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I’ve seen so busy settling into Fukuoka that this post is coming later than expected! It’s been a month since leaving my homestay in Tokyo – but because late is better than never, here we go! 😃
Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, I was required to quarantine in Tokyo for two weeks after my arrival. During this time, I was given the option of staying in a hotel (private room, meals not included) or finding a host in Tokyo. I considered the hotel option, but ultimately opted to try and find a homestay with the hope that I could immerse myself sooner in Japanese culture and jump start my language practice.
After a quick Google search I found a homestay booking site called homestay.com – it almost seemed too straight forward and easy to be real, but it was! After putting in dates and my preferred location, I was given a list of avaliable hosts. One of the profiles included delicious looking food, furry cat friends, and noted the host’s ability to speak multiple languages – this looked like the right place for me 🙂
I put in a request and spent the next few days communicating with the host to work out logistics. Since I would be traveling during the pandemic, extra precautions were necessary. At the airport I would have to pass a PCR test, after which I would use private transportation to reach the home. Around the house I would wear a mask, and keep mostly to my room.
To complete the homestay reservation, I had to pay a small booking fee on the website. The rest of the payment was given directly to the host upon arrival.
For the two weeks of my stay, I had my own room and enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals. While I definitely got spoiled by all the food, I have been inspired to try and cook similarly once I live on my own. It was fun to talk with my host and learn about her extensive hosting experiences, life in Tokyo, and thoughts on Japanese culture. For a glimpse of some of my meals, take a look at the food diary below! (Warning: looking may make you hungry 🤤).
Spending the entire quarantine by myself would have been pretty boring, but because my host was so welcoming, and I was able to befriend many of the cats, my days went by very quickly.
Additionally, since my stay was at the end of December, I also got to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Japan has many special traditions during this time so I was excited to learn first-hand about them. I got to eat several traditional dishes for the last meal of the year, and first meal of the year, and I also tried on a kimono! It took over an hour to put on because there were over a dozen different layers (under clothes, ties, clips, elastic bands,….) to keep everything in place. Once it was all on, it was a bit difficult to breathe and walk normally, but for the photos it was worth it!
I am so happy that I was able to have a wonderful homestay experience and I can’t wait to visit again when I’m back in Tokyo. If you are thinking about doing a homestay to meet local residents and immerse yourself in Japan’s culture, I recommend it and hope you have a good experience like I did!
And here’s a little bonus: I had a lot of free time while in quarantine so enjoy this video!
Interested in reading more about life in Japan? Check out these Posts!
- Shabu Shabu Hot Pot for One – Living and cooking in a Japanese apartment
- Studying Japanese in Japan: 4 Month Progress Update – Learning Japanese and exploring Fukuoka!
- Giving Customs in Japan – How is gift giving different in Japan?
- Costco in Japan: The Same or Different?
- Seven Days in Fukuoka, Done! – My first week studying abroad!