“First impression: My new Host Family” by Dorian (Fall 2016)

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First impressions mean everything. You can learn a lot about a person from the first encounter, and maybe even determine whether or not he or she is a potential friend/acquaintance or not. After hearing the details of this family, I immediately wanted to have them! I am so grateful for the International Exchange Office for their efforts to assign me to the best matching host family which I would like to have for my second semester at Tokyo International University.

This Fall semester, I am staying with the Kamezawa Family from Fujimino City. The family consists of: Kousuke(dad), Marika(mom), Riko(sister), and Raku(2-year-old brother). They are no strangers to the program, for they have hosted a former student from Tokyo International University within the past year or two.

host family - Japan Studies Program

Bowling night with the Kamezawa Family from Fujimino City

When I first received an email from the family, I was extremely surprised to see the host mother’s English grammar…it was really good! Once we got to know each other better, she mentioned studying in California for 1-2 years. The 7-year-old daughter, Riko, is also learning English at her elementary school. Therefore, I use a mix of Japanese and English in order to help Riko practice for more conversational purposes. My host mother, Marika, also wishes to learn more English and utilize it for daily use. Recently, she mentioned that my vocabulary sheets from Japanese Language Class could be very helpful for her, Riko, and even the host father Kousuke. Because of that, I plan to make copies for them!

My host mom, Marika is a housewife with a part-time job at a salon. I always call Marika “Superwoman” because it is amazing to see her take care of housework, practice with and facilitate Niko when she has homework, and work at a salon while taking care of little Raku. Her daily life painted a positive picture of a Japanese housewife for me.She is extremely personable towards me and any JSP guests I bring to the house. Yes, down-to-earth and easy to talk to…that sums her up just right!

Host Family - Japan Studies Program

Little Raku has TIU School Spirit!

My host dad, Kousuke is a classic salary man. He comes home around 10:30pm or later, and yet he wakes up early in the morning to start work all over again. As tiring as it sounds, he still has a calm and collected demeanor. He also finds time to have fun with the kids, whether it may be taking them out or simply playing with them at the house. Kousuke has been supportive of me since Day 1, whether I needed help with planning activities for the month or simply driving me to the station when I need to go there. He’s a very nice guy, and it’s always a joy to make him laugh!

Host Family - Japan Studies Program

Having fun making Mexican food for the host family. It’s their first time eating tacos!

My living situation is very comfortable. I have a room to myself upstairs, and automatic lights are in various places in the house. If I come home late from a night of tutoring English, the lights leading upstairs and the shower room immediately come on so I can see my way. Very convenient! The kitchen stove is pretty easy to use, so I decided to buy ingredients from Yokosuka Naval Base and make American-Style tacos for my family. It was the first time for them to ever eat tacos! I felt so honored to cook that for them, and I plan to continue cooking more American foods! Next time might be Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast…

The first day I met them, we went to Hamazushi, a sushi-go-round restaurant(Kaiten Sushi). The next day, we went bowling and afterwards ate at a yakiniku restaurant. From those experiences alone, I can predict that this will be an exciting and fun family!

Host Family - Japan Studies Program

If they fit, they sit! Having fun with the kids.

The parents are less than 20 years older than me, so it feels wonderful to speak to adults who are modern and understand the aspects of Japanese culture in which I fell in love with. The kids are fun to be around, and I am quickly becoming attached to them. This is the kind of family experience I’ve been longing for, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.