When in Rome do as Romans do

Was this in Indonesia? Since I’ve heard that story about Indonesian culture several times now.

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@Vsotvep refers to the Dutch word “stroop”, which can be translated with treacle, molasses and/or syrup. It refers to is a thick, sweet liquid made by dissolving sugar in boiling water, often used for preserving fruit.



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No, my father was in the occupation of Japan in 1946, based in Tokyo. He spent his leave time, when he had it, traveling quite a bit throughout the country.

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What’s what is called… Maple sirup sometimes in China, sorry for all the lovers (including me) of the real maple syrup.

So in France we have crepes which come as fine as possible in a larger size and which is called proudly galette in west France. Pancakes is used when we refer to the American/English way specifically.

It comes with a very large variety of fillings, so some of my favorites:
Grand Marnier+orange butter
Almonds+maple sirup

For salty fillings there is a variant of the paste exchanging white wheat for sarrazin wheat (black).

You ask me in China? Well we have too, you may be surprised to find the same cooking tool found in the French crêperie on the street here. Main difference is the paste which doesn’t have eggs and milk inside.
Filling is very typical of street snack food: potatoes in sticks (half cooked), rice noodles, cheap industrial sausage, egg sometimes and spices.

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Maybe it’s a cultural fact of eastern countries, exactly the same problem of having always an answer mostly wrong when people doesn’t really know or understand what you ask. In my opinion it’s strongly linked to the “not lose your face” as anything else.

This thread reminds me that sandbagging isn’t considered a serious bad manner in Chinese weiqi community, while here sometimes it annoys ppl… I personally don’t quite understand why ppl hate it. Can someone explain for me?


I’m afraid that explanation does not apply to my father’s experience. He asked the same person both ways in the end. Got the wrong answer, and then the right answer when he phrased the question properly. The issue was politeness I was told, although whether peculiar to the occupation of not I don’t know.

People are annoyed by sandbagging because the sandbagger is perpetrating a fraud on them, and most people don’t like fraud in general. It is particularly discouraging to many beginners.

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I agree that it’s discouraging for some beginners, but are there a lot of ppl trying to sandbag beginners? About the fraud part, yes it’s fraud, but you don’t really lose anything from a fraud online game. I understand it’s annoying sometimes, what I don’t understand is some ppl are much more unhappy with it than I expected.

It’s not fun to be crashed when you expect a fair game. You don’t have to be teached if you come and look for some fun experience.

There is a understandable (sadism?) but not acceptable fun to show your strength on weaker. Rating is made to avoid it and rating cheaters are indeed not welcome. Besides sandbagging hurts the rating system itself.
Now that’s getting a bit off topic.

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Yeah, I realize it’s off topic. Interestingly, although attitudes towards sandbagging vary from person to person, it seems using AI is considered cheating everywhere.

Clearly not on Tygem~

On the topic. When there is a language barrier, you might try to fall back to gestures. That works to some degree, but you have to be careful, because many gestures have different meanings in different cultures. If you’re lucky, it only leads to confusion. But you can also insult people unintentionally.

Example of confusion: I lived in Japan for a year back in 1990. When I had just been there for a couple of days, my neighbour payed me a visit to get acquainted. I didn’t speak Japanese and he didn’t speak English. So we tried to use gestures to communicate. He brought a photo album and he was showing me (family?) pictures in the photo album while explaining in Japanese and pointing to his nose all the time. This was very confusing to me. I saw nothing wrong with his nose and I saw no relation between his nose and the pictures. Only later did I find out that pointing to ones nose In Japanese culture means the same as pointing to ones chest in Dutch culture: it means “I”, “me”, or “mine”. So probably he had been telling me his life story with the photo album as a prop.

Example of accidental insult: On one of our holidays in France, me and my wife found this nice restaurant. We had dinner there several times. The restaurant was run by 3 generations of women. They didn’t speak English and my wife doesn’t speak French. At one point the chef (the oldest generation of the women) took a break and she was standing outside the kitchen door. My wife wanted to compliment her from a distance about the taste of the food, so she used the Dutch gesture for that, which is like waving your hand next to your ear (palm pointing to your ear). The chef was clearly offended and she turned around and went back into the kitchen. We didn’t understand what went wrong. A minute later her daughter came to our table. She understood that my wife’s gesture was misinterpreted. She explained that in France this gesture is used by parents to warn their child when they are misbehaving, meaning something like “you’re in trouble!”. We explained the Dutch meaning, and apologised for unintentionally offending her mother. She then explained the situation to her mother. She came out of the kitchen again and she and my wife exchanged nods and smiles from a distance, so they were on good terms again.


Molasses and golden syrup are a bit different than stroop, though. Molasses being a lot more bitter, and golden syrup being both golden and tasting differently.

Looks like both of them are a variant of treacle, as would stroop be.


I’m so happy I started this thread! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Thank you all for your replies.

I think I’m interested in this since I was a child.
I used to read thoroughly encyclopedias we had at home and found some nice bits.
One was representing an African man dressed with ribbons and feathers (such for some traditional dance) which was strange looking for an European. He was staring at an European lawyer with traditional black cape and wig and the tagline was: if he looks weird to you, you might look weird to him as well! :grin:

Another funny piece was about greeting: in some place (which I don’t remember) it’s usual to greet people showing one’s tongue. In Italy it’s a mocking gesture, typical for children.

Italians often try to avoid rude honesty. We could be easily offended by a very honest comment.
Being diplomatic is a must. In recent years this was brought to a complete new level by politicians so now they say the opposite of what they’re doing but with beautiful words:
“Buona scuola” (good school) is the name of a law reducing funds for public schools.
“Tutele crescenti” (increasing protection) is a law which makes firing workers easier, and so on.

We absolutely don’t do that. You’re supposed not to do any noise with your mouth while eating whatever kind of food! :grin:

We are especially bad at this. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Many years ago I went to Norway and was astonished by people standing perfectly in line just to get into a pub!


This must be pretty standard globally though isn’t it?
Just standard marketing. I’ve always been fascinated by breweries’ “best bitter” which is just name for whatever the bog standard beer is and not at all their “best” or laundry and cleaning products that go something like super>power>max>ultimate>quantum>infinity since if you start with super or best meaning cheapest/worst then you soon run out of words.
Similar with Starbucks where “tall”=small and then you get Grande, venti and trente since I guess foreign words better disguise the negative connotations of stupidly large drinks!


In a communication course I’ve learnt the word “framing” for that. My rephrasing would be: put a nice golden frame around it and also a turd will look fancy.

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To be honest, I find this accurate: Starbucks doesn’t have small serving sizes, the tall is indeed pretty tall.


A nice counter proverb to “you can’t polish a turd”


Ah yes, ethnography of the so called “civilized” peoples!

So, how do Swiss people recognise non-locals?

I. They try to imitate (not learn) dialect. Don’t do that, unless you’re very confident, and do not do it at all if you are from northern Germany. Southern Germany is fine, because Swabish and Badnish are borderline-Swiss German anyway. If you learn it, however, because you want to take part in our culture and actually live here, then do so!

II. They don’t greet when leaving shops. When you enter, it doesn’t matter, except when it’s a tiny village store where you are on a first-name base with the shopkeeper. But upon paying, packing and leaving, we say ‘bye, thanks, have a nice day’ to the cashier.

III. Swiss people are generally grumpy, but we have some basic manners. We greet strangers on the street if outside of cities and say thank you in all directions to every little service. But small talk at the bus station? Eww.

okay, I’m starting to just list things that pop into my mind now.

IV. It is perfectly acceptable to have a little snack between 09.00 and 10.00 and then again around 16.00. And yes, we use 24-hour format, but say “four” when we see 16. Always, no exceptions. Except when reading timetables. We love timetables. We have the best timetables, trust me. Beautiful. Nobody in Europe has a railway network more precise than ours. Like a Swiss f*ing watch. The train from Bern to Zurich leaves every 30 minutes at x.02 and x.32 and arrives there at y.58 and y.28. You have exactly nine minutes to change platforms to take the train to Chur, leaving Zurich y.37. This is the beauty of the “Taktfahrplan”, where all trains arrive before and leave after .00 and .30.

V. When we were in Lyon two years ago, we were a bit shocked to find that there are almost no cafés open in the afternoon to grab a coffee and some cake. Have these people never heard of the four-o’clock snack, which can consist of coffee&cake? We did indeed find a spot, but we were the only ones in there. What

VI. Swiss people are usually incapable of making open criticism towards people in higher positions. Rather they “make the fist in the pocket”, as we say. If one actually can articulate criticism, it is only because they do in fact not believe the person in question to be in a higher position. This can happen fairly often.

VII. Swiss people take great pride in their egalitarian society, but have a secret hate-love for authorities.

VIII. You Must Separate Your Rubbish. Seriously. PET to PET, plastic bottles to plastic bottles, greens to greens, paper to paper, cardboard to cardboard, metal to metal. I once was in Poland at a friend’s home and wanted to throw away some document I didn’t need anymore. “Throw it in the dust bin!” she said. A white paper inside a black garbage bag?

IX. When you walk through residencial areas in bigger cities, you sometimes come across small furniture or boxes with trinkets and odds and ends, or books inside them. They usually come with a note attached “For free - take one with you”. Which is a terrible way of getting rid of your trash and borderline-illegal. But sometimes you might find a good book or video game.

X. Thrift shops (“Brockenstube”, “Brocki”) are a big thing. Every major city has several of them. Bring in your old stuff and get a coupon for a coffee, stay around and buy some new old stuff. These shops are a blend of museum and shop, and especially Students like to go there to furnish their Wohngemeinschaften (WG) for little expense – an apartment shared by three or four people in education or training, far away from home. The Brocki down my street has furniture, kitchen utensils, books, clothes, home electronics, game consoles, games, records, CD, dishes, pans, trinkets of all sorts. Some people call it junk. Us, we call it treasures. These Brockis and their connection to WGs are the reason why a many Student’s apartments you’ll see have a grandma-vibe to them.