Growing up I was always the little brother to my wonderful brother Richard. From what I understand from him now I was an absolute pain. Though, despite how big of a pain I was he always cared about me and was overall a great big brother. Before I came to Japan I always wondered how he ever dealt with me.
For three months I lived with my previous host family, which consisted of my three little brothers Shoji, Seiji, Takeshi, and my host mother and father, Nene and Takuji. When I first moved in with them it was a completely different experience that I was used to as my host family before had no small children. Then here I was, with three of the most Genki children known to man.
I very quickly learned how to say the Japanese words you must need to be able to live with three small boys; Yamete (Don't do that!), Abunai (That's dangerous!), and Kyoskete (Please be Careful!). I probably ended up saying these words each about twenty times a day. This is all to say that living with three small kids can be difficult.
This is not to say that I had a bad time living with my host family. I would say the exact opposite. I had a wonderful time. For as often as the kids bothered me or brought me to my wit's end they never saw me as a guest. They saw me at their big brother. When I would sit down in family Shoji, Seiji, or Takeshi would come and sit on my lap. When we went somewhere one of them would want for me to hold their hand. Shoji would want for me and Nene to swing him. When Shoji acidentaly turned off "Q Ranger" on Tv he would come to me saying "Make 'Q Ranger' come back!"
The kids would poke fun at my Japanese and mimic it by saying "Yamete" in what they though my voice sounded like. After hearing me do it so many times, Takuji would jokingly say "Oh My God" in an American accent when the kids would do something bad. That's not to say that it was all Jokes made at my expense. Takeshi's English went from some simple words and phrases to some full on sentences! Sure the grammar wasn't perfect but this small child was speaking with a basic understanding of how English works!
My Japanese increased exponentially due to constantly talking with the kids. They would point at object and say what they were called in Japanese. I also learned from them constantly saying certain words like "Iku-yo!". At the end of my stay I was able to get to the point that could hold simple conversations with them!
I think living with three Japanese little brothers really made me a better person. I'm more patient, I can speak Japanese, and now kind of know how to work a Japanese TV. In all, it was a wonderful experience that I don't think I would trade for anything!