Two years ago I stayed with Family "G". I was taken into this family on my own initiative after meeting Mrs. G in Germany during discussions about cross-cultural psychology when she was visiting my university. They did not want to take any money from me. I received the same kind of support from this family that one usually receives from their own family. I really felt like a family member.

But the situation was not like this in the beginning. When I first came I received a lot of deference from all the family members, especially the mother. The mother taught psychology at a university in Kobe, the father was a lawyer, two boys were then in senior high school, and the oldest son had recently entered the university. It was my first time in Japan and I was shy. Later the family told me that this had an impact on their behavior. I was always served tea and of course meals. Even when I was studying in my room the mother came and brought me fruit or tea. I also could not speak Japanese; therefore I was unable to join the family discussions. The family members had to talk to me especially in English.

After I offered to help with household chores I got more and more involved in the family's life. I took on the same household duties as the two boys, and pretty soon things shifted so that I no longer took the first turn in the bath; the parents did. Gradually, the mother stopped treating me specially as well. I no longer had a special role in the family and got more involved in family matters. Nevertheless the mother was good at detecting my feelings and took time to talk to me when I felt sad.
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