A positive outcome

Expat zone

A positive outcome

When Akiko Tsuda made a backpack trip to India at the age of 6, she wasn’t a big fan of the country.

   She didn’t like the traffic, the crowd or the food during the one month that she was travelling here. She had to look for Japanese restaurants in the country to find the food that she likes. But many years later, when a job opportunity landed her way, she thought of giving India another try and hoped to change her perspective of the country.

She says, “I remember travelling to New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and other tourist destinations when I was backpacking. The crowd on the trains and the traffic overwhelmed me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. But my mother loves it here; she has visited India more than 10 times now. She wanted me to experience this place the way she did. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

Akiko moved from Shizuoka, Japan to Bengaluru in 2008 as she got a job opportunity with Oracle. Now, she works for a Japanese company as a manager of sales and marketing. She says, “When I was in the university, I took up photojournalism as my major. I came down to India to get some interesting pictures and that changed my view of things here.”

She stayed with one of her friends (a doctor) in Delhi for 3 months and saw him treating many patients. She captured those moments which gave her a new insight into the way things work in the country.

After her graduation, she worked for a fashion company in Japan before she had her son. During her maternity leave, she wanted a change in her career. It was then that she got an offer from Oracle and left for India with her son. Seiji, her son, is 8 years old now.

“Seiji has grown up to be just like any other Indian boy. He loves Indian food more than Japanese, especially ‘dosa’, ‘idli’ and ‘sambar rice’. He also speaks Kannada, Hindi, English and Japanese quite fluently. He loves Virat Kohli and cricket too!” she exclaims.

Talking about her life back in Shizuoka, she says, “My mother was a very enthusiastic person who made me join all kinds of activities like acting, painting, piano, swimming, singing and ballet dancing. I had quite a busy life as I also travelled to different countries every summer with my parents.”

But one thing she misses the most about home is the weather.  She shares, “The seasons in the city are almost always the same. In Japan, we get to enjoy all the 4 seasons. During spring, we sit under the cherry blossom tree, have a singing session with friends, family and colleagues and enjoy some good food. Every season, we also have some kind of party with a lot of food. I miss that the most.”

Nevertheless, she has made a home for her and her son in the city here. She says, “There have been many who’ve asked me why I still continue to live here and that I’ll be more comfortable back home. But I’ve made some good friends who have been really nice to me and helped me make my stay comfortable.” During her free time, Akiko enjoys trying out the various cuisines at different restaurants in the city.

The lunch buffet at ‘The Taj West End’, ‘Banana Leaf’ and ‘Olive Beach’ are some of her favourites. She also goes to the badminton arena with her son during her leisure time. One of her other hobbies is watching Bollywood movies. “I like going to the theatre to watch Bollywood films. If I really like the movie, I buy the DVD and watch it again with subtitles. That’s when I really understand the story,” she says laughing.

Though she’s made a home in Bengaluru, she says she’d like the traffic to be in control here. “I think a lot of people here aren’t aware of the rules and that’s how it ruins everything for the rest of them. If everyone followed the rules, I think this city would be a lot more peaceful in terms of traffic,” she explains.
However, for Seiji and her, the city has opened its doors in the most welcoming way. She says, “I wasn’t too sure of moving here when I decided to come, but it was a risk I was willing to take. I’m happy to say that my decisions have been positive for both my son and me. I’d like to see more of the world, but for now, we are happy here.”

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