Benedict Anderson Quotes
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A second point is that, within the limits of plausible argument, the most instructive comparisons (whether of difference or similarity) are those that surprise. No Japanese will be surprised by a comparison with China, since it has been made for centuries, the path is well trodden, and people usually have their minds made up already. But a comparison of Japan with Austria or Mexico might catch the reader off her guard.
Such a period of struggling with a new language is especially good for training oneself to be seriously comparative, because there is not yet any automatic translation of foreign words into the language in your head. You gradually get to know enough to notice more, and yet you are still an outsider. If you then stay on long enough, things get taken for granted again, as they were back home, and you tend to be much less curious and observant than before – you start to say to yourself: 'I know Indonesia inside out.' The point being that good comparisons often come from the experience of strangeness and absences.