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Visiting places in Asia, it is easy to optically feel like an outsider. On second thought, one may be fascinated by a new world with commonalities, where not expected. And so I am thankful for the chance to enjoy different cultures, although to some, I am just a "da bizi," which is Mandarin for "long nose," or "kojanyee" in Korean. If you have read James Clavell's "Shogun  A Novel of Japan," you may understand better...
The longer the Nose...
Living in a Global Village. Freedom of travel and cross-border traffic have reached a level never known before. Still, many people are afraid of different looking and speaking people. Thoughts may come up like: "What are they actually saying? Am I in danger?" Over the centuries, many countries have been invaded and occupied by newcomers from far away, which were obviously met with doubt and mistrust. In the meantime, we should realize that respect for variety and uniqueness is of utmost importance.
Elephant King. The other day I read that some Westerners were proud of their impressive noses. A noble hook nose is even called "Adlernase – eagle's nose" in German. Some say, large noses have grown over thousands of years because of climate conditions or the need to breath in more oxygen at a time. Let us never look down at people, who look differently. Remember this: If creatures with bigger noses would be superior that would make the elephant the king of the world...
In Bangkok, Thailand, at the Grand Palace and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the Tian Hou Gong Temple. There we'd learn that Feng Huang is Mandarin for Phoenix, the fabulous bird rising from the ashes like some people possibly reappearing after a long time.
Facial Features. When you look at it objectively, you may come to the conclusion that, yes, it is true that Westerners have different facial features. And so in China foreigners are identified by their noses, which is "da bizi" in Mandarin. To be exact, that means "big nose." In case of Korea, Americans are sometimes jokingly called long noses. In Korean that would be "Kojanyee." Taiwanese also knows the word "A-Dou-A" for long nose, and in Japanese, "takai hana" means "high noses."
Drifting Thoughts. In the end, our appearance doesn't matter as much as having a gentle spirit and a good heart. Then I discovered that "da bizi" doesn't just describe "long noses." "Da Bizi," by coincident, is also the name of a self service pizza restaurant chain in Vienna. Its name could be interpreted as "At Bizi's," as "da" is Italian for "at." Actually, "Bizi" is a hebrew boy name, a short form of Betzalel, which carries the prfound meaning "In the shadow of God." And that is a really, really nice name...
At the Zhenhai Tower in Guangzhou, China, and a decent bowl of dog meat – called "gou rou" – at Sunny "Yang Guang Can Ting" Restaurant.
Epilogue: Shogun. Following my mention of "da bizi" in a newsletter, a colleague pointed out "Shogun" as a great lecture in understanding what being a "long nose" means. "Shogun" referred to a Japanese-American TV production, starring Richard Chamberlain, Yoko Shimada, and Toshiro Mifune – "the John Wayne of Japan." The story follows the first European to earn the title of a Samurai. Facing distrust at first, over time, he adapts and reaches a status in the foreign society, and finds a love that should not be.
Accepting Diversity. Alongside the development of the smelly white barbarian to a cultivated citizen according to Far Eastern standards, the "Shogun"-story provides insight into early Japanese culture, mindset, and tradition. It supports the conclusion that regardless what culture we belong to, what color our skin has, and what religion we practice, only mutual understanding and the willingness to approach each other will allow people to find to each other.
In Korea the Han River flows through Seoul and is most impressive when viewed from the sixty-three stories high Hanwha Building. A monumental view that surely is... Gangnam style!
The next page is all about different Signs.
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