“Kiss and Hug”, an interview with Meika Sugimoto


By Thiago Uhli   June 2, 2015

Meika Sugimoto, 32, is a woman who I met while living in Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Canada, two years ago. A woman with the spirit of a young girl who loves to discover new places and meet new people, and also a person who cares about her friends. After spending one year in Canada studying English, then some months travelling around, she went to Sao Paulo to visit some of her friends and I last year, after visiting some cities around Brazil which I have never been to, for example Amazonia. Furthermore, she also travelled to Mexico and the USA. Nowadays, she works as a manager in a pastry shop until the end of the Japanese summer, typical in Japan and also in my country. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Our cultures have so many things in common.

Interviewing her was a pleasure because once I met her in Canada, I thought how different and interesting was meeting someone from Japan (in my case, first Japanese friend). For me, that was interesting, especially, because we were in a different place, then similarities and differences between two cultures. I mean different because both of us were there to learn a common language, English. I wanted to know from her if she had the same thought about the first impact of being in somewhere far away from home as I had, “I couldn’t get what the natives said coz their English were too fluently to get, but we could understand each other and getting better little by little”, she said. We share the same thoughts. Then she added her opinion about learning English, if it was worth or not living in a foreign country “if we hadn’t learned English, we wouldn’t have learned any other culture. English is just a tool to communicate.”.

Odawara, her city of birth, is a city located in western Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Even she would rather to live in Brazil as she said “I’d love to live in Brasil, seriously!” when I asked her if she would like to move away From Japan to any other country that she had already visited, mainly because Brazilian people are warm. So I asked her if she would like to teach something that she learned while living abroad, then she saidKiss and hug. We Japanese don’t do that. That’s sad. I think that’s the great way to show our feelings.”. She also added some differences that she noted in Japan and in citizens “there were so many people of all races but most of Japanese look the same. Skin color, hair, face…”

Ms. Sugimoto had a great time living in Canada and in the others countries that she traveled to. There is a fact, once we know somewhere else, we don´t want to stop and stay in one place, we want to know the world if it is possible, and that I learned from her “I´m planning to see Julia there. If you were still there, it would be super fun.” That´s what she commented with me when I said I was studying in Madrid. Then she added when we talked about life goal, “being happy visiting all over the world.” In Sao Paulo I could say that I admire her because of her experience, her will, and her goals not only in long term. One more thing that I learned during our talks, settlings goals for all the parts of your life, whether in your job, studies, trainings or hobbies.

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