Part 3. Growing Up
Introduction: Stepping Stones to ‘Uchi'
Part 3 functions as a crucial bridge in this program. It helps you put together the concepts in Parts 1 and 2, which in turn lay the groundwork for navigating your own pathway in Part 4. This part allows you to address the question posed at the beginning of the program: How can you move smoothly off of your entry point and begin to navigate effectively in your new environment?
Your learning in Parts 1 and 2 is invaluable for doing this. But while Part 1 explains how unspoken meaning works in intercultural communication in general, and Part 2 gives you a general roadmap for Japanese society, neither part gives you the specifics of how to navigate on this road. In short, you still don’t know the actual process by which the cultural child grows to cultural adulthood! Part 3 is designed to help you learn this, so for you it’s a crucial section in this program. Don’t skip Part 3!
Neither part gives you the specifics of how to navigate on this road. In short, you still don’t know the actual process by which the cultural child grows to cultural adulthood. Part 3 is designed to help you learn this. Although it has far fewer illustrations and multimedia components than Parts 1 and 2, and it will take more time to complete, it is the most crucial section in this program. Don’t skip Part 3.
Let’s begin by looking more closely at the discussion of uchi/soto as an axis between outside and inside in the Part 2 roadmap. Now it’s time to climb right into this roadmap. Arrival in your situation in Japan identifies you as an outsider—a soto person. Consequently, moving beyond the entry point requires you, the newcomer, to start becoming an insider. The way you do this is by moving along the very uchi/soto axis that was introduced in Part 2. Many other concepts discussed in the Part 2 roadmap also relate to this pathway, including how much (or little) of the inside is revealed in speech, architecture, wrapping of guests, and other dimensions, and how much or little of honne is revealed versus tatemae. Finally, the shift from outside to inside is the same process by which the newcomer, as cultural child, grows to adulthood.
Part 3 is designed to assist you in grasping the basics of moving along the pathway from childhood to adulthood. But there can be no set of simple “how to” rules that can chart this transition. Moving off the entry point is a two-way process that you accomplish through the cooperation and highly unpredictable efforts of those around you. To see how this learning process actually works you need to view actual situations of newcomers attempting to make these transitions.
Part 3 follows out a series of fourteen diary accounts by newcomers, written over the course of their experiences in a single entry situation, the homestay. Taken together, these diary accounts detail a process of shifting that is common to all the homestay guests. We organized this process as a series of transition points—or stepping stones—from the entry ‘I’ to ‘uchi’. In addition to giving much insight into achieving a successful homestay, the transitions in Part 3 are equally relevant to non-homestay newcomers. In fact, the stepping stones which the homestay guests must negotiate turn out to be similar for all the newcomers who enter Japan. Thus the homestay cases provide the foundation for a new roadmap that shows you how to shift along an axis from entry point ‘I’ to ‘uchi’—a process that is common to all newcomers. This new roadmap is a crucial preparation for Part 4, which focuses on each of the other newcomer transitions to ‘uchi’. Part 3 shows how the stepping stone transitions occur in sequence, so it is necessary to start at Module 7.1 and move through the sections in order.