Eiji Amano and Takako Amano from Japan have been in Bangalore for the past three years and cannot get enough of the City.
While Eiji works as the general manager of a Japanese beverage company in the City, Takako manages the show at home. The couple have stayed in Delhi before this — from 2006 to 2010 — and have learnt a lot about Indian tradition and values. Ask them what they love about Bangalore and the first thing that comes to their mind, like any other person here, is the climate. “We are in love with the weather in Bangalore. It is so pleasant here,” say the couple together.
Talking about the Indian experience, Takako and Eiji elaborate,“We’ve loved travelling in South India. If we have a weekend together, we pack our bags and head out to the different places that we’ve discovered, like Coorg and Chikamaglur.”
Eiji adds, “Bangaloreans are very relaxed people. There’s a lot of greenery here. In the North, it’s much drier. These are things which would make one want to stay on in Bangalore.”
Eiji vouches that Bangalore is more exciting compared to other cities in the South.
“Chennai is old-fashioned. Here, there’s a lot to do because of the shopping malls and the pubbing scene. The food options are also more.”
The couple also like the coffee culture here. Eiji adds with a smile, “There are plenty of breweries here too, which adds to the experience of living in Bangalore.”
Coming from a fast-paced nation, Eiji and Takako do sometimes get frustrated by the pace of things in India.
“I used to often have issues with my house-help when I was in Delhi, since she would work at her own pace. But nowadays, I just enjoy the pace and do things that I love,” Takako says.
Eiji also sees the slow momentum of things at work regularly.
He says, “I have to often motivate and push my boys at work, explaining things time and again to get them done in a particular format. Time management is a big issue here.”
The garbage issue is something that worries this couple too.
“Once I saw one of my office boys throwing something out of the car window, and I just told him to stop right away. People need to be more cautious,” says Eiji.
Takako and Eiji add, “One can never see something like this in Japan.”
Talking about other difficulties faced, Takako adds,“It was hard to pick up the Southern accent of English as it varies from the northern one. I have to often ask people I converse with to repeat something or speak slower.”
So, have the couple tried learning any Indian language? Takako breaks into a smile and says confidently, “Aap kaise ho? — I can speak Hindi. That has helped us in a lot of ways, especially when we are travelling in the North.” Apart from this, the couple also know broken Kannada with phrases like oota aiytha? swalpa swalpa and chanag ideya?
Elaborating on their familiarity with Indian culture, Takako says that when she’s dressed in Indian clothes, people often mistake her for someone from the Eastern states of India. “Many a time, people ask me if I’m from Manipur and they start talking in the local language. Add to that the fact that I can speak in Hindi and it baffles them all the more,” she details. Takako and Eiji have had their share of fun with this. “When we visit heritage sites, I’ve stood in the ticket line for Indians, and got away with the Hindi I know. Also, when people in the stalls and exhibits try to sell things at a higher rate, I just confidently talk in Hindi, which breaks their spirits,” says Takako.
Takako and Eiji like Indian clothes, and are comfortable wearing them. They love the different festivals in the country and the use of colours and flowers for the same.
Ask the couple what they feel is one thing that they will never forget about Bangalore, and they conclude, “People here are very loving. They share deep human values and give a lot of importance to family ties. In Japan, when people decide to meet up, it’s often ‘let’s catch up outside’. But here and in the whole country, it is ‘come home and spend time with us’.”