Part 4. Finding Your Pathway . . .
Introduction: From Entry to ‘Uchi'
Part 4 explores the shifting pathway to ‘uchi’ and the process of growing to adulthood you discovered in Part 3 and shows how these are highly relevant to all the other newcomers as well. You will view how each of these newcomers enters and attempts to become at home in a different context. Each newcomer must also navigate a series of hazards, which when overcome produces a series of shifts along a pathway, in a similar manner to the homestay guests. By now you will be able to relate the navigation process—and even the hazards encountered by the other newcomers—to the themes of the first three parts of this course. But the focus here is still on you.
This time you will encounter the pathways, not as a fly on the wall, but as an active participant. You must now navigate the hazards encountered by each newcomer as you proceed through a series of flash segments. Each of the newcomers is portrayed as a case, (taken from an actual case, or a composite of cases from a particular newcomer situation). You will first navigate as Carlos, an international student, as he joins a student dorm (Module 12.2). Next, you will participate as Abby, an ALT who has just arrived to teach at Asama Junior High School in Nagano Prefecture (Module 12.3). Following this you will enter a Japanese household as Devita, a foreign wife coming to live in her Japanese husband’s family (Module 12.4); and then become Matt, an engineer employed in a large subsidiary of an internationally known auto manufacturing company (Module 12.5). Finally, you will navigate the pathways of Professor Witherspoon, a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, and Ms. Elainius, the new Tokyo branch manager sent by her U.S. company (Module 12.6).
As you traverse the different newcomer settings via the flash segments, you will notice that even though a particular hazard may take a different form in various settings, these different hazard manifestations may still require the newcomer to grasp the same social “lesson”. Module 13 pulls together the social lessons one learns along the pathway to ‘uchi’ about the process of “growing” to adulthood, and relates these to a general perspective on Japanese society. It also discusses how the experiences of the newcomers point to certain ways in which ‘uchi’ is changing in contemporary Japanese society. Finally, this module helps you put together what you need to navigate your own pathway to adulthood, even if your particular situation is not detailed in this course. We recommend that you also view the Part 4 modules in sequence.
The course concludes with Module 14, which helps you assess your fit with your situation, both before and after you arrive. Module 14.1 sets the stage for all newcomers to use these modules. Module 14.2 focuses on assessing your fit with your situation before you sign up. Module 14.3 helps you to recognize the signs that things aren’t going well, and to know when it may be necessary to leave. Module 14.4 gives you information on how to leave appropriately.