Have you ever wondered why people from East Asian countries appear to be reserved in meetings, including conferences and university lectures?

It could be that they are trying to avoid an argument. Both the Japanese and the Chinese prize group harmony and always seek to avoid a row.

But actually, some teachers long for their students to challenge their ideas.

In fact, a good argument is integral to formal Western education.

In this week’s Japan Story blog, we hear how “the geography of thought” affects the mindset of teachers and students.

Japan Story’s blog is written by former BBC Tokyo Correspondent Duncan Bartlett. Each week he analyses how Japan’s story is being told to the world through the international media.