essential.
Though there's no real need to follow the eating traditions from each country, it doesn't hurt to know a bit about them. For instance, at a Chinese or Japanese meal it's fine to hold the rice bowl dose to your mouth; in Korean custom the bowl is left on the table. And then there are chopsticks, the use of which makes Chinese and Japanese food "just taste better" to many people.
Asian travel etiquette is not so complicated to understand, nor is it mysterious. Not a good look. Save it for the beach and hotel swimming pool.
Something to do with whom should talk first on the phone or whether you can interrupt a colleague at a presentation. If we ever stop to think about it, the points to observe on business etiquette could be written down on the back of an envelope. Business etiquette is hardly something that stands in the way of a deal.