Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Different is an understatement

The last two weeks here have been nice and quiet... most people were spending the holidays with family and there were not many people out and about. A lot of stores and restaurants were closed and the streets and sidewalks seemed deserted (compared to usual), and it felt like I could cross the street without getting killed. On Monday everyone was back to their usual routines and the streets, sidewalks, shops, and restaurants were all crowded again.

Today I was reading an article about Japan and what makes Japan (and the Japanese) unique...

...and now for somewhere completely different

In Japan, the trees are blue. So are the traffic lights, even though they look decidedly green to uninitiated outsiders. The Japanese do have a word for green, but when it comes to foliage and traffic signals, blue is the preferred term.

Blue trees are not the only initially puzzling thing about Japan. In a hundred tiny gestures and assumptions, Japan can seem just slightly out of kilter...

It is a rather long article, but I thought it was very interesting. It also got me thinking about what makes China unique. If a hundred tiny gestures and assumptions make Japan seem slightly out of kilter then China's gestures and assumptions make China seem upside down most of the time! I bet being a Chinaologist would be both interesting and frustrating.


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