Volunteering in Nagoya, Japan



Japan is not the easiest place to approach – or so we felt from a European standpoint. For this, we decided to spend our last weeks in Asia with a Japanese family living in the outskirts of Nagoya. This workaway experience enabled us to go beyond the surface of this interesting country and often made us feel like we were in a movie.


Our Japanese Family

We reached Nagoya station under the pouring rain. It didn’t take long before our new family picked us up with their Wolkswagen van dating back to the 1970’s.


Take the joyful team spirit shown in Little Miss Sunshine. Mix it with the ideals of Captain Fantastic and Tsubasa Ozora‘s passion for soccer. Add a few volunteers, two rescue dogs, a goat – and you should get something like the Arisaka family.


Kids and Soccer

Yoshi, 33-year-old father of the Arisaka family, runs an Argentinian soccer school and trains kids to play on various fields around Nagoya. Over the weeks spent together, Martino volunteered as his assistant coach together with another French volunteer, Pierre.


Meanwhile, Julie helped out Kana, 32-year-old Supermother of the Arisaka family, with household chores and their hyper energetic daughters: Miss Tsubasa (4 years old) and baby Misaki (almost 2). In addition, she recorded short videos and photographed Yoshi’s fervent soccer team for an ad.



What we received in return for our small contribution was so much more than food (exquisite home-made Japanese food) and accomodation (we are big fans of the Japanese futons). This was a real cultural exchange, which not only led to a friendship but also proved – once more – that when you give eventually you always gain.