Sunday, June 15, 2008
Welcome homestay students

A group of students from Iowa (and a random one from Colorado) came to visit Yamanashishi on part of their trip around Japan. Tiffany and I were somehow nominated to attend their welcome party, which actually turned out to be less of a party and more of a ceremony, on Friday evening. I introduced their schedule to them and then me and Tiffany gave them a little pep talk on living in Japan. At the end of our speech, we got way more questions about how to become an English teacher in Japan than we did about Japan itself.

After the speech we ran a little activity for them while waiting for their host families to arrive and pick them up. The activity was 'guess what's in the box' and we used a variety of Japan and Yamanashi related items including fans, tatami, cherries, grapes, and the most hilarious one, devils tongue jelly!

By the time we finished, all the families had arrived and they started pairing up the Iowa kids with their families one by one. I felt really bad for the kids who were called up last. You could tell they were nervous and excited. I tried to lighten the mood by joking that we'd run out of families, but realized they might have taken my comment a bit too seriously when a few of them started to go pale. Interestingly, a few of the kids I teach were there too. I knew one of them was going to host someone, but none of the others told me. They were pretty nervous too. It was really cute!

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