At Home in Japan
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Part 3 is the culmination of this site. In contrast to Parts 1 and 2, it has far fewer illustrations and multimedia components, and it will take more time to complete. Yet Part 3 will give you your biggest learning reward from the site as it allows you to put together the elements of Part 1 and Part 2. While Part 1 explains how unspoken meaning works in intercultural communication in general, and Part 2 gives you a general roadmap for Japanese society, neither part gives you the specifics of how to navigate on this road. Part 3 takes a different approach from the first two parts. It consists entirely of case studies based on actual accounts written during the course of homestays in Japan. Until you have grasped how such concepts as cultural bubbles, tatemae/ honne, and uchi/soto work in actual situations, you won't be able to use them to navigate the tricky cultural waters yourself. In short, you still don't know the actual process by which the cultural child "grows" to cultural adulthood.

Part 3 is designed to help you learn this. It is based entirely on journal entries from 14 people in actual homestays and is organized as a series of transition points that occur over the course of the homestay. The entries are grouped in ten module-sections, and each shows a specific "cultural barrier" confronting a homestay guest and hosts. Each module presents a series of case entries which illustrate how several guests/hosts manage to overcome this barrier. Overcoming such cultural impasses is what creates the process of "growing" to cultural adulthood in the homestay, and also simultaneously "shifts" the guest from 'soto' (outside) toward 'uchi' (inside) the family. However, no set of simple "how to" steps can define this process. Nor is there anything automatic about the outside/inside shift, as the Peter/Sasaki case shows. A homestay evolves through the cooperative and highly unpredictable efforts of both hosts and guest, who somehow turn the barriers they face into hurdles and then manage to overcome them. "Growing up" is a two-way process.

Consider yourself a detective as you move through Part 3. Read the cases, searching for clues as to how the guest/hosts managed to get past each of the hurdles presented. Don't expect to find an exact correspondence that will show you "what to do", if you happen to be in a homestay. Instead, try and pinpoint the unseen cultural bubbles in each module-section that produced an impasse; then examine how each set of guest/hosts got over these impasses. Can you extrapolate a common learning process accomplished by all those surmounting their cultural barriers? Because the guest/host learning process is cumulative, it is important to start at Module 7.1 and move through the sections in order. Grasping the learning process depicted in Part 3 is invaluable, as it will give you a real handle on navigating cross-cultural situations (and managing the "growing" process), not only in homestays but in other contexts in Japan as well. In fact, this learning process is useful in any cross-cultural context.

Part 3 is followed by a "Homestay Gallery" where you can find the complete case segments for each homestay guest. Some of the case entries in the modules have been shortened, so the Gallery is where you will find the most complete versions of the cases. If your homestay appears to present problems beyond those discussed in the cases in modules 7-9, then check out Module 10.

Module 7
7.1 Being a “Good Guest”        
7.2 Beyond the Entry Point  
7.3 Tricky Family Dynamics  
Module 8
8.1 Shortcuts into Uchi  
8.2 Uchi Hazards  
8.3 You Can't Avoid Uchi  
8.4 Messages You Can Rely on  
Module 9
9.1 Finally . . . Growing Up  
9.2 Family Spirits?  
9.3 Headed Home, But . . .    
Module 10
10.1 It Sometimes Happens
10.2 If All Else Fails
Homestay Gallery
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