The Ranas (From left, Mukesh, Manan, and Monica)
Introducing the Ranas, a sweet Indian family living in a tranquil residential area in Kamagaya-city, Chiba prefecture.
Monica, who hails from New Delhi and Mukesh from Panjab, reside at a pristine “Home Away from Home” with their adorable son, Manan who will turn two this fall (2019).
About 14 minutes on foot from Kamagaya station, Tobu Noda Line
(Tobu Urban Park Line, Station Numbering: TD 31)
About 30 minutes by direct train from Narita airport to Shin-kamagaya station (TD 30, SL 11, HS 08), next to Kamagaya station
The Ranas are a multilingual family; In addition to Hindi, Mukesh speaks fluent English and Japanese, and Monica speaks fluent English and conversational Japanese.
Their home features one guest room (approx. 10 m²) on the second floor of the house that accommodates up to two guests (females or a couple only). Guests will share the living room and bathroom on the first floor with the family.
They enjoy hosting guests from all over the world. Let’s visit their home and hear about some of their experiences as a host family!
Guest room with Indian-style decoration
Why did you decide to start hosting guests?
Monica: I was a flight attendant with Air India before moving to Japan. I worked here as an English language teacher for two and a half years until Manan was born in September 2017.
Although I had to stay at home to look after him, I still wanted to do something from home. We thought about being a host family and I’m convinced that it was the best option for us.
Mukesh: I’ve lived in Japan since 2006 and work for an IT company in Tokyo. We registered our house as a private lodging business under my name but Monica is the main host as I’m usually not at home during the daytime.
In order to offer your residences as fee-charging accommodation for visitors in Japan, you must register your property as a “Private Lodging”.
Currently, there are three ways to register a private lodging and one of them is to register as a “Private Lodging Business Operator” in respect of the Private Lodging Business Act of June 2018.
All NiaHomes Host Families, including the Ranas, have registered as “Private Lodging Business Operators” certified by their local governments.
Did you ever feel anxious about starting a Private Lodging Operation?
Monica: A little, as we heard about some trouble and incidents concerning the safety of other private lodgings.
Because it’s just me and my son who are at home during the daytime, we decided to accept only females and couples.
Did you do all the Private Lodging registration by yourselves?
Mukesh: Yes, all by ourselves, without using any legal assistance!
It was very difficult as there were a lot of forms to fill in and documents to collect. We went to Chiba
prefectural office (*) and the staff in charge of the private lodging registration were very nice. One of the
staff members showed us how, step by step.
(*) Public Health Guidance Division, Health and Welfare Department
Monica: That time, Manan was only about six months old. Going to the prefectural office, waiting for three to four hours with him was very tiring, but we could complete all of the registration procedures!
We never thought about giving it up because I really wanted us to be a host family.
Mukesh: We were so relieved when we finally received the registration number in July 2018!
The Private Lodging registration is not an easy process even for Japanese natives.
It is impressive that they successfully completed the registration without any assistance!
What countries are your guests from?
Monica: About half of them are Japanese and the rest are from other countries. We have many guests from China as well.
We live near Narita airport, so usually people who want to stay near the airport choose our house.
Some people choose us because of our reasonable accommodation fee. They usually stay a long time with us.
The longest was eight nights.
It takes about one hour by train to get to central Tokyo but some guests don’t mind the distance and go to Tokyo for sightseeing from here every day.
There is a baseball stadium of the second team of Nippon Ham near here. One of our guests went there every day while staying here. We also hosted university students while they were job hunting.
What are your homestay features?
Mukesh: New house, good reviews from guests, and near the airport.
Monica: I like to talk to guests but don’t force them to talk with me. I offer them Indian tea if they like to talk. If I’m not busy with my son, I offer complimentary breakfast or drinks. I respect their privacy when they want to be alone.
Do you have any memorable episodes with guests?
Mukesh: We have a lot!
Monica: We once had an old couple from Australia, visiting their son and his family living in Japan. They wanted to explore Narita before leaving so they booked our homestay. The lady was around my mother’s age. At the time I was struggling with my son who never slept so she gave me advice. She also gave me a souvenir.
There was a Japanese girl who was getting married and moving to the U.S. with her fiancé. She stayed at our home the day before she was leaving for the U.S. We’re still in touch!
Koala from the Australian guests
Have you experienced any trouble so far?
Monica: Not really. I respect guest’s privacy if they prefer so I think that’s why we avoid trouble.
Our neighbors are friendly and understand what we are doing. We’ve never received any complaints regarding our private lodging from them.
What made you register as a NiaHomes Host Family?
Mukesh: Firstly, it’s run by a Japanese company, so I thought it was more trustworthy, which is important for us for security reasons.
Also, we want to welcome more Japanese guests so it seemed appealing to us.
Is there anything you would like to improve as a host family?
Monica: Most of our guests use wi-fi and can get here with their smartphones, without any guidance from us. But I want to make a map with pictures showing the way from Kamagaya station to our house so we can offer more convenience to them.
Message to your guests?
Mukesh: Monica can teach Indian cooking and we love to have a good chat with our guests.
If you like kids, please play with my son. Manan loves guests, especially female guests and he usually goes after them!
We offer Indian tea to our guests and enjoy talking about Indian culture or cooking. We love to find out about our guests’ countries and it’s a good cultural exchange for us.
Monica: Come and stay with us and have a joyful experience. We’d love to share our culture with you and learn about yours.
If you need anything or want to eat Indian food, just let us know. We are always here for you. We do our best to host you as your Indian family.
Monica and Mukesh, and their cutie, Manan, warmly welcome you as your Indian family in Japan.
Experience their hospitality and enjoy a rich cultural exchange with them!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!