Yugawara Homestay Report

The following report was written by a homestay participant.

“The 26th Yassa International Exchange Homestay in Yugawara was held from July 30th to August 6th. It was my first time to participate, and I lived with the Maruyama Family. I was a little worried about how well I’d match with them, but then I figured it was just fine to be myself and go for it.

During the homestay period, I didn’t just live with my host family, but I also learned a lot about Japanese culture thanks to the organization. For example, we were taught about Zen and flower arranging and tea ceremonies. We went to the foot baths at the famous Yugawara Museum and had a barbeque where we made mochi and smashed watermelons to eat. We also danced at the Yassa Festival. It was a lot of fun.

Every morning I had breakfast with my host family, and after eating, my host mother would ask if I’d like to try making hand-crafted postcards. She’s been making them at a store called Green Stage for about ten years and seems rather talented. With her guidance, I was able to draw picture postcards, too.

Because I said on my info sheet that I love food, after making the postcards we baked butter rolls in the oven. A machine kneaded the dough until it was ready, so it was really easy. I made new forms of butter rolls! It was really fun making all different shapes. The next day we made a simple cake.

My host family also took me to many different places. My host brother took me to see fireworks, and they were really big and beautiful! My host parents took me to ride the cable car at Jikkokutoge to see Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, Mt. Fuji was hidden by the clouds that day.

The last day, we said our farewells through our tears. I hope I can go back to visit sometime.”