Friday, October 12, 2012,
Tissues are the solve-all-problems thing in Taiwan.
You sneezed? Tissue.
You ate some rice? Tissue.
You have wet hands? Tissue.
You're going to the bathroom? Tissue.
Really though, you will NEED a pack of tissues with you everywhere you go! Tissues as toilet paper is more common than actual toilet paper, and because most public restrooms don't provide you with them, it is important to take a pack along with you.
In the United States, I think it seems a little impolite if you constantly use tissues to wipe your face while you are eating, but it isn't impolite here at all! Really, I'm pretty sure the average person here goes through about 2-3 tissues per meal, and that's to make sure you don't have grease, salt, or food around your mouth. I think at first it was a little bit difficult to break my habit of trying to be polite while eating and not wipe my mouth, but just observe those around you and copy them and you'll fit in in no time at all. Often times when I am eating people will just stick tissues in my face and I automatically think "Oh lord, there is something on my face," but really they are just being polite and offering you a tissue because they like having tissues while they eat, and they think you do also. It's important to just adapt adapt adapt!