“Mafan” or Chinese Hassles

Brian’s and Alice’s stories

In 1986, when Brian, his wife Alice and I were teaching at Xiamen University, he told me about a special lecture he gave as a part of his contract with the university. Later Alice shared a story about getting gifts shipped back home. Both stories are good illustrations of the how bizarre everyday life in China can be. The Bo Xue classroom building was a few blocks from The Number 2 Guesthouse where most of the foreigners were living.

Brian:  I was giving a special lecture on Saturday afternoon, and I was told that it would … Read More

Japanese-style Meditation Practice

On one of my trips to Japan I interviewed an American teaching English in a private university. He showed me the little Buddhist shrine in his apartment, but he talked mostly about the meditation as he had practiced it in and around San Francisco. In Japan he has gone  to the headquarters of the Sotoshu Zen sect, to connect with like-minded people and does some meditation with people in his area.

Tracy’s story

My reason for coming to Japan was that I couldn’t grow professionally in the Bay Area.  You can’t get work in one institution full-time, which means you’re … Read More