One of the interesting things of YSEP program is we were offered homestay program at a Japanese family during our stay in Japan. Actually, other foreign students who were not from YSEP program had the same opportunity to join this homestay too. In this homestay program, we stayed at a Japanese family’s house for one night and it’s up to us how we wanted to interact with our homestay family. But usually they would hold a small party for us together with other homestay families nearby.
The homestay program that I joined was held at October 17th-18th, 2009. My homestay family was Tsuchiya family. They were a small family consisted of father and mother and a 5 year-old daughter. They were all very kind people and the daughter was also very cute. They were actually the members of The Hippo Family Club, a club consisted of people who wanted to learn many things about foreign countries, especially foreign languages. They learned about 20 languages in this club by themselves without any teachers. It is really awesome (in Japanese it is called 凄い [すごい], and Japanese people say this a lot especially when they are amazed of something).
Every Hippo Club member has their own Hippo name. My homestay father’s name is Tuti, mother’s name is Jennifer, and the daughter’s name is Kitty (she likes cats a lot). Because I could not speak Japanese, so we talked by using English. Except Kitty-ちゃん, she could only speak Japanese, so I had some difficulty to communicate with her but somehow we became good friends.
The first time I met my homestay family was in my campus. There was a small event to introduce us with our homestay families. The homestay families made some things for welcoming us to their families.
The first thing I did after arriving at their mansion was helping in the kitchen. Because we would have a welcome party with several Hippo Club members who also lived nearby. I helped my host mother cooking apple cake, spaghetti, and a kind of Japanese rice 五目飯. My host mother likes cooking and her cooking tasted good. After cooking, I was also offered to try some Japanese sweets あんこ, Japanese autumn fruit 柿, and Japanese green tea.
The welcome party was held at night, maybe about 6 or 7 o’clock, I don’t remember the exact time. There were many kinds of food in the party because every family brought their own food to the party and shared with each other in the party. So I got the chance to taste many kinds of food there. Besides eating, there were also some interesting performances. Everybody had to perform something according to which country they came from. Indonesian students sang a song in that party. We sang the opening song of Doraemon in Indonesian version and created some funny dances to match with the song. The Japanese liked that a lot and some of them even asked us to write down the lyric of the song. The Japanese families also came up together and sang some songs, but I didn’t know what they were singing because I couldn’t understand Japanese. Here are some videos of them singing in the party.
After the welcome party finished, everybody packed back their own food containers and brought them back home. We went back to our mansion at about 9 o’clock. My host mother asked me about some things about Indonesia and asked me about what I wanted to eat for the next morning. Finally we decided to make pizza. Three of us (my host mother, Kitty ちゃん and I) worked together to make the pizza.
The next morning, host father went fishing with his friends, while the rest of us went to お台場 with one of my host mother’s friend. I will continue telling about going to お台場 in another post to avoid making this post too long.
This is a quite out of date story actually because the homestay program was in October, however I still want to share it here anyway