Know thy neighbour

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  • Published 20150505
  • ISBN: 9781922182807
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

WHENEVER THE DOORBELL rings late at night in our small Peking University apartment, we know who to expect. Our Chinese colleague in global politics at nearby Tsinghua University keeps late hours. There is now a pattern to these visits: we offer tea, he always declines – ‘no, no,’ – he says with a wave of his hand, ‘just talk, plain talk’. He had visited Japan over the long Spring Festival holiday. Late in February 2014 the doorbell rang and there he was, rugged up against the winter cold, wanting to talk.

Like a number of Chinese people we know, he admires the cleanliness and order of Japan. He had once described himself as half-Buddhist and half-Muslim. The comment came over lunch in a Buddhist temple that had been turned into a ‘vegetarian’ restaurant; the menu included beef and chicken dishes. The temples of Japan are not restaurants or museums as is often the case in China, but living places of worship.

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About the author

David Walker

David Walker is Alfred Deakin professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University and BHP Billiton chair of Australian Studies at Peking University, Beijing. His...

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