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July 17, 2007

Mind Your (Global) Manners

How to take a shot in Russia, eat a sandwich in Brazil, and five other insider tips to keep you from looking like a tourist.

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Photo Credit: S. Fagan/Getty Images

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RUSSIA
If someone in a bar offers you a shot, accept it: Sharing vodka is a symbol of bonding and friendship. If you have trouble holding your liquor, it’s perfectly fine to say "choot choot, pozhaluasta" ("just a little, please").

JAMAICA
Watch what you say! Make sure you refer to the locals as "islanders" or simply "Jamaicans." The term "native" can be taken as a racial slur.

ASIA
Place your chopsticks to the side of your bowl; never stand them upright. That's how rice is offered to the dead!

JAPAN
Blow your nose in private. This is never done in public — think cleaning your ears or cutting your toenails in America.

BRAZIL
Always use utensils at meals. If it's finger good, use a napkin to pick it up. Here, even sandwiches are eaten with a fork and knife.

MALAYSIA
Because the head is considered the seat of a person's soul, keep your hands off — you should even refrain from patting a child affectionately.


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