“Captain Vagabond” with his wife, Xiaoming
This is “Sasurai senntyou”, meaning “Captain Vagabond” (hereafter “Captain”) whose nickname comes from the fact that “I like enjoying myself and going fishing” and his wife, Xiaoming, who hails from China and enjoys growing vegetables in the garden of the house and cooking.
The couple, who adore nature, live in a quiet, leafy, residential area of Machida City.
Dozens of varieties of fruits, such as Chinese citrons, cherries, and raspberries, and vegetables, such as pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander, and watercress, are lovingly reared and cared for by Xiaoming.
“We want to enjoy the Japanese way of living with our guests.”
In the home of the Captain, who said the above words, you can enjoy cooking classes with the vegetables harvested from their garden, go out sightseeing with the couple, and enjoy the experience of interacting only possible at a homestay.
The house is located approximately one hour on foot from either of the closest stations, but you don’t need to worry as the Captain will pick you up and drop you off with his car free of charge.
Tsurukawa station, Odakyu Line (Station Numbering: OH25)
Fuchinobe station, Yokohama Line (JH 25)
About 35 minutes from Shinjuku on the Odakyu line
About 30 minutes away by Yokohama line from Shin-Yokohama where you can change on to the shinkansen (bullet line) trains
The first floor contains a kitchen, living room, and bath that is shared between guests and hosts.
There are three guest rooms on the second floor (one Japanese style, two western style). It can accommodate a total of eight people.
Japanese-style guest room
Western-style guest room
There are a wide number of things that guests can experience in the home of the Captain and Xiaoming.
Captain: My favorite thing is to take the boat out into the sea and enjoy fishing and collecting shells. I think that tourists would not normally go out on their own to go fishing, so it is a rare thing to be able to guide them. When the weather is good, it is fantastic to be able to gaze at Mount Fuji while fishing.
Beautiful flowers are blooming here and there, depending on the season, and we really like going to look at the flowers. We also both really like hot springs, so we enjoy going to day spas, and skiing in Nagano in the winter.
When requested by our guests, we are happy to take them to a wide range of places.
Xiaoming: We hold cooking classes together in our home. It is a mixture of Japanese food and Chinese food using vegetables grown in the garden.
There is both food with a Chinese-style flavor, as well as my husband’s fish dishes. It is really enjoyable to make and eat delicious food together.
The Captain will teach you about cooking fish
In the cooking classes, you will use many vegetables taken from the garden.
The Captain, after watching his older sister, who lived for 20 years in England, run a B&B (bed and breakfast) in
the suburbs of London, thought that if people in Japan allowed others, on a casual basis, to stay in their homes
the opportunities for interaction would increase.
Then, when it was determined that the 2020 Olympics/Paralympics would be held in Tokyo, he decided to invite people to stay in his home “while I was still young enough”.
What was the trigger for you starting the host family?
Captain: I felt that, when travelling to foreign countries, if you came home after only visiting tourist spots, going shopping, and eating at restaurants, it felt like a bit of a waste. I think we taste the true flavor of travel by interacting with local people.
I thought it would be fun to enjoy spending time cooking together, going fishing together, looking at flowers, and picking vegetables from our garden while enjoying the Japanese lifestyle. Rather than pursuing profit, I just want to have fun with our guests.
Previously, we were living in a housing complex in Kawasaki City, but three years ago we decided to run this boarding house, so purchased the building.
Xiaoming: We searched for a building suitable for running a boarding house, and went to look at a wide range of properties.
We decided on this house and, wanting to turn the garden into a field, we pulled up several dozen trees that had been planted here, and prepared it as a vegetable garden.
Did you not feel any anxiety about starting up a host family?
Captain: Of course, there is the language barrier, but as long as we can communicate in a basic way, we will somehow get by.
Also, there is daily interaction with the local people, such as sharing shells with the local people when we go shell gathering and catch a lot. Fortunately, we have not had any complaints up to this point.
Can you tell us in detail about some places you recommend?
Captain: The Odakyu “Romance Car” is running from nearby Machida station, so it is easy to get to the Hakone area, and it is also simple to get to Kamakura, Izu, Yamanashi, and Mount Fuji by train or car. For short trips or day spas etc., we can take you where you want to go.
In Japan, the famous flowers are cherry blossoms, but there are also many flowers we recommend during each season in addition to cherry blossoms, and we can show you the best place to view flowers for each season.
From Spring to early summer, you can enjoy plum blossom, peony, wisteria, roses, irises, and hydrangea. From the summer, there are dahlias and camellia. The nearby Yakushiike Park, which we can visit by car, is famous.
Xiaoming: Yakushi-ike Park is also connected to the “Machida Squirrel Park”, so if you have small children, they can enjoy feeding and playing with the squirrels.
Do any episodes you have had with guests stick in the memory?
Captain: He was not really a guest, as such, but when my wife’s younger brother visited from China, we went fishing together, and caught lots of “kawahagi” (filefish). It was fun to fish and tasty to eat. We had a lot of fun. If others are having a good time, I am happy too.
Xiaoming: Actually, I am better than him at fishing (lol). Last year, when we went fishing in Nishi-Izu, I caught zebra horse mackerel, which was really delicious when eaten raw!
Captain: We really enjoy fishing, so I am sure people who like the sea and fish will have a great time.
The Captain and Xiaoming say that they want many different kinds of guest to come so that they can interact with
them and enjoy the nature of Japan together.
If you are looking for an experience you can only get with a homestay, come stay with them who love looking after their guests!
We look forward to you coming to see our wonderful vegetables and fruits!