Travel Observatory: NewsWhistle’s Take On World Culture

One of the best things about traveling is spotting similarities in world cultures, noticing how different people can have similar interests, personalities and habits even though they’re borders apart.

Granted, travel is an individual experience, but we can’t help to think that no matter where we come from we’re all a lot more alike than we think.

We’ve heard Korean and Chinese folk songs that sound exactly like American cowboy songs. We’ve compared Nolita of Manhattan to Sheungwan of Hong Kong.

We were amazed at the Greeks love of French fries.

A morning call to prayer at a Mosque sounds similar to a cantor’s chant inside a temple.

Taxi drivers, no matter their location, complain like the best of them.

And it’s always hard for us to resist a comparison between Germany and Japan. Not because of their World War II alliance, but because how these two wonderful countries and their people are so alike.

Except for the food preferences (German food is even more expensive and saltier), these two countries share many traits. Here are just some of them we’ve spotted:

German and Japanese hotels are ridiculously clean. No matter the number of stars, your lodgings will be spotless.

Both German and Japanese cities can be ridiculously quiet – whether it’s the silence on city streets or inside local transportation. The trains are so hushed, in both places, you’ll feel like you’re committing a crime talking to your colleague.

Everything in Germany and Japan works. Efficiency is a badge of honor.

Manufactured products in both countries are superior. Even their toilet paper produces no lint.

On the downside, local businesses are understaffed. It’s hard to find a human being to help you, for example, if you are stuck trying to exit a parking garage and can’t figure out how to pay the fee to lift the crossbar.

Also, both countries are well developed so travelers aren’t going to find as many values or luxuries as they would in other destinations. An example? In Germany, you need to walk 15 minutes to get to a hired car from the train. In Japan, expect a two-hour bus ride from one of the main airports into Tokyo.

Nevertheless, both cultures are artsy and creative.

Humor is not lost on them.

Neither is sexual expression.

Their sense of design and style is exceptional.

Their desserts are to die for.

And did we mention their toilet paper is lint-free? Yes? Well it deserves repeating : )

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Photo courtesy of ruskpp/