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Host family experiences

Zenbone

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I put something like this on before (long time ago) and was wondering if anyone here has any experiences they would like to share. Also, how do you become a host family? I can not seem to find any info on it locally.
Thanks
 

ghettocities

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I kind of wished I had gone to a host family way back when I first started going back to Japan because when I was in the sixth grade my older brother got to go on exchange (he was a freshman in highschool) and he came back with all these stories, photos and videos of how it all was. In relation to that and all the other stories I hear of home-stay/host families everyone falls in love with their host-sister, that's all my brother talked about when he got home, his host-sister and how they were in love and all this sh*t, well I think when he showed me these photos of them together, I mean she was soooooo hot, and i'm all, my brother? he is a computer-nerd, how can he hook up with these hot girls? ,, I think it was around that time I found out that Japan had an abundancy of easy girls and I was going to make it my mission in life to take advantage of them.

On another note, I heard about how last year my dad who works a high-position in a major computer company was flying to Japan to be at a meeting there for like only 2-3 days and he took my younger brother to one of his co-workers house in Japan and my little brother stayed at my dad's co-worker/friends house with the co-worker's wife and kids for a home-stay which lasted a long time I guess because sometime this past year or this year the wife of my dad's co-worker and kids flew to america and dropped my brother off at my parents house aswell as one of her kids who is now staying at my parents house under home-stay, so that's one way you could go about doing things, it's all about knowing people and having contacts, atleast I think that'd be the best way, I work with this one guy who went to like Sweden under some kind of exchange program/host family deal and he told me about how he would have rather had been with people who wernt complete strangers and they had been selected as approved host-families or something so they were really strict and he couldn't do half the things he wanted to do, though I'm sure that's not the case for everyone, just a possibility, like I remember my older brother telling me how one of his Japan host families gave him a bike and said he could leave and explore any time he wanted to, so it all depends, damn I can't wait until this summer, only like 2 months until i'm return with my pants down to my ankles.

Josh
 

Iron Chef

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"I think it was around that time I found out that Japan had an abundancy of easy girls and I was going to make it my mission in life to take advantage of them."

Yes, very noble of you Josh...

ANYWAYS... Being a host family can be a wonderfully rewarding experience for all parties involved. I have actually hosted several groups as well as individuals both before and after coming to Japan and each and every experience has been unique unto itself. For someone who doesn't have much familiarity with the Japanese culture or it's people, it can be a great learning experience (for both sides). The only real criterion for being a good host I think is just having a big heart and a willingness to open your home for a few days (or however long the duration of the stay is) to accomodate strangers.

From my experience, depending on where you live and what kind of Japanese-American community exists in your area (if at all), contacting your local schools would be a good first step if you are interested in being a host family. Most public high schools for instance (at least the larger ones) usually have at least one or two Japanese international students as part of an exchange program and they are always looking for potential host family candidates. Making your desire known and getting your name circulated and on file with the various schools might be a good first step. Try contacting their counselor's office first, as he or she may also be able to put you in touch with other local contacts who sometimes get involved organizing such affairs (Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, etc.).

Universities also tend to have lots of Japanese visitors for various reasons throughout the academic year, although most typically arrive during the Summertime. Getting in touch with their International Studies program director would be a good idea as well. At any rate, these are just a couple of suggestions to get you started and I commend you for expressing an interest in potentially hosting. It's a great experience and I know you won't regret it.
:)
 
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ragedaddy

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Yeah, In my case I have been living with a host family for about a year now, and it really has been a rewarding experience. You really get a sense of the Japanese culture and everyday life. My family has been super cool, I mean they didn`t give me a curfew, they respected my privacy, they took me on trips with them, etc. They had like two little kids as well, so that has been a lot of fun playing with them and stuff. When I came here to my homestay, I barely could speak Japanese, but now it`s like we are talking all the time about various things. My Japanese has definitely improved since I came and lived with this family. They really have made me feel like I was part of their family. I would definitely recommend trying a homestay, because most likely you will have great experiences.

I did stay with a different homestay family before I came to my current one, but that really wasn`t a good experience. They were very strict, wouldn`t even give me my own key, gave me a curfew of 11pm, and treated me as if I were 5 years old, so that was pretty annoying. I was there for 3 weeks, and I was glad to get out of that place.

Overall, I think that there are more nice home stay families than not-so-friendly, but I guess it`s all by chance. I got hooked up with my homestay family through my Language school. Generally, you should be able to find home stays through schools and other various programs. I guess the best thing to do would research as much as you can. Anyways, good luck with that!
 

mike

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also, relating to homestays and host families...

what level of 'keigo' is good to use with your host mother and father?
 

Iron Chef

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I wouldn't really worry about that too much as i'm sure they will be more impressed with your desire to communicate as much as possible rather than whether or not you are using an appropriate honorific for instance. Then again, using polite form to address them from time to time will probably earn their appreciation as well (especially early on), so I guess it just really depends on the situation, how comfortable you are with the language, etc.
 

mdchachi

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Mike, if you can consistently stick with standard -masu form that would be ideal. No need to try to get more fancy than that. If you're up for it, though, it would knock their socks off if you were able to speak keigo to any of their friends or older relatives that they may introduce you to. But unless you're super pera-pera I wouldn't even try, it is hard enough for people to understand gaijin as it is, and it's even harder if they're spoken to in an unexpected manner.
 

ghettocities

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Originally posted by mdchachi
Mike, if you can consistently stick with standard -masu form that would be ideal. No need to try to get more fancy than that. If you're up for it, though, it would knock their socks off if you were able to speak keigo to any of their friends or older relatives that they may introduce you to. But unless you're super pera-pera I wouldn't even try, it is hard enough for people to understand gaijin as it is, and it's even harder if they're spoken to in an unexpected manner.
I have no clue what you all are talking about and I'm knocking off socks and other undergarments quicker than you can say konnichiwoa and ohio.

Josh
 

mike

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thanks guys. i have been learning keigo for the past few weeks, so i was curious about that.

another question: bringing gifts to a host family...what do you think would be enjoyed by them? also, since wrapping is very important in japan, what should i do since airports no longer allow wrapped packages? (grrr)
 

ragedaddy

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Yeah, don`t worry about speaking Keigo, because it`s not that necessary in your case. It`s a homestay family and they won`t be expecting you to speak it at all. At first, it might be good to use masu form, but the closer you become to your family the less polite you speak. Also, if you make Japanese friends and stuff, you basically just tend use plain form. At first, I was speaking masu form to my friends, and they were like dude, that`s too polite, we`re friends so you don`t need to use that. It was like they were almost offended(I guess they say it`s kinda of a cold feeling), but I guess it all depends. There`s even a lot of Japanese people that have trouble with Keigo, so don`t even worry about that. When you are thinking about getting a job at a Japanese company, that`s when I will be starting to worry about Keigo. However, it is beneficial to know some, like when you are introduced to a new person, or something to that effect.

About the presents, I just brought gift bags and tissue paper, and that seemed to work. You can buy wrapping paper in Japan as well if you need to, so I wouldn`t worry about that stuff too much....
 

Iron Chef

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Re: an appropriate gift

That really depends I think on how well you know your host familly beforehand. It's always a good idea to start a correspondence ahead of the time of your actual arrival in order to find out as much about them as you possibly can. Assuming you know for certain who your homestay parents will be, you will definitely want to correspond with them beforehand in order to make them aware of whether or not you may be taking certain medications, can eat certain foods, or perhaps have any peculiar habits in general, etc. etc. as an example. You could also use this opportunity to find out what particular tastes you host parents may enjoy (fishing, reading, etc.) in order to find just the right gift for them.

Re: gift wrapping

Wrap it sometime after your arrival but before you actually meet them. If memory serves, you shouldn't have any problems getting it wrapped somewhere inside the airport (perhaps one of the traveller's kiosks or specialty gift stores would oblige you). Unless of course, your host family is meeting you at the airport (not usually the case), then I would simply take some giftwrap with me along with the actual gift. Then, once you get settled in to your new surroundings, wrap it up and present it to your host parents sometime later that evening, perhaps at meal time. I don't really remember any specific time-frame that says you should present it to them immediately upon making their acquaintance. Either way, I think you'll be set. :cool:
:)
 
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mdchachi

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Re gifts, I'd generally recommend giving them something edible such as smoked salmon, small set of jams, pastries, alcohol, etc. Of course it should be nicely packaged. As for wrapping, how about using gift bags & tissue paper?
 

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