Another over-riding concern of the book is the fact that things are--many times--not what they appear. An American mother who cuts up carrot and celery sticks for her preschooler's lunch would be perceived as caring in the U.S. That same American mother, if she were living in Japan, would be perceived as careless, or slipshod, for not having cut her child's vegetables into the shapes of bunnies and piglets. As was the case in one of the chapters on a Japanese preschool, the Japanese children made fun of the American child who had mere strips of carrots for lunch. Again, ethnographic studies must be done with caution, because things are not always what they appear. Having all three cultures watch videos of all the other cultures is a means of minimizing such narrow vision, and good research design on the part of the investigators.
Another glimpse of the work as a whole reveals the extent to which American, and, to a lesser extent, Japanese culture, considers socialistic (Chinese) child-rearing practices as a threat. American and Japanese observers who see such practices as "authoritarian," "cold or unfeeling," or even "mechanistic" are just revealing their own cultural biases against the Chinese version of groupism. Children being raised to function well in a Chinese society would be done a disservice if they were given the impression that whims of the individual