'Life is comfortable here'

'Life is comfortable here'

Though Akiko has not been alien to India, she experienced a culture shock when she arrived in Bangalore for the first time two and half years ago.

However, this cute Japanese woman has now settled down comfortably with her two-year-old son Seiji and has fallen in love with the City. This expatriate mother spoke to Metrolife on what life is like in Garden City.

“I had travelled around North India with my mother when I was six years old. At that time, I didn’t like India so much, especially the food there. But I had to change my views when I came here again as a university student of photojournalism to capture Delhi’s beauty on camera. Its exotic beauty won my heart. That’s how I was able to accept a job in Bangalore,” she recalls.

What was her first impression of Bangalore? “Again, my food habit was a problem. As I was a non-vegetarian, getting an accommodation became very difficult. Now, I have become a vegetarian. I rarely taste meat and never miss Japanese food,” feels Akiko.

She has learnt to cook Indian food and often visits restaurants to explore new cuisines.
 “La Casa, a multi-cuisine restaurant in Jayanagar 4th Block is my favourite destination. I gorge on North Indian items like Paratha and Japanese dishes like Sushi”, she says.

Akiko has a two-wheeler and she says learning to ride it on Bangalore roads was one of the most adventurous things she has done so far.

“I was afraid in the beginning as people violate lane discipline and take turns without any indications. I am still not familiar with road maps so I just use my bike to travel between office and home.”

Watching Bollywood movies is one of her favourite pastimes. “Whenever a good and entertaining movie releases in the City, I make it a point to watch it. I generally watch these films at Inox, Jayanagar. My son is a great fan of Salman Khan. So I have plans to watch Dabangg in theatres.”

Akiko is extremely happy about one aspect of the City which she says is quite rare in her home country.

“The City has so many babysitting places, day care centres and playhomes that a working woman can rely upon. And I have a nice caretaker — Pratima, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to manage. Whenever I go out with my son, people around us show so much concern towards him. They pamper him and try to start a conversation with him. They pull his cheeks and adore him. You can’t expect such gestures in Japan or any other nation,” she states.

Akiko doesn’t forget to appreciate the support of the people in her apartment. “I live in an apartment in Kumaraswamy Layout where all the dwellers are like family to me.
Everytime I have been out due to some urgent work, they have looked after my son with a lot of care. One of my Indian friends Ram has been a source of support during all my difficult times and because of all these nice people, this City has become so close to my heart.”

Her son, Seiji understands Kannada, Japanese and a little English. He is an admirer of Lord Hanuman, thanks to the Jai Hanuman animated series.

 “Now, I too have developed an interest in Hindu mythology as I have to narrate the stories of Lord Hanuman and Ganesha to my son everyday,” she smiles.

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