《Are you interested in joining in a Japanese family?》
Many Japanese families have accepted students from abroad, and nowadays the numbers of them has gradually increased through some organizations. If you have decided to lead a school life with homestay in Japan, you may be excited to imagine a new life with Japanese people. On the other hand, you may be nervous to wonder if you will get along with them. Let me introduce some clues for a success in homestay in Japan. Even if you have not decided yet, it will be a door for you to be knocked and opened to Japanese families.
《Who accepts students from abroad?》
There are some international organizations for homestay, and some Japanese schools provide homestay program for exchange students’ programs.
I would say that there are two types for host families in Japan. Quite a few of them want to have their children have international awareness by accepting students from abroad. On the other hand, some families are eager to let students find good points of Japanese culture and get familiar to it. In addition, most of them in each type are not accepting students for money. Therefore, you need not worry about if their acceptances are business-like but they will welcome you from the bottom of their hearts.
《Before joining a family…》
You need to know the family member especially how old their children are.
#1: If their child is in nursery school or kindergarten, you might please him/her by preparing a picture book from your country, or you can share your time with them by reading their picture book at home.
#2: If their child is in elementary school, you might check popular anime or character among them in advance. Please bear in mind that many of them are eager to be surrounded by “kawaii” (pretty) or “kakkoii” (cool) stationaries to purchase ones.
#3: If their child is in junior high or high school, you might check popular singers or comedians among them by “Youtube.” You can learn latest (?) Japanese that are familiar to them, and those Japanese expressions might help you for ice-breaking in the conversations at earlier stage.
#4: If their child is over about 18 years old, you might not worry for the relationship between you and the child because most of them are self-established, and welcome you not by curiosities but by deeper friendships or hospitalities than that of younger children. You might enjoy talking with them about current topics, your hobbies, your ambitions, or about yourself.
#5: If the family does not have any children, it is recommended to learn the father’s or mother’s hobbies/specialties eagerly. You will learn what they cherish mentally, and will learn their good points as well as Japanese languages through the communications.
#6: Notice: I would regret to say that most of Japanese people are hesitant to speak English because most of us haven’t learned how to enjoy conversations in English at schools. Some people to be sure don’t understand even basic English especially for the elderlies. However, we can say that the fact will make your Japanese much stronger in studying it! Please enjoy the challenging conditions to learn Japanese.
#1: It is recommend that you take a shower or bath every day at home unless the family don’t allow you to do. In fact, Japanese people are quite sensitive to body odor especially in summer. If you take a shower/bath in the morning, you should talk with your host family what time will be convenient. In addition, there are many goods for antiperspirant/deodorant at drug stores in Japan. You can ask your Japanese friends or acquaintances about it.
#2: You must be punctual in Japan. Japanese people are the most punctual in the world. If you make an appointment, you are supposed to be the place at least 5 minutes earlier. If you keep being late for appointments, nobody will want to have good relationship with you. If you are going to work in Japan, the time will be much earlier; you are supposed to be your workplace at least 10 or 30 minutes earlier than the starting time. You need to ask your boss in detail.
#3: If you are going to eat out with your friends, you should let your host family know as early as possible otherwise they will be compelled to spoil your lunch/dinner.
#4: If you smoke, you need to ask where you can smoke at home. In fact, Japan has drastically decreased smokers in a decade. Perhaps, some of them don’t allow you to smoke at home. As for public spaces, smoking areas are restricted; smoking in the street will perhaps take you to the police in some towns. However, some hotels, restaurants, or buildings have smoking areas or rooms.
#5: If you are invited to do any activities by your host family, you should take part in it unless you have some religious reasons. In that case, please tell them about that. They will understand you.
《What is your ambition?》
Before you come to Japan, try to have clear vision/goal for your stay. Please reflect yourself with your first vision/goal, and continue your effort. It is quite often that your vision/goal will be changing, and that will be wonderful process for you. It means that you have been influenced by something or somebody in Japan through some experiences. Of course, no-change will also be important. At the end of your stay, please reflect how your vision/goal has been changed, or kept.
What is your ambition for now?