We took a break from our study tours to spend some time in the homes of our host families.
This was a part of the program which brought some level of anxiety to some of us. Although much of what we had seen, heard, and experienced this far had been outside of any of our previous experiences, it had still all been experienced largely within a common group of American educators. Now we were to spend a fair amount of time outside of our comfort zone, immersed in the customs of a typical Japanese home.
So I accompanied Kumiko and her husband Norio to their home. They lived in a modest home in a narrow street in Odawara, and again I found my mind drawing similarities between this environment and that of Port of Spain. The size of typical family dwellings and the narrow streets containing them felt at home to a part of me.
I ate sukiyaki, prepared at home by Kumiko, drank and abundance of green tea, sat on tatami, slept on a futon, and went grocery-shopping and temple-hopping during my time with my host family.