Since Nagomi Visit received The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship from the Japan Foundation, we find ourselves in unexpected situations.
Such as on Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.
The two of us, Nagomi Visit's founder and myself the COO of the organization are standing in the middle of the group photo. To the left is a member of the House of Representatives who spoke at the ceremony. He is part of the Committee of Financial Affairs and all of us at Nagomi Visit including a few hosts had the great honor but a bit surreal experience being able to speak with him.
The whole experience of being in an awards ceremony was already very new but who knew we would find ourselves on the Japanese government's website as part of their foreign relations news.
It sure is a new day for Nagomi Visit.
Arigato again to all our hosts who came to the ceremony to celebrate with us. We also would like to take this opportunity to of course thank everyone who participated as guests. We are just stating an obvious fact but if it weren't for all of you participating we wouldn't be here so, arigato.
Arigato to Japan's most well known English magazine Metropolis for covering Nagomi Visit.
Looking forward to foreign residents in Japan joining a Nagomi Visit "to experience a part of Japan away from tourist hotbeds and outside the expat bubble."
As mentioned in the article, to participate in a Nagomi Visit "No Japanese is required—all hosts have some level of English speaking ability—the goal is simply to learn about everyday Japan over a home-cooked meal."
However, if you are currently studying your "Kanji flashcards and Genki textbooks" we welcome you to test out your Japanese!
Founder Megumi Kusunoki and two of our amazing Nagomi Visit hosts spoke at a press conference where they announced Nagomi Visit will be receiving The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship for 2017.
Yesterday marked 5 amazing years since we registered as a nonprofit organization on January 23rd, 2013. We are still a small three person team running the whole organization but with many more hosts and guests thanks to all of you.
So what is this award?
The Japan Foundation is a cultural institution that aims to promote cultural exchange, originally founded by the Government of Japan.
"The Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship is intended to support organizations based in Japan that endeavor to strengthen networks among citizens both inside and outside Japan, and share the knowledge, idea and expertise through Intercultural Exchange."
The awards ceremony will be at the end of February 2018 so we look forward to sharing our experiences soon. In the meantime we would like to say arigato to all of you who led us through this incredible journey.
Exciting to see Nagomi Visit featured on travel documentary Reisen in ferne Welten on the Japans Mega-Metropole episode. Arigato to German public broadcasting network ARD for taking interest in our program. Since the airing, we are seeing guests who saw the documentary join our program.
Here is an excerpt from a related article "Sie machen mit bei Nagomi Visit. Dieser gemeinnützige Verein vermittelt Familien, die Touristen nach Hause einladen möchten. Touristen wählen auf der Internetseite von Nagomi Visit (https://www.nagomivisit.com) im Vorfeld eine Familie aus und überweisen circa 26 Euro pro Person fürs Essen. "
We have been surprised by the growing number of documentaries around the world wanting to cover our program.
Among those has been a French show Voyage et bonnes manières, which focuses on travel and manners. You will find us on the Au Japon episode.
When first asked to be included in this show, we were worried about the theme of the show being about manners.
We always make it a point that all Nagomi Visit participants should not worry too much about making mistakes when it comes to Japanese table manners. We have actually written about general etiquette tips here.
So when deciding to help with the documentary, instead of focusing on various rules of etiquette, we decided instead to share what it is like when eating at home in Japan.
On the show, we had one of our Tokyo hosts help out so lots of arigatos to their whole family.
One of Japan's most popular television shows "Why did you come to Japan" contacted us to be one of their episodes. You will be able to see their clip online until March 31st, 2018.
Just as the title of the show suggests, it follows tourists coming to Japan who go on unique not so touristy journeys.
Arigato to those who reached out to us to be a part of the show, and also to the hosts who saw the episode and decided to become hosts.
Arigato for featuring Nagomi Visit in German magazine GEO Saison.
“DINIEREN MIT LOCALS. Lunch oder Abendessen zu Hause bei Einheimischen, wobei die Hauptattraktion oft das Gefühl ist, für einen Abend ein bisschen dazuzugehören, und vom Gastgeber jede Menge Insidertipps zu bekommen. Fixpreis ca. 25 Euro, gebucht wird online zehn Tage vorab. Bezahlt wird über PayPal oder Kreditkarte.”
Nagomi Visit's Chief Operating Officer was asked to talk about our program and Japanese food for NHK World.
The most memorable part of the interview was the question "Please tell us what you think is the beauty of Japanese food?" It took us a few days to come up with an answer that best represents how we feel about Japanese food.
"There is a lot of beauty in Japanese food but we are not here to exceptionalize Japanese food but rather hope more people do come to realize that there is a lot of variety in Japanese food than they might expect. There is a lot of history and stories that have yet to be discovered. While the fundamentals might remain the same, everything including Japanese home cooking keeps on evolving so we do hope everyone around the world gets to experience it."
Interviews are always an amazing opportunity to self reflect so Arigato to NHK World.
Read the full article here.
- Include a saturday lunch date in your request
This is especially important if you are looking for a host who has similar age kids. First it’s important to include in your request that you would like to meet a family with similar age kids or just young kids in general but including a saturday lunch date will help increase your chances since the parents have a day off, their kids will be awake and ready to play and everyone is happy and will be ready to meet you.
- Request to meet at an earlier time for dinner
If you are only available for a dinner time and want to bring the kids back to the hotel by bedtime, ask to meet at an earlier time. We have many hosts with young kids who already request to meet at an earlier time in their personal messages to guests so many will be happy with the arrangement.
- Suggest an activity in addition to eating
You will be eating lunch or dinner with your host for sure and most likely the host already has a play area with a bunch of toys or something ready especially if they have similar age kids but if you would like to have the kids play at a neighborhood park, playground, mall before eating so they will be less restless, don’t be afraid to ask! Or your host may have some ideas too. See what some of our past family Nagomi Visitors have done.
Other tips might be sharing your host’s profile beforehand which is important for anyone participating regardless of age, teaching your kids some Japanese phrases they might be able to test out, or if you have a local game or something your kids would want to teach the host kids, you can bring that too. Get creative with your Nagomi Visit experience!
So how is it like to Nagomi Visit as a family
Our past participants will do a better job than us of describing the experience so here are some highlights.
"We enjoyed two Nagomi visits. First in Tokyo with a delightful hostess and one of her friends and their 4 children. We were collected at the station and taken to visit the supermarket and 100 Yen shop, lots of fun discovering all sorts of different foods with two expert cooks! Back at the hostesses apartment we enjoyed preparing some cartoon character rice balls, a sushi "cake" and doing origami with the kids while the mums finished cooking. Our hostess and her friend prepared a wonderful meal of Japanese specialties and the children made shaved ice desserts. After dinner the children had prepared some traditional Japanese party games for us to play with them. Our second visit, in Matsumoto was different but equally wonderful. Our host family lived in a small town in the mountains. Their son had prepared a menu blackboard for us. We helped to make Takoyaki and then had make it yourself sushi and a wonderful traditional Japanese dessert. Both our host families went to an enormous amount of effort to prepare a delicious dinner and make us feel very welcome. Our two Nagomi visits have been the highlight of our 3 week long Japan trip. I strongly recommend the programme to anyone visiting Japan." - Sandy from Australia in Tokyo and Matsumoto
Discover how diverse Japan is with hosts all over Japan
"Learnt more about the differences between Hokkaido and other parts of Japan." - Pauline from Australia in Hokkaido
Even picky eaters can enjoy new dishes
"We had so much to eat. Pork, chicken, fish, soup, rice, salad, desert. And they tried to make my very picky son happy. I only asked not to cook so much for him and that we would already be so happy with their invitation, but they hoped he would like something, but in fact he liked everything. The host made us feel so comfortable and happy." - Marion from the Netherlands with 15 year old son in Kyoto
Parents can enjoy chatting while kids have fun too
"There are so many topic we talked with Nobue and Kanae during our lunch visit to their place. We ended up with spending 5 hours at their place (instead of 2 hrs) :) we talked about the japanese culture, europe culture, education system, food, etc." - Mery from Switzerland in Osaka
Every Nagomi memory is different
"A surprise cake to celebrate my wife's birthday and seeing Wisteria at Nagoya Castle." - Kelvin from Singapore in Nagoya
"Rolling sushi in the kitchen. Doing a yoga pose for the kids and singing with grandma." - Ajit from India near Narita Airport
The Nagomi experience doesn't end with the visit
"My daughter and theirs are the same age, and they have talked before the visit, and plan to talk in the coming weeks again. I still plan to keep in touch with our hosts as much as possible going forward. I also hope to visit them again in a year or so when we return to Japan." - Chris from the US with 14 year old daughter in Osaka
Find more information here about going on a Nagomi Visit as a family.