We asked Cheryll and Felix who visited Japan for the first time for their honeymoon and visited one of our hosts, a couple in Nara.
Each Nagomi Visit is unique and this is Cheryll and Felix’s Nagomi experience.
- When you decided to book a Nagomi Visit how did your partner react? Were they excited as much as you? Worried?
- How long did it take for you and your partner to warm up to the host and their home?
- Did you learn anything seeing and experiencing life from inside a Japanese home?
- Did having someone with you help foster conversation or help you notice things you may have not if you went by yourself?
- Was participating in a Nagomi Visit different from other travel activities with your partner? Was it more relaxing since you are in a home with someone? Or did it make you nervous?
- Was there anything you thought differently about Japan after going on the Nagomi Visit?
- Do you have any advice for future Nagomi Visitors?
I read about Nagomi Visit in an Instagram-Post and was immediately hooked, but when I told Felix about it, he was a bit sceptical. We are both not too outgoing, so visiting people you've never met, and whose language you don't speak, "just like that" probably felt a bit weird. But I was pretty excited about that idea, so he agreed - and in the end we are more than happy about our day with Naru and Kaori.
Not long at all! Naru and Kaori met us as the train-station, well prepared with a map and additional info-material (they're quite experienced Nagomi Hosts). They are a lovely couple and I wrote some emails with Naru beforehand, so I felt no need to be nervous. We went for a stroll right away, and learned so much about Nara and Japan in general. Naru even brought his camera and shot some photos (I'll attach some).
We learned most by talking to Naru and Kaori, who patiently answered thousand of questions, but of course, we saw some interesting differences to German/European apartments. Food-wise, we were pretty lucky - Kaori is well versed about japanese tea-ceremonies and we got an impressive demonstration in their tea-room. Also, we had an amazingly rich dinner* and saw how she made Okonomiyaki, I guess that counts as learning :)
*I'm a bit sad that we forgot to take a picture BEFORE we finished eating -.-'
Definitely! Before dinner, we went to the Park in Nara, visited shrines and temples and Naru and Kaori explained so much to us. We would've never learn so much about Nara and Japanese Culture if we went by ourselves - and probably would've missed out some beautiful places Naru showed us as well.
The only other activity we booked was a day at the Sumo-Tournament in Tokyo, so it is hard to compare to our experience with Nagomi Visit. But being at Naru and Kaori's place didn't make us nervous at all, we got to know them a little on our little tour through Nara and after that (it was a pretty hot day), we were pretty happy to arrive at their apartment for tea, dinner and a little break.
Maybe not so much differently, but there are some things we thought more about, after spending the day with our hosts - for example the japanese working morale, the day to day life and so on.
Just go for it and don't be afraid! Of course, there's no guarantee that every host is as great as ours were ;) - but spending time with locals is an amazing, enriching experience that you shouldn't miss.