(still September 3rd, 2018)
About my host family ("hostfamily") in general
I want to keep the privacy of my kind hosts, so I will avoid info that is too detailed, but: They will take care of me for 3 months, they've had an exchange student before (which I actually talked with on Skype and WhatsApp which was really awesome since she could give me pretty useful tips with school and Japanese language study), who also joined Ayusa's program. They are a father, a mother, a young boy and an old dog (I LOVE DOGS and I have siblings as well :3) and they live near Yokohama or Tokyo if you will. The father is very skilled at the English language and the combination of him speaking English and the mother speaking Japanese is, in my humble opinion the perfect match for me. It's so helpful to be able to ask if I really don't understand something after I tried it in Japanese! Especially since it's my first time in Japan, in a host family and at a Japanese school!! I feel like I have a safety net that is also useful to improve my Japanese quickly, because I do not need to look every word up, but rather I can just ask (the mother also knows so much vocabulary). We are getting along really well for now :D.
First Days - Hostfamily
My hostfamily kindly fetched me at the hotel at 10 a.m. and the plan was to go to a Ramen museum, but it only opened at 11 a.m., so it was decided that we would drive home first and then get Ramen at a restaurant. (The Ramen was delicious! Like seriously!) It also served ice cream as dessert. My little hostbrother seemed to be a little shy but as for now (2 days later) he seems more confident and more comfortable with me being around (he's actually quite energetic which makes him very adorable :P). The area has many smaller, older, coy-looking houses and you really do find じはんき (vending machines) at every corner (:P). The style of the houses is not too traditional but it surely is different from the German-European one. I find that most houses look like a mixture of both. I need to get used to the left-hand traffic - maybe I will be riding to school by my family's bycicle, but as for now I rather taking the bus. My hostmother suggested that we go see my school because it was near, so we actually went there! And I didn't have to wait long before I made the first mistake: I forgot to take my shoes off, when I passed the げんかん (entrance area). My hostfather gently reminded me of that but it was such a pain, because, of course, I knew this custom already. I saw the handball and baseball club at their training and was a little discouraged in my intention to join the handball club, because they have been doing handball since middle school and I've only had one semester (second half of 11th grade - small shout out to Mr. K. really enjoyed the lessons!). But they also have a choir and a social commitment club. So I still have a chance. Today (at 3.30 p.m. I will go to the school to find out if I can borrow a uniform in my size and to talk about schedules and stuff apparently I'm so nervous that I can't sleep or it's due to the fact that I had the need to use the bathroom or that I still have a jetlag; it's probably a combination.
The hostfamilies flat is really big (it can compete with German standards) and very cozy. I didn't forget to take my shoes off this time and immediately was shown to my room. It is really spacey and I'm lucky to have a room, because if you didn't know: Japanese living space is limited since Japan consistists of many islands with mostly mountainous areas. The coasts and flat areas are quite crowded. Anyway, I have a guitar in my room (Thank you!!) and an e-piano and like 3 closets and a desk. It's awesome! I actually leave the window open at night since day one and it's delightful to sleep on tatami under soft blankets with a small breeze passing through.
On my first days in Japan and on the first day at my hostfamily's place it was so damn hot!! Like seriously I sweated so much (deodorants' usefulness is indeed limited) and really dream of one of those handkerchiefs that are not made of paper but of textile. The hostfather is also really skilled at cooking and I ate delicious Japanese food (I think my favorite for now is just simple おにぎり (Onigiri) but the meat in Japan is also of very high quality and there are sooo many things that I still have to try! (I can say now that I do not like なっと (Natto) like most foreigners)
September 8th, 2018
Although it's almost been a week, I didn't want to let you guys miss out on my first real (hostfamily) trip in Japan on Saturday, September 1st (if I remember that correctly). It had been raining until afternoon but my hostfather was really keen on showing me that one river near our place and why would I reject the first opportunity to have some native's insight on beautiful places that tourist might not find on the internet. So there we went and had a lot of fun :D My hostbrother tried to catch some chestnusts with one of those insect landing nets he even entered the ice cold water (which I humbly refused to do XD). But I guess the best part was just having a barbecue over an open fire, waiting for the meat to get juicy and eating outside (haven't enjoyed a good campfire in a while... you guys should go and do it right now!). I learned some new vocabulary (look it up, if you need to: やる、むし、ほたる。。。) My hostfather and I agreed on bringing a guitar next time! OH - by the way, on the way to the river I saw my first other black person at a mart where my hostfam bought meat and coal! I waved and smiled but now (after a week) I feel like I shouldn't have, because foreigners are at least at my place and near my school not THAT rare. Oh, and I saw this candy-thingy which looked so delicious!!! But I should not buy everything that looks おいしい (yummy), because I would become poor as soon as walking three blocks from my hostfam's place (vending machines are E V E R Y W H E R E - although you have to admit they mostly sell drinks, not food, according to my experience). Well, so to come to a conclusion about the trip: It was awesome and relaxing. Look at these pics:
In this video's first part, you can hear some far away bells...