Cross-Cultural Homestay and Challenges to Accept Foreign Settlements in Rural Areas of Japanese Biosphere Reserves; Case of Shiramine Village in Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve

Aida Mammadova


We have conducted the Winter and Summer Homestay activities for foreign students inside the rural areas of Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve, to evaluate how well local villagers were ready to accept foreigners in their communities. We found a big issue, as no locals were willing to accept students for long homestay. Among the tentative list of 15, only 6 host houses with 18 family members agreed to accept students. We have found that before the homestay activities all villagers were very concerned about the foreigners’ behavior and felt very alerted, but after the homestay program, most of them replied (86%) that they were less concerned, and homestay helped them to raise awareness towards foreigners’ behaviors. We have found that villagers are afraid of foreigners’ behavior more and because for many years the region was isolated from foreigners’ influx, some non-verbal communication can be mistakenly interpreted like “inappropriate” or “rude” actions. This kind of homestay program, was conducted for the first time in the rural area of Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve, and we found that real-life experience with foreigners as homestay programs reduced the sense of alertness and raise the awareness towards the foreigners’ behavior.

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