Friday, January 31, 2014

JENESYS 2.0: My First Home Visit Experience in Japan

Although the Entertainment group was only given a Home Visit instead of a one-night Home Stay like the Fashion and Animation categories, I was still very excited not only because I'll get a really good chance to practice my Japanese (always a concern lol) but most importantly, we'll get the opportunity to interact with a typical Japanese family... and eat home-cooked meals! Haha! That's definitely the best part.

There were three of us assigned to the Kobayashi family. One was Michelle from Australia who's originally from my group, and Group I's Philine from Singapore. Seguchi-san, one of our coordinators, reminded me to use Japanese as often as I can, since the family may not be very comfortable with English. Fortunately, Philine was really good at Japanese (waaaaaay better than me), so you can just imagine how much fun we had!

The night before, the coordinators handed us a list of the things we should know about our host families. The Kobayashi family is composed of Miwa-san, the youngest daughter, Hiromi-san - the elder daughter with two kids, Mami-chan and Shuuta-kun (a yakyuu shounen/baseball fan! yey!), and Keiko-san, their mother/Mami and Shuuta's grandma. We also met Keiko-san's mother and their house dog.

It was Keiko-san and Miwa-san who met us in Sunrise Haki. It's really weird, but when all the representatives from the host families were seated in front of us, I knew right away who'll be picking us up. Hihi. Psychic skills, perhaps?  

I look extra haggard in these photos but whatev! Haha! 
Keiko-san brought us to her grape farm
Dinner time!
Yum!

We didn't run out of things to talk about during dinner. We talked about our families, what we do during our free time, our talents (lol), and just about anything under the sun... err, moon. 

Hiromi-san and Miwa-san were so surprised that I’m quite the smarty pants when it comes to Japan's pop scene (fangirl spirit! lol!). Mami-chan talked about her favorite Johnny’s group, Kis-My-Ft2, and she asked if I like them, too. I said they’re too young for me. lol. But then I suddenly remembered that Fujigaya and I are both '87ers. Haha. It’s their image thing. J

I felt the family got all weirded out (but in a nice way) at how “kuwashii” I was. Miwa-san and Hiromi-san mentioned Hikaru Genji in the midst of my totally enriching Kisumai discussion with Mami-chan (lol), and when I told them I knew the group, too, Hiromi-san was so surprised she even had to confirm my age. Hahaha!

I also told Hiromi-san she looked a lot like Yamaguchi Tomoko, and she said when she used to have the same hairstyle as hers, people often told her the same. Even with a different hairstyle, she really did remind me of the Long Vacation actress. So pretty!

I made a few verbal boo boos but I think they weren’t that bad. Haha. The most embarrassing would have to be the part when Miwa-san asked us if we’re okay with interracial marriage. And the hopeless romantic, shoujo manga-loving part of me said it doesn’t really matter, because that’s just how love is. It didn’t sound as cheesy in Japanese, I promise. Hahaha! But I totally forgot that there were 11-year-olds in the room, and Mami-chan was like, “Why am I hearing all this?” lol!

But my biggest blunder of the night would have to be blurting out that I'm a Giants fan. Haha! I should have known better and stuck to my mental note that I'm in Fukuoka, and Fukuoka is all about the Hawks. Haha. Good thing the Kobayashis just laughed it off, even though Hiromi-san called me out for being their rival. Haha! Hiromi-san said she hopes Shuuta-kun becomes a pro baseball player in the future and of course, play for the Fukuoka Sotfbank Hawks. Hihi. If he does become a pro one day, that's another thing I can brag about... meeting a pro yakyuu senshu before stardom. Haha!
Mami-chan and Keiko-san drove us back to the hotel. We were only given three hours to spend with our respective host families, and though it was a really short visit, it was truly a memorable experience. 

You can read more about my JENESYS2.0 experience here

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