So, I'm going to Japan this January. I'm curious with the Japanese cultures. Anyone ever been there for a long time? What should and shouldn't do when I'm in a japanese family? Btw, I'm going for a homestay. Thank you
Learn a lot about life there first; for many basics try
Bring a good digital camera, or even better, camcorder, since you can take a lot of photos and video that in the future you will treasure dearly.
Before you leave, you should prepare some gifts for your host family.
Generally you want to bring something that represents where you are from. Maybe bring a small gift for each member of the family, and one gift for the family as a whole. Nothing extremely expensive is necessary. They will also return the favor and if you give very expensive gifts it puts the pinch on them to give something of equal or slightly higher value.
Some small picture books or calendars, posters, ashtrays, chocolates, fragrant bath salts, t-shirts, liquor, sauces or salad dressings like Ranch, pure maple or berry syrups, colognes, jams, baseball caps, coasters, nice soap or shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, nuts, flavored coffees, keychains, postcards, etc. would be great.
I often bring some tea from a local supermarket - it is cheap, light, and there are now several varieties of green tea that Japanese have never tried, such as with mandarin orange, jasmine, earl grey, fruits, raspberry, lemon, ginseng or mint.
Somewhat less elegant but something quite practical I often bring for friends in Japan is a large bottle of aspirin, which costs several times (I am not exaggerating) what it
does in the US/Canada.
Be aware though that in Japan 4 and 9 are "unlucky" numbers, and especially older Japanese tend to be superstitious, -- avoid giving any sets of 4 or 9.
Of course, where possible, avoiding very fragile and very heavy objects is desirable.
It is very likely that your family will treat you very well if not lavishly, especially when you first arrive,
such as taking you to some expensive restaurants, so make sure to bring something more formal to wear.
Enjoy your homestay.