Somethin’ Else

Somethin’ Else is not only the title of the Julian “Cannonball” Adderley 1958 Blue Note album I have been addicted to for a month now, it is also what I have been experiencing for three days, since I started my not-so-official homestay experience.

Living with a Japanese family is…. Somethin’ Else.

I have been living in Japan for four months, and that in itself is crazy. But spending a few days with a Japanese family has a completely different feel than what I have been doing for the last four months, regardless of how many Japanese friends I have made and how often I have been hanging out with them.

Why? Well, most of the Japanese students in Kansai Gaidai befriend foreign students because it is one way of getting free English practice, (or, better yet, a foreign boyfriend/girlfriend). I am not saying that is bad, what I mean is that when you hang out with the Japanese students, you will mostly communicate in English, and getting a few instances of Japanglish is the best you could hope for. Also, almost all the Japanese students are “westernized” to some extent: they have all studied abroad or are at least attempting to. They all know Miley Cirus and Lady Gaga, they all think being blond is cool…

I have been reading Japanese literature. I have read books about Japan and how the status quo has been declining for a good 20 years now…I also have to say that for the last month or so I have become very cynical about many things in Japan: The passive-agression, the rules about everything, the Pachinko, the racism, the cluelessness and (maybe most of all), the Japanese toast.

Could it be any whiter, thicker and sickly sweeter?

Add to that a case of mild depression that was stirred by seeing the seminar house becoming empty, and saying goodbye to the people I have become so close to as the fall semester came to an end.

However, when my Japanese friend Ericko told me that her family was looking forward to having me at their house for the few days preceding my trip to Thailand, it made all the difference…

It is safe to say that I have never seen anyone so kind, inviting, and warm, ever, ever, ever in my life. Even though the mom and the dad cannot speak English to save their own lives, we have become great friends. How? That’s the mystery of it. On my arrival, I was treated with an amazing home-made dinner, followed by a conversation in both Japanese as well as sign language… The house is so tiny, but I have been given my own room. It’s a busy time of the year, but the family has arranged a complete program just fot my own amusement…

Recently, I came to the conclusion that while Japanese people are nice, it is only a facade. They are nice because they have to be nice to you, and just ad you turn your back away, they won’t necessarily keep it up. But after spending so little time with the Kikuchi family, I know that these people are genuinely nice. They go the extra mile.

So far I have had an amazing time. And the fact that since I came here the pages in my journal are being scribbled into at least four times as much says it all. Maybe the worst part is that sometimes I feel uncomfortable and/or left out when the conversation carries on in Japanese and nothing but Japanese. Then again, I am living with a Japanese family.. what should I expect? If I don’t feel left out in such a setting, then when is the time to? Actually, that’s not what bothers me. The only thing I don’t quite approve of is having to withstand hours of Japanese television, which I am really not fond of (reasons require an entire post).

Next post I’ll tell you more about the house and the family in the house… I didn’t post pictures because I thought it would be awkward to be caught taking pictures of the house I just arrived to…  Right now I will put on my headphones, dive into my futon and get ready for another day of absolute authentic Japanese awesomeness.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Yasminah
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 11:28:43

    YAAAAAAAY I’m the first one to post!! D .. msh me7tagany a3od a2ollek ad eh I love your writing aw ad you’re amazing wel kalam da .. Just gonna say that I miss u, I’m incredibly proud of you .. w lao el ra5ama el yabaneya day2etek .. eftekry dayman en ma3aky sela7 el tana7a el masreya 😉 😀

    Reply

    • Dina
      Dec 31, 2010 @ 13:04:37

      Yu 🙂

      awwalan, wa7shani moot.
      thaneyan, ana mesh babaale3′, bas fe3lan enti ta2reeban 3alatool 3ala bali…
      thalethan, aiwa ba2a! el tanaka el masreyya gowwa dammi… shokran ya masr! 😉

      Reply

  2. Sam Robinson
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 00:17:06

    D, I’m glad you’re having such a great time Kikuchi’s! That’s wonderful! I’m so glad you’re having a good break! and if I don’t talk to you before then… Have an AMAZING time in THAILAND! I am TOTEMO JEALOUS!!! 🙂
    Love you, Sam

    Reply

  3. Sam Robinson
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 00:17:37

    *with the Kikuchi’s

    Reply

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