Notebook

When an intelligent Japanese travels in Great Britain or an intelligent Briton in Japan, he is struck with no wonder at national differences.  He is on the other hand rather startled to find how like his strange brother is to him in many things. Crime is persecuted, wickedness condoned, and goodness treated with indifference in both countries. Men care more for what they eat than anything else, and combine a closely defined idea of meum with a lax perception as to tuum. Barring a little difference of complexion and feature, the Englishman would make a good Japanese, or the Japanese a first-class Englishman. But when an American comes to us, or a Briton goes to the States, each speaking the same language, using the same cookery, governed by the same laws, and wearing the same costume, the differences which present themselves are so striking that neither can live six months in the country of the other without a holding up of the hands and a torrent of explanations… They meet as might a lad from Harrow and another from Mr Brumby’s successful mechanical cramming establishment. The Harrow boy cannot answer a question, but is sure that he is the proper thing, and is ready to face the world on that assurance. Mr Brumbry’s paragon is shocked at the other’s inaptitude for examination, but is at the same time tortured by envy of he knows not what.

Trollope, The American Senator.

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