One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Friday, January 06, 2006

Preparing for the Invasion

Tomorrow we will have new guests in our house: two Japanese men. They are agricultural students and will be staying with us for twelve weeks.

To accommodate them, we will be using the loft as one bedroom, and we had to clear out the girls' playroom (which also doubled as Julia's bedroom) for the other. This second task has been the most arduous. All of the play stuff has been moved to the great room, which we were afraid would make our girls upset, or at least make them begrudge the students who have temporarily displaced them. But once I explained that their great-grandfather helped to defeat the Japanese in World War II, the girls felt much better about it.

Here is a brief profile of our two students (both male):

Ryo, age: 24. He describes his personality as "mild dispotion" (misspelling was his). His expectations for his family stay are: "lively family." (with twin two-year-olds and a six-month-old that won't be a problem).

Tomoyuki, age: 30. His hobbies are: Hiking and Coffee. (This might be a problem. The closest thing resembling even a hill in Woodland is the landfill. Also, coffee? Sorry, not here. But my pal Ian might hook you up).

These will not be our first foreign exchange students. We have had two Japanese students before, and one Chilean. Ultimately, we do it for the money, but it is also a lot of fun getting to know them and to learn about their culture, and to teach them about ours. I have learned from past experience that, this time, I need to set a few ground rules from the get-go:

1) They must refer to me as Justin-san.

2) No Sumo-wrestling or Hara-Kiri - both are messy and make for insurance liabilities.

3) Don't try to pass off Saki as a simple rice drink. I don't want Kate drunk again.

4) They must honor me for owning a Toyota Corolla.

5) They can't discuss Japanese dominance of the electronics market.

6) They are encouraged to discuss the U.S. military presence in their country.

7) Finally - they must bring a kimono for Annie ... don't ask.

We expect to have some bumpy times with these two chaps, but it should be fun. Our experience has been that Japanese students are always very polite and respectful. My sister-in-law, who lives in the same town as us, is also getting two students from the same group. It is our hope that these four will hit it off, and go OUT - not stay in our homes the whole time.

If I don't post for two days, it is because something has gone wrong, and they have taken over our house - Empire of the Sun-style.

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