In my graduate Landscape Design Studio at Columbia University, I ask students to select an excerpt from the assigned book, 'The Hidden Dimension' and correlate a personal experience to describe it.
Yuji Yamazaki wrote this very enlightening piece...I had to share. (He said it was ok.)
“We learn from the study of culture that the patterning of perceptual world is a function not only of culture but of relationship, activity, and emotion.
I have been living with my girlfriend for over 5 years now. My girlfriend, born and raised in the Long Island, NY, sees certain things in a way that I don’t quite understand, especially things that relate to space and privacy.
Edward Hall mentions that there is no word to describe “privacy” in Japanese language.
We live in a small one-bedroom apartment, very similar size to the one with my brother. In Japanese setting, I can establish a sense of privacy by simply holding newspaper in front of my face and be silent—Japanese privacy is established. In my girlfriend's culture, when you are in a room together, you are assumed to participate each other’s presence. “What are you reading?”, “Wanna a cup of coffee?”, or “I’m bored” are the usual intrusion toward the silence. You need to go to the other room and shut the door to have privacy.