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What is worse in Europe

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by kennethpollock, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. pinchi22

    pinchi22 Senior member

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    Far be it for me to bash Europe as I live there, and love much of it, but let´s face it: there are many things that are worse on this side of the pond (IMHO).

    - The customer usually can´t shop on Sunday. One can´t blame Wal Mart for this; it existed well before. As Sunday is when most people shop, they all run around on Saturday to do these errands.

    - Human diversity: Despite immigration and the fuss it is causing, most European workplaces are relatively homogeous. When I worked at a (Republican dominated) company in the US, my professional colleagues were Asian, Afro-American, and European. In my comparable job in Europe, all are nationals, except for the Latin American mail dept.

    - Environmental diversity: I´ve seen and admire both Mallorcan calas and the Swiss alps. But, the US has California, Hawai, Alaska, New Mexico, Montana all under one (national) roof.

    - Food: I´m a great admirer of, say, jamon de bellota, but some foods such as Oregon cherries, potatos (Dan Quayle!), Maryland blue crabs, etc. are simply better in the US.

    - Political debate: Yes, G.W. Bush is no Abe Lincoln, but the political debate in Europe can be even worse. Witness Le Pen or the recent debate in Spain as to how many nations are within the nation. Or the quality of democracy under Berlusconi (hmm, anyone want to argue there was an independent press?).

    - Political hypocrisy: I´m hardly one to defend GWB over Kyoto, but at least his stand is consistent. Is it really better to sit at a bar in Spain criticizing him, before smoking another cigarette (class A pollute for your brethern) and getting in one´s SUV (Spain´s emissions are 40% over the Kyoto limit).

    - Entrepreneurial capitalism: Yes, I know this means the savage wild west, but it has created many things that Europeans also enjoy (affordable cotton clothing, low cost airlines, telephone, the internet, incandescent lighting, generic medicines, etc.). When my successfull, entrepreneurial European colleagues go to a European headhunter, they´re told they´re unsuitable. When they go to a U.S. headhunter, they´re told they have a valuable skill.
     
  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Let's not underestimate the rule of PC talk.

    As to the French Canadians, I absolutely disagree.


    As an Asian-Canadian with a distinctly Anglophone accent when I speak French, I have met with more than my fair share of hostility in Quebec, especially in rural Quebec and in Quebec City. Montreal is a whole different story, of course.

    As for PC talk, I've usually dated Caucasians, and am married to one, and nowhere in the US have I gotten more stares and muttered comments than I have in Europe, especially in the Latin countries, including in France.
     
  3. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    As an Asian-Canadian with a distinctly Anglophone accent when I speak French, I have met with more than my fair share of hostility in Quebec, especially in rural Quebec and in Quebec City. Montreal is a whole different story, of course.

    As for PC talk, I've usually dated Caucasians, and am married to one, and nowhere in the US have I gotten more stares and muttered comments than I have in Europe, especially in the Latin countries, including in France.


    I think the hatred existing between some French-speaking and some English-speaking Canadians is mutual and probably equal. As a French speaker from France, I've been attacked by Canadian anglophones who thought I was French-Canadian, and I found I had to explain over and over where I was from, which usually calms people down. I once asked a French-speaking Canadian who she felt she had more in common with, an English-speaking Canadian, or a French national, and she answered: a French national, of course.

    I can't dispute your own experience (but are you sure it wasn't because of the way you were dressed...[​IMG] ). People mutter and whisper when I pass by too, sometimes (probably because I'm often in the company of ... an American!)
     
  4. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I've always thought Europe to be quite cordial, and France seems to have a precedent of tolerance for blacks, and such. Witness Josephine Baker, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Marian Anderson, et al. They all chose to be expatriates on account of the racism they encountered in America.

    Even Vienna, that odd bastion of traditional intolerance, was quite pleasant.

    As well, even in China now, if you have some sort of Caucasian significant other, people stare and gossip.
     
  5. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    As an Asian-Canadian
    do you say "whats it all aboot?"
     
  6. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Senior member

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    As well, even in China now, if you have some sort of Caucasian significant other, people stare and gossip.

    I find Japan to be very tolerant in this regard. In a sense, mixed couples have a kind of status-symbol significance.

    The most humorous situation I encounter when I'm out with Pussycat is that store clerks will often address their part of a conversation with me to her, even though I'm the one doing all the talking. It's as if they assume I can't speak Japanese and she's going to act as interpreter, in spite of evidence to the contrary.
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    do you say "whats it all aboot?"

    Why yes, M@T, yes I do.
     
  8. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    THis has gone in another direction, but one other point to make about Taiwan/China is that the two countries have been separate for more than a century. By the end of WWII, Japan had ruled Taiwan for 50 years-- and shortly thereafter came the Communist victory in the Revolution. A long time of being cut off from the mainland. And in Chinese terms, they had been a pretty recent addition to the Empire before that.
     
  9. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    Re: English speaking Canadians and Americans traveling abroad. Years ago, a well traveled English speaking Canadian friend recommended that I wear a Maple Leaf lapel pin when leaving the U.S unless I was traveling to Quebec, where an American flag lapel pin would serve me better.
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I find Japan to be very tolerant in this regard. In a sense, mixed couples have a kind of status-symbol significance.

    The most humorous situation I encounter when I'm out with Pussycat is that store clerks will often address their part of a conversation with me to her, even though I'm the one doing all the talking. It's as if they assume I can't speak Japanese and she's going to act as interpreter, in spite of evidence to the contrary.



    I tried to get a japanese barber to cut my hair once. the look on his face suggested that I had asked him to wipe my ass. that may not have been the common reaction, though, I was too mortified to try another barber.
     
  11. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I tried to get a japanese barber to cut my hair once. the look on his face suggested that I had asked him to wipe my ass. that may not have been the common reaction, though, I was too mortified to try another barber.
    I suspect there may have been some sort of ceremony that involved bowing in order to request a hair cut.
     
  12. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Senior member

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    I tried to get a japanese barber to cut my hair once. the look on his face suggested that I had asked him to wipe my ass. that may not have been the common reaction, though, I was too mortified to try another barber.
    The Japanese have an unfortunate tendency to freeze up in the presence of a foreigner, particularly where the language barrier comes into play. Just as you were too mortified to try another barber, he was probably mortified that he couldn't communicate with you and thereby make sure you were completely satisfied. One thing the Japanese are careful to do is confirm every request or every step of a process. In the case of a haircut, this is particularly important, as the possibility of dissatisfaction is very great. Japanese is a rather oblique language and also tends to be quite vague. There's a particular psychology to communicating in Japanese that involves a lot of apologizing and saying "please" and "thank you." It becomes rather bloated with ceremonial embellishments. A typical conversation might go as follows: "I'm terribly sorry to bother you when you're so busy, but could you possibly see fit to cut my hair. If it's not to much trouble, please be so good as to just give me a trim." "I don't mean to interrupt, but would you care to have it cut if over your ears?" "Yes, I'd very much appreciate it if you could do that for me." "And with regard to the back, would you prefer that I cut it square or perhaps tapered?" "Well, you're the barber, so ultimately I would leave it to your discretion, but usually I get it cut tapered." "Very well. You would like me to trim you hair over the ears and taper the back. Have I understood you correctly?" "Yes, I believe you've understood correctly." "Very well, then. Shall we proceed?" "Yes, let's." And so it goes. While this is somewhat exaggerated for effect, it is not all that far from how Japanese often comes off.
     
  13. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I like that interpretation - as this was during the boom days of the japanese econmomy, I just assumed that the barber didn't feel comfortable working with curly, course hair.


    The Japanese have an unfortunate tendency to freeze up in the presence of a foreigner, particularly where the language barrier comes into play. Just as you were too mortified to try another barber, he was probably mortified that he couldn't communicate with you and thereby make sure you were completely satisfied.

    One thing the Japanese are careful to do is confirm every request or every step of a process. In the case of a haircut, this is particularly important, as the possibility of dissatisfaction is very great.

    Japanese is a rather oblique language and also tends to be quite vague. There's a particular psychology to communicating in Japanese that involves a lot of apologizing and saying "please" and "thank you." It becomes rather bloated with ceremonial embellishments.

    A typical conversation might go as follows:
    "I'm terribly sorry to bother you when you're so busy, but could you possibly see fit to cut my hair. If it's not to much trouble, please be so good as to just give me a trim."

    "I don't mean to interrupt, but would you care to have it cut if over your ears?"

    "Yes, I'd very much appreciate it if you could do that for me."

    "And with regard to the back, would you prefer that I cut it square or perhaps tapered?"

    "Well, you're the barber, so ultimately I would leave it to your discretion, but usually I get it cut tapered."

    "Very well. You would like to to trim you hair over the ears and taper the back. Have I understood you correctly?"

    "Yes, I believe you've understood correctly."

    "Very well, then. Shall we proceed?"

    "Yes, let's."

    And so it goes. While this is somewhat exaggerated for effect, it is not all that far from how Japanese often comes off.
     

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