At Home in Japan
homepage start feedback resources site map credits
Part 2. What You Need to Know to Grow
Introduction: From Cultural Child to Adult
You have now finished Part 1 and seen the kinds of problems that can happen, even to well-meaning people, when they cannot understand each other's unsaid communication. But it is not enough to try to figure out what Peter did wrong in his homestay (for example, taking too many showers), and to act differently than he did. It is far more important to be able to notice and overcome the kinds of gaps that prevented Peter from learning to behave as an adult in his target culture.

Part 2 provides the first step in moving from cultural childhood to cultural adulthood. It begins with concepts that you will need to know, but that people will not think to tell you. You will be introduced to two sets of cultural distinctions that are crucial for navigating human relationships in Japan: tatemae / honne and uchi / soto. Simple translations of these terms do not suffice. They must be pieced together from seeing how they operate in a variety of contexts. These concepts are crucial in understanding how your family relates to you, and how you need to relate to them. Newcomers, no matter where they are from, need to work at grasping these concepts, because you cannot easily intuit them. Giving you the tools to grasp these concepts will be the focus of Part 2, where we introduce them through their relationship to everyday life.
4.1 Wrapping  
4.2 Being a Guest
4.3 Watch Out for that . . . !
4.4 Avoiding Hazards Quiz
5.1 Being Outside
5.2 Country House
5.3 City House
5.4 Where to put the Guests
6.1 From 'I' to 'Uchi'
6.2 Being Inside
page top

previous next