You know you've got a good host family when, right when you're about to start studying, your dad calls you downstairs with 「ワイン、飲む？ (Want to drink wine?)」. The third Thursday in November is the traditional date for the release of Beaujolais Nouveau , a red wine fermented for a very short period of time and air-shipped from Beaujois, France, around the world, and consumed soon after. The Japanese go crazy over it (it was on the news yesterday, apparently) because our time zone lets us be the first to get and drink it. I knew little about this particular tradition before my host dad called me to drink, but with the Beaujois in my veins, and feeling like I'd rather not study, I did a little reading about it. Slate magazine thinks the event is a marketing scam, laments the damage the hype has done to other types of Beaujolais, and calls Nouveau the cheapest, simplest variety out there; if you're into wine, the article is worth a read.
Overhyped or no, though, I liked the wine pretty well. It wasn't too complex- light and fruity, less tannins than a real red but more than a white- but it was tasty all the same, and I found the ritual of it amusing.
My host sister, Kana
I'm fairly sure my birth mother is more worried than she voices about being replaced by this very kind woman, and I'm not sure those worries are groundless (just kidding, mom).