These three cases also show a gradual progression in terms of "growing up" and entering uchi. Molly has reached the stage in her homestay where she is curious about how her family came to host a student. The way her okaasan tells her this, and Molly's misinterpretation that her family doesn't like her, triggers off a round of honne communication on both sides: okaasan revealing that they do like Molly, and Molly revealing essentially the same thing about okaasan and otoosan. In fact, finding out the behind-the-scenes aspects of one's own hosting is a common way in which host families begin to reveal honne to their guests, usually toward the end of the stay. Okaasan's revelation that Molly will be their last guest also contains an interesting exception--Molly's brother Chad, could also stay with them for a year, if he should ever come to Japan. This is really a honne statement about their trust for Molly, because they assume someone else in her family will be an equally good homestay guest. While Molly knows she hasn't truly reached uchi, her notebook entries show a progression of "steps", in which she and the family feel comfortable, like each other, and increasingly reveal their honne feelings. It is a good bet that Molly and the Saitos will continue their relationship.

The amazing turn-around created by Stuart's meal for his hosts, seems to have then opened the door for an equally rapid opening up of honne communication on both sides. The chief avenue for this was a series of conversations that Stuart had with his host family in which he explored his Japanese-American identity, and they reached out for ways of raising their children--both seemed to be trying to find ways to incorporate more of each other's cultures here. These appear to have been very honest and open conversations, and these, combined with Stuart's new role, which involved him much more in cooking, going to pick up family members at the station, and other "big brother" roles, created a real "bridging". Stuart found his family to be more than just a "host family". It had begun to be like a "family".

Janine's case continues where Stuart's leaves off. After two longterm stays, and following the stove incident, her family becomes more than a "host" family as well. And in her case, her host family involves her in an expanding network of relationships as her host siblings marry, gain new relatives and have children. All these ties become part of Janine's network as well. When she returns home, two of her close ties, both through Katsuko, (her husband's younger brother Kinya, and her oldest child, Ginko), come to visit Janine. These are more than tourist visits; each comes to accomplish something: Kinya wants to run the Boston Marathon, and Ginko wants to learn English, even though she has a terrible record in this subject in school.   The accomplishments involve overcoming major hurdles for each. Janine's new role seems to be helping to facilitate their "growing" process, during the visit. This reversal of the role process is very rewarding to her.

 

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