I have been very busy. This past weekend, I moved from one incredible host family to another — from the Tsudas to the Fukudas. The families are quite different, mostly as a consequence of their children; the Tsudas have two late teen kids, while the Fukudas have one 8 year old son, Rinta-kun (kun is added to young boy’s names for an additional layer of fondness). AND BOY AM I FOND OF HIM!!!
Rinta is a spectacularly smart, funny, friendly, excited boy. He loves loves loves taking pictures (his father is a photographer), but also has a hyper-intellectual passion for studying KANJI (the impossibly difficult Japanese writing system — non-phonetic — imported from China many hundreds of years ago). Each night, he exclaims “日本語を勉強しましょう！” (nihongo o benkyoshimasho, Let’s study Japanese!) and proceeds to methodically teach me Japanese vocabulary. Usually the vocabulary comes out of whatever picture book or Kanji practice notebook is close at hand. I am so happy to have this younger brother for a time — although we have about 10 days left together, I’m already sad to have to leave him!!
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention my new host-mama, Chiharu-san, who is spectacular. We have quickly grown close, and she is very enthusiastic about practicing her English with me too.
On Saturday (having moved in with the Fukudas on Friday), the whole family went on a day trip to Kamakura, an old city about 50 km outside of Tokyo. There are many old, beautiful shrines there, and the city itself is right on the ocean. We had a fantastic day of exploration and picture taking (mostly by Rinta, who took about 250 pictures over the 9 hours we were there). Here are a few pictures from both Kamakura and before, with a theme that I think you’ll be able to deduce…!
Taken shortly after Rinta-kun received his おみやげ (omiyage, gift) from me. Commenced to dance to Michael Jackson, whose music he loves. We can often be found singing ‘Billie Jean’ in the living room, car, or at the dinner table.
Dinner on my first night with the Fukudas.
Little brother, big brother, at a tea ceremony house in Kamakura!! (See the rock garden in the background? So beautiful!)
Father and son, cameras close at hand.
Beach time pre-dinner.
Rinta has a habit of playing around during meals…:)
The parents! (Chiharu-san and Hideo-san)
Sweets are best eaten in pairs!
I feel so lucky for this experience. I cannot believe how warm, welcoming, generous, kind, supportive, interesting, interested, funny, enthusiastic, sweet, and humble the people are who, by some incredible twist of fate, are my hosts during this summer in Tokyo.
May we all strive to act as such people for the others in our lives!