Shinagawa City Office Daisan-Chosha, 4th Floor,
2-1-36 Hiromachi,Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0005 Japan (Map)
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A Day With a Student
A Day for a Host Family
MORNING AFTER WAKING UP : The student stayed with a child of the host family in a room. Since the child taught him how to fold up the bedding, he put it in the closet himself. Then, he came to the living room.
BREAKFAST : Mother prepared toast, sweetened buns, cereals and fruits for him so that he would be able to choose what he wanted to eat from them. (Mother told him the breakfast time the day before.)
GOING OUT : The host family took a drive to Yokohama City with him after having a meal at a Korean-style fried meat restaurant. Then, they asked him where he was interested in going. The family members, who are good at shopping, took him out for shipping to such places as Shibuya and Harajuku. (On another day, he went out to sing songs at a Karaoke place with another family.)
EVENING MEAL : They ate at restaurants with him because they were out to drive and shop the whole day. Although they were with him, they ate foods they wanted without sticking to Japanese food.
TAKING A BATH : Although they taught the student how to take a Japanese-style bath correctly, he used only a shower in the bathroom. According to them, they found it difficult to arrange the bathing time for each of them including him, as they have a lot of family members in their house.
HAVING A GOOD TIME : Although all the members couldn't get together due to their own schedules, some of them were with him in the living room, talking about their lives in Japan and vice versa, utilizing a computer.
GOING TO BED : All of them left the living room at 10:00p.m. Then he went to bed after watching TV in his room for a while.
We bought our student an informal kimono called "Yukata", hair ornaments, and cookies for her family as gifts.  During her time with us, we taught her how to cook Japanese food, so we gave her a few cooking tools, such as sushi mats, rice ball molds, etc. from One Dollar Shop as gifts.
Regrettably, we were too generous because she was our first foreign student.  She took advantage of our generosity and demanded too much from us.  We decided to reject her unreasonable requests, and we found it to be the right decision.
MORNING AFTER WAKING UP : The host family gave her a single room in their house. They woke her up, as she overslept in the morning.
BREAKFAST : She had open sandwiches, fruits and juice, which they basically served her for everyday for breakfast during her stay with them. According to them, she ate rice balls prepared by them during her stay.
GOING OUT : She went out with another host family that had a couple of foreign students at the time and had a great time. She and the host family had a cup of coffee at a maid cafe in Akihabara. She was able to establish closer friendships with the foreign students, who came with the host family, while sightseeing with them.
(According to them, since she often went out with other foreign students and sometime stayed with another host family, they were able to spend time just for themselves while she was out. Also, a student from another host family visited them. His host family was able to have time for themselves while he was with them.)
EVENING MEAL : She had the ordinary food they typically had for dinner. Since she wanted to do the dishes after dinner, they had her do it. (According to them, they didn't make any special meals for her and just prepared the dishes, which they thought were good for her during her stay in their house.)
HAVING A GOOD TIME : They had a mini concert with her, playing the piano and flute in the living room. They also sang songs with her. (According to them, on other days, they played the game called "Bozu Mekuri" with the cards for the Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poet and computer games with her.)
GOING TO BED : They asked her to return to her room in the evening in order to strictly follow the schedule she set up for herself for the day.
According to them, since they had been a host family for foreign students before, they were able to have a very good time with her, utilizing their good experience as a host family. They said to us, "We took her only to the places we ourselves wanted to go. So, we didn't get bored while staying in those places!"
They told us that they bought her the cookies she loved as the gift to her family in Auckland. Since she loved the accessory Mother was wearing, Mother gave it to her as the gift for herself.
They also told us that they would have been able to show her more of the interesting Japanese culture if they made the sightseeing plan for her more carefully in advance.
Not all the members of a host family are interested in experiencing cultural exchanges with the student who stays with them in their house.

For instance, a host family feels bad about a very trifle thing the student did to them and he or she also feels bad in the situation. It is true that they sometimes feel too nervous in dealing with him or her, but their sense of responsibility usually has them do their best in making him or her happy. The sense of achievement they are able to experience when he or she smiles and says appreciative words on the day he or she leaves for his or her country is just like reaching the summit of Mt. Fuji.

According to an experienced host family, they always believe that they are able to discover and share something very special even when they didn't really like the student. They said to us, "We want to keep accepting a student as a host family."
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