Cultural Imports

I’ve been around the world more than the average person in the last few years, both traveling through places and living places. When I encounter a new bit of culture that I like, I try to incorporate it in to my life. Over time, I should end up with the best culture ever.

Here’s the stuff I like, by the places I have lived or traveled through for a long period of time:

Canada

(Impossible to say, one cannot know what is unique about one’s own culture)

Southeast Asia

Amazing and healthy stir-fry.
Slow, meandering walking pace when the time’s right.
Collared shirts with the top few buttons undone.
A major religion (Buddhism) that isn’t dogmatic and intimidating, but rather about self-fulfillment.

United States

Really fast shipping times.
Explicitly stating what you want and acting like you deserve it (borders on assholery, sometimes).
Every minute problem you could have has been productized already and you just need to send someone money.

India

Straight dudes not being afraid of physical contact.
People don’t hold back from expressing enthusiasm.
Indians know how to throw family parties.

UK

Pub culture
At pubs, people order beer in rounds. This is very relaxed and no one worries about having spent more than anyone else.
Amazingly organized transit system; public infrastructure really seems to have its shit together.
Adorable vocabulary (banter, cheeky, cheers, etc.)
Very easy to have conversations with strangers.
British attitude of having your shit together, ready to be a gentleman in any situation.
Pre-cooked but otherwise ready-to-eat meals (i.e. a bag of stirfry) are very common in supermarkets.
I barely saw any urban sprawl: urban and rural space is used very efficiently.

Here’s the stuff I dislike

Canada

(nothing, obviously)
In Ontario and other parts of Canada, liquor laws are oddly strict compared to the rest of the world.
Tax and tip not being included in prices is asinine. This was very obvious when I got back from Britain. You don’t really appreciate how terrible the pay-at-the-end-mental-tip-arithmetic-clusterfuck is until you experience life without it.

United States

They worship the car. In 100 years, you will probably be able to drive your car into your office and your bedroom and only leave it then.
Ratrace spirit. Less of a sense of collective good.
Fox News.

Southeast Asia

General 3rd-world asian population density chaos.

India

Even more 3rd-world asian population density chaos.
Population that can’t handle their booze and/or thinks alcohol is evil.
Somewhat uncomfortable idol worship (i.e. people injuring themselves to try to cure movie stars)
Super-conservative attitudes towards sex.
No cashier ever has change. Ever.

UK

Too many road signs everywhere.
The monarchy.
Bars close incredibly early.
Everything is expensive and coins are more heavy than necessary.

(Do you have anything you’d like to add from your experiences?)

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3 Responses to Cultural Imports

  1. Stumbley Rumble says:

    Japan:
    The cashier ALWAYS has change – even if they have dig in their own wallets, ask other employees for money or to run to the bank while you wait – they WILL have change for your 10,000yen bill. No one will fault you for bringing that kind of money to a 100yen shop :D

  2. Quellan says:

    I quite liked the heavy coins in the UK. They seemed to impart some weight to your purchases. Suddenly, whether to order soup or salad is a decision that will alter the course of the world for centuries to come.

  3. George says:

    Here are some things I hate about living in Canada (compared to the US):
    1. Canada post is terrible, why? Worse than US postal service and, from what I hear, worse than the British post.
    2. The Internet often has USA only content, this annoys me. It is hard to really assign blame for this, but I would like to use stuff like Hulu and Pandora and not have all links to daily show clips broken even though they are ALSO free in Canada. Canada and the USA have the same DVD region code, so can’t this also be better?
    3. Telecoms are 20% worse than in the US
    4. It is unreasonably difficult to find high quality pizza
    5. Books are strangely expensive, although they are getting more expensive in America. Also, Amazon.com is more awesome in ‘Merica.

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