Japan – Homestay Reflections (Anime Group 1)


Hokkaido has been quite different from Tokyo and yet I am enjoying Nanae a lot. When I arrived I immediately felt the difference in temperature. The first weekend in Nanae was incredibly fun as I was able to go barbecuing with Simone and Kofi. I was also able to go to an arcade where I got to play soccer and basketball with my host brother. It was the start of a very fun week.

The group was able to go canoeing which ended up being pretty fun. We were also accompanied by four students from the English club of Nanae high school. Overall, I think everyone had a pretty fun day.


Homestays are where you are staying with an actual family or person of the country you’re staying in. To say the least, it’s terrifying and makes you extremely nervous. You’re on your own with people you just met, and you don’t know much of the language, and you don’t know much about them as well. But after a day or two of settling in, you get used to it and they become your family.

For me, I was staying with the Abo Family. They are a three person family. A mom, a dad, and their 2 year old son, and all three of them are wonderful. When I was being taken home the first night, my host mom told me we were having dinner with her best friends, their 2 year old son, and two college kids from America that they’re hosting. I nodded and smiled, but on the inside it just made me more nervous that I was going to say or do something wrong. It was fine when I got there, though. The two college kids were almost fluent in Japanese and they helped me speak and translate. After that, I had three more dinners with them and I will never forget any of them.

Nanae is a really great place to learn about culture outside of technology and games and anime. You learn about yourself as a person and you learn about people from a different culture. I really loved this aspect of the trip.



Last week we left Tokyo and took a ferry to Nanae. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I had only seen pictures of the big cities. When we arrived, the weather was a lot cooler and there was less noise than Tokyo. That night we met our host families.  The next two days I had a great time sightseeing,  eating great food, and shopping. My family knew that I loved to play the piano, so they took me to a piano concert which was so much fun.

For the next week, I spent the day with the group and the night with my host family. My favorite night was when I went to Karaoke with my host sister and her friends. I had never done it before, and I am terrible at singing, but it was still fun to be there. After Karaoke we went to Mt. Hakodate for a night time view. It was beautiful, so I took many photos. Throughout my stay in Nanae I have made valuable memories, so this town will always have a special place in my heart.


For this week, we stayed with host families in Nanae. It was the first time I had ever had an experience like this, and I was a little nervous about it. I was worried about whether my host family would like me or not, as well as whether I’d feel comfortable in the home of a family I’d never met before. However, as soon as I got there, I knew that I would enjoy my home stay. My family was kind and welcomed me warmly in so many ways.

The day after I came to Nanae, my host family took me to a barbecue in the park with two other host families. It was so fun to hang out with people from my group as well as getting to know theirs and my family better. After that day, everything became much more comfortable for me, and I enjoyed every moment I had with my host family.

The whole experience made me appreciate life in Japan more, as the homestay put into perspective what daily life is like in Japan. If I could, I would return in a heartbeat.



We got off the boat around 1:30-1:50 (13 hour boat ride) then we got on the bus and drove around to another side of Hokkaido for 2-3 hours.

I meet my host family today they were very caring and helpful. I was very scared when I met them but I’m getting better now. Kota is not the younger brothers name it’s the older brothers name. Kota is a very good translator and Japanese teacher. Shogo ( age 6) likes rock music he listens to Ozzy Osborne and that guy who made Black Sabbath. I had dinner it was very good but I ate it in the wrong order, apparently! After dinner I need to say (Gochisô sama deshita) I introduced myself properly because I didn’t feel I did before. I also showed off my art. Shogo showed me what he could draw and had me draw Ozzy Osborne. Kota also draws but not as much as Shogo ( Kota isn’t a big Pokémon fan either) I showed Kota my pictures from Tokyo because he’s never gone and he wants to go, showed him my family, and Chicago. I also studied more Japanese for awhile with writing and translation. The father could not attend the meeting because of work but I met him around 9:30. He’s not as serious as he seems. He’s like the lighter side of my grandpa and a lot younger.


For the past week we were staying in Nanae with host families. It was my first time ever doing something like this and it was a mixture of anxiety and excitement. But my fears were laid to ease, as my host family was super nice. For the first full day we had together we went sightseeing and visited a park which was like a zoo. We later visited a shopping mall where nearby a cosplay festival was going on and I got a photo with some Boku no Hero cosplayers!(I was super excited and looked nowhere as cool as them. The Bakugou cosplayer let me wear his gauntlet!) We then left for home. The second day we went to a music festival which was crazy and hot, but I had fun.

On Wednesday, my host family took me to a buffet where we would take raw meat and cook it. There were also other foods such as ramen, soba, banana pudding, a chocolate fountain, and many more! I even got to make cotton candy! On Friday for lunch, we went out as a group and ate somewhere similar where we cooked our own meat. This time there was ice cream and I ate to my heart’s content.(Which was two double scoops of chocolate).



For a week, I was able to stay in Nanae small rural town in Hokkaido, which was a large contrast to Tokyo. Hokkaido is a large island off of the mainland of Japan, yet it is just as busy. This was my first time experiencing homestay. At first, I was nervous about staying in the house of a family I had never met, which, understandably anybody else would be as well. My fears were eased away, though, as I engaged in conversation with my family despite the language barrier. I had an amazing time and it felt like an extremely short week.

The first two days were just for my host family and I, and they had shown me around Nanae, driving to different parks and small festivals within the town. I was even able to eat at their favorite restaurant right around the corner of a campsite. Those two days were extremely eventful. Eventually, I started spending days with my group again, and we did many things such as visiting a high school, calligraphy, and canoeing. Nanae was such a beautiful town and pictures do not do it justice. I hope I get to return some day.


During our time in Nanae for our homestay, our group was given the opportunity to try on kimonos. The kimonos we wore were mostly based on our height. For girls, they wore furisode-type kimonos, and for guys, we wore montsukihakama-type kimonos. We first put on the white under-kimono. Then we were wrapped in the sashes. After all the sashes were wrapped around us, they put on the black kimono top and the hakama, the “pants” of the outfit. After we all finished changing into our kimonos, we moved to the tatami room to have a photoshoot.

During the photoshoot, we were given the opportunity to pose with the 琴(koto), a Japanese string instrument. Our sensei even demonstrated her skills by playing us a song. It was very nice of her to do so. After the performance, we took a group picture and then our own pictures. The models of katanas, Japanese swords, were my favorite prop to use, because I watch too much anime with swords. I took a lot of pictures with my friends and we posed with the swords. I had a fun time doing this activity and I would gladly do it again if I were given the chance.