I know many of my readers are a little confused about my Japan trip. How come i get to travel to so many places and stay for so long? I feel the need to explain a little and also because many people have asked and i have not had the time to replied. Now once and for all.
It was like this. On the 16th December 2008, i went on a homestay program to Nagano for one week, and then joined the rest of the homestay students at Disneyland on the 23th, which is the last day of our Japan homestay. But i took a night bus from Disneyland all the way down to Nara, and stayed with TK for another 3 weeks, before my visa expired.
It was a crazy journey. Now for those who want to participate in homestay program in Japan, this is the blog post for you.
My friend Wilson and his friend Steven are managing Titanplanet , An international homestay network. And i had a wonderful time in Japan, partly and indirectly owed to Wilson, because he was the idiot who introduced TK to me, so i’m more than willing to share this piece of good news with you.
Titan Planet is organizing a homestay program this coming April to Tokyo for 9 days and 15 days (your choice). And it’s very very very likely i will be joining as well. I have never really toured around in Tokyo, so i want to go again to see the world-reknowned Scrambled Junction (TK said it was Sukurembo eeggu, HAHAHHA! Aho. But so cute!), and it’s sakura season!!!
Basically this is what a homestay is.
My host in Nagano-Nakamura family.
Some of you might get sick of following tour guides and staying in hotels when you go traveling in a foreign country. I for one hate group tours the most. Participating in the homestay programs, you are welcomed as one of the family member and take part in everyday life, and you get to experienced the real cuture of a country.
Obaachan, Ojiichan, Kai, Okaasan, Ai and Otousan.
You do what a typical Japanese do every day. Eg play with the kids.
Ai and Kai.
Experience local culture.
First time using ofuro!
Maybe go to the kid’s school.
They may surprise you with gifts!
Obaachan help me wear kimono (my Christmas present).
If you don’t speak their language, it is completely okay. Your family will enjoy sharing the joys of discovering languages together. For me, I spoke to them in 100% Japanese, but Yuriko (my foster mom) was interested in Malay language so i would teach her a little (though my Malay is worse than my Japanese).
Please do not expect 5-star treatment when you stay with your host family. Always be accommodating and willing to learn. You may not visit as many places as you will on a group tour, or eat luxurious dinners. The mom cooks most of the time, and you can learn a few new dishes! It is good if you can offer to help out with the dishes and laundry (but most mordern families have dish washing machine etc so see how lucky you are la. Yuriko never let me do the househork. Hehe.)
The previous homestay i joined wasn’t from Titan Planet, but i guess i would enjoy Titan Planet’s homestay more because it’s adult oriented and therefore the rules are not as rigid and it gives you more freedom.
Also, i am really touched by Steven’s passion for setting up a network like this. It isn’t easy! And Titan Planet is a non-profit organization. Please do not expect really cheap homestay fee, because It involves a lot of research, hard work, time and effort. To search for good homes, and get in touch with the host family, then organize the trip. I’m giving my full support to Wilson and Steven San.
Anyone from 10-45 years old are eligible to join. Hurry up because application closes 6th February. If you have any questions regarding Titan Planet and the homestay program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03-2144 8144.
Or just visit Titan Planet. Don’t spam me with questions la. Anyway apart from Japan they also organize programs to Canada, Korean, Bali and other places. Check the schedule for 2009! Join their Facebook Group too.
Let’s go together la!
Will continue blogging my Japan holiday. Stay cheesed!