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24 WHEN CULTURES COLLIDE

Stereotyping is dangerous, but generalizing is a fair guide at the national level.


A particular Dane may resemble a certain Portuguese, but a Danish choir or soc-
cer team is easily distinguishable from its Portuguese equivalent. Generalizing
on national traits breaks down with individuals but stands firm with large num-
bers.
Our cultural spectacles, then, blur the vision of any nationals when they con-
sider their foreign interlocutors. Figure 2.3 illustrates the barriers to communi-
cation Japanese reticence erects when faced with Latin exuberance, and Figure
2.4 shows the relative ease with which two Latin peoples can communicate with
each other by virtue of wearing similar spectacles.
It is worth pointing out that the French and Italians do not like each other

JAPANESE

shyness
distrust changeability

modesty volatile

dislike extroversion
slowness
extroversion

silence distrust of fast talk

talks fast
minimal speech
distrust of over-emotion

emotion
abruptness
distrust of gestures

clumsy expression body language

Japanese distrust of words


Japanese non-calibration
verbosity

LATINS

Figure 2.3 Barriers to Communication: Japanese and Latins