I am currently living in a town called Yagawa. This town is similar in comparison to Penrith back in Australia in the ways that it is not particularly as busy as Hachioji or Tachikawa (some of the busier and popular towns in Tokyo). However, it is home to the Japanese residents living in Yagawa and it has its unique features that make Yagawa so special to them.
My home is a cosy, two-story building with an orange painted balcony. There are four rooms in the house including my private room. My host mother and father share a large room with my two younger brothers and right next to my room is Momoko’s room. Here in Japan, it is very common for the Japanese people to sleep on the floor or on a mattress instead of a bed. Back at home in Australia, I sleep on a bed and I am sure the majority of Australians do, so there was a rather large cultural difference there that I was going to have to get used to. It didn’t take long to adapt to sleeping on the ground at all and actually, now I find sleeping on the floor much more comfortable than a bed.
There is a room inside the house which stands out compared to all of the other rooms in the house. Many houses in Japan have a washitsu (Japanese styled traditional room) next to the living room. Modern tatami rooms in Japan now serve as study areas or for sleeping areas in homes.
I think Japanese houses are all very close to each other as there isn’t much land, unlike in Australia, where some people have backyards, lawns and maybe even a swimming pool. In the photo below (although it is not a very good photo and part of the house isn’t showing), my Japanese home is right behind another house and apart from the house, there is not much land for anything else.
Another aspect that I found interesting was how Japanese people put their family name on top of the mailbox instead of a number. In the photo below you can see the family name and the kanji characters (Chinese characters) for ANDO which is my host family’s name.
My neighbourhood is fairly quiet from what I have seen when I leave my home to get to school and when I return. However, there are occasionally a couple of people who come out for their morning exercise or students leaving their homes to go to school.
Actually, in fact, I somehow managed to meet one of the non-Japanese teachers at Junshin! My host sister and I were walking to Yagawa train station like how we normally do and the teacher passed by us during their (I am assuming) morning exercise!
I think my most favourite part of Yagawa is that there are so many streets which lead to different places and also the traditional Japanese houses that I walk past. Sometimes my host sister Momoko and I manage to take a totally different route to the train station depending on time and the traffic.
I have gotten so used to my life here that I think I can manage going to school by taking the train and bus without getting lost (hopefully)!
This week has been amazing with my birthday happening and going to places with Momoko and her friends! I absolutely cannot wait for what awaits next week!
スジン より。(From Sujin)