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Envious of Nabeshin's Fro
29 Jun 2003
Howdy everyone,

I'm new here. I am a self-studying Japanese language student. One of my big goals for the next couple of years is to visit Japan - probably Tokyo.

Unlike lots of folks on this board (maybe I haven't been reading it long enough) I'm middle-aged, married and have a child. We all want to go to Japan.

Here's the question part: I'd really like to meet a counter-part family in Tokyo who might be interested in visiting the United States (the Southwest in particular) and do sort of Vacation Exchange. We'll be the US hosts and they can be the Japan hosts.

Is this sort of thing doable? To me, this would seem like the most interesting way to plan a trip. I'm not looking to go really soon - we have to save up money and I really want to increase my proficiency with the language.

Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated!


Certainly it's doable. The question is how to find the other family. What I would probably do is get involved with hosting programs and host some Japanese kids or young adults. With some programs you only need host for a weekend so it's not a big investment in time, etc. If you do it one or more times you will probably meet up with one or more people you could visit in Japan. (I wouldn't necessarily count on finding families with the space to put up your whole family however but at least they could show you around and help find affordable lodging for you.) I definitely agree that knowing/visiting some Japanese people will make your trip immeasurably more enjoyable.

Please don't make language ability a prerequisite for going to Japan otherwise you may never go. Obviously the more you know the better but many people have had great vacations in Japan knowing nothing.
Greetings and welcome. I like the idea you propose about doing a "vacation exchange." The trick, like mdchachi stated, is finding the right family that is compatible with your own. The host family route sounds good and is probably your best avenue. I would get in touch with your local schools and or Chamber of Commerce. Many cities are part of a sister city exchange program where they annually host visitors from abroad for a period of a week or two, taking turns and alternating between cities every other year. I was involved with one a couple years back and i'm sure you would find the experience enjoyable as well as a great opportunity to network some contacts.
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