One of the best parts of any international experience is a home stay, as it provides the opportunity to live with a family and experience their day to day life and see their country as no tourist normally can. This is the reason why we build the UK Jamboree experience around this and from the beginning requested home hospitality for every one of our Units. We also wanted to provide each Unit with a very different experience so requested hospitality in each of the 47 Prefectures from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the South. We have been delighted that The Scout Association of Japan has been able to accept this proposal and accommodate the UK Contingent all in every prefecture!
Information for the participants taking part in Home Hospitality…
You will be in pairs with a Japanese family and will be their honoured guests for the duration of your stay. Be polite, try to eat everything that’s offered (mostly it will be on central plates so you can taste a small bit before committing yourself!) and if in doubt follow the example of the rest of the family – just watch what they are doing and follow their lead. Many families will not speak much if any English, so learn to use sign language and in particular use the simple Japanese you have learnt for please, thank you, good morning goodnight etc. Use pictures of your family, home, town, school, hobbies and Scouting to show your family as that may start conversations. Try and ask what the parents do for work (as it may be a really exciting job that would be interesting to learn more about).
Try to just go with the flow and do whatever the family have planned for you – they may give you options and if they do, we would recommend trying something that you can’t do in the UK. For example whilst it’s fun to go swimming or go ten-pin bowling, you can do that anytime whereas fishing in the sea, collecting scallops, going for a hike or to a traditional craft museum or even just going to a Beaver Scout Meeting will actually be much more memorable and unique experience.There will be lots of meals and gatherings as the families and Scouting seldom receive foreign guests and they’ll want you to meet everyone. If there are a few of you being hosted by the same Group or District it is worth practising a few songs or games that you can perform to entertain your hosts as that will be very much appreciated . For Scouting gatherings, having badges etc to give away will also be a good idea.
For those having their home hospitality after the Jamboree, the families know that you’ll be tired, but they want to make the most of the short time and will try to cram as much in as possible. Use the journey time to and from hospitality to sleep and don’t forget you have the long flight home to catch up on sleep, so try to keep going for as long as you can if there are activities in the evenings. Try and get a programme from the family so that you know what time you are supposed to be up in the morning and set an alarm yourself or ask the family to wake you up so you don’t miss out on all the exciting things they have planned for you.Don’t forget to take pictures during your time in HoHo as in most cases your Leaders will not be present and they’ll want to see your photos and include some in the Unit’s reports and slideshows to demonstrate the wide variety of cultural experiences that you had. And your parents and family will be really excited by what you are doing and want to see where you are staying, the people you’ve met and what you get up to!
Make the most of every experience, learn as much about the family as you can; be polite and thank you hosts for everything that they do for you; but most importantly – enjoy yourself!