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Pizza with mayonnaise!? Beyond imagination for an Italian.

Nyapan has an interview with a real-life Wan-kun who is from overseas living in Japan.『Akadama FAN(Friends Actual Note)』 Episode8~ Matteo-san from Latina in Italy~

◆When did you come to Japan?

I came to Osaka last October and went to a Japanese language school.I was also looking for an internship program on the internet and found ”Hokkaido Global Linx” in Sapporo where I can learn Japanese and work as an intern.

I was chosen through a Skype interview, then, I moved here to Sapporo in April.I have Japanese classes in the morning and work on marketing,

translation and supporting some events now.I have spent exciting days in the cozy atmosphere of this company.

◆What inspired you to have an interest in Japan?

As a child,I only knew about Japan from Animation,Manga and games.But,when I was a high school student, I watched a documentary by chance,which featured about Japanese culture and the philosophy of Bushido,the soul of Samurai.I was moved by the Japanese culture and the way of thinking which are totally different from Italy. After that,I watched

Japanese movies and listened to J-pop music on You-Tube.They fascinated me more about Japan.And I found out a Japanese woman,who was a tutor,lived in my town,then I started learning Japanese from her.I majored in Oriental studies at University and I studied Japanese political economy ,the culture and other Asian countries.As I studied in University,I had the chance to work in the International politics society.I met Japanese people there,who worked in Italy,and they influenced me, and I got a Master’s degree in International trading. I want to do a trading business in Japan someday! Because of this I came to Japan and have been learning Japanese to make my dream come true.

◆Why did you go to Osaka at the outset? There are many temples and shrines in Kinki area(region around Osaka,Kyoto,Nara…) where you can really feel the history of Japan.I went around Nara and Kyoto prefectures.Todai-ji temple in Nara and Sanjusangen-dou temple in Kyoto are my favorites,yet I think every temple and shrine are fantastic!The quiet atmospheres,and simple and traditional architectural designs make me feel calm.And Buddist statues are so beautiful! I tried to pick “Omikuji(fortunetelling paper)” in a shrine,though mine was “Kyo”,which means bad luck….I also have a special book for collecting the shrine’s seal,called “Goshuin-cho”!One of the most impressive experiences was that I stayed one night in a “Shukubo”,which is a temple lodging,in Mt.Koya.I followed the Buddhist monk style there,such as the food and Zen-meditaion.

I could see the Buddhist monk’s life style a little bit.When I came to Osaka at first, I was not good at speaking Japanese and had struggled to listen to the Osaka dialect for a while.It was difficult to understand what they said,even in

supermarkets or convenience stores.It took about 4months to get better at listening to the dialect.I love the food in Osaka,Yaki-soba,Tako-yaki and Okonomi-yaki!I also enjoyed the lively city.But I prefer a small city to an urban city.That’s why I feel more comfortable to live in Sapporo,which has lots of green and the nice climate.I actually have admired Sapporo for a long time.

◆What do you think of Japanese people?

When I was in Italy,I heard Japanese people were a bit indifferent to others,but it was wrong!Japanese people are considerate.If I am lost or I have things to do,people always give me a helping hand.Another thing is, that I realized I tend to be noticed in Japan.Especially people in Osaka are so open-hearted that they frankly talk to me any time.For instance,”Hey!You are from another country~”” in an Izakaya and “So tall!”,”You have a Roman nose”,”Your beard is wow!” in a supermarket, etc…I know they mean no offence,but I was puzzled with that at first, because I’ve never had such things before.

◆What is the difference between Italy and Japan?

Japanese people use ambiguous and euphemistic expressions,it’s sometimes difficult to understand what they think, saying things like ”Well..maybe..or maybe not…”and not saying the conclusion after that, so I’m confused of the exact point and if it’s Yes or No.Italian people express our intention in a straightforward way.We’re also passionate and romantic.But Japanese people are shy.This is the difference.Meanwhile,in the business situation,I’m impressed that Japanese people make a big effort with having to persevere,which would be handed down from Bushido spirit.I think Italian people feel more relaxed as they work.And I want to say the different style of Pasta and Pizza in Japan.Japanese ones tend use many ingredients and sauces.I ordered Pizza in an Italian restaurant the other day.That pizza was topped with mayonnaise…No way! Italian Pizza and Pasta are more simple,which use basically cheese,tomato and some vegetables.We don’t often use meat and fish.Other than that, I think there is a lot in common between Italy and Japan,like the cuisine culture that people often talk about and the sense of humour that makes you laugh using figurative expressions.

◆Could you tell us about your dream in the future?

I’m going back to Italy temporarily because my visa is going to expire in September.But I will come back to Japan and try to find a job in international trading in Japan.Tokyo would be probably easier to get a job, but I’m a bit scared of the place.Because its too busy and there are too many people.The population of Rome is almost the same as Sapporo.Getting a job in Sapporo is the best for me! I’ve taken lessons about Japanese business manners, is like,how to exchange business cards(exchanging them at the same time!).I’ll keep learning to build the trust with Japanese and do my best to succeed in Japan.

<Nyapan’s Note>

Matteo-san is tall,slender and a good looking, who makes you feel like talking,even if you’re not Italian or from Osaka people^^ He spoke perfectly polite Japanese even more than Some Japanese people.He told us he read a Japanese novel by Natsume Soseki(one of the greatest Japanese authors) in Italy and old stories of Japan in Japanese.I guess that is the reason, he spoke in beautiful Japanese in our interview questions.He has exercised in a shadowing method that you listen to Japanese and speak it aloud at the same time, to improve his pronunciation and expressions.He tries to do it every day still now. Matteo-san,so clever and diligent, Nyapan suggests trying Natto-Pasta one day ^^ No?


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