I would be lying if i tell you i didn’t enjoy my homestays. For the past 1.5 months, i have had the privilege to stay with 3 different Japanese families and i shall do a small introduction of each of them.
1) Yoko’s family
Yoko is a doctor who works at a hospital and she hosted me during my university homestay program. I stayed with her for about 5 days then when she was still staying in Hiroshima. The following year, she moved to Okayama and i visited her again with my friend, Michelle and we stayed for 2 days. She has a daughter, Haruka who turned 6 this year. I simply love this girl! Now, they are currently living in a detached 2-storey house in Kurashiki.
Yoko is a very busy person i must say. And because Okayama prefecture is just next to Hiroshima prefecture, she goes back to her own hometown very often, at least once per month. Actually it’s just a 2-3 hrs drive away! I tagged along with her sometimes but sometimes i don’t because i have school the following morning so she arranges for me to stay with another host.
She is an amazing cook (what do you expect from a doctor? ) and her meals are highly nutritious. You will never get nutritional imbalances at her household.Let me show you what i mean:
Usually she makes bagel (different flavours) for breakfasts but i realize i didn’t have a picture of it. This is just normal toasted bread on the days which she ran out of bagels.
We usually eat this kinda rice everyday. It’s made of brown rice, mochi rice, hijiki seaweed, beans of different kinds and it’s SUPER healthy. You can be sure i had no constipation problems during the stay. The first time i couldn’t get used to this but after eating it for a few days, i kinda like it. I didn’t really touch white rice for the 1.5 months apart from the onigiri i buy from convenience stores. The ingredients of the bento are actually leftovers from dinner. Japanese people usually cook extra for dinner so they could pack it for lunch the following day. It’s very economical!
This is the kind of bento i bring to school and my classmates said i eat very little. Yes, i agree if you compare our bento sizes but i think that Japanese homemade bentos are usually this size and that’s how they maintain their slim figure. I think i lost weight during the stay because on top of my meals, i had to walk at least an hr everyday to and from school as her house is a 30 mins walk from the train station.
These are the kinds of snacks (お菓子) that i get to eat at her place. She receives a lot of such gifts from her friends and colleagues but she doesn’t really like cakes and stuff so she gives them to me. Actually the snacks are all pretty expensive and high-end so i actually get to eat VERY WELL at her place. Haha. Oh yea, did i mention too that Haruka doesn’t like such stuff as well? Like mother, like daughter.
A sample of my dinners. Simple, healthy, nutritious.
Fumie-san happened to stay in the same area as Yoko and i got to know her through a chance meeting. She is a really nice and sociable lady and she just moved to Okayama from Tokyo this year due to her husband’s work. I stayed with her a couple of times and she is really hospitable. Her family stays in a mansion on the 8th floor and it’s quite spacious and new.
Here’s what she prepared for me:
I tasted homecooked white rice for the first time in Japan ever since i came on April 2013. Haha i just have to mention this because i almost forgot how white rice taste since i’ve been eating Yoko’s healthy rice. This rice you see here is planted by her husband’s family and you cannot get it anywhere. The grains are just different from what you usually get outside! SERIOUS. It’s very bouncy. Oh yea, and we did the chawanmushi (above the rice) together.
I also got to eat a lot of snacks at her house!! >.< (Shhhh… keep it from my 1st host…!)
I didn’t have a lot of pictures of the food she made because i was too hungry i ate it all up before i remembered to take the picture.
Her house is my favourite place to stay in and goro-goro (do nothing/slack) because it’s too comfortable. There was once the 3 of us (including her husband) we fell asleep together under the kotatsu in front of the tv!! In this manner 川. Every time we think about it, we laugh. HAHA
The third family that i stayed with was with Yoshi. I stayed with her for 2 nights with her husband and supposedly her mother-in-law as well (who never appeared in front of me because she was too shy to say hello). Yoshi has 2 daughters but both have moved out to work in another city. Her house is a wooden 2-storey detached house that was constructed by the husband’s father/grandfather themselves! (You need to be really rich to do that) Yoshi’s husband runs a kendo teaching school and goes around middle and junior high schools to conduct lessons and equipment rental while Yoshi works in a school canteen as a cook.
Am i lucky or what? My hosts are all really good cooks!
Now i can’t even remember what i used to eat for breakfast in Singapore. HAHA
During one of the days, i went out with Yoshi and her friends for Karaoke. Yes, they were all obasans and middle-aged people but i could still recognize a few of the songs in the 90s and my tension got really high when i spotted a song i knew. One of her friends, Ani, really loves taiwanese girl group S.H.E. and she requested me to sing Superstar for her and of course, i did. Despite the age differences and the generation gap, i really enjoyed talking to them and the Karaoke session. No matter how bad i sounded, they just clapped and said very good. HAHA (well i know how bad i sound)
On the second day of the homestay at Yoshi’s, we joined Fumie-san’s outing with her Tokyo friends. We went to Okayama castle and Korakuen. It’s not my first time being there so i shall just be quick with this.
Oh and i tried on the Princess’s kimono at the castle!!! Finally, i can be a princess!
I am not a narcissist!! One of my friends told me that i should post more pictures of myself and i didn’t really posted any in the first few posts so here it is! (Actually i’m pretty camera-shy)
There are other costumes also actually:
I came to the conclusion that i’m not suited for the wig so i’m never gonna post that up.
Another event that i attended with my homestay families is the ‘gasshuku’ (合宿) which was a 2d1n camp on a mountain. The drinking session which took place at night was interesting because it felt like a ‘joshikai’ (女子会) . I was listening in to other people’s conversation and everyone had a chance to taste the different snacks from their hometowns.
To be honest with you, i didn’t really join in all their activities at the camp because i was playing with children rather than the singing and dancing. It just doesn’t appeal to me. But i did meet a lot of people!
Okay shall end it here for now. 🙂