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Shiozawa, which is located in Niigata is famous for its Onsen (hot spring) and ski area. It is said to be not as cold as Hokkaido, but it sure has more snow than Hokkaido. Thatfs what Ifve heard when I took the tour for the Kodomo Kabuki, Niigata homestay project which was held by a team of 8 people led by Noda Kaori. In this trip, Noda Kaori san invited 2 people from different country outside Japan. They were me from Indonesia and Soyeon san from Korea.

For 2 days trip we stayed in homestay which was hosted by local people in Shiozawa. The main point of this project was homestay and local Kabuki. However, there are other activities -- we visited most of the stores in Shiozawa itself, had chat with local residents inside the snow cave while eating Mochi for as many as you like and drank rice wine which they called Amazake, saw the Seppu Matsuri held only one time a year, watched Kodomo Kabuki, and many more. It was a great experience for me.

About the homestay

The homestay was really nice. When people heard about a glocal merchant's househ they would think that it might look like an old house and might look like a glocal merchantfs househ. However it was really different; the place that we stayed for homestay last time was a really nice place. The houses in the neighborhood were interesting as well. The town still had the old Japanese style of houses but they were not that different with the other houses in the big city like Tokyo. The host family was nice towards us as well. We talked for about an hour together and they were really welcoming us. Even though my Japanese was not that good and they could only understand English a little bit, they still tried to communicate and tried to make us feel comfortable. It was nice of them.
The bedroom was interesting as well; it was my first time to sleep on tatami with futon. I could really feel the traditional Japanese culture, and it was really an interesting experience for me.

The next day, we were honoured to try on a very pretty kimono as well, and took picture with the kimono on and all the pretty Hinaningyo as the background. It was really fun.

About the neighborhood

We had the time to walk around the neighborhood and had a little chat with some of the local residents as well. And just like I mentioned before, their houses were very interesting and very different. The town still had the traditional Japanese houses. It was nice and peaceful, with all the snow on their backyard, it was a nice view, it gave an interesting feeling. In addition, the local residents were really nice and toward us as well.
About the kabuki (child)

The Kodomo (child) Kabuki was really interesting as well. It was new for me, the kabuki and the child kabuki as well. Soyeon san also said that it was her first time to see child kabuki, but even though it was my first time to see kabuki, I could say that I enjoyed it very much. It was interesting; the performances, the children, the audiences, everything was nice.
I think the children were really good. They acted their roles professionally. During the show, somehow there was a time I feel like they werenft kids at all. They acted nice, and really focused on their own role. The story line was good as well. Although I could not understand some of the words that they used, but I could understand the story perfectly. And besides that, we could also see lots of beautiful kimono that they used.
After the show, we went to have dinner together with all the children who played the kabuki, the parents and also with everyone else who contributed to this event. It was really nice because they were really welcoming us. We were able to talk to the children and also took picture together with them. During that time, I realized that they were really something. They really focused on their roles on the stage during the kabuki, but when it was done, they still liked to play with the other kids and acted just like a normal kid would do. I think it was amazing.

Overall about the 2 days Shiozawa homestay project, for me it was a very interesting experience. There were a lot of new thing that I did during this trip. Besides that, I could also learn new things about some more Japanese culture; he local kabuki, kabuki children, Seppu festival, and many others.