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From Japan, with love

Renuka Phadnis
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Mangalore reminds us of the Japan of our childhood, say three Japanese who made the city their home

Weaving tomorrow:Maki Matsuura, textile designer, says she wants to make stoles on handloom using Indian raw material and sell them in India and West Asia.— Photo: R. Eswarraj
Weaving tomorrow:Maki Matsuura, textile designer, says she wants to make stoles on handloom using Indian raw material and sell them in India and West Asia.— Photo: R. Eswarraj

Mangalore and Japan seem worlds away. But for three Japanese – a Wushu (kung fu) expert, a professional automobile photographer and a handloom weaver, it is their new home.

Haruka Ito, the martial arts expert is from Hokkaido, has lived in Osaka and Yokohama; Satoru Komori, the photographer, is from Yokohama; and Maki Matsuura, who weaves stoles on a handloom, is from Kagawa in Japan. At home in Kadri, they say the traditions, the importance given to the family and a familiar terrain in Mangalore, which reminds them of the Japan of their childhood, make them feel at home in their adopted city.

All the three want to live in India and build their lives here, working in their fields of interest, says Ms. Ito, who does most of the speaking. “If possible, we want to be in India. We love India.”

She says, “We have a responsibility towards the younger generation. We want to do something for our better future with the cooperation of other people. India is now emerging. It has huge potential to grow. We want to work together with this country.”

While Ms. Ito and Mr. Komori landed in Mangalore in last January, Ms. Matsuura visits for a couple of months.

The three people met over Twitter as they responded to a message from Mr. Komori, who was looking for company to go to India. But how did they land in Mangalore? Ms. Ito says they got to know of the city from a Mangalorean. “I love Mangalore. Mangalore’s atmosphere is like Bali (in Indonesia).” All of them said that the city is safe for women at night.

Mr. Komori, working with the ‘Qumarion’ robot for creating animation software, said communicating with people in the city is easy as most people including rickshaw drivers speak enough English to converse. “The people are extremely intelligent,” he says.

Ms. Ito says she wants to teach ‘Taolu’ (the patterns and manoeuvres of the martial arts) as India has only a handful of such coaches.

Mr. Komori has set up a business in photography and graphics design. Ms. Matsuura wants to make stoles on handlooms using Indian raw material and sell them to rich women in India and West Asia. Her studio is the room upstairs, which has two handlooms, is strewn with colourful threads and has finished stoles hanging on perches all around.

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