'I'm happy where I am'

'I'm happy where I am'

Expat zone

'I'm happy where I am'

Imagine this — your friend went on an international trip and told you that they had a wonderful time and that the city was very nice and welcoming. When you are happy that he or she had a great time, the next thing your friend suggests is that you should think about packing your bags and moving to that city. How would you react?

It’s quite normal for you to get angry at your friend or brush this comment off as a joke. But Misato Nakamura took it quite seriously and moved to India from Kumamoto, Japan in 2014.

She says, “The house my friend was staying in had a Japanese owner. When the owner had to come back to the country, the company she worked for started looking for a replacement. I thought it would be interesting to shift to a new country and so I did!”

Now, Misato works as an account administrator at Takasago Engineering India Pvt Ltd.

Apart from having a Sikh friend in Japan, Misato had no connect with India and no idea about the Indian culture or lifestyle. However, she didn’t get a culture shock when she moved here.

She says, “I grew up in the countryside of Japan, so coming to a place like Bengaluru wasn’t a big shock to me. Had I been in Tokyo, I would have probably been taken by surprise. This city has been very nice to me and the weather keeps me happy too.” She says that Bengaluru is also very generous to foreigners.

Over the course of two years, she has adjusted to the city very well. While the food was a problem initially, she eats Indian food everyday now.

 She says, “Back home, I would often visit Indian restaurants and indulge in delicious ‘butter chicken’. Though it tastes different here, I love it and all the other dishes as well. ‘Paper masala dosa’ is one of my favourites.” Misato also loves going to ‘Portland Steakhouse and Cafe’ for a good steak.

The enthusiastic expatriate enjoys going on solo trips around the country. She has travelled to Gurgaon, Puducherry, Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Mysuru, Hampi, Nilgiris, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai and Goa
so far.

Ask her about the communication problem that she faces while travelling and she says, “It’s not that bad actually. There’s usually someone who speaks English or else, I make sure to find someone who does.”

During her weekends here, she spends time with her choir group. If there are shows, then she’s busy making her mark on the stage. And if she gets a three-day holiday, she plans a trip within the country.

With her new lifestyle here, Misato says that she doesn’t miss home at all. “I’m actually glad that I don’t live in Japan anymore. I grew up with the same 32 people from elementary school through high school. Everyone knows everyone there; it’s quite annoying. I left my hometown for university and I try to visit only once a year,” she says.

During her last yearly visit, she stayed at home for three days and travelled to the US and Tokyo for the remaining time.

“Unlike the rest of Japan, Kumamoto families are very close to one another. Though our priority is work, we are still there for each other when needed. It’s very similar to India in that way,” she points out. 

 However, pointing out one of the dissimilarities with the city, she laughs and says, “We don’t have spicy food everyday.”

Misato loves wearing Indian clothes. She’s so comfortable in ‘salwar’ and ‘kurta’ that she wears them when she’s not in the country as well.

She also sends ‘mehendi’ to her cousin back home. Highlighting a quirky factor, she laughs and says, “Photography is one of my hobbies. I’ve always seen zebu and I think their hump is so cute. I hope to touch it one day.”

Unlike other expatriates, she isn’t someone who brings a stack of goodies from home. She says, “It was my choice to come and live here. It was my choice to want to adjust here. So bringing products from home doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t buy any Japanese products available here as they are very expensive.”

But the one thing she does buy from Japan are books and black garbage bags. “After the plastic ban, I find it quite difficult to throw my trash. I have a stock of garbage bags for now; I’m not sure if I’ll get to buy them here once it’s over.”

Even with the little troubles that she faces here, she can’t imagine living anywhere else in the country.

 “Bengaluru is one of the best cities in the country. If I am told to live anywhere else, I might just leave the country and start a new life somewhere else. But for now, this is my home and I’m happy where I am.”