Both Janine and Li Ming's problems also centered on their initial focus of trying to negotiate what each saw as an individual "request" (an extension of the homestay; an extension of the curfew). But each of their families viewed the situation differently. Rather than complying with either petition as a "request", each family wanted their guests to take more responsibility as part of uchi. This came out most clearly in the challenge that Janine barely manages to scrape through, when the otoosan wants her to talk with his guests, but she doesn't feel like doing so. After the guests leave, and while still drunk, he loudly lectures the family making explicit what is required: Janine must comply with the demands of uchi if she is to extend her stay in the family.

Coming into uchi is actually the "flip side" of being wrapped. The family expects Janine to help them wrap others (including the otoosan's guests and Nobu, in his exam preparations). Li Ming's family wants her to spend time with them, and accept the responsibilities that coming further into uchi entails. For them easing up on her curfew was closely tied to her accepting her responsibilities to uchi. Ironically, coming into uchi is what ultimately allows her to go out with her friends.

close