interviewHost Family Stories

interview Machida-shi, Tokyo / June 2019

“It’s like staying with my own relatives” – Experience a warm welcome at Choop Khon Thai House

Host Family Stories

Masaru and the wall decorated with photos of his guests

Masaru is a seasoned host and has welcomed in countless guests.

Pictures of all his guests are decorated on his living room wall, and Masaru can remember nearly all of them.

“They were on their honeymoon, and stayed for 3 nights…”

“They were in a cheerleading group, and came to Japan to take part in a competition…”

“This lady is a schoolteacher, who followed the boy she liked to study abroad in Osaka, but got dumped, so came here to lick her wounds…”

In addition to being amazed by his memory as he recalls details of his guests one after the other, you really get a sense of the affection he feels for each of his guests, which explains the large numbers of people wanting to stay here.

This is Masaru, who greets guests with his wife from Thailand and his dog, Yuri. As he speaks Thai as well himself and understands the culture and customs of Thailand, around 60% of his guests are from Thailand.

The name of the house “Choop Khon Thai” means “We love Thai people”, but, of course, guests from everywhere are welcome!

Location

9 minutes’ walk from Tsurukawa station, Odakyu Line (Station Numbering: OH 25)

* As there are steps midway, Masaru provides a free shuttle on request for check-in/check-out.

35 minutes to Shinjuku on the Odakyu line
30 minutes to Shin-Yokohama on the Yokohama line

Host Family Stories

Pomeranian Yuri welcomes you too!

“If you want to see the ordinary lives of Japanese people, it has to be a ‘homestay’”

One feature of Masaru’s place is that there are many repeat guests, and some of them have come up to six times. It’s not uncommon that people who stay here once come back with their families or friends.

The reviews of these repeat guests tell you that this is the place to stay at and he is the host who can make your stay an unforgettable one.

Masaru: We had one family from Thailand in the past: the husband was a prefectural governor in Thailand and the wife was a manager at a bank.

They said that they chose my place on the recommendation of their daughter’s friend who had stayed with us before. They also said that “We wanted to see the ordinary lives of Japanese people, so it had to be a ‘homestay’”.

There are two guest rooms on the first floor of Masaru’s house. The large western-style room with a living room and kitchen attached can accommodate up to seven people. The Japanese-style tatami room can accommodate up to three people. On the same floor, there is a bathroom and toilet for guest use only.

The living room on the second floor is a shared space between the guest and the host. Masaru enjoys chatting with guests after they return from sightseeing.

Host Family Stories

Western-style guest room with a kitchen and a piano

Host Family Stories

Japanese-style guest room gets lots of natural light

My mother, who was first against the idea of taking in guests, got on board later

What most sticks in my memory is a very sad episode with Thai guests

Masaru has fun memories with most of his guests, but the one that sticks most in his memory is a very sad episode.

This was when a girl came with her mother to get treatment for her mother with late-stage cancer.

Masaru:When the mother was first checked out at a hospital in Shin-Yurigaoka that she had been introduced to in Thailand, they said that the cancer had spread too far, and they could not treat her, so she was introduced to a hospital in Akihabara. I followed her around everywhere as an interpreter. The daughter was proficient in English so was able to communicate with the doctor to a certain extent but for the detailed nuances, I needed to interpret between Thai and Japanese.

With the last ray of hope, we went for treatment to the hospital in Akihabara, but were told that due to past surgical history, she could not get an operation there. On hearing this, the daughter took out a bundle of Japanese yen bills and appealed to them, crying, saying “I will pay any amount of money. Just save my mother!”. Unfortunately, though it was not possible to operate.

Eventually, she gave up on the surgery and they decided to go back to Thailand in two days. Then the mother said to me, “Because of my treatment, my daughter has not been able to do anything like sightseeing in Tokyo. So, can you take my daughter around the sights for one day tomorrow?”. I took the daughter sightseeing. I heard that the mother died three months after that.

I have had many fun memories, and not many sad ones, but the sad episodes also stay with you.

Masaru talked with affection about even the sad episodes and guests who were hard to deal with.

“Moving forward, I want to travel more with my guests”, states Masaru, who obviously believes that hosting is his calling.

You should also take the opportunity to experience the relaxing atmosphere of his home, which is just like staying with your relatives!

Host Family Stories

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