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Interview with H.E.Mr. Makoto Ito, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
11 July 2012
INTERVIEW WITH H.E. Mr. MAKOTO ITO
AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY
AND PLENIPOTENTIARY OF JAPAN
TO THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA

photos by Georgi Yordanov


Your Excellency, please share with the readers of ADIS Magazine some of your most memorable impressions of Bulgaria?

I was strongly impressed by the large number of students who study Japanese language at the schools of general education and universities and who have a strong interest in the culture of our country. I often receive invitations to attend the festivals of Japanese culture and I am happy to see the enthusiasm by which they study Japanese language and their desire to learn more about Japan through various Japanese games and customs. Bulgaria, like Japan enjoys four seasons, in which nature is changing and excites us with its exquisite beauty.

Have you found a place or destination here in Bulgaria that you became especially fond of?

I was born and raised in the large city of Japan, so I like to visit the countryside. Especially I like to go to the highland to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery. In Bulgaria, wherever I go I do not feel disappointed. And I also love to visit cities and places related to your culture and history. Bulgaria is a very interesting country since nine of your cultural and historical sites are listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Those which I’ve managed to visit so far impressed me, and by the end of the year I intend to go and see the other four.

Which is your preferred Bulgarian dish or wine?

Since I arrived to Bulgaria, I really enjoy delicious Bulgarian vegetables. I love your Shopska salad and I don’t get tired of eating it. I consider especially delicious your pork and chicken and I'm a fan of your dishes, prepared by the soft cocked meat. For dessert I love yogurt with honey. Recently your wines are also very good and don’t yield to foreign wines of the highest rank. That is why it is difficult to answer which one I like most.

Your Excellency, is there a typical Japanese object or character that accompanies you during your mandates?

One of the general characteristic of the Japanese people is that we respect the people who surround us. Our actions always take the thought of others into consideration. Bulgarians are also very friendly to the Japanese. That is why my efforts are focused on further development of the friendly relations between us and bringing closer our two people.

    

photos by Georgi Yordanov

Is there any personality or event who/which has strongly affected your character?

I think that when I was a child my parents had influence on the formation of my character, and later when I got married - my wife. Everything that has happened in my life so far, everything that occurred around me, all those events in which I have been involved somehow influenced my way of thinking and my lifestyle.

Your Excellency, which side of your character has been of greatest help to your career?

I think that by nature I am rather cautious, listen to the opinions of others and take a decision after careful assessment of the situation. I think that these qualities have been helpful in my activities until now. Of course, in more complex situation in which I have not had time for careful consideration, I had to make prompt decisions.

Please, tell us more about TOHOKU - THE HOPE OF TOMORROW commemorative exhibition outlining the Great East Japan Earthquake which stuck the Tohoku region of Japan on 11th of March 2011.

 One year has already passed from the Great East Japan earthquake. As an expression of our gratitude for the solidarity and support of the people around the world, we’ve presented photo- exhibition showing how we proceed in the reconstruction and revival of the most affected areas and the efforts of the affected people to stand on feet again. By these photos we also try to show how attractive is the Northeast Japan by presenting its beautiful nature and culture. If you have a chance to go to Japan, I would definitely recommend you to visit the northeastern parts. I am indeed glad that many people from different cities in your country have seen the exhibition so far. 

  

  

Can you find any common features between Bulgarians and the people of Japan?

You are asking me what impressed me most upon my arrival to Bulgaria, right. Bulgarians are very benevolent, friendly and hospitable even to strangers. You can find same feelings among most of the Japanese people which make us very much alike. It seems to me that these qualities are especially pronounced in people who live in the countryside.

Is Bulgaria seen as a place of interest for the Japanese Investors?

As for Japanese investors, Bulgaria is still not well known among them. Compared with countries in central Europe, the total volume of Japanese investment here is not large. It seems to me that this is due to the fact that Bulgaria joined recently the EU and is remote from the large consumers’ market of Western Europe. But recently in Japan we witness increasing interest in Bulgaria and this will bring results if the Bulgarian side make efforts and succeed to sell the advantages of your country.

Would you like to send a brief message to the Bulgarian people?

I would like to express my most sincere and cordial gratitude for the empathy and solidarity of the Bulgarians to Japan after the strong earthquake last year. Japan and Bulgaria are geographically distant from one another, but the beautiful scenery and wonderful people in both countries are something similar among us. Therefore, I would be happy if through the enhancement of the bilateral exchange in the economy, culture, technology and other spheres, Bulgarians would increase their interest in Japan and Japanese people.

photos by Georgi Yordanov

This interview is produced solely to ADIS Magazine. No part of this interview may be reproduced in any other way without prior written consent of ADIS Real Estate.
 



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