Look around and we can see certain cultural differences in terms of storytelling. Facts are facts but when it comes to storytelling, humor, politics or philosophies, it's very interesting to note the differences and also difficulty of communication. For example, many Japanese movies have to be "westernized" and "re-plotted" for the American audiences, or American humor has to be explained to people from other countries. I find this fascinating.
Take the following short story by Izumi Kyoka for example:
I love the narrative, the descriptive language and the vividness of the storytelling, but I can't understand the ending. Or does it even have an ending? What does the story mean?
In western cultures, it seems that stories must have an arc: a beginning, middle, and end. Stories need to "make sense" with certain resolution or revelation. Not so in Asian cultures -- stories are often circular, and sometimes without any ending: they are more about themes, thoughts and experiences. Chinese poetry, for example, is usually about nature, landscapes, with layered meanings/subtexts hidden inside.
What are your take on this? Do you read literature from other cultures? Do you have difficulty understanding or interpreting their meanings and themes? Does it help or hinder your own writing?