Terrestrials who visit Gramatia will be heavily surprised with the complex rules of Gramatian etiquette. At first glance an Earth-born person might think Gramatian have no etiquette at all, but that would be plain wrong. Here a quick summary of the most important aspects of etiquette in the Commonwealth of the Gramatian Union.
Rule number 1: give never a handshake. Physical intimacy is restricted to relatives and close friends. Instead greeting is done by raising one’s hand and saying “Good day!”. Kissing someone you do not want to have children with, is an absolute faux pas.
Second rule: ask the other quickly how he or she is doing, but never ask about how his/her relatives or friends are doing – unless you are one of them.
Third rule: avoid personal questions with anyone who is not a relative or a close friend.
If one travels using public transportation, especially in buses, street cars or the subway, one should be silent. In trains you can talk, if you are in a private coupé.
It is considered to be a moral obligation to give up your seat for the elderly, infirm, young children and pregnant women.
Also one should not eat or drink in buses, street cars or the subway. However, it is accepted to eat or drink on (long distance) trains, though those have usually special wagons where one can order and eat a meal.
Eating and drinking
Many Gramatians will pray before a meal, especially before dinner, so it is considered to be polite to be silent until all people have finished their prayer (which usually last for about a minute).
It is considered a sign of being civilized to wish another “enjoy your meal”, when he or she is found eating.
Gramatians usually eat with either their hands or with chopsticks, therefore one should wash one’s hand before and after dinner.
During a meal Gramatians will only drink water. Afterwards tea is served. Also toasting is an unknown concept in the country.
Topics to be avoided during a meal are: religion, philosophy, politics, sports and sexual relations. If you want to discuss those, you should go to a teahouse.
When having a business meeting, one will either drink water or tea and depending on the specific context, bread is served.
To be continued…