Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West

Fascinatingearly stated, interesting and provoking A plainspoken account of living in Asia San Francisco ChronicleAnyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T R Reid is trenchant, funny, and deeply knowledgeable reporter and now he brings this erudition and humor to the five years he spent in Japan where he served as The Washington Post Fascinatingearly stated, interesting and provoking A plainspoken account of living in Asia San Francisco ChronicleAnyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T R Reid is trenchant, funny, and deeply knowledgeable reporter and now he brings this erudition and humor to the five years he spent in Japan where he served as The Washington Post s Tokyo bureau chief He provides unique insights into the country and its 2,500 year old Confucian tradition, a powerful ethical system that has played an integral role in the continent s postwar miracle Whether describing his neighbor calmly asserting that his son s loud bass playing brings disrepute on the neighborhood, or the Japanese custom of having students clean the schools, Reid inspires us to consider the many benefits of the Asian Way as well as its drawbacks and to use this to come to a greater understanding of both Japanese culture and America.
Confucius Lives Next Door What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West Fascinatingearly stated interesting and provoking A plainspoken account of living in Asia San Francisco ChronicleAnyone who has heard his weekly commentary on NPR knows that T R Reid is trenchant fu

  • Title: Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West
  • Author: T.R. Reid
  • ISBN: 9780679777601
  • Page: 355
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West”

    1. I learned about some Japanese history and current affairs, but the book bothered me. The author was the Tokyo bureau chief for The Washington Post (now the London bureau chief) and he's no doubt a great writer. But his arguments seem a little too black-white/east-west for my tastes. He claims that there is a distinct Asian Way, which I find hard to believe, especially since "Asia" itself is a shaky, colonial concept that encompasses many different cultures. Many of his descriptions also fall int [...]

    2. J picked this paperback up for me during her business trip in the U.S due in part for her own interest in it, but also because we both had enjoyed Reid's informal talks with Bob Edwards on NPR's Morning Edition where he often provided a great first-hand view of an ex-patriate. Since we've been in that position for just a little over 18 months now, she thought I would find Reid's view of what the East gets right, and gets wrong, interesting. And I did. Reid is clear in his thesis, which may have [...]

    3. Confucius Lives Next Door is a memoir, and as a memoir, it carries bias; Mr. Reid's observations are his own, and they are slanted indeed.He praises things about Japan that are praisworthy in certain situations, like Japan's cultural adherence to rules, and suggests Westerners do the same. However, Mr. Reid then fails to mention the downside to such obedience, and why it can be dangerous. After the March 11th earthquake, for example, one shelter with roughly 2000 refugees in it received servings [...]

    4. I could not wrap my head around what T.R. Reid had in mind when he set about to write this novel. On the one hand, the better hand, he presents a deep respect and veneration for the East Asian nations that he talks about he uses them as great models to enhance the American life. On the other hand, though, he uses crass and racist terms throughout the book to do this. Most notably, he often describes his subjects as "Orientals" (they are people, not furniture!).It seems that he undermines the th [...]

    5. Read this book in my Asian history class in undergrad. I was enthralled instantly. I have read it over and over again, which I almost never do. I stalked the author when he came to BYU to promote the United States of Europe while I was in grad school, so my copy is now signed! For a public policy wonk like me, it a great book. The data would be outdated at this point, but the thesis of the book still holds true. I had my research group read it before we went to Asia - everyone loved it except a [...]

    6. Although the argument of the book is a bit simplistic (essentially, copy the "Asian way" for a safer and better society), I did learn a lot about Japan and living there. I wasn't aware of how much Confucius impacts school and society in modern Japan, and Reid's everyday examples of life in Japan were generally funny and entertaining. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in Japan; I think it would be especially interesting to anyone considering studying or moving there.

    7. Insightful observations and mind-boggling analysis and research of Asian culture, ethics, politics, economic system, values, written by an American lived in Tokyo with his family as Washington Post reporter. The main point of this book is that Asian value, particularly in Japan, Korea, Singapore are Confucious (儒教, 孔子の教え) values in practice daily everywhere. This book actually helps me digest and understand Analects (論語) much better than a few modern Japanese translation of Ana [...]

    8. I had a zig zag experience while reading this book. The book was published in 1999 so a few years have passed since it was written. I researched some of his predictions; while some were supported, others missed the mark. In simple terms, he summarizes Confucius with a 'do unto others as you would have them done to you'. One can summarize Judeo-Christianity in the same way. Asia's crime rate, murders, divorce rate etc is well documented to be lower than the United States; and their education math [...]

    9. I'm going to be honest-I definitely expected more of a memoir-type book. In that sense, I was a little disappointed, since I was really looking for a story. I knew going in that it was non-fiction, so in that sense, I was pleasantly surprised. Although it was somewhat academic in the way that it made some judgments and comments on how to run a country, yet it was still fairly engaging. The mini-stories and even reflections on the success of Asian countries kept me reading without constantly wond [...]

    10. The parts where he made it personal--supreme.  The strictly informative parts--good.  The theories--dry.  Dry-ish.When his daughters were enrolled in a Japanese school and the headmistress said, "no taibatsu.(corporal punishment)  No ijamme. (teasing/bullying) None at all.  I won't allow it."   You had to cheer!  Here was a father who had done--and was doing--his homework. He'd learned about Japanese schools and was prepared to try the experiment, but not at the expense of his daughters' [...]

    11. I was intrigued to read this book after finding it referenced several times in Laurie Helgoe's "Introvert Power". Although the publication date is 1999 and much of the specifics about Japan's latest cultural/political/technological endeavors are now outdated, the gist of Reid's message still holds true. The notion that strong moral values, passed along through generations, as well as reinforced by schools, businesses, and the government, are what are responsible for what the author describes as [...]

    12. The first chapter of this book makes me feel like Japan and East Asia is almost like a Utopia where everybody should look up to: low crime, divorce, better education, high level of social morale, stability, and all the things you can imagine. It almost makes me think if I were a prime minister of a country now, I should try to lead my country up to that standard. Will see the rest of the book. The rest of the book gives me more than just the answer to the question of whether I should look up to [...]

    13. Reid presents a very insightful analysis of the influence of Confucian philosophy on contemporary Asian culture, particularly Japanese culture. I liked Reid's willingness to argue against his own arguments. I also appreciated his point that Confucian philosophy doesn't really differ all that much from Western "moral values," but that Asian society takes responsibility for these values, and doesn't leave them to religious institutions or civic organizations as we do in the West.I do think this bo [...]

    14. A travelogue with a message, this book sets out to illustrate what the author has termed the "social miracle" of Asia. Namely, it attempts to find the source of Asia's low rates of violent crime, divorce, and its high rate of academic success. The book reads easily, balancing hard facts with amusing anecdotes, most from Japan, where the author lived for a number of years as a newspaper writer. I do feel the author has a tendency to accentuate the positive aspects of Asian culture while downplayi [...]

    15. This one’s a bit less “juicy” then Speed Tribes, but an altogether essential piece in my opinion. The American author worked for NPR and as the Tokyo correspondent for the Washington Post. He lived with his family in a suburb of Tokyo for 5 years. The book has two layers, on one hand, it’s a memoir of his acclamation to Japanese culture and living on planet Tokyo with his family. These chapters are filled with tons of hilarious cultural misunderstanding stories, and portrays an American [...]

    16. For the most part, I really enjoyed this one--certain chapters were really fascinating. I especially liked the chapters about Confucius himself, as well as the ones about Japanese education and business. I'm not generally much interested in economics or politics, but Reid made them pretty interesting. Some parts of the book bogged me down a little, and occasionally Reid would say something that seemed a little too negative about the culture or food--pretty early on he talks about weird ice cream [...]

    17. Rating non-fiction is always hard for me. Non-fiction doesn't tend to overwhelm me in the same way fiction can. This book is super informative, giving the reader many, many examples of what life in the far east is like, particularly that of Japan. There were many examples of social safety nets and standards that made me wonder, "why aren't we doing that in America?" This is precisely the question of the book. Is there something to be gained in our society from the creative destruction and is it [...]

    18. I was pretty excited to read this book because the back cover blurb sounded like a fun, witty personal memoir of a families life in Japan. However, it seems I didn't read the title (haha) as the book ended up being much more about Confucius' teachings and the resulting Asian social miracle of Japan and other East Asian countries. I struggled between giving this three stars or four stars. Four stars because, despite my initial disappointment and confusion about the main topic of this book, the au [...]

    19. In Confucius Lives Next Door, T.R. Reid narrates his time in Tokyo and the many lessons he learned. He explores the cultural differences between Japan and the US and gives a reason they have less crime, stronger families, and better education. His conclusion is similar to Japanese scholars - Confucianism. Adding a chapter highlighting the reservations to this thesis makes Reid's book enlightening without the heavy-handed, preachy, I-know-what's-best-for-you aura many social critiques of the US b [...]

    20. Due to the age of the book, much of the statistics given are outdated, however, I think the overall message Reid brings to Westerners about Confucian cultures is really helpful. He focuses mostly on Japan because of his experience there, but I found a lot of cross-over with my experience in South Korea. Anyone who has lived in East Asia will recognize what he is talking about and the sweeping generalizations he makes, so not everything he mentions should be treated as gospel.I would recommend th [...]

    21. This book has interesting insights into individual aspects of Japanese culture, and it contains a well-supported thesis about how the prioritization of social and group harmony over individualism results in more stable societies. However, this book is very much geared towards a white, western reader. There's an "othering" of Japanese and Asian cultures in general, and (perhaps necessarily) it paints a very homogenous picture of Japan. This isn't a scholarly piece, but it's not meant to be, eithe [...]

    22. The author, an NPR commentator, said that Japan "fully met the definition of foreign for me" (page 57). I agree! In reading "Confucius Lives Next Door," Reid's conversational tone took me to Tokyo and explained the very different culture in ways that were interesting and endearing instead of weird and off-putting. I'm still quite put off by Japanese corporate culture, portrayed in movies like "Fear and Trembling" which shows some of the puzzling idiocies that a philosophy of compliance-over-comp [...]

    23. I found this book interesting considering there is very little education on Asian cultures in the American classroom. However with that said, I am fully cautious of the interpretation considering the author being from the West. I feel he may have "misinterpreted" some of his experiences and perhaps romanticized the culture as a foreigner is apt to do in an unfamiliar environment. I would be curious to read more about the Asian culture from a native to better understand the actual meanings and nu [...]

    24. I was extremely put off by Reid's racist terminology here. I know quite a few Asians who find the term Oriental to be the Asian equivalent of Nigger. (In their words "I am not a rug! I am not a piece of furniture! I am not oriental!") This book throws that around like nobody's business.Essentially it paints somewhat of a mythic other quality to Confucianism, and it all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can tell that Reid loves the culture, but he does not respect it. If you are genuinely in [...]

    25. Do we as Americans have to much freedom? There are many that believe we do. Freedom without responsibility has become the norm. Family values become second place to the wants of the individual. The expectation is that we will be provided for if and when we cannot provide for ourselves and so why put forth the extra effort when we know extra effort is not required to just get by. Is this century to be the Asian century? All indications indicate the Asians with their commitment to family and emplo [...]

    26. I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars. There were chapters that I loved (Yodobashi No. 6 and "Too Much Freedom") and others that I thought dragged (The Master Kung). My husband and I are hoping to move to Japan in a few years to experience a different way of life. This book offered a bit of insight into what it would be like living in "Asia." I hope to find and read another book along the same lines that is updated to include information on the last 10 years as the world has changed greatly. S [...]

    27. A thoughtful, highly readable (if slightly dated) exploration of the Asian "miracle" - not the economic one, but the social one that keeps East Asian nations like Japan, Korea and others enjoying growth in their middle class while keeping crime, drug abuse and other social ills at bay. If you're interested in understanding how Confucian thinking has continued to influence these cultures, this is a great starting point. Reid is also an excellent storyteller and writer, in the vein of Tom Friedman [...]

    28. This is a real treat to read if you are living in or have ever been to "Asia." Reid cites his life in Japan (with a family in tow) to bring this highly nuanced, historic, and proud culture to life. This book is very well-researched and flows nicely. He even goes so far as to say that North and South Korea are bound to be united, due to the North's need for humanitarian aid and the South's hunger for natural resources. You feel more socially literate after reading this book.

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