What do the UK and Japan have in common?
Actually, with regards to manners, more than you might think. Let's look at do's and don'ts when interacting with the British!
* Stand in line (queue): Common in many countries. Especially when waiting for the bus. "Pushing in" is very disrespectful.
* Take your hat off indoors: Mostly for men. This is more important for the older generation.
* Say excuse me: If someone is in your way and you need them to move, just say this! If you just push them you may well start an undesirable situation!
* Pay as you go in pubs and bars: Unless you really need a bar tab or are receiving table service, pay for your drinks immediately if you can. It is usually easier for everyone, including the staff that serve you.
* Announce who's next and be prepared to wait: British bars and pubs are much busier than those in Japan. Some bars I have worked in could be 2 or 3 lines deep! It is polite to say to the staff that another person should be served first if you know this to be true. Those people will usually make eye contact with you as you say so and it denotes gratitude.
* Make eye contact with the staff as soon as possible: Similarly, if you fail to make brief eye contact with the serving staff at the bar, they may ignore you and serve someone else instead! Eye contact means "I now know you are there and I will get to you as soon as I can." Looking away or talking to friends means "I am fine for now - skip me!"
* Say sorry, please and thank you: It is rude to not say any of them when needed. Even if someone crashes into YOU, it is polite to say sorry! In fact, any physical contact, no matter how slight, should be met with an apology.
* Open doors for people: PLEASE do this if you go to England! It is very annoying when a door just crashes into your face because someone is not paying attention to others. It is particularly bad if you let a heavy door close on a mother with a baby or a senior citizen. Both men and women hold doors open - it depends on who goes through the door first.
* Cover your mouth when sneezing, coughing etc: Especially if you are very close to someone!
* Drive on the left side of the road: Just like Japan! This one should be easy! And please use your indicator (turning signal) all the time.
* Ask a lady her age!
* Spit in the street: This is dirty and disgusting to many British people!
* Stare at people: This is strange and sometimes frightening (especially for women), and it can also invoke conflict (especially for men).
* Show up too early at someone's home: If you have been invited to somebody's house, showing up too early (like half an hour) can sometimes be an inconvenience to your hosts, who are trying to get everything ready.
* Talk on your phone when talking to other people: I have seen people do this a few times in England. They talk on their phones while dealing with bank staff and at the supermarket checkout etc. Do not copy them - it isn't polite behaviour!
* Leave valuables in plain site: Especially on the train when falling asleep, or in the supermarket while packing. England is generally honest and safe but it is not Japan and you never know.
* Forget to leave a tip: In restaurants this is common, but in pubs a little less common. The higher the class of the place, the more likely it is that you should tip.
* Park directly in front of someone's home: In England, many homes have a driveway for car access - obstructing it is not only annoying, it is also illegal.
* Stand drinking at a busy bar: If the bar counter is busy, please move away from it once you have your drink so that others can get in to be served.
I hope that was interesting. Have fun if you go to the UK!