It was still very hot that afternoon. Typical summer in Japan, which feels hotter than Jakarta! Just arrived at Michan’s house, my friends and I were immediately asked to go to the garden next to his house.
“Let’s pick vegetables for the ingredients for tonight’s meal!” he said excitedly.
That’s roughly the translation. Because Michan doesn’t speak English at all.
Michan is the owner of a homestay in Kibichou city, Okayama Prefecture. If we think of Tokyo as Jakarta, we can say that Kibichou is like the city of Garut, haha! To get to Kibichou, we can take a bus for about an hour from Okayama Station.
Michan’s house is on the side of the road. However, cars rarely pass by, so the atmosphere remains calm, typical of rural areas.
The house is surrounded by rice fields and hills. The garden is not big, but if you want to make tempura, it’s enough to be able to make a complete tempura set menu from the produce of the garden!
There are eggplant, zucchini, yuri, blueberry, bitter melon, tomato, kabocha, leek, okra and several other plants.
Michan also told us to take a shower before dinner. It’s like living in a chatty grandma’s house but it’s a shame about her granddaughter, haha!
“You can shower as many times as you want, because Japan is very hot in summer,” he said, bringing us a piece of fresh watermelon.
The house has two floors. The first floor has a kitchen, a dining room with a dining table, and a family room that has been converted into a bedroom for the four of us.
The bed of course uses futons. Very practical Japanese folding mattress. Just keep it in the cupboard when not in use.
Although this house looks old, the technology inside is very sophisticated. The bathroom has a bathtub (btw, this bathtub is kind of standard in Japan, even if the house is small) which can be adjusted digitally. Water for bathing is also used to wash clothes. Because before bathing, we are required to take a shower first.
The floor uses tatami made of dry straw which is formed as a carpet. Tatami serves as insulation so that we are not cold when sitting or sleeping.
Michan’s homestay is very Muslim friendly. It provides halal food. From food ingredients such as soy sauce, he buys the halal logo. In fact, he has bought cooking utensils and cutlery specifically for Muslims!
The rate of staying here is also very cheap! Only about 8000 yen per night. Including dinner and breakfast! Compare that to staying at a ryokan which can cost 20,000 yen or more. This is a real Japanese house, not a hotel built in Japanese style. Authentic. That’s why I can say it’s cheap!
I use google translate apps to communicate with michan. I asked what I could help him with while he was cooking. He asked me to make a kind of wet spring roll with the skin made of rice flour, then stuffed with salad.
Michan was also very happy to talk to us. Not to be outdone, he also used google translate to joke with us.
Dinner arrived. The menu includes blueberry rice which tastes a bit sour like rice for sushi, vegetable tempura, vegetable spring rolls, and meat croquettes. Simple, but very homely.
After eating, we were invited to play fireworks by Yuki-chan, Michan’s husband. Yuki-chan is quite old and not as lively as michan, but he still keeps us company hanabi. (firework)
Even though it’s simple, it’s little things like these that make us feel so warm and welcome. Because usually, Japanese people are rather conservative and find it difficult to accept foreigners. Especially the Japanese in this generation like michan.
Unfortunately, we can only stay here one night. Because michan only provides packages for one night.
The sun was high that morning. We started packing things, had breakfast, and said goodbye to michan. Less than 24 hours we were at michan’s house, but the experience we felt was truly memorable.
I’m sure I will back here with my loved ones.
homestay MICHAN Alamat : 535-2 Yoshikawa, Kibichou Town, Kaga-kun, Okayama. Reservasi ke Kibichou Town Hall ( +81-866-54-1301)
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