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Do Tell About Your Palm Faced Cultural Mishaps:

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posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 04:42 AM
Okay there are times when we got caught up in some funny cultural mishaps deserving of palm face, either you or someone you know , I had a couple of doozies.
Most memorable, my first early date in Japan years ago when is was in the Nav. this very beautiful chick took me out on a date, introducing me to real Japanese food and culture at a posh Japanese restaurant, off came the shoes everything was set-up like someone's home, so she ordered, a
very polite waitress came and placed some hot green tea on our table, we took a sip and I almost gag at the bitter devoid of sugar hot mess that looked like pond scum, so acting independent rather than asking my date questions I raised my hand, that polite waitress was on it, needless to my date was puzzled by my action.

Me to waitstaff.
Could I have some sugar pls, waitstaff cocked her head to the side in the manner of a confused puppy like

My date .oh you shouldn't add sugar to that.
I said this is tea right??
Date: yes but but it's Japanese tea.
Me who cares it's tea.
Yeah but Japanese tea.
Me to the waitstaff, can I have some sugar.
Waitstaff totally puzzled as to WTF is going on.

My date waved her off, not wanting to kill what promised to be a good night by arguing I let it sit and went on to some hot saki which was on point, it was sometime before I realized that was a major cultural boo boo I had made.

The next cultural boo boo was not my own and it happened on my home turf of BLKYN , my then girl friend before we tied the knot visited my parents and other fam had a great time but she did the very Japanese thing of taking snap pics of anywhere and everyone and although I'd warned her about just snapping pics at everyone may not be appreciated, she didn't want them to stop and pose ruining a natural moment, so we were on Flat Bush Ave, I went into a beef patty shop for a sec, before long I head Yo! Yo! Yo!!! what are you 5-0 ??, and approaching her were four angry looking brothers, my heart sank as this could end badly..I whispered
What happened??
Girl..I.I just took their picture.
Me getting upset..did I not told not do that!!
Yes but I,
Me , don't talk.
The Brothers Yo man she with you?
Well tell her man , she can't be popping pics of people like,
Me: Yeah man, ma apologies she ain't from around here.
A Brother Yeah ah see dat.
My girl so sorry..
The Brothers: is arright!! no harm no foul,
YO,!! you wanna take our pics??
My Girl: yes yes thank you very much.
Brothers car posing ,meaning mugging, smiling and fist bumping.

Years later, my nephew visit us in Japan for the summer from BLKYN,
we took him to a random Chinese restaurant with his cousins , so we were about to order
Unks can I get an order of Chicken wing fried rice with extra duck sauce??

Me hell no!! boy where you think u at?? but Unks you said this was a Chinese restaurant, so how come I can't get no chicken wing fried rice
Me : that's because you only get that in NY and not in any real Chinese restaurant,

Nephew why not??
Because that's American stuff .
So they ain't got no Chinese American food over here?? that sucks.
Me. shut up or I'll let you starve.
My youngest Daughter, duck sauce nani.?? or what is duck sauce.
Me: I'll let you starve too.

OK you are not required to post pics with your stories just have fun..

edit on 15-4-2016 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:02 AM
Not a cultural mistake but a facepalm none the less..

Years ago I was in central London with a few friends and being a young drunk teenager, that was dying to pee.. I found a quiet Street and a good spot where no one could see.
Started doing my thing against this what looked like a black wall and all of a sudden I could see a dim light through the blackness.. So put my hands to the side of my face and looked tried to look through.
To my horror discovered it was a restaurant full of people behind blackened glass.
Everyone was staring in my direction open mouthed.
I did the sensible and got the f out of there..

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:04 AM
a reply to: Misterlondon

Hah! that was funny..

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:07 AM
a reply to: Spider879

Your tales of Japanese restaurant mishaps reminded me of a slight faux pas made by a friend many years ago.

My friend was from a very rural village in Wales and had grown up on a farm.

Moving to the big city often left him feeling out of his depth especially when it came to eating out.

We went to a Japanese restaurant with a taster menu and he kept whispering to his girlfriend to ask what something was or how to eat something, after a couple of courses and a few beers he seemed to be gaining confidence.

All was good until the whole restaurant looked to him as he bellowed "holy $%"£^$ this soup is lemony!!!!"

Everyone at our table went red and tried to avoid eye contact as we watched him drink the last of his fingerbowl and eat the wedge of lemon in it.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:16 AM
a reply to: nonspecific

Great!! story.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:48 AM
a reply to: Spider879

You know how you go up so someone and they don't know you are there and you say "BOO!" to humorously startle them?

Well...I did that several times in China until I found out that bu, pronounced boo, actually is a form of no, so I was walking up to people and loudly saying "no!" Lol

Also, the Chinese didn't seem to understand the concept of sarcasm. Everything I said was taken literally. I had to explain what sarcasm was to one of my Chinese friends.

Anyways, this was the first week I was there and was attending training seminars. On the 2nd day, I went into the place and a Chinese girl was sitting at the desk I had sat at the previous day.

I said "hey, you're in my chair" with a smile trying to be friendly and start conversation. She got sheepish, apologized and went to another seat. I tried to explain, but she just said to sit there. I felt bad and learned to be careful with sarcasm there.

Btw...I did add sugar to tea sometimes in China. I don't know if that is taboo on China, though.

I am sure I screwed up more. If I think of something else, I will add.
edit on 15-4-2016 by gator2001 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:52 AM
a reply to: gator2001

Why would you go up behind someone and shout boo? Especially in a foreign country.
That sort of behaviour would get you stabbed or even shot in some parts of the world.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 06:10 AM

originally posted by: Spider879
a reply to: nonspecific

Great!! story.

And a Japanese one of my own.

I am the type of person that when a song is in my head I tend to sing it outloud over and over again, I had heard the song turning Japanese by the vapours and it was bouncing around my head, I went to see a freind to go out for a beer and walked into his living room and went "DIDDY DIDDY DID DID DID DID DOOO" whilst slanting my eyes with my fingers.

There were about 4 people in the room all looking at me in horror and I knew by the looks on there faces who was in the chair behind the door.

I slowly turned with dread to see my friends room mate, a very quiet very polite Japanese exchange student sat eating a bowl of miso soup...

I just did not know what to do and the room was still in stunned silence so I just backed out of the room and left them to it.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 06:17 AM
The first time I took my brother out for sushi I told him the wasabi was guacamole. He popped the whole thing into his mouth and ate it.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 06:29 AM

originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus

The first time I took my brother out for sushi I told him the wasabi was guacamole. He popped the whole thing into his mouth and ate it.

You are cruel lol, wasabi the strong one, do leave you with a runny nose or clear sinuses.

edit on 15-4-2016 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 06:38 AM
a reply to: Misterlondon

Doing that is common where I grew up in the U.S. It isn't shouting, just louder than a normal voice. It's just a silly, funny thing to do. You generally do that to people you know, not a random stranger on the street. Now, that might get you shot in some places

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 07:53 AM
HA! Funny you should ask...

I was new in-country in SE Asia. I was there on a two year tour. Shortly after arriving we had a high level meeting with a Saudi prince and a Malaysian sultan. There were several meetings which needed to take place that day with the prince and the sultan, all consecutive. As a result there were a bunch of people standing around in this ornate waiting area basically waiting for their respective meeting. I was among them. I think we were 3rd in line to go.

The 1st meeting ran long, and the 2nd meeting ran even longer still. It was getting terribly boring standing around. It was kind of rude to sit down with all the senior government officials and royalty around, so we had to stand the whole time, waiting.

So here I am standing there just pacing around. After a while boredom got the best of me so I started doing the time honored boredom thing....silently snapping three fingers on my right hand followed by lightly clapping my left palm on top of my right fist (think - Three Stooges - esque). I was just pacing back and forth doing this for about 5 minutes or so. Eventually this North African businessman gently pulled me aside and whispered something in my ear in very broken English. I couldn't understand what he said so I asked him to repeat it.

He told me... "culturally, in this region, the hand gesture you are making means you want to have rapid and rough anal sex with the person you make that gesture to."

GAWD!!!!!! Talk about a face palm moment!!! I'd been walking ALL OVER that room making that gesture, to likely most of the people in the room!!

...and I really did wonder why that one (other) guy kept winking at me!!

P.S. I had to excuse myself and go outside to laugh. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have an aneurysm! I still laugh over that moment.

edit on 4/15/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 07:57 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I bet he made that up on the spot because you are such a handsome devil.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 08:00 AM
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

It wasn't the North African guy who was winking at me, but another guy.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 08:19 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

He was obviously acting as the other guy's wingman.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 08:30 AM
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

Heh, heh...nothing was out of the realm of possibilities in that place!!

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 09:11 AM
Oh my gosh.... I have too many to count. Sometimes I think it is best that I not dwell on them, because I make myself depressed. It's the kind of thing I do when I can't sleep at night.

Some of the french cultural practices mostly got me upset because I didn't understand them- like people I barely knew would criticisize or mock me in very cruel ways, and I would just start crying and wonder why everyone here is so mean.

I didn't know it is a playful type of thing, to provoke some joking banter- often even seen as flirting. The fact that I was very quiet and hard to engage conversation with (for those that didn't know I couldn't speak french) meant that people would resort to this sort of poking pretty often, to get my attention.

In the first week I was here, we were invited to a big family dinner. It was a long table with many guests, my husband had been seated very far from me and was talking with a cousin. Before us was set various dishes of food, and a weird contraption that was obviously hot, but I had no idea what it was.

My husbands aunt motioned to me, and though I couldn't understand the language, it was obvious she was telling me to serve. I had seen it is the custom to let the guest serve everyone. So everyone sat there looking expectedly at me and holding out their plates to me. I didn't know what to do.

The aunt made some motions towards the thing on the table, and my mind raced trying to figure out what it was for and what they wanted me to do. Couldn't. I babbled in english that I didn't know what to do, shaking my head, and they pressed more, pushing the plates into my hands. I started to feel overwhelmed, and tried to get my husbands attention so he could translate for me, but he was deep in conversation and didn't hear me.

My eyes began to fill with tears, and I think I started to hyperventilate, as they babbled on, all at the same time, poking their plates at me. I finally just started weeping.

Someone finally poked my husband and probably said, " your weird american wife is crying for some reason and refuses the honor of serving us."

Turned out the thing on the table is for raclette, and I needed to put cheese on it to melt, then pour on people potatoes.
But there's no way I could know that. I was very embarrassed because the rest of the day everyone looked at me like I was mentally ill.

Not that long ago, we had a big meeting at my workplace, where an administrator came to speak to us all about some serious financial problems and changes that would happen. It seemed to me that what she was saying was that they were going to need to let go of a few people in our division. But she was sort of saying it in a strange way, going around the bush. I finally spoke up and asked if that is what she was saying. Her face suddenly turned white and everyone became silent. She gulped and answered in another round about way which didn't answer me at all.

It was so weird. I didn't insist because it was obvious I had upset everyone. But later, I asked my coworkers what they heard in all that. Wasn't that we she was saying?
Yes, but it shouldn't be said like that, they told me. You are being too violent, too direct. You are attacking with hostility.

I was confused, I didn't feel hostile (hell I wanted to leave), and I didn't want to attack anyone. I just wanted to understand what she was saying. But it turns out there are many things you do not say in an explicit way and that is one of them. I had learned that about money , when I was a cashier and people got offended when I quoted how much they need to pay outloud, but this too, is apparently one of those touchy things.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 10:42 AM
a reply to: Spider879

Mine's a quickie:

College buddy/exchange student from the UK - nickname "English Chris" on his first trip to a big US city. We step out of the limo to hit the north side bars, starting fairly close to "Boys Town" (heavily gay area.) With excitement and bluster, with his English accent, standing alongside the limo, loudly proclaims, "LET'S GET PISSED AND BURN SOME FAGS!!"

Chris loved beer and smoking cigarettes (fags) which we couldn't do on the limo ride.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 05:57 PM
I think the only really cringeworthy one I have to my name was in college. The track team was fairly multi-national. As we were getting ready to break off our last practice before Christmas break, we were all wishing each other various versions of Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc., I turned around and blithely wished a fellow high jumper Merry Christmas before it occurred to me that he was Israeli.

Must not have upset him too much. We dated for a while in the spring semester.

posted on Apr, 15 2016 @ 10:03 PM
a reply to: Spider879

You are mental.😃

I have only one.I once begged a Sikh to unwrap his turban because I was desperately curious to see his hair.Yes,I was a teenager and yes,as I understand it,it's like asking to see someone's junk.He was okay about it and I was definitely impressed.

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