Week Three: Plager Reports from Yokohama

Chaz Plager is staying with the Nakazono family, that includes parents Akihiro and Noriko and three children Yoshiaki, Tomoaki and Haruaki. Tomoaki took the photo.



I’m reporting from Yokohama, a seaside town an hour from Tokyo. More specifically, I’m reporting from the Nakazono family residence as students head into the last part of our trip.

The last part of the Experiment’s program involves a homestay, where members must use their learned Japanese and cultural knowledge to live with a Japanese family for five days.

I was placed in the household of Akihiro and Noriko Nakazono and their three children, Yoshiaki, Tomoaki and Haruaki. They have been nothing but kind to me, and I’ve enjoyed teaching their youngest, Yoshiaki, to play Dhalsim in Street Fighter.

Noriko takes care of the home, while Akihiro works as a consultant for businesses. On a single income, they can comfortably afford a three-story house in the suburbs, which caused me to feel what I suppose is a kind of “culture shock”-  a large house in a nice neighborhood with three kids and they can afford it all on one income. Can you imagine anywhere like that in America?

Here’s what Yokohama has to offer.




It’s the Gundam, from Gundam. (Editor’s note: The Gundam is a Japanese military science fiction media franchise that features giant robots, or mecha, with the name “Gundam.” The franchise began in 1979 and by 2022, the annual revenue of the franchise reached 1010.7 billion yen per year.)  

Life sized, it moves on its own, and plays the show opening theme as it does so. It’s a dream come true for a fan like me, and one of the things I knew I had to do since the start of the trip. I implore all my readers hungry for good TV to watch Mobile Suit Gundam— it’s one of the best shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and all spin-offs are also excellent. Except SEED. Don’t watch SEED.



A museum detailing the history of Cup Noodles. The museum is five stories tall and includes a workshop where you can make your own noodles. I made my own “Special Blend”, including kimchi, mystery meat, pork, and green onion. It wasn’t great. Noodle lovers will enjoy it thoroughly.



A temple with history embedded in each orifice and a massive, 30-foot-tall Buddha statue looming over it all creates an atmosphere like no other. Located in Kamakura, the temple was created in 1248 AD by followers of the Jodo sect of Buddhism.

The inside of the statue is hollow, and many visitors have left graffiti there, including an American couple who wrote their names inside a heart. (I wonder if they wanted his blessing?) I accidentally gave the Buddha American money when making an offering— here’s hoping it isn’t offensive to him.

Starting Monday, our group will be attending classes at Yokohama Hiranuma High School, meeting and talking with students of the International Communication Club. I look forward to sharing my culture and learning more about theirs— It will make me a better journalist along the way. As we head into the last week of this incredible experience, I have to thank all who’ve read my articles.

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3 Responses to Week Three: Plager Reports from Yokohama

  1. M says:

    What an exceptional young man and what an experience he is having! A life time experience never to be forgotten. So glad he is sharing his reporting and experiences with us. Looking forward to hearing more from him before and after he returns to the good old USA.

  2. K says:

    Very well covered! I feel like I am right there with Chaz making noodles and seeing Gundam. What a wonderful life experience, even considering the writer seems at home in Japan. ありがとう

  3. Casey C says:

    Hi chaz Great Article

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