When people write about the experiences of foreign residents in Japan, they nearly always do so in terms of the binary relationship between their home culture and the new Japanese one they are experiencing and absorbing.

This is grounded in the notion of the home culture as a known, fixed identity (though home cultures are in truth neither truly known or fixed) and Japan as an unknown culture, which can enrich the visitor through exploration — and sometimes this journey of exploration can be a lifelong one.

But I would like to suggest that there is another aspect of this relationship between two cultures that is very rarely written about, which is its tendency to push people in the direction of a third cultural relationship somehow linked to the other two cultures.