29 Apr Manage Your Manners

During the 5 years I lived in Japan I committed my fair share of cultural faux pas. Dressing incorrectly, saying the wrong thing, exposing my misunderstanding of basic social rules… I unwittingly checked all of these missteps off my list. However none were more memorable, or more embarrassing, than those rules I broke at the dinner table. (Never stick your chopsticks point down in your rice. Trust me on this.) Table manners are a sign of civility and good character everywhere in the world. Unfortunately, “good” and “bad” etiquette is subjective dependent on culture, which can lead to unintentionally rude behavior. There are a few tried and true rules that transcend location (chew with your mouth closed, wash your hands, don’t throw things) but the rest are tricky. We’ve compiled five of the harder ones below. Read on to become a politer you! Italy – No cappuccino after 12pm Cappuccino is a morning drink. Indeed, for many Italians it can function as their entire breakfast. Therefore, anyone ordering it after noon is instantly identifiable as a tourist. Older Italians will admonish you for ruining your appetite and upsetting your tummy. Stay on the safe side and order espresso instead. Britain – Hold your fork in your left hand For most of mainland Europe, and particularly Britain, the approved way to hold your fork and knife is in the “Continental Style.” (Does that mean Americans use the “Colonial Style?” Need to look into this…) To be correctly...

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28 Jan Play With Your Food

Do you like to get creative with your food, or harbor a secret passion for a good food fight? If you answered "yes" to any of those queries, or if you have just started flinging food about at the very suggestion, then you’ll love these quirky, messy, no-holds-barred food festivals from around the world.   Ivrea Carnival and Orange Battle, Italy, February/March Prepare for a pummeling at this three-day food fight, held in the small northern Italian city of Ivrea in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday. Around 400 tons worth of over ripe oranges are brought in from southern Italy for the epic battle, which re-enacts a Middle Ages rebellion against the Holy Roman Emperor known as Barbarossa (Red Beard). Thousands of people in medieval costumes gather in teams, with the king’s guards pelting foot soldiers and other carriage teams from their horse-drawn carts.   Copper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake, UK, May Yes it could just be the cheesiest festival in the world. Held atop steep Cooper’s Hill in the village of Brockworth near Gloucester, the event involves rolling an eight pound cheese wheel down the hill and racing down after it at death-defying speeds. The official event was cancelled in 2010 due to concerns around crowds and safety, but was quickly resurrected in an unofficial form. Last year, organizers replaced the Double Gloucester cheese wheel with a lightweight foam version, and a Colorado Springs estate agent and a Japanese contestant each won one...

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07 Aug Animation Innovation

When it comes to dominance in the field of animation, Japan and the USA usually get most of the credit for groundbreaking characters and massively popular franchises. This severely maligns the contributions of many other talented industries, foremost among them the UK. Many of the most beloved cartoon characters of the past 50 years are British. Here are Panrimo’s Top 7: 7) The Snowman [caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Do you wanna build a snowman?[/caption] http://www.sfsymphony.org/SanFranciscoSymphony/media/Library/Artist-Images/S/Snowman_480x270.jpg?width=480&height=270&ext=.jpg Long before Elsa took over as the Snow Queen, the reigning power of the winter wonderland was a friendly, carrot-nosed snowman who never uttered a single word. Anyone who has seen this British film can attest to the childlike joy that the flight over the forest evokes. C’mon, you know you want to revisit this classic. 6) Paddington Bear [caption id="attachment_980" align="aligncenter" width="600"] In that hat, he's practically invincible.[/caption] http://www.thewrap.com/sites/default/files/2013/Jun/07/96071/8536-2.jpg Most Americans know Paddington best as a storybook character, but he also starred in his own, very successful TV show, the earliest episodes of which aired back in the 1970s. He has since returned to the small screen in two more series, broadcast across a variety of networks. Not bad for a small bear! 5) Dennis the Menace [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="406"] Nice rugby shirt, Dennis.[/caption] http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/Dennis_the_Menace.jpg Dennis is arguably the most famous character to have gotten his start in ‘The Beano’ a long-running British comic (since 1938!). Though he has been cast in American and British versions, both animated and live action, his roots lie in...

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19 Jan Passing through Social Faux Pas in London

[caption id="attachment_2343" align="alignnone" width="660"] Tip #1: Don't wear these masks.[/caption] While England and the US share a de facto official language (English, although legally the US has no official language), it’s clear that cultures and customs remain distinct, and occasionally incompatible. Navigating social situations can become tricky, particularly when addressing international politics (Ireland anyone?). Keeping that in mind, I present a few guidelines when speaking with London locals, superiors, or even (if blind chance intercedes) the Queen. First, be aware of small talk. Britons are more reserved than Americans. Idle discussion with a new coworker can prove uncomfortable. Don’t take it personally if they shrug you off and bury their face in a newspaper or computer. Likely, your positive demeanor and openness for discussion took the individual off-guard. Throw in a couple self-deprecating statements about yourself and you might just open them up as well. Recognizing the function of humor, sarcasm and wit in British discourse will be your most important tool. And don’t get unnerved if your statements elicits sarcasm; this is a defense mechanism employed when conversation has struck a tender spot for the individual. Don’t take sarcasm or irony personally; offer a bit of your own (without making a fool of yourself) and this impasse may be crossed. If you’ve struck up a light conversation, it’s best to stick to open questions as opposed to loaded ones (“what do you think about the Queen?”) or personal assertions. Comment on the weather and...

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