What is your biggest cultural shock and realization from visiting China?
Ranjeet Rain, Live in China. It's like my second home.
Originally Answered: What was your biggest culture shock going to China?
There are numerous things that come across as “weird” to a first time visitor in China. There are too many of those, but let me jot a few from top of my head.
1.Crowds - Well, not a culture shock for those from Asia but for most Europeans the first thing that strikes them is how crowded China is. Prepare to queue nearly wherever you go. Subway, Bus-stop, even restaurants.
2.Smell - This is the craziest thing, and perhaps the most offending of them all, about China that stares you in the face. Small markets, specially the street food markets have a unfamiliar, some what choking, strong smell. This is true of all food markets, regardless of whether the market has “fish shops” or not. I guess it’s due to the oil they use. Is it some kind of oil extracted from fish!?? Don’t know! Fortunately, if you are going to be there for a long time, in a few weeks to a month or two your body gets used to it.
4.Oral Hygiene - Well, I am struggling to put this into words. How to say - Chinese people don’t brush their teeth. At least they don’t do it daily/regularly. I guess the few that brush their teeth regularly are the ones with foreign education or have lived abroad. Others simply don’t understand the importance of oral hygiene in China. Till 8-10 years ago it was hard to find good quality toothpaste in China, even in western super marts such as Carrefour.
5.Helpfulness - Well, I found most Chinese people to be extremely helpful. Some will run away from you if you try to approach them to ask something, but you shouldn’t take that otherwise. They are running away due to shyness. The ones that are not shy and would dare to have conversation with you in broken English/Chinglish or part English part Chinese will come across as extremely helpful.
Once I was going somewhere in Shanghai. After getting down the subway I just wouldn’t understand which way to go. I asked a gentleman, he tried explaining me I couldn’t understand. He crossed the road with me, walked with me 50 steps when I was well on my path correctly showed me the direction. I was so pleasantly shocked with his gesture.
On another occassion I was lost trying to find an address. I asked a guy who wouldn’n know either. He turned on 3G connection on his smartphone. Opened maps, zoomed in to it, got an idea of the address then guided me correctly. I wouldn’t expect so much help. It is simply remarkable.
6.Gender bias - Well, you would notice much less gender bias in China than you would expect. For instance, the “sweepers/cleaners” for washrooms can be either gender. I often noticed female cleaners doing their job dutifully inside the male washrooms even as men were standing doing their “business”. No “oh could you all please back off and gimme a second to clean the space before you can go ahead and do your business?” nonsense, plain duty with diligence.
Similarly, a large number of (if not majority of) “adult toy” shops are run by girls/women.
7.They eat all of the chicken. Yes all of it. And I mean all of it. They don’t even skin it. And feet! Some might find it offending to even hear, but Chinese don’t even leave out their feet. Supermarkets/Fresh shops are full of “Fried Chicken Feet” (did I just invent a new product category?) that Chinese love to munch on. Well, I guess in the past there must have been an acute shortage of food in China that gave rise to such food choices!
8.Vomiting in the subway - I have come across a number of instances (too many to not notice it) of people so badly drunk, they have no idea where they are and what they are doing. Of course, it also means some of them will puke and the surrounding spaces will all at a sudden be empty in an otherwise crowded train.
譯文來源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47639.html 譯者：Joyceliu
9.Price by weight - I was frustrated of being cheated by the Chinese first few weeks I arrived here. They would always charge me double the amount. Poor me! I won’t be able to tell them anything as I could hardly say anything other than “ni hao” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you) in Chinese. It took me a while to realize that Chinese price their stuff by “Half a Kilogram”. I.e. if something has a tag of ¥5.70, and if you order 1 Kg of it, you need to pay ¥11.40 and not ¥5.70 as you may have thought. Wierd, isn’t it? Hello China!
10.Discount on list - In most countries discount is expressed in percentage. As in 15% off, 20% off, 50% off and so on. In China, they would mention what multiplier you need to pay. I.e. if something is available for a 25% discount, the discount indicator will read .75. Chinese like maths, don’t they!
11.Age of a baby - So you are going to China with a 4 year old? Be ready for a surprise. As soon as your baby enters China, his/her age become 5 :) Well, that’s because, in China, babies are supposed to be already one year old when they are born. So a 3 day young infant is not a 3-day old baby, it’s a one year 3 days old baby. Genius! :)
12.There is no ground floor - Well, you would be totally baffled to know that there is no “ground floor” in any building anywhere in China. So where did they all go? Don’t worry, they are all there. Just that the Chinese don’t call them the ground floor. They call it, well, hold your breath, the “first floor”.
Oh yeah, whatever it may mean, the “ground floor” is called the “first floor” in China.
So, now you many wanna ask - “what the hell do they call the ‘first floor’ then?”. Well, simple - they call it the “second floor” ;)
13.Fakes/Knock offs - Well, perhaps this is no more a shock by now (less or more the entire world knows by now). But you can buy a cheaper knock off of almost anything expensive. From watches to bags to perfume. Chinese are experts at manufacturing “Hi copy” or “First copy” products. Rolex, Cartier, Tag Heuer, LV, Gucci, Versace, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Rayban, name the brand and you can find a first copy at a fraction of the price of the original.
14.Domestic flights - Well, let’s just say that they run late. And the airlines don’t even inform you in advance about it so you can plan on utilizing your time better. They wouldn’t even say “4 hours delay” at once. They will shift the departure time in 30 minute blocks. When the boarding time nears, you wind up and ready yourself to queue (yes there is a queue, long ones, for everything in China) they will announce the flight is being pushed back by half an hour (again). Now you would rush back to find yourself a seat (again). Well, the wise ones don’t get up in the first place until the boarding has actually begun :)
15.Public bath/spas - Well, this is incredibly funny. But if you go to a spa or a swimming pool in China you are very highly likely to notice this phenomena that you wouldn’t anywhere else, specially if the pool is small and cold.
When you pass by someone you will suddenly feel warm current. Jesus! People peeing in the pool? Like seriously!? I have joked about this with my Chinese friends and they all admit having experience this. Well, at least the ones I know, or I go along with, they now understand the need to empty themselves before stepping in to the pool
And I swear to God I have seen poop floating in the small (2x2 meter) pool in a small time spa. Well… …
16.Well, gotta go. Will add more later!