Monday, May 14, 2012

Tamagetamonda (たまげたもんだ)

              Tamagetamonda is a Japanese word that would best describe the whole experience I had with the homestay program. Homestay, I believe, is one of the most incredible opportunities that a foreigner should not miss. Opportunities only come once, and it should be grabbed without hesitation or else it will not pass again. I came to Japan not only to study but also to learn its cultures and tradition. In order to learn those things, one needs to live them. Experience is the best teacher and the three (3) day homestay program I sure did learned a lot.

Everything is New
I am totally new to homestay so I do not know what to expect or how to prepare myself whether mentally, emotionally or physically. However, what motivates me to be excited about was the whole new experience that I could get out of this activity. New people, new friends, new place and new family, everything is new in a sense that I have never experienced such a rare opportunity to live like a Japanese living in the countryside.

Going to Takahagi City not knowing what lies ahead spells excitement. I experienced playing Koto, a traditional musical instrument, strumming to the tune of Sakura. After that we went to see how a traditional tea ceremony is prepared, served and actually making one.

The evening came, and we still do not know who our homestay parents would be and that made me more anxious. Looking at the stage, where a bunch of families gathers, one of those are possibly my homestay family. After a few minutes, they announced the family and were excited in finally meeting them. I saw how nervous they were, but, at the same time, I saw that they were happy to have finally met me. The same goes with my feelings towards them.

The Challenge

Staying in Japan is the most challenging experienced that I have ever encountered in my life. I easily adapt to every culture, food and traditions to different countries that I have ever been into but not on language. Communicating in Japanese is a challenge of my adaptability skills. I tried to prepare myself for this program, but I failed on learning the communication part. I know how to read and write but not on conversing in Japanese. However, that challenge gave me even more motivation to learn Japanese and to apply everything that I have learned by heart. It may not be an easy road to marvel, but the whole experience gave me enough strength to muster and accept the greater challenges that lie ahead.

My Homestay Family

All my life, I have lived with relatives. They reared me as their own. I have never felt the love of a mother and father, although, that love was filled by my Aunts. However, this experience is a totally different one. It gave me an opportunity, not only to live like what a typical Japanese family lived, but to experience what a father and mother do to their children. In a short amount of time staying with my おかあさん and おとおさん, it gave me a glimpse of love a child could get out of their parents. Although I have to process everything what they have told me (they only speak in Japanese); however, the experience is really worthwhile. One advice from my おとおさん that I wont forget is not to worry about life or what it brings. Everything happens for a reason, and I need to accept that. In order to grow, we must live by these reasons and allow oneself to be strengthened by the circumstances in life.
One thing that helped me get through my Japanese was my homestay brother who helped me understand the things that my parents were telling us. I am the youngest in our family so I have not experienced in having a younger brother. This experience gave me another opportunity to be an older brother. I could not ask for a better family than my homestay family – the Tobita Family.

My homestay family lived near the coast. I could still hear the rushing sounds of the waves, the whistling hum of the shells and the cool breeze it brings. Being there and experienced all of these made me really happy. To end the family bonding was a beautiful rainbow floating at the sky wishing us well and happiness.
I may not have thanked them enough, but I wish to thank them again for the splendid hospitality that they have shown. I would like to thank also the Takahagi City government for having such an incredible program and for the Internal Christian University for taking part on this program. I will certainly treasure every bit of this these experience all my life.

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