Taste of Being In Japan
Most people like to travel; setting foot on places
with different culture and environment. It is like
looking at the scrumptious cake through the glass
window. Why not take a step closer? Try home stay;
the taste of being part of it.
I was introduced to this program by a friend. Being
an ex-ambassador, she told me it was a rewarding
experience. So, I packed my bag with Malaysian goodies
and went abroad with 13 other members. Our destination
was the heart of Japan; Tokyo in spring. It's the
great time to be at a good place. It is cherry blossom
(sakura) season in the metropolitan. We were heading
for an experience of Japanese traditional celebration
and the lifestyle in this modern technological advance
The weather was slightly cold when we arrive in
Tokyo, but the welcoming party held in Hippo Family
Headquarter warmed our heart. In the crowd I found
my welcome banner made by my host, Nami Matsumoto
and her group of friends. Thanks to the party ice
breaker, it closes up the gap between the 2 strangers.
My host family has only 3 members; a young couple
and their 10 months old daughter. The charming couple
treats me like sister. The little baby is at her
adorable moment of precarious toddling month; curious
and innocent. There is also a little pet dog that
always brings us joy and laughter.
I was quite nervous when I first met my host. It
is not easy to stay together when we have differences
in culture background and we do not speak very well
in each other's languages. Thanks to information
from Steven, our program organizer, I was well prepared
to handle some of the Japanese culture and custom.
For communication, both I and my host have to put
on some effort on dictionary and online translation
tools to build our relation together.
My stay in Japan is full of exciting new things
and surprises. Not only there is comfortable accommodation,
tasty food, there is also picnic under the sakura
tree (hanami) and sight seeing; my host even has
classes and kimono arranged for me. I was really
touched by the effort she had put into making my
stay in Japan fills with wonderful memories.
Not to forget that she had also brought me the friendship
of a group of young Japanese friends too. I was
really thankful that they were there with me bringing
me all the fun and Japanese food I have never tried
On my way home, I had a luggage full of souvenirs,
tones of memories and most important of all I have
with me the priceless friendship from my host and
friends in Japan.
Today, I still keep in touch with my host family
and friends in Japan. That is not all; I have also
new friends from the group that went on the same
trip with me that share a similar experience. Doesn't
that sound interesting? So, what are you waiting
By: K.Y. Chen - Executive