"My host families!"...You might be intrigued to know that this is often the answer to: "Looking back, what was your most valuable OGSHS experience?", asked of our students, over these last fifteen years, once they have retuned to their own countries. To be treated as a daughter-- immersed in the family dynamics and attention to detail which characterizes so much of Japan, you'll experience just how much thought lies behind appearances and actions-- encompassing gentle details of grace and nuance of both word and deed which are both expected and appreciated. Is food an art? Routines like trash reuse and recycling, the nightly bathroom parade, the daily choreography of multi-purpose rooms, communication debacles and bewilderments, the lack of sustained privacy, the sounds of heartfelt laughter, complex olfactoral webs, your chores which offer the shared pleasure of visual accomplishment--all enable you to hook together emerging new ideas lurking just beneath the surface.
Mr. Mitsuhiro Hijiya
Host family Coordinator
International students live with Japanese host families while in Osaka.
Parents are often teachers or have a girl at OGSHS. Some live an hour's
commute from the school. Families usually consist of two parents and
an OGSHS student, but may be other family types. Generally, one member
will speak some English. Often a family member will want to practice
English with the student some of the time and then help the student
improve her Japanese at other times. Students who are flexible in
the language they speak while at their host family will improve their
Japanese and experience the satisfaction of helping a family member
improve his or her English.
Smoking is very prevalent in Japan, as about half of men smoke. If
a student must have a non-smoking family, that request will be met.
For others we will try to find a family where the smoker refrains
from smoking when the student is nearby.
Japanese homes may be small and the same room can be a living room,
dining room, and bedroom. Street shoes must be removed before entering
and slippers put on to keep the tatami (straw) floor mats clean.
The Japanese may eat meals sitting on the mats and place futons
for sleeping on them. Bathing customs may be different. People clean
off with soap and rinse outside the tub and then get in the tub
Not all host families eat Japanese style food every day. In fact,
a McDonald’s might be around the corner! After a little practice
with chopsticks, eating rice with them becomes easy! Host families
provide breakfast and dinner. A Japanese breakfast might consist
of a bowl of rice, miso soup, broiled fish, and pickled vegetables.
Some families may fix a bento (lunch) or the student will eat lunch
in the OGSHS cafeteria. As Sarah says in her welcome
in this web site, “Try new stuff, even if it looks like something
you’d rather not!”
Please note: For many international students, OGSHS's loving, experienced host families are at
the very heart of their Japanese experience. Your respect for their warm,
welcoming hearts and flexibility in fitting into their family routines are
essential. You will be treated as a daughter NOT as a guest. You will go on
family outings, help with daily chores and be expected to follow all family
rules---which may seem "overprotective" at times. Please indicate any
adjustment concerns you might anticipate in your application essay.
Due to unforseen circumstances, students may need to move to a new host family on a month- to- month basis. Complusive shoppers, beware!...Moving expenses, i.e. excess baggage are the student's responsibility.