Tutorial from the
National East Asian Lanaguages Resource Center
at The Ohio State University
At Home in Japan: What No One Tells You is an essential resource for teachers and students of cross-cultural communication and Japanese culture, especially those contemplating studying or living abroad. For a limited time it is available at this URL, free of charge.
This web-based tutorial gives a basic orientation to Japanese culture and society by allowing you to participate in the trial-and-error learning process of newcomers to Japan. It maps a critical minefield in the learning process, the things that no one thinks to tell a newcomer. These are not mentioned, precisely because it is assumed that everyone must already know them. Yet ironically, these are the very things one most needs to know in order to successfully adjust, and they are not obvious to the newcomer at all. While this minefield exists for all cultures, in Japan it is compounded by cultural expectations of not speaking directly.
At Home in Japan: What No One Tells You presents a series of interactive modules that allow the learner to be a fly-on-the-wall, while others struggle to survive and thrive in extended homestays with Japanese families. Organized into three parts, The tutorial recounts an elaborate communication breakdown in a failed homestay case, offers concise explanations of the cultural elements that you need to know (but which no one tells you), and walks you through a series of carefully sequenced and annotated diary entries of 14 actual cases of travelers negotiating long-term homestays in Japan.
Produced and developed by Dr. Jane Bachnik, an anthropologist at the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan, the tutorial addresses intercultural issues as they are lived. But much more than a "how to" manual it also poses questions and probes difficult to resolve intercultural issues. Teaching and reference guides (included) help guide users along a path of intercultural discovery, and a pull-down menu and site map make it fully navigable.
The tutorial is a must for:
(1) Students abroad (or individuals working abroad) before, during, and/or after their stay in Japan,
(2) Teachers of Japanese culture and society at university or high school levels,
(3) Japanese language teachers, either in Japan or abroad (the tutorial provides students with a lived cultural context for language use),
(4) Anyone contemplating a homestay abroad.
Please forward this notice or URL to anyone you know who might be interested in the tutorial.