Sooo, I got my visa papers...along with my homestay family information. So, from the beginning:
In order to get my visa, I had to fill out an application for a Certificate of Eligibility, which was provided by my school. Once it is processed, and they are satisfied that you are not poor or a psychopath, they'll send your certificate. Next step: hit up the Japanese Embassy - in my case - in Washington DC. A lot of info is needed, so check the website before you head off. I haven't done this yet, so I can't really go into detail. More later.
I also received a fairly detailed Arrival Handbook, with subjects ranging from Pre-Flight Prep to clothing size conversions. I'll be sure to read this closely and take notes very soon.
And finally, my host family. The Ootsuka family consists of Mom (who likes flower arranging and conversation), Dad (who like golf and karaoke), and 2 daughters (ages 24 & 26, who like karaoke and snow sport respectively)...but I think they're both married and out of the house :( Oh! and a kitty! :) Um, so, here's what their letter to me said, in a really rough translation, haha:
Hello, nice to meet you.
We are the Ootsuka's, married couple. (I think meaning it's just the 2 of them)
We live in Kawagoe.
Kawagoe is an old town with a new town, it's an interesting place (that first part was literal translation, because I didn't quite get what they meant. haha)
From our house to TIU, it is about 30minutes by foot and train.
It is possible to get to Tokyo in 40minutes by train.
Because Kawagoe is a good, convenient town, we think you will have fun.
After that, they talk a bit more about the family, and the daughters. But i'm getting confused, so I shall stop here, haha. I think they say they have 3 daughters, 2 are getting married, something about people coming and going...really, I have no idea. If I can figure it out, I'll try to fill you in, haha. But I'm sure it won't kill you not knowing. It's funny because they put furigana next to the kanji that I knew...but not next to the ones I didn't.
That's all for now. I'm going to go work on reading this handbook, then maybe work on the costume a bit. Later.