The learning process conveyed in these encounters with family spirits shows how the content of each encounter differs greatly, depending on whether the main character is "outside" and "distant" (soto) versus "inside" and "close" (uchi) to the family. These ancestor encounters actually resembles the game in Module 5.4 where the decision of the host about "where to put the guest" defines every aspect of the interaction along a scale of "distance" versus "closeness". What homestay guests, or even foreigners marrying into a family grasp (and are "clued into" by uchi members about the ancestor spirits) depends on how "distant" (or soto) versus "close" they are to the family uchi.

Devita is not a guest; she has joined her family as the oldest son's wife. But even though she is technically uchi, when she entered the family Devita had hardly any idea of the family spirits, and was worried about not being a Buddhist. However, at the time of this visit, (several months later) when she arrives at the graveyard with her mother- and father-in-law, the scene she witnesses is totally different from her earlier visit. Both otoosan and okaasan introduce Devita to the spirits (who were the grandfather and grandmother in the family), talking to them in much the same way they talk to the living.They tell the spirits that the person with them is their new daughter-in-law. But they quickly add that the spirits must have already figured this out, because Devita was helping to clean the graves, (acting like an uchi member). In fact, Devita wasn't "introduced" to the spirits until she did act like an uchi member. The otoosan and okaasan talk to the spirits just like they talk to the living, and for Devita their communication about her to the spirits, conveys "messages she can rely on" (just like those in Module 8.4). Through this communication Devita learns that she is considered an uchi no mono (an "inside" member) and realizes she is now being included as a family member. She takes this message seriously and feels like she is now really included in the family.

Christina's letter from her mother informing her of the memorial service for her great Uncle Tomo triggers a realization about her relationship to Japan. Until then, she had considered her Japanese American family (and herself) as completely American; but her reaction to her great-uncle's service made her realize that her family possessed Japanese cultural assumptions (although these existed in their practices, and were unspoken). It was her awareness of the importance of their practices for great uncle Tomo to her that made her suddenly see her relationship to Japan differently. She had been looking at everything from a "soto" perspective (as if uchi/soto and tatemae/honne were just textbook terms). But the ritual for her great uncle suddenly made her realize that her family in the U.S. actually embodied these concepts in their lives, and this realization was what made her feel like she shifted suddenly from soto to uchi (in the sense of realizing that these concepts were "real" experiences for her, rather than "textbook learning").



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