It was in 2010 that Japanese couple Naoki Hayashi and wife Junko arrived in Bangalore. Living here for the last three years, they have a lot to talk about the City.
Naoki had come on a business trip to Delhi in 2000, but Junko’s understanding of the country began only after they came to the City. “The weather in Bangalore is the best one can ever dream of. I think it’s one of the top five cities in the world to have a great weather,” says Naoki. “The maximum temperature here is 38 degree celsius in summer and the minimum is 15 degree celsius in winter and this is the best we could ask for,” he adds.
Naoki, who works as the managing director of Tokai Rubber Auto-Parts India Pvt Ltd, says this is a very difficult country to work in. “I have a very difficult time scheduling things here and setting deadlines,” he says. He adds that when invited for a party, no one comes at the time given. People start flowing in only much later. “In Japan, if we are given a time, say 8 pm, we usually arrive at 7.45 pm so that we aren’t late,” he says.
At work too, it’s the same situation. “I will be waiting at the meeting room, but nobody comes in at the time given. Sometimes, even after 15 minutes, I would be waiting for people to come in. I have accepted this as the Indian way now,” he says. Naoki says it was really hard to accept this behaviour in the beginning.
“This is a difficult country to have a first impression of. What I heard and saw first is not what I feel about the country now,” says Naoki.
“One cannot make out whether a person is honest or not at the first instance. It’s only after spending time with the people that one can understand them better,” he says.
Naoki says that Junko is a very outgoing person and has many Indian friends. Junko comments, “People are very friendly here. They are very kind and have a great smile.”
Comparing to cities like Delhi, Naoki feels that the people are much more receptive and soft-hearted here. “In Delhi and other areas, it feels like they are much harder to deal with,” he says.
Ask Junko what she likes about the City and she says, “There’s so many places to shop here. One can buy the classiest and prettiest jewellery here, which come from all parts of the world. Also, this is probably the only place where one can play golf throughout the year.”
Naoki has gone on work trips to Delhi, Rajasthan, Chennai, Pune etc. But Naoki hasn’t been anywhere else apart from Bangalore. “There’s so much to see and do here. That is possibly why I haven’t headed out anywhere,” she says.
Communication is one of the difficulties that the couple faces here. “Indian English is often hard to understand as it has so many different slangs. I’m not good with English, thus understanding it becomes an issue. But we communicate through body language,” says Naoki. “Compared to Indonesia or Thailand, most people speak English here, which is a good thing,” he says.
One of the other things that they have to deal with is power shortage. “If we lose electricity supply, all work stops. Then one has to wait for the power supply to be back.
This is something totally unusual and we have not adjusted to this yet,” says Naoki. During weekends, the couple go golfing.
“We also head for Ayurvedic massages once in a while, which helps in relaxing the mind and body,” says Junko. Naoki adds that they go to Forum Mall and to Indiranagar to shop.
They also have Indian food as often as they can. “At the canteen, one gets chapathi and different curries and thus I get a slice of India everyday. I love masala dosa,” he says. Junko adds that she finds gobi manchurian, ‘chicken curry’ and naan are delicious.
In the City, they have visited the ISKCON Temple, Lalbagh and Nandi Hills. “We also frequent the City Market as one can find everything there,” says Naoki.
Comparing the festivals in India to those back home, Naoki and Junko say that in both countries, most festivals are a family affair. “There are more colours, lights and loud noises involved in the festivals here,” wraps up Naoki.