At Home in Japan
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Here are some familiar faces. You met them and caught glimpses of their homestays, one episode at a time, based on what each entry might reveal about specific issues of culture as it is lived in Japan. Now we offer you a chance to review the stories, but this time they are organized individually. Just click on the photos to view each student’s perspective, as it evolved throughout his or her homestay.

As you reconsider each story as a whole, what sort of picture emerges? What conclusions can you draw? What new questions are raised? For example:
What are some of the “things that no one tells you because they already assume you know?”
Is it enough to “know” such things as itemized facts, or is there something more one may strive for? Is it, for example, possible to prepare yourself to enact this kind of knowledge in your performance of the day-to-day challenges of building and sustaining relationships?
Can all hazards be avoided? Is there anything to be learned when one falls prey to them from time to time?
And how is the acquisition of this kind of “performable” knowledge related to becoming a cultural adult?
Consider these as food for thought, as you prepare yourself for the challenges of living abroad, either in Japan or elsewhere. And don’t hesitate to return to earlier lessons from time to time. Recall, for example, a question we posed in Module 1, The Cultural Child: what does it take for the cultural child to grow into a cultural adult?

You can go through this circle again—as often as you like—but each time you do, it will be different. This is quite a bit like the process of intercultural learning, which might be described as a spiral journey without end. Each time around takes you to different “places” and, as Mari Noda acknowledges about language learning, the best we can hope for is to improve as one does playing a video game: by failing at successively higher levels each time!

Wishing you many new beginnings, and many fruitful returns!
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