(04-27-2012 10:22 AM)SeXyBaCk Wrote: Alright, I saw this yesterday and wanted to say something and I didn't have time to reply. Are you going over there to learn japanese and for how long? I spent some time in korea due to a woman I was seeing and some of her friends were living in these dorms of language schools and I was pretty shocked at the lack of space. If it's just for a few weeks okay, if it's for a year, I would imagine (Japan being even more crammed for space) you will find it hard to put up with that. So personally I would be leaning heavily towards the living-in, which will be limited in space as well I'm sure, but you won't feel like you're a chicken in one of those factories. You'll just have to play by their rules.
Now the commute is a big thing however... I would try and get more info on that before making a final decision. You're not going to experience the culture much sitting amongst surgical masks on the train or tube.
The best way to immerse I find is tagging along with locals or if the language is too big a barrier tag along with expats that are really fond of the place and want to convince others of it's greatness. Befriend locals that deal with foreigners, maybe some of your younger teachers/instructions, go have a beer with them..theyll introduce you to their friends and so on.
It's too bad you didn't reply sooner, because the decision had to be made by Friday. I read it a couple days ago, but didn't have the chance to reply back.
Anyway, one of the biggest turnoffs for me with the homestay was definitely the commute. For this semester of college, I've been living at home and commuting to and from school, which is about 40 minutes by train. Now, I'm already not a big a fan of having to go this far everyday each week (not to mention missing things going on at campus, not making nearly as many friends, etc.), but just imagine how much worse it be if it were a 2 hour commute?
I'll be staying in Japan for a couple of months. I feel like my Japanese skills are at a level that if I were given the opportunity to challenge myself more, I would improve a lot (I've been learning for 3 years now). So, this was a big decision in me studying there. My goal is actually to become a translator and interpreter in Japanese (and some other languages once I've learned Japanese to a decent level).
I may or may not decide to live in Japan, depending on what I think while I'm over there, though even then, I'm not sure if I want to settle down there. I'm getting the urge to explore the world and live in different places for a time.