Some probably originate from back when travelling the world was a privilege for the wealthy or the brave, and the tales they brought back from their escapades just seemed to linger on forever. Others surely come from depictions in media of the cultures themselves, often exaggerating certain aspects to make them more recognizable to the less-travelled folk.
But even in an era with all the information of the world ready to debunk these false myths at our fingertips, people still think that in London it rains so much people have to swim to work, and speaking of which…
…It’s always raining in the UK
Let’s start by getting the least “totally wrong” one out of the way. The UK is admittedly kind of rainy, but the myth has been blown out of proportion so much and for so long, it’s surprising that tourists en route to old blighty aren’t packing lifejackets in their luggage by now. There is also the fact that the UK is rather long, and there is a notable difference between the amount of rainfall going on in London and how much it’s pouring in the northernmost top of the Scottish Highlands.
Anyway, the truth is that in southern Britain (the region that gets more tourism by far) there are less days of rain per year than in southern Florida. Yes, that’s where Miami, the legendary city of sunshine, Ferraris, palm trees, beaches, and dodgy nightclubs is located. Quite a surprise eh?
Americans are nuts about guns
The issue of gun ownership in America is surrounded by a perpetual aura of constant controversy. Let’s face it, Hollywood is rather guilty of exporting a constant stream of violent movies that have contributed to the idea that Americans are always ready cock a gun and get down to business, and what the film industry didn’t do, school shootings and Charlton Heston on a podium with a rifle sorted out.
While there are plenty of guns lying around in America, a huge number of arms are in the hands of a relatively small number of people. A whooping 133 million guns are owned by roughly 3% of the population, with many of them owning over forty firearms. The next time somebody from the U.S. tells you that he or she has never even seen a gun, let alone fired one, don’t be surprised.
The Japanese love minimalism
There is an idyllic version of Japanese culture that is deeply ingrained in the west. An ancient way of life, rooted in tradition and ritual, but with a penchant for cutting edge technology. The sparse decor, rice panel doors, Zen gardens, and austere yet almost religious dining habits never fail to make an appearance in every stereotypical depiction of the land of the rising sun.
But Marie Kondo and her obsession for getting rid of stuff exist because Japanese culture is far from minimalist. In fact, it’s immensely cluttered. One just has to take a stroll around Tokyo to see how every inch of space is packed with advertisements, or watch any of their TV shows and witness the total sensory overload they produce. There is a similar effect with the accumulation of material goods, so if you want to see the idealized minimalist Japan from the movies, the only places where you can get close to it are rural areas and the movies themselves.
Stay tuned for the next episode!