Different Continent Means Different Body Language, Gestures to Avoid in Asia

Travelling to Asia means you are not just travelling to a different country but a different culture with different customs altogether. That also means different meanings for the body language here, for example you already know what pointing your index and middle finger at someone with the palm of the hand towards you means in UK but a pretty similar gesture means saying hello in Tonga Islands. We have listed a few of the common gestures that have different meanings in Asia.

If you are in the mystic Himalayan nation of Nepal then never try to step over the stretched legs of a local that means a grave insult for the locals. If you get into such a situation where there is no other way for going through other than bypassing a local with stretched legs then politely ask them to give you the way. Similarly if a local asks you to get your stretched legs out of the way then do not take it offensively and move your legs out of the way.

In Asia it is offensive to touch or point at someone with your foot, as feet being the lowest part of the body are considered impure. Similarly, do not try to prop your feet over a table or chair. Also try not to sit on a cushion that is meant to be a head rest as the head is considered spiritually the most important and pure part of the human body. 

Japan is the most modern but still the most traditionalists of the Asian countries, if you get a chance to take a bath in the Japanese hot springs then make sure that you wash your body before entering the water. The water is considered fouled and polluted if you don’t wash yourself. How will you feel if someone pees in your pool, of course you will be disgusted, same will be the feeling of the Japanese taking the bath in that pool if you enter it without washing yourself. In Japan it is considered rude to make a prolonged eye contact or putting your hand in pocket while greeting someone. The Japanese are not fond of touching and hugging so avoid a prolonged hand shake unlike Malaysia and India where a prolonged handshake means that you are glad to meet the person.

China has many similar customs to Japan, like they don’t like being touched that much either so avoid a prolonged handshake in China as well. But having pointed all these things out, this need to be said that if you do make a mistake which is offensive to the locals then a simple word of sorry will suffice as they will understand that you are a tourist from a different culture and you don’t know their customs.

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