Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 03:11
There I am 17 years old finally leaving for Japan and as thrilled as I could ever be.
Yet my eating disorder seem to be, again, on my way, holding me back.

I gave a chance to recovery one year ago and since then having been quite succesfull about it already is a big step for me; both my family and my doctor agreed that I could leave.

However I really don't know how and if I should tell my host family about this. I'll be staying for the whole summer with two lovely ladies: host mom and host grandma and I really don't want to offend them or be a burden. (I heard not finishing you meal is quite rude in Japan.) I am not picky about food and I firmly intend to never refuse it, but I feel I am not able yet to eat more than a certain amount, despite my efforts.

My question is should I tell them?
They are not informed as the language school where I applied did not request any further medical specification other than food allergies and diseases needing special medication.

Furthermore how do I tell them?
This still is a delicate subject for me and my 2-3 years Japanese proficiency level is not helping either :P

And what will they think? Is that so uncommon in Japan?


That said I'll be trying my best for the whole time but I think there are things that if understood would make my life a lot easier.

Arigatou,
Alice
by Alice (guest)  

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 10:16
I believe that you should definitely tell them, and in advance. It is no allergy, but it does restrict your eating, and I am sure that the two ladies would want you to try out every Japanese food they can think of. You are saying that there is simply a limit to the "amount" of food you can eat, correct?

I think this is a matter that you should request the school to inform your host family now, so as to avoid any disappointment or regret on either party.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 11:45
Yup, tell them, otherwise they may think you don't like Japanese food or that their cooking is bad, which I'm sure is not the message you want to convey.

I would ask a native speaker to type out a polite and informative message for the host family to read just in case they aren't told in advance. Also, maybe suggest that they give you smaller portions, so you won't have to leave much uneaten when you feel you've reached your limit. Japanese, as with many cultures, tend to dislike the idea of wasted food from what I've noticed, so it would be thoughtful for you to help them avoid that, maybe not by forcefully eating in your case, but by allowing them to better control your potions. Fun fact... some all you can eat restaurants in Japan will actually charge you extra if you leave leftover food on multiple plates... can't imagine a rule like that being enforced in the US where people go out of their way to pile up on food they know they won't finish haha. Puts things into perspective.

You may also want to learn how to say "the food was delicious, but I've reached my limit, thank you" or something similar in Japanese.

Have fun and try not to stress over it too much. I'm sure they will understand if you're upfront and honest about it and show that you're genuinely appreciative of their efforts. Hopefully you enjoy what you do get to eat though.
by Smithers rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 12:18
Fun fact... some all you can eat restaurants in Japan will actually charge you extra if you leave leftover food on multiple plates... can't imagine a rule like that being enforced in the US where people go out of their way to pile up on food they know they won't finish haha. Puts things into perspective.

That's funny, where did you hear this. I've had the opposite experience. I've never been to a Japanese restaurant with such a rule (or maybe I didn't notice it because the situation never came up), but I have been to numerous places in the US that did.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 14:01
Heard it during a special on all-you-can-eat restaurants in Tokyo on NHK. While showing various types, they repeatedly mentioned there are *some* that will charge you for basically being a slob and grabbing more food than you can eat. I just googled it and found a site that also noted such a penalty fee for one particular sushi joint: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2012/02/24/all-you-can-eat-sushi-in-tokyo-o...
by Smithers rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 14:10
I know many places which are all you can eat buffet style which have a sign posted to the effect of a fee penalty for leaving food uneaten. The idea is to take very small portions and if still hungry you can eat more. It is very rude to take more food than you need.My husband loves to eat in buffet style and in the US (where I currently study) we do indeed see many people who take so much food and leave it on the plate. It is very wasteful.
by hirosumi rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 14:33
Another thing about all-you-can-eat places in Japan: some people, when they come in a group, prefer to pile high on a plate for everyone in the group to share, and if everyone in the group does that, these plates sometimes end up not all finished, as you can imagine. So the penalty/rule is also meant to discourage people to do that; just pick up on your plate what you yourself can eat, and eat it all :)

Sorry for going off-topic.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/5 16:04
Alice,

You can at least tell them in advance, as common sense, that you are not a big eater.

True, it is best not to leave anything on your plate. So all you have to do is to avoid being served more than you can eat in the first place.

Simple as that.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/7 12:37
At least, you should tell them something about you have some eating disorder, otherwise, they would think they or their foods provided are causing you sick while in Japan. They would take every effort to keep your weight up. You know what I mean.
by Jay Key (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/9 21:52
You are holding yourself back. This is your time to fly and be you! You are going to have a great time in Japan. It's also about growing up - You need to be considerate of the people who are going to let you into their home- be responsible -don't start self talking into some downward spiral of doubt - because that's what you are doing - you can spot it a mile off. Start looking beyond yourself, get involved and start thinking of others and what you can do for them (rather than the other way around.) Japan will be a great place where you can be your own person - the person you want to be. Don't stress about food. Anyway, generally people eat tiny portions - compared to what's put on the plate in western countries. You'll be so busy with doing new stuff & moving forward and having a great life. Why don't you also get involved in some volunteer work with people or animals? Growing up is about seeing beyond yourself to the wider world around you.
by sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/9 22:26
I do think you should tell them in advance via a native speaker, or have your language school tell them. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and I am sure that there are eating disorders in Japan just as there are in most places in the world.

Explain that you are working hard to recover from your disorder, and that while you are happy to try to eat everything, you can only manage to eat little and often - just as you explained it here. This will prevent any misunderstanding about appreciating their hospitality and I am sure that they will try to help and be considerate of you, as anyone would to a guest in their home. I'm not Japanese, but there is nothing in your post that would make me not want you as a guest - I would far rather host a small eater than an overly fussy one who won't try new things!

Apart from that, do as the poster above said - be optimistic, be proud of yourself for achieving what you have, and be happy about being in Japan. Enjoy your time there, and I am sure that if your hosts can see that you are happy, glad to be in their home and enjoying yourself there will be no problem at all.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/16 08:42
If you feel uncomfortable telling them about your disorder, definitely mention that you only eat small portions or are a light eater. It would help them understand. From what I have heard, a large portion teen Japanese girls eat lightly in comparison to people that live in the states.

I'm what I would call a muncher - I eat small portions, only a little more frequently (maybe 4 times a day?). In high school, I would map out the classes I could eat in and spread my homemade lunch over two or three periods. I also eat very slowly (like 30 minutes to eat dinner).

Don't feel bad about yourself! Everyone is wonderful in their own way - just because you are working through problems doesn't change that fact.

If you ever need inspiration, please listen to Pink's song F**king Perfect. Or post on the forums! Most people will do their best to help support you and just forget about any meanies that say differently. ^^
by RaikouNeko rate this post as useful

Re: Eating disorders and host family? 2012/6/23 14:08
I feel for you and your disorder. My daughter too has a disorder pulling hair. She was turned down 3 times. The social culture can be cruel at times but my daughter got around it and now enjoying her time there as I speak. It is best to tell them because it will be a problem if you don't. They will love to cook and entertain you till you are so tired. There might be host families outside the traditional school system that will take you. Good luck and God speed your desires.
by watnab rate this post as useful

reply to this thread