I think it’s a truly special experience to see what life is like for those of a different country/culture with firsthand experience. You learn about a lot of different things and it answers questions you may have always wondered. One of these past weekends I stayed at my Japanese teacher’s house with another one of my friends who is also a student. This was actually my 2nd time to stay at my sensei’s house, but this time was different since my friend came as well.
He and his wife have a beautiful house along the mountain side here in my home of Mie. Quiet and secluded from the suburbs, they live in a peaceful area surrounded by nature and amazing scenery. I for one love being in nature and feeling the peace that it brings, so an area like this is very attractive for me. They live alongside their dog (a shiba inu) and seem to have a relaxing life enjoying the day to day blessings. My teacher is a very interesting and funny man, so I feel very lucky to have met him through living here.
Our teacher picked us up and drove us to his place, where we dropped off some things and went for a walk around the area with his dog. It was as gorgeous as ever looking down around the river from up above surrounded by the forest. There were also many grounds there for the Cherry Blossom season that will coming back to Japan soon. It is something I look forward to every year. We made our way back to the house where we sat around the table and talked while eating a homemade dinner. I don’t usually get to eat homemade meals much anymore these days, so that’s always a nice treat for me. We talked about a lot of different things, including differences between countries and plans for the future. Later we sat around watching TV while our teacher told us about the different features of the Japanese house. It really is beautiful architecture with unique designs compared to the Western world.
We rested there that night and woke up the next morning to another home cooked meal. My teacher and his wife grow a lot of their own vegetables and even make their own yogurt. I find that self-sustainability very interesting and try to find ways to apply that to my own life. Once we had eaten we went off to a hot spring 温泉. In Japan the hot springs can be a little uncomfortable to those from the Western world. The reason is because you are completely naked. I have been in Japan for a decent time now and have been to these such hot springs before, but even then it is still weird for me. Once you actually get into the spring though it becomes weirdly okay. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone is that way, it just doesn’t seem as weird once you are there. Regardless of that, it is an amazing experience. The spring water feels amazing and so does your body after spending a little time in there. I highly recommend anyone visiting Japan to try going to one. It is worth the slightly awkward feeling you will probably feel the first time you go, but the reward is great. I do wish I went more often.
We ate lunch at the hot spring location which many of these places usually will have. After that they took us back to our respective homes. It’s such a great experience getting to see this different kind of lifestyle. Opens your eyes to new ways of living and enriches everyone involved. I highly recommend people to try a home stay to learn more about the country they are visiting or living in. Check out the hot springs too, they are pretty dope. Peace.