The last part of my homestay seemed like the culmination of everything that had happened before. I felt very comfortable with having my own role and duties in the family. Throughout this time the discussions that we had started early on continued, but became much deeper. I had been planning to stay on in Japan after the semester ended to try to get a business internship. During the last month my family invited me to stay on with them after my semester ended. I felt that they truly meant this invitation, so I accepted.
In finally being able to explain to my family all my feelings about my Japanese background, (Japanese American) "identity" and thought processes, and other questions, my host family has started to help me out in my questioning. In doing so, they (the parents) have enjoyed learning how unique their culture really is in the world and its good and negative aspects. They have also learned to appreciate my upbringing—and are thinking of ideas of how to raise their children to be a little more "worldly".
It's difficult to explain in a couple paragraphs; however, I can honestly say that I am becoming a close friend with my host parents. Our conversations have been getting deeper, more personal, and sometimes emotional. The net effect has been an incredible bridging of cultures. Before coming here, my family (in the States) went through a lot of turmoil for various reasons. Well, during that time, I really learned the value of my family and we all became closer. However, just as I came upon this realization, I had to come to Japan. So after sharing with my host family my "re-awakening" into the value of family, they seem to have reached out to really be my family in Japan, not just a "host family".