Konichiwa minnasan! Hello everyone!
My name is Julia! This is my first post for this lovely new semester! I am from Ohio and go to Hope College in Holland, Michigan. I am a Studio Art and Japanese double Major. I found Temple’s Abroad Program online my freshman year in college. It was exactly what I was looking for in an abroad program. So, two years later I find myself in Japan studying at Temple Japan Campus!!!
I am living with a host family here in Japan. The Yamada family is a family of four, there is the mother, father, and two little girls. The little girls are Sakura (cherry blossom) who is ten, and Kokoro (heart) who is eight. The father actually works in Sendai, and comes home for vacations. We live in a high rise in Toyosu. Toyosu is a man-made island in Tokyo Bay and about 35 to 40 minutes from campus by subway. Toyosu is mostly known for its large shopping center called La La Port. It even has a sports center. This shopping center is on the waterfront and happens to be my neighbor. There is even a connecting tunnel from the apartment to La La Port. On top of that my apartment has a convenience store inside it. The location is amazing, and not as crowded as other places in Tokyo.
Living with a host family has so far been a lot of fun, but I do feel stretched. I do not speak Japanese well, and my family speaks very little English. My host father can speak some English, but he is only here this weekend because it is a holiday this Monday. However, even with the confusion my family has been very gracious. We have had a lot of fun too. I taught my family how to crochet Thursday night. When I got home Friday my host mother had made a hair scrunchy!
Friday night Kokoro started to really feel comfortable around me too. Now she takes my hand and tells me to come here. She then proceeds to take me to my room. She stops at the door and knocks. After I tell her it is okay to go in, she rushes in and goes to my jewelry and hair things. She likes to wear all of my bows at once. On Saturday my host father came home and we went out for soba in La La Port. We went to the arcade too. We played a drum game and we took a pikura. Pikura is a photo booth that enhances your features and you can add little icons and write messages on them to be printed out. It is a lot of fun and can turn into a ridiculous picture.
I have nephews and nieces back home, and so I love having Sakura and Kokoro pulling me around everywhere. There are so many decisions I have been asked to make since arriving here. Having little Kokoro picking out her favorite first helps me feel less as a guest and more like family. It has not been all perfect though. On Friday night I was locked out for about an hour. I still don’t know what happened, but my host mother wasn’t home at 4:30 like we planned. I ended up walking around La La Port which was fine, but it was nerve-wracking to not have a phone yet. (I will get my phone this week). All in all even with the clumsy mistakes that I have made since arriving and my lack of Japanese I really enjoy living with a host family. Also, I know I will grow a lot in my ability to speak Japanese because of their help! Ganbarimasu!
p.s. My host mother is an amazing cook! They are masterpieces!