Theo manages to actually improve his relationship with his family, and move closer to them, after his homestay ends. Initially he kept in touch with them by writing them. This communicated his appreciation for the homestay, and his desire to reciprocate (which he also did through consistent and considerate gift-giving). He also kept the family informed of the major events in his life.   The family responded to Theo's reciprocity--so much so, that Theo felt overwhelmed (once again) by their generosity. Yet the family's presents were not garish expensive gifts; each was carefully chosen to fit a specific occasion. Theo and his family each managed some new milestones in their relationship. Theo's milestone was taking his wife and child with him to meet the family when they traveled to Japan. Taking the trouble to visit the family certainly indicated he felt the relationship was important. The okaasan also contributed a milestone, with her gradual revelations of the family's ura problems and even tragedies: that the ojiisan was in the hospital; that the family's house was nearly destroyed by an earthquake.

Theo's relationship became "closer" through his consistent and careful efforts to keep up the relationship. He also changed the nature of the reciprocity, from receiving deference as a guest, to giving deference to his family, and showing both sensitivity and consideration toward them. Bringing his family to meet them (which involved a trip of some distance) showed both his ongoing gratititude and his desire to continue the relationship. The okaasan responds, now including some of the family's "inside" problems. Theo is now in a position to invite his host family to visit them in the U.S. He feels that they are now likely to respond to the invitation. Theo has managed to demonstrate a process of   cultural "growing up", which deepened the relationship, even after the homestay ended.

Mark sees himself as independent. But he doesn't recognize wrapping as relying on others. In fact, he sees being wrapped as a two-way relationship―where okaasan's role is to wrap him, and his role is to allow her to play her host role and wrap him. As discussed in Module 7.3, Mark has learned to be a "good guest". However, he hasn't realized that he needs to go beyond this point; nor noticed that his relationship with his family is largely one-way.

Mark's okaasan seems to have a high capacity for giving deference and so she continues the entry level wrapping throughout his 5-month homestay. (Most families would probably have become frustrated and angry, as Peter's family did). Mark doesn't realize what's wrong because he's not privy to honne, and his okaasan can't tell him she's not happy to wrap him endlessly. But when he reappears and "surprises them" after an absence of a year and a half, his host father doesn't seem to react, and his host mother "is speechless for several minutes". Once again, his family can't show their honne , but they can't manage to create a tatemae either. The breakdown in the okaasan's reaction is an important clue―she shows no happiness at seeing Mark again. However, she ultimately manages to assume her role of "wrapping" him again, and the relationship continues in the same way. Yet Mark's situation contrasts with Theo's, in many respects. Mark doesn't   make efforts to keep up his relationship with his family (except when he comes to Japan); and his gift-giving seems one-way also. (He doesn't mention giving gifts to his family, but only receiving them.) Although it's never too late for a cultural child to start growing,  Mark may see "growing" and moving into uchi as losing his independence. Yet he can only really be dependent, unless he begins to get beyond his wrapped state.

 

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