It’s a birthright here to have other people listen to your ringtone while you receive your call and shout on the top of your voice. If you do this in Japan, people will stare at you till you leave whatever public premises you are at.
In Japan, regular announcements are made at public places and in trains advising people to keep their phones on silent. It’s called the “manner mode”. You don’t want to be caught dead in a situation where you left it on “loud” because the shame will be enough to make you want to drown yourself in a pool of your own urine!
In Greece, the “hand out” gesture is known as the moutza and is considered extremely offensive (obviously, that’s why it made it to the list).
It dates back to the Byzantine Empire, when criminals were paraded through the streets with blackened faces to shame them publicly. But only if they were lucky, the blackening agent was merely charcoal (which was rarely the case). Usually it was a substance much worse…SHIT!
3. Middle East
In the Middle East, West Africa and South America, this simple “it was awesome” gesture is hideously offensive – you’re practically telling people that you’d like to jam your thumb up their anus!
These people would really have trouble going deep sea diving because if they ever have to signal the guide to come up to surface, they’d be giving mixed signals!
If you’ve ever gone SCUBA you’ll remember the A-Okay sign that we frequently also use to give our approval for something. Well, if you ever use this gesture as a sign of appreciation in Brazil – in response to your hotel manager’s question about the room, for example – you’ll probably get into a brawl from which you won’t come out alive!
It is basically the equivalent of a middle finger in Brazil – something that the US president Richard Nixon didn’t know during the 50s when he “A-Okayed” the whole nation of Brazil with both his hands when he landed there during a visit!