How do you SHOW the number "1" ? Or the others, you know 2 through 5...
When Japanese count on their fingers they use only one hand. Counting from one through five starts with the thumb, then proceeds to the pinky. Each finger is folded down as it is counted. Six through ten are counted on the same hand in the reverse order, opening the fingers as they are counted.
When holding up their fingers to count, most Europeans start with the thumb for "one."
This was a source of wonderment to me when I was working at a cookie store in Sausalito years ago. Had LoTs of European tourists trying to order just one cookie - I'd ask "how many?" and they'd give me the thumbs up sign..I said "Yeah, they're great! So, how many??
Again with the thumb.."Yessir, they are the best..now, how many did you want to purchase?"
Holding up just your forefinger means "wait a sec" in most countries.
You may be trying to order one beer; they'll think you aren't ready yet. You may have to wait and wait...give them the 'ol thumbs-up-yeah-that's-great sign and you likely be served.
..then there's the issue with 2..
Gestures, however, are another matter entirely. Yesserreebob....
The two-fingered "V" for victory symbol is fine palms-out. If you make it with you palm facing toward you, you'll offend any Brit—it's their version of "giving someone the finger."
Never, ever hold out just your forefinger and pinkie raised to make "horns" (or the "I love you" gesture from sign language).
Depending on how you hold your hand and where you are, you're either casting the Evil Eye on someone, or warding against it (which insults the people around you, implying that they are casting one..which they may be...)
Oh well..this is me...saying ..."Colleen out!"