So, this past weekend, we all got to live with host family. Of the 11 people in our group, 5 went to stay in the house of one of the employees of the NPO here. Another 5 went to stay in another employee’s house.
I, for some reason I am still completely unsure of, was sent to stay with a family down the road. And it was fantastic! We communicated in very basic english and japanese, with spatterings of attempting (on my part) to write kanji (chinese characters) that I learned in high school, and then sometimes just saying korean words and hoping that they were similar in Japanese. This worked surprisingly well: yo-ri (ko) is yoooo-ri (jap), mu-ryo is the same, and a lot of other ones (e.g. the words for culture, grammar, although they both sounded to me like Boon-pah). The first night, we talked a lot and I told them (in japanese–hashtag accomplishment of the week) that I wanted to learn how to cook japanese food. We went to the supermarket and bought ingredients for okinomiyake (I think) which were pancakes of seafood and vegetables with meat on top. Then they invited neighbors over (something that never happened in Korea, and I wish I knew more about it) and we stayed up talking.
The next day we went to a nearby shrine and lighthouse with the dad and kid. Apparently it was a holiday to celebrate senior citizens, in any case, he had the day off. For lunch, we went to a sushi restaurant with one of those conveyor belts–so cool, and I’ve never been to one. Finally we did some calligraphy (I was given a brand new kanji name: root-stream-prince, I think) and origami, and I returned back to the NPO office where we all stay.
I wish I had some more time to talk about differences between my korean, chilean, and japanese homestay. What have (you all? y’all?) experiences been like? Feel free to leave suggestions and complaints!