March 21 - 24:
The start of the week was rather boring. Just classes, night skypes with the boyfriend, and hanging out by myself like always.
On Friday, I packed my weekend necessities because this weekend was my Study Abroad program's Host Family event. Pretty much since my program was mandatory room share with a Japanese roommate, to experience what it would be like to live with a host family, my program created this Host Family event! Although it was just for the weekend, my host family was incrediblyyyyy amazing. I really wished my home life was like the weekend I had with my host family instead of with my Japanese roommate. (But that's a different story~)
Because I signed up to play with some elementary school kids before meeting my host family, I left Osaka mid-morning with some other program peeps and we traveled to Sanda which was maybe an hour or so away via train. This is where the elementary after school program was and where our host families lived. We ate lunch together before meeting up with the little people~ SO many cute kids! We did some short introductions in Japanese and then played some ice breaker activities. We then participated in some arts and crafts!
Nostalgia! We did some perler beads crafts! So much fun just talking to the kids and playing with the beads together. Kids are so innocent~ And they use simple Japanese ;)
After, they had snack time!
Pizza making! Japanese after school programs are amazing! We got to customize our pizzas and the teachers cooked it for us.
After the pizza making, we just played for the rest of the afternoon~ I took some videos. The first of the class, the second of me going down a slide for the first time in yeeeears! During this time, I realized that kids have waaaaaaay more energy than I do. Gosh...they are some genki kodomos.
After this afternoon play time, we said a goodbye and went to meet up with our host family! Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my entire host family with me. But once I do, I'll upload it to the post. :)
My host mother and her daughter came to pick me up. They were so sweet! The Makita's. I don't remember the mother's first name, but the host daugther's is Sayuri. :)
After the initial meeting, they took me to the most beautifuuuuuuul Japanese restaurant. (Ganko in Sanda). It was placed in an old Japanese-like inn and each room overlooked the beautiful Japanese garden in the middle. The food was sooo good too! (Quite expensive might I add...) But it was worth every penny. :)
We went home after. I didn't take any pictures of their home for privacy reasons, but it was a small little apartment-like complex~ I took Sayuri's room actually, so they were just amazingly nice and welcoming. :)
I woke up around 10am, and Mama Makita made me some homemade breakfast of eggs (with ham inside :0), tomatoes, and some miso soup. :) I haven't had a homemade breakfast in sooooo long! I seriously felt like her daughter.
They planned a full day for me! So first stop is: Jurika Farm! Aka...my first strawberry picking experience!
The strawberries here were soooo fresh and so sweet!!! Even after 3 months, I can still remember the taste because I ate so many. xD It was all-you-can-pick/eat strawberries for 1500yen for 2 hours. It was definitely worth it. We had to travel for a bit to actually find a strawberry farm~ But, we were glad we found one. :)
After, our next stop was Sanda's Kirin Beer Factory.
Although I didn't tell them I don't drink beer (>.< I thought it would have been rude...), I still enjoyed myself. It was nice looking at a different beer factory from Osaka. We also got to see some Sakura trees!
The next stop was then: Mentaiko Park! (Apparently this park is a popular destination in Sanda)
I actually don't think I've ever tasted mentaiko. Mentaiko is pretty much just a really delicious spicy cod roe. Everything in this park was mentaiko related, and they pretty much animated the food. It was rather weird...but in a cute way. xD (Plus the mentaiko bun was delicioussssss)
After all these events, we were beat. So we stopped by a food market and picked up some supplies for a sushi night. :)
Yummy yummy yummy homemade sushi! This Saturday was really fun and happy day with my host sister and mother. So I was looking forward to Sunday~
Before going on this host family weekend, the students took a short questionnaire asking what they wanted to do during the weekend. What I put was that I wanted to learn how to make traditional Japanese food such as those cute bentos that are really popular~ and eat them somewhere pretty. So the Makita's took that in mind, and I cooked this entire day!
For breakfast, Mama Makita taught me how to make yakisoba! It's actually really easy! Cook the veggies, add the noodles, and add the sauces. It was really delicious and the first time I've tried making yakisoba~ Maybe one day I'll try and cook it here in the United States!
After, Mama Makita taught me how to make my own bento! Above, I show my first ever tempura I've ever made! Who knew all it took was to coat a veggie with flour+water and just fry it in some oil. It tasted a lot more healthy than restaurant tempura too :) I also made these octopus-like hotdogs, some onigiri, and cut the broccoli and tomatoes. I'll make a better looking bento one day, maybe when I have my own kids~ But for now, I'm glad I got to experience making a bento. Thanks for making me a better cook Mama Makita!
Because I put that I wanted to eat lunch in a nice area like a park, they took me to a park nearby!
I think the park was called Friendship Park or something along those lines~ It was rather empty, but the weather was nice and cooling and they had a tulip garden inside! The smell of Spring was oozing from this park and it was nice eating with them for the last time.
After the park, they took me to a foot bath because I've never tried it before. It's pretty much like an onsen, but for your feet! Ah~ So relaxing!
After the foot bath, they sent me on the way back home to Osaka~ Bye bye Makita's!
This entire weekend was probably the best part of my Study Abroad program. I've never had that much fun speaking Japanese, learning more Japanese, and spending time with Japanese people. :) I never got to experience this type of comfort speaking Japanese with my roommate Shihori, so I'm incredibly grateful and glad I got to spend this short time with the Makita's. They probably don't know, but they made my Study Abroad program so much better at this point of the program. So arigatou Makita family~ (´∀｀)♡
Next week's post is going to be Sakura season pics and my program's trip to Shirahama!
Until next time,
Be true and always be you,Love, Aimee
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