What topics are good for an icebreaker?

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Oct 27, 2010 10:45
The other day I heard an interesting story from a person coming from an English speaking country.
According to him, he is often asked from a lot of Japanese if he likes Natto or not when he meet new people and this question irritates him.
He pointed out three reasons that he didn't want to be asked.
1.It is very strange in other countries to ask people you don't very well about what kind of food they like.
2.It makes you appear a bit stupid to foreigners.
3.It is boring(his personal reasons.)

He added as follows:
When you meet a new person, the best thing to begin a relationship with them is to try to find things that you have in common.

When I heard this, I was a bit surprised because topics about food makes us appear stupid! I had no idea about it and I'm wondering if it is strange in other countries or not. When I had a chance to talk with people coming from foreign countries, I usually don't ask about food,not to mention of asking "How about Natto?..how about Sushi?..how about.." again and again.

Then I'm wondering if what kind of topics are good for an icebreaker when we meet a new person. About weather or something?

I'd appreciate if you share your ideas about No.1, No.2 and the topics for an icebreaker with me.

PS.
Can I ask one more question?
When you hear the phrase"we Japanese"(us Japanese), what kind of image do you have? I hear this phrase sounds ”exclusive(排他的)" and strong, so you should avoid using this. Did I get it right? Do you use this expression? And if you use, in which situation do you use?

Thanks in advance for your corrections and advice.