We were fortunate to be able to spend the day with Ms Hara for a home visit organised through the university. Each semester, Japanese people and/or families offer to take international students for a day and show them what daily life is like in Japan. Sometimes this means going to a festival or temple or some other place, or sometimes allowing us into their homes to see how they spend their day.
Five of us international students – from Australia, France, Indonesia and Sweden – spent the day in Ibaraki with Ms Hara, her husband and her friends at her apartment. Everyone made us feel very welcome. We ate an amazing lunch and sat around the table for hours and talked – we each spoke about our home countries and home towns, and pointed them out on an Atlas. Ms Hara also encouraged us until we each sang our national anthems, which was interesting to hear.
One of Ms Hara’s friends – and also her neighbour – is a piano teacher and so we each were given sheet music/lyrics and basic instruments (primary school maracas flashbacks) and she played the piano and everyone sang songs around the table. It was a lovely atmosphere and I’m very grateful to have been able to experience it, and to Ms Hara and her friends for their hospitality!