When in Rome, do as the Romans do!  “japan

That’s the way we say it in English. Originally from Chinese, this Japanese saying means: “In a village do as the village does.”  That’s my best advice for a successful foreign trip. Here are other tips on intercultural communication, cross-cultural differences and how to get the best out of your foreign visit.

  1. Remember -there is no right, no wrong – just different. Sometimes different can mean better!
  2. Try and learn a few words and phrases of the language, before you go.  Knowing common greetings is always a sign of courtesy.
  3. Be observant. Watch how others behave and adapt your style accordingly.
  4. Not all countries use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ the way we do in the English language. Saying thank you to a close friend can be a bit insulting in some cultures – indicating that you are not close at all. Not sure? Then ask.
  5. Learn something about the culture of the country you are visiting.  That will help you to ‘acclimatise’ more easily.
  6. Research the dress code of the county, especially when visiting the Middle East. Women should be modestly dressed in most cultures other than the ‘West’. Asians are more formal than Americans, but Japan is more formal than other Asian countries. Saudi Arabia is extremely strict on women’s clothing – you must wear a long black robe and have your face and head covered by av eil.
  7. Do be sensible if you are travelling between very different climates. The round trip from London to Dubai, via a few days in Helsinki, can play havoc with your health.
  8. Learn how you should address people before you go. Africans are very conscious of people’s status. You might want to treat everyone as an equal, but they might expect some respect from you (especially government officials).  Also, others may be humbled in your presence.
  9. Gift giving is notoriously difficult to judge; best phone the embassy at home to be sure or consult your own diplomats when abroad.
  10. Find out what the local speciality dishes are and decide whether you will try them – go on – have a go! We tried “Ants in the tree” when we were in Malawi: delicious! And, No! It wasn’t ants.
  11. An inquiring mind, patience, and the genuine wish to learn from other cultures will provide you with insights about yourself and everyone around.
  12. Finally, travel with a sense of wonder, enthusiasm and excitement and this will provide you with the attitude to enjoy your experiences.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 3:00 am and is filed under cross-cultural differences, General, other interesting stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “ Go ni itte wa go ni shitagae: discover what this Japanese saying means ”

  1. Franklin says:

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but maybe only this time! 🙂

  2. trickee says:

    This is my first visit here, but I will be back soon, because I really like the way you are writing, it is so simple and honest