Monday, December 27, 2010

37th SSEAYP 2010 - Homestay with the Adachi Family

Day 6 & 7 - 30-31 October 2010

Bas-chan and I had intended to wake up at 5am in the morning to bid a surprise farewell to our foster brother, Kai (means Ocean in Japanese), who  would be away for a swimming camp over the weekend. The plan failed and we woke up to see the sunny faces of Otosan and Okasan.

Meet Sola-chan (Sola means Sky)

Breakfast is ready!

Before we start our meals, we would place our palms together and say, "Itadakimasu", to thank whoever brought us the food (i.e. farmers, chef, etc).

Since I do not take beef, Okasan taught me to say "Gyuniku wa dame desu" (I don't eat beef).

The night before, both Bas-chan and myself showcased our country dance to the family. I did the contingent's "Singapore Town" mambo dance.

Okasan then came up with an interesting idea to introduce the Adachi family at a potluck gathering later in the afternoon. She taught us the "Aitakatta" dance... Aitakatta Aitakatta Aitakatta (I wish), Yes! Kim Mi Ni (only you)~ We would later dance it during our self-introduction at the gathering.

When helping to clear up the dishes after breakfast, we learnt that there is strict recycling measures imposed by the Prefectural Government. All waste has to be separated into paper, plastic and combustibles. Failure to adhere will result in the garbage collector not collecting the thrash from the household.

Information sheet on recycling (what to do and how to do it)

Knowing that we might want to get some souvenirs, Otosan drove us to shopping~

Cruising on the road, I can't help but to find that the people of Morioka are very patient ones. Throughout the few days there, I didn't hear a single car horn!

Communist Party posters

Soon, we arrived at Daiso!

Back on the road, we saw the snow on Mt. Iwate!

As our Okasan is a Tea Ceremony teacher, we went to a specialty shop, called "Sushendo".

And Okasan surprised us when she bought us some gifts for our families!

Okasan wants us to remember the Adachi family whenever we hear the wind chimes. She gave us each an owl wind chime and a helmet wind chime. The owl will bring happiness to our Mothers while the helmet is for boys.

Traditional way of boiling

12 Zodiac signs

Long-hand Monkey symbolises good luck

Back at home, while Okasan was cooking some dishes for a potluck party, we went round to take some photos.

Front door

Tea Ceremony Teacher tablet

Remove shoes before entering

Alright, back to Okasan's cooking!

Okasan cooking radish

Okasan made Matcha (Green Tea) for us using the Nombu Keki (Morioka Kettle/南部铁器)!

When the food/drink is delicious, we say "Oishi!"

Bas-chan and I penned our words on the Adachi homestay album:

Food prepared!

We headed to a sports complex for the Hippo Family Club Gathering. The Hippo Family Club "is a transnational network of community-based language clubs in which both children and adults engage in various activities with the end of acquiring multiple languages simultaneously." (Wikipedia)

First, we did a self-introduction in as many languages as we could. I tried to speak in English, Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu and did the greeting in Korean.

Okasan's sister & her daughter

Young girl can speak Korean!

We played several ice-breaker games and dances with background music of different languages. I vividly remember one of the songs was "Rasa Sayang".

One of the game was "Tom & Jerry" where everyone is paired up and a Tom would be chasing a Jerry. When Jerry touches one person, the person's partner would become Jerry and would have to avoid Tom.

And then it was dinner!

Kawaii! (Cute)

Children are the joy of the world. Their energy and enthusiasm really spurred us on.

The SSEAYP Participating Youths (PYs) sang the song "Seed of Hope" to everyone.

We also celebrated Halloween. The adults gave sweets to the children if they could introduce themselves in any languages they preferred.

It was a great experience with the Hippo Family Club. Through homestay activities, weekly gatherings and Language CDs, learning a new language can never be more fun!

Back at home, we resumed our conversation. Recycling in Morioka is not merely throwing the correct thrash into the correct bag. One would need to cut paper cartons, wash them clean, separate labels from bottles, etc.

Video on the Adachi Family:

Sola-chan, the pleasant dog that doesn't bark :)

An interesting thing I remember was that we were served coffee during breakfast and during supper. Since caffeine would keep one awake, I wondered if it had an effect on Otosan and Okasan.

Back to the recycling efforts, I was particularly inspired by a project that has the slogan, "Your Garbage, My Education". Recyclable items were collected and in return the Japan Government would give rice to the needy children. Another project was the collection of bottle caps to pay for vaccines for the needy in Africa.

I really enjoyed the delicacies prepared by Okasan. Not only were they delicious, they were also presentable and constitute a balanced diet.

Sola-chan enjoying her breakfast

While we're eating, Sola-chan would come beside us and hope we would give some bread to her (that's her favourite!)

Okasan making Matcha for us

Then came the sad moment of having to leave the house...

Our cosy bedroom (reminds me of Doraemon)

Tap turns on automatically after flushing


Love Adachi Family!

With no other person to help us take our family photo, we placed our cameras above the fence of the house opposite ours and set the timer.

Since we had some time, our host family brought us to a Shinto Shrine.

In Japan, when girls turn 3 years old and 7 years old, and when boys turn 5 years old and 7 years old, their parents will bring them to the shrine for blessing. The girls would be dressed in Kimonos and sometimes grandparents would also come along.

I'm holding a candy bag which parents would buy for their children (Okasan bought for me and Bas-chan)

Weddings are held at Shrine too

Ring bells by shaking rope, and clap 2 times!

A sneak peek at the rituals for the cute boys and girls:

Next, we prayed for good health. First, we wrote our names on the slip of human-shaped paper slip.

And then pray and make a wish on the body part which we wanted to be healed or healthy. Finally, we burnt the slip.

Donate & get a gift

With the rabbit mascot which brought joy to boys & girls

The 12 Zodiac signs

Year of the Tiger (Tora in Japanese)

Even though our car was parked within the shrine, we were taught to enter the shrine from the front gate and exit the shrine through the front gate.

On our way to the train station, we went through the famous crooked street.

Bidding farewell to Yuna

Doing our Adachi Dance~

Leaving Morioka, we were off to the National Youth Center for the Japan-ASEAN Youth Leaders Summit...

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