Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Home Far Away From Home

I had a wonderful opportunity to stay in a nice Japanese home for a weekend. It was a great chance for me to know the typical Japanese family's lifestyle exclusively by living with one even just for a short time.

(From left) Me, Momo-chan, Sakura Chan, a Chinese friend, and Mrs. Kubota
My host family, the Kubota family, consists of otoosan (father), okaasan (mother), 2 kodomo (children), and Malone, their sprightly grayish cat. I hadn’t seen the otoosan frequently though for he has work even on weekends.

Momo-chan,Sakura-chan and Malone
Unlike most Japanese families where mothers give up their job to manage the household, Mrs. Kubota works as a nurse in a nearby hospital. She is free in the weekend to spend time with her children.

The family members were very hospitable. Even if we barely understood each other (I only knew very basic Nihonggo back then), the family tried to engage me in their conversations.

I learned that this family loves to travel. They had been to few southeast Asian countries before. They were also planning to visit the Philippines early next year.

They eagerly asked lots of questions about the Philippine's weather, food, the people, and the dialects. I taught them some Bisayan words which they might find helpful in the future.

Some Bisayan words I taught them

I observed that a Japanese' daily staple consists of vegetables, soup and rice. They do not eat meat frequently. They habitually drink tea (with no sugar) after each meal.  This is probably why Japan has low rate of weight-related problems and has long lifespan.

Picked plum. This plus rice equals perfect.
The most interesting part here however was the chance to experience the Japanese bath ritual. Japanese people typically soak in an ofuro for a couple of minutes after showering. Ofuro is a hot bath tub where they relax after a long day. The water in the tub is drained only after all the members have used it. That is why they need to shower properly beforehand. Traditionally, the guests use the ofuro first, then the children and lastly the parents.

I couldn't tell if Japanese families are generally as nice as the Kubota family, but I sure can say that this homestay experience has left a good impression in me about the  Japanese folks .Staying in a Japanese home is truly a wonderful experience that I undoubtedly will try again.

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