Peter Aradi wrote something similar on Internet Bonsai Club's Suiseki Gallery. I found his comments quite intriguing:
1. Translation is an art, not science. While growing up in Hungary, I was told that each language learned is the equalient of a university degree. Well, while it is true, that was difficult enough when the languages belonged to the same general cultural tradition. When I was learning Japanese, more than four decades ago, I found that along with the language I had to learn a new culture as well. I should really say "try" to learn the culture, because I am still a beginning student of it.
2.When tried to understand the Chinese culture, I ran into even more problems because while Japanese is imprecise as a language, Chinese is much more imprecise and requires a true undertsanding of the culture, a task very few can accomplish in a single lifetime. So what we think about the East Asian arts and crafts are more like second or third hand impressions rather than a true understanding. I am convinced that one can not understand either of these two cultures without at least an elementary training in caligraphy and brush painting.
3. Having said that, I believe that we need to learn all we can. For example if we like viewing stones, we should learn all the rules of Japanese stone appreciation, Chinese stone aesthtics, Korean and other variations of each, and learn and master them thoroughly. Once we did our best, it is time to stop and sit back. It is time to say forget all the intelelctualization, the rules, the labels, the rationalization; let's open our minds and hearts and fully experience the stone as is without any preconceived notion. That state is called "beginner's mind" in Zen Buddhism. There are countless possibilities in an open or beginner's mind. There is only one in an expert's mind.
4. The downside is that it takes many years of study, training and meditation to develop the "beginner's mind." It takes many years to unlearn our biases and prejudices. It also takes courage to say "I understand this (whatever this is, for example Chinese rain flower pebbles), but I don't like them!"
(Note: Text in bold was made bold for this discussion, and was not done this way in Peter's original post.)