Samantha in Japan

Very Brief Update

Posted on: February 9, 2009

This will be a really, really miniscule update. Probably not even worth posting, but I figured I should put something up here.

I moved in with my host family on Thursday, and things have not been going well. They’re lovely people, honestly. Very nice, very welcoming, and they’ve hosted a ton of exchange students before. But due to a culmination of many factors, this is just not the place for me. I can hardly put into words the feelings that I have that are making me say these things, but all I know is that I am not comfortable staying with a homestay family. This homestay family, anyway. I don’t know if it would be different if my homestay family was younger (they’re approaching their 80’s), had kids/pets, whatever– but it doesn’t really matter. I was feeling this way on Friday, too, and I went to CIE to talk about it. They looked at me like I had four heads and told me to wait it out, but that they could move me back into the dorms if I insisted on it.

I told them I’d give it the weekend to see if anything changed. It really didn’t.

The deciding factor here was the realization that the only time I feel relaxed is when I’m out of the house. I feel more comfortable wandering around Kyoto than I do in my homestay family’s living room. I feel happier in these few minutes before I have to run to class to take a test than I did sitting at my homestay family’s house studying for it.

I don’t want to give it a few more weeks. I’m only here for four months, and I don’t want to spend my time being unhappy because of my living situation.

For the record, my homestay family has no internet, thus explaining the lack of posts over the last few days. I’m in a public computer lounge at school updating this. A nice, warm computer lounge, at that. My homestay family has central heating (which is rare in Japan), but the catch is… they don’t use it. There’s essentially one space heater for the whole house, down in the parlor/kitchen. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed because it was so cold, and when I did, I was visibly trembling.

I know I’m being selfish, I know I’m acting quickly, and I know I’m being a big pain in the ass for everyone. But I don’t want to waste anymore time feeling like I do now. Again, I’m only here for four months. Why in the world would I want to spend the rest of my time here seeking refuge at school and with friends? Why in the world would I make myself return to a home where I cannot relax?

I really do appreciate all that my host family has done for me, and I know that they’re very good host parents. Just not for me.

On the brighter side, I went to Kyoto with my speaking partner on Saturday and had loads of fun. Pictures coming soon, hopefully.

9 Responses to "Very Brief Update"


I know exactly how you are feeling. I had homestay parents who were in their 70’s with no kids, no internet and a very large house that sometimes got very lonely. During the first week, I was adamant that I would move back and I often spent my time out with my friends or at Ring Internet Cafe near Hirakata Stn. I even felt homesick for the first time.

However, I soon began to adjust and then started forming an incredible relationship with my parents. By the end, I didn’t want to leave and there is wasn’t place I would rather be than in my homestay house (and trust me I went everywhere in Japan). They treated me like a son and I am always invited to come and stay with them (and I know I will someday). What I am trying to say, is to just wait it out and you never know where it may lead. And to be honest, you are at school all the time and traveling on the weekends that before you know it, you WANT to spend more time at home. I would have regretted if I didn’t stay because my homestay family was one of the best parts of my experience. Anyways, that’s just my two cents. Read my blog if you have a chance =)


Hi Darrell, thanks for your comments about the situation. (BTW, I read your last comment, and I didn’t end up with the two professors you mentioned for the Japanese classes, but I did end up with two really good professors (Abo and Hatanaka, if you’re familiar with them at all).
About the homestay situation, thanks for your opinions, but my mind is made up about it now. I studied abroad in Finland a few years ago and had an absolutely amazing time staying with a host family. I understand the kind of experience you can get out of that kind of contact with a family in another country. But this time, I’m getting a totally different feeling. It just wsn’t the right choice for me this time around. At this point, I want to leave ASAP because I think it’ll be more difficult for both me and my host family if I wait much longer. As it is, I’m forcing myself to act happy around them just to be agreeable, so it’s already going to be difficult explaining to them why I’m going to move back to the dorms. I’m sure it’ll be even more confusing if I stick around. Anyway, before this turns into a big mess of gibberish feelings, I just wanted to say that my mind is made up on this one, but thanks again for your input (and thanks for reading!)

Sammy, I know you’re doing the right thing. You’re only there for a little while, you might as well be as comfortable as you can possibly make yourself, right? You paid a lot of money for it too, so why the hell not?! >| Ganbaremachu~! (‘-^*)/

Hey Carolz,

Well, I gotta say that sucks and I’d feel awful there too. Both on the staying in an awkward place and on trying to explain how you feel. They sound like nice, quirky people that you could have a nice convo with, but you just can’t live with them. Hopefully you can have someone translate and express how you feel to them so they won’t be as mad/offended/sad/whatever.

My friend Shane studied abroad in France. Loved the language but hated her study abroad experience (mostly the host family) and she changed her major. You deserve to have a good time.

Hey, Samantha…

My name is Rusty Williams. I’m a friend of your mom and your Uncle Warren and I just wanted to let you know that I think it’s a cool, amazing thing you’re doing.

I run the website, and I posted an article about your journey and your blog, so hopefully people here will pick up on it and message you.

Keep your chin up and enjoy yourself!


Just wanted to add my two cents, I think you are doing the right thing. This time is for you.

Mom, Mario and Bella 🙂


@Gwendulz: The people working at CIE have been acting SOMEWHAT like intermediaries in the whole thing, but I had to explain to them myself that I was moving/why I was. My host mom contacted CIE later and asked why, and they said they couldn’t explain it any better, blahblah. As efficient as they [CIE] are here, they’re not very empathetic when I don’t have concrete details. But whatevs. The explanation I gave [both of] them is the only one I have, so they’ll have to take it for what it is at this point. And like you mentiond about your friend, really, really don’t want to end up hating my time abroad and resenting such a nice family, just because -I- was feeling miserable.

@Rusty: First, sorry that your comment took a while to get added. WordPress has an automatic spam filter, and it interpreted your comment as spam, but I added it manually. Anyway, thanks for the post and letting people know about the blog! I appreciate it, and I hope my posts won’t dissapoint!

@Mom & Puppies: Agreed. I’m only here for four months, so I think it’s better to focus on me right now…

You go girl!!! It’s all about you. Have fun, learn lots, and keep up the postings. David gave your blog to his Social Studies teacher at school…great educational tool.
Miss you. P

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  • Isa: No, there can't be two ninja dogs in Kyoto. But in April it was in Arashiyama!
  • Paula: Hey: I'm so glad you are swine flu-free. A little over-kill, don't you think? Anyway, I'm so glad you are enjoying your last few days there. Live it u
  • Paula: There's no place like home, there's no place like home!!! Can't wait to see you...we are counting the days.


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