At Home in Japan
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Module 2.1
Peter's Homestay: Beginning
Peter Hauser is in Japan for a semester abroad. He’s staying with the Sasaki family. It’s Peter’s first trip to Japan and the Sasakis’ first chance to host an exchange student.
 
 
After one week with the Sasakis Peter writes an email to a friend back in the U.S. At the same time Mrs. Sasaki (who is called okaasan by the family) is on the phone with the homestay coordinator at Peter’s study abroad program office. Here is what Peter and the okaasan have to say about the progress of the homestay. . .
 
Peter's View:
 
I'm all set with registration. And things are going just dandy with my host family. They told me I should feel like their house was my house. I really lucked out! No curfew! No rules!
Okaasan's View:
 
This is the first time we’ve had an exchange student for a semester, and we are very anxious and nervous about it. We want everything to go well. We expect he’ll catch on to our ways of doing things and adjust as time goes by.
 
1. Peter's Room
 
 
I have my own bedroom and it's got everything—a new computer, a boom box—the works. My new dad and mom seem really nice, and the boys seem okay too. Of course it's hard to know anything for sure at this point, since my language skills are not as good as I thought. We were worried about whether Peter will be comfortable living here, in our small house. So we gave him our elder son's room and moved him in with his younger brother. We also bought many new things for the room.
 
2. Meals
 
 
 
The meals are great, and my only complaint would be that they feed me too much. Living in Japan is even better than I expected. I am worried about whether Peter is satisfied with my Japanese cooking, and whether he’s getting enough food. My main worry is, how long will we be able to keep this up?
 
3. Showing Peter around
 
 
 
The family has taken me out a lot. We ate at a sushi bar, saw a local festival, and spent a night at a hot springs resort. The family seems to go out a lot and I enjoy tagging along with them. Otherwise, I feel perfectly free to come and go as I please. We have put considerable effort into showing Peter around, and our boys have been very good about going along with us. But I’m worried about whether they will be able to manage their studies. Especially our younger son, whose high school entrance exams are coming up in a few months.
 
4. Going out with Friends
 
 
I went to Roppongi the other night to check out the nightlife with some of my friends from the program. Things with my family have settled into a routine pretty fast, and inside of a week they’ve already made me feel like one of the family. But I also feel like I am free to do my own thing. We are very worried about Peter going out at night with his friends. After all, we’re responsible for him while he is here in Japan, and he comes home at all hours.
 
5. From here . . .
 
I think this is shaping up to be a great semester.
All in all, I wonder how we’ll ever be able to manage this for a whole semester.
 
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