National habits and the way they are perceived by people around are topical issues that not only modern sociologists are concerned about. Similar researches were conducted by Herodotus who tried to establish the difference between Asians and Europeans. In Middle Ages humans were busy with other things however in Modern History with its numerous technological and humanistic revolutions brought best minds of the planet back to the problem.
Nowadays scientists are lucky because there is no need to collect data painstakingly and rely on somebody else's words – thank to modern means of transportation and communication one can live, say, in Ethiopia and have a great idea of how Canadians live. Still, deeply-rooted clichés from the past don't even think of dying but they don't promote understanding.
Economy is on siesta – and it is good
There is hardly a person who doesn't point finger at Spaniards, or more precisely at their habit to have a nap for an hour or two or at least have some rest from work after a sound lunch. And that would probably be a Greek because that's how they do things, too. According to insisting world-spread opinion, while we work by sweat of our brows, an average Spaniard relaxes on a comfy couch in the middle of the day. Should we take real statistics instead of proofless myths, it turns out that inhabitants of the Apennine indeed have siesta; it's just it does no harm to their work and labor efficiency – to the contrary, it boosts their coefficient of performance. Over recent years Spain, that is considered a poor country according to European standards, shows confident GDP growth. More to that, in certain branches Spanish economy even outdoes "basic" German one. And world's richest person 2015 is a Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega Gaona, founder of Inditex, world's largest corporation involved in clothes production.
British football hooligans
Over the whole twentieth century sports world quite literally bewailed British habits of supporting their favorites on stadiums. City authorities and police all over the world sighed with relief on arrival of few fans from the Foggy Albion because as nearly as every trip of theirs ended up in mass disturbances. Tragedy of 1985 in Brussels became a pinnacle of all that when due to actions of Liverpool fans 39 supporters of Italian Juventus died and hundreds ended up in hospitals. After that a tough decision was made: British clubs were barred from international tournaments for 5 years. Having received such a broad punishment, Britons carried out correction of errors and literally changed near-football culture. Since than not only on the field but outside it the British maintain reputation of gentlemen although people are still afraid of them. Meanwhile, in terms of number of fights, scandals, disorders and knifing on stadiums they have been long ago outdone by Italians, Turks and Balkans citizens. It is all proved by police reports.
Japanese office: a place for harakiri?
Outside the Land of the Rising Sun it is commonly believed that the Japaneese quite literally live at work. Prices for every single thing are high, there are a lot of people on a small territory so only nimble ones survive so be ready: you work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; if you missed your train, you spend your night in a grey office, too. Probably, such a myth works to the advantage of Tokyo and other metropolises so they are in no rush to defy it however, should we have a closer look, we figure out that these are Japanese who mostly work in small business or in such spheres where no one is tied to a chair or a computer for life. About 72% of able-bodied population have no idea what corporate culture, dress-code and tasteless coffee from a vending machine is. Almost all of those people are engaged in business they like in small, oftentimes family companies where everyone knows and supports everyone, their working day rarely lasts later than 5 p.m. More to that, with even more detailed look you learn that every fifth working Japanese surely has some sort of time-consuming hobby whether it be archery, ikebana or ancient calligraphy. And entertainment sphere, that is second only to American one in terms of money volumes, also raises the question: who then works days and nights? Most frequently these are Asians who come from other, less developed countries, who live in offices and it seems like Japanese had worked their share out back in 1960s-1980s when the country was getting richer literally in front of everybody’s eyes.
Every traveler must have met this Frenchman at least once in his life who is reluctant to even try and speak English outside his own country and take offense when people don’t understand him. More to that, Frenchmen aged over fifty would use it but they don’t know a single foreign language. These facts are enough to charge offspring of De Gaulle with arrogance and narcissism.
But it isn’t that simple. The thing is that some fifty years ago it was French that half the world if not more spoke. Therefore generation of present time persons of ripe age didn’t see much of a sense in studying other languages. As to modern youngsters, not just in Paris but even in sleepy hollows seven out of ten people speak perfect English. As to self-admiration, according to reports of the UN and other international organizations, egoistic France ranks third after the USA and Japan in volumes of humanitarian and financial aid they provide to other states and peoples.
Smile to everyone – open up to a psychologist
Hollywood movies that congested all countries and continents have been more than just entertainment for a long time. Prominent scientists and philosophers including Baudrillard believe: in future using it the way we use ancient Greek myths they will study these or those aspects of Americans’ life. This code that people read from screens has taken roots in minds of “non-Americans” together with the idea that in the States every single person is unceremonious and that backslapping reigns everywhere. Smiles, polite questions, small talks aren’t just tricks of script writers but things one can come across everywhere whether it be Manhattan or Oklahoma. Nevertheless, this is just a top of an iceberg. Americans only pretend to be sociable and this impression wears away in a split seconds should a person sincerely answer how-are-you question if he or she isn’t in fact fine. It’s not just that they don’t outpour problems to another person – it is even considered indecent to do so. No one is going to listen, even out of courtesy, because in the United States it is customary to deal with problems on your own or with a help of a psychologist – and about one fifth of adult population uses services of one. Therefore you’ll hardly manage to get load off your mind, but as to make lots of new acquaintances within an hour and half a nice chat – that’s no problem.
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