Konnichiwa! In this post, I will talk about my homestay experience and the annual Oppama Y Festa. My homestay experience was amazing, and I have made some of the most happiest memories. They are a really nice family with three adorable dogs. My host mother is especially the sweetest. Every morning, I have to wake up early because my host mother leaves for work around 7:30 and by then everyone is out of the house (daughter goes to school and host father is off to work in the early morning). However, she always makes me a breakfast bento to take to school and most of the time that includes pastries and fruit. Before I leave for school, she tells me “きをつけてね (be careful)” and to have a nice day. She is very understanding especially when I have my struggles sometimes.
There were also times when I went out with my host family to do fun activities. One time I went to karaoke for the first time with my host mother and daughter, and we had a blast singing mostly American pop songs since my host sister loves American pop music like me. Another time, we went shopping at Yokohama Landmark Plaza, and after that we rode the Yokohama Seabass, a ferry that travels through the scenic route from the port of Yokohama. Since we rode at night, the view was really pretty!
Then, one dinner I helped make gyoza for the first time. To be honest, it is not that easy especially when you have to make small creases as you are folding the dumpling and I put too much meat in one of them. But, it still turned out to be おいしい (delicious).
Finally, there was a day where my host family even met one of my KGU buddies after he helped me get shinkansen tickets for fall break (I will talk about this in my next post) and we went to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) where they had an exhibit about the gannenmono, the first Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii. This exhibit was special since it is the 150th anniversary of the gannenmono and there were a few celebrations honoring them back home this past summer.
Overall, I had a great time with my host family. At the beginning (and before the homestay started), it felt kind of awkward since I am different from them. However as time went on, I felt as if I had become part of the family. I am now glad to say I have ohana (If you don’t know the meaning of this word, you better watch Lilo and Stitch) in Japan because of the hospitality they have provided me. I imagine that it is going to be so difficult coming back home where my real family lives. Now on to Oppama Y Festa!
Sunday 10/28- Oppama Y Festa was a festival sponsored by Nissan where there were many activities set up for the kids. KGU had a tent with two activities set up, so all of KGU, both international and japanese students helped out at this event. Since the theme was Halloween, I decided to dress up as Mario. My job was to cheer on the kids as they had to play a game where they throw a ball at one of the numbered squares to get three across, diagonal, up, or down. I got to admit, I probably sounded like an idiot because I got into the character of Mario and cheered like him but I am pretty sure the kids seemed to enjoy it. There were also performances going on such as a power ranger fight and a band that played Hawaiian music along with hula dancers. At the end of the day, we all walked down to see the fireworks, and the display was huge! It was much bigger and more grand than the usual Friday night fireworks back home.
Well that is all for this post, be on the look out for my upcoming post about fall break which occured soon after Oppama Y Festa.