Yasunaga Robson Yukio
Maringa City, Parana, Brazil
2017 Nagasaki Overseas Technical trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2017 to March 2018
It’s nice to meet you. My name is Yasunaga Hobson Yukio and I am a fourth-generation Japanese Brazilian.
I came to Nagasaki in 2017 as an Overseas Technical Trainee and lived in Goto from August last year until this March. Aside from receiving training at a company that performs maintenance on wind power generators, I also joined on local events and lived a very fun life in Goto. I’ve been back in Brazil for three months and I look back nostalgically on my island life.
My hometown is Maringa, in the state of Parana in the southern part of Brazil. The weather is quite warm and comfortable. Maringa city is very new, having been built only 70 years ago, and was built carefully according to a city plan. With a group of high-rise buildings but conversely having plenty of green around the city, Maringa is a mix of urban and rural. In this city of 400,000 people, there are about 20,000 people of Japanese descent (nikkei). Home to a relatively high number of nikkei people, this city has deep connections to Japan. When people think about cities in Brazil that have high populations of Japanese descendants, many people think of the state of Sao Paolo, but Parana comes in at second place for the most nikkei people.
In my hometown of Maringa, Japanese culture has an especially strong presence, and I would like to introduce a few places there.
Maringa is the home to the number-one Japanese garden in all of Brazil.
The Maringa Japanese Garden covers an area of 100 square kilometers, making it the largest Japanese garden in Brazil. It was one of the special features of the events surrounding the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of Japanese immigration to Brazil in 2008 and ground was broken on it in 2006. It was opened eight years later in 2014. It features walking paths, ponds with swimming koi, a tea house, as well as a gymnasium, restaurant, and a great hall which are used to spread Japanese culture.
When you come here, it really feels like you’re in Japan. On weekends, this garden is popular with families with children as well as couples on dates ^^
By the way, the Japanese Brazilians of Maringa are doing their utmost to promote Japanese culture to the world. These include the activities of the Maringa Culture and Sports Association. There they have Japanese language instruction, Japanese Taiko, Yosakoi, gate ball, baseball, softball, tennis, and ping pong. Furthermore, they help nikkei people deepen their relationships with each other by holding events such as Japanese festivals, sports days, outdoors school, karaoke contests, Bon-odori, and baseball and ping pong tournaments.
Lastly, this is the Maringa Jodo Buddhist Temple, which is quietly becoming a tourist destination. It was established in 1974 and the main temple building was completed in 1983. The current head priest is a second-generation Japanese Brazilian. Just like in Japan, they ring the bell in the “joya no kane” ceremony every New Year’s Eve. Despite being quite far from Japan, you can experience the atmosphere of a Japanese new year here. This temple also supports the elderly with an on-grounds retirement home for nikkei people without relatives to help take care of them.
We the Japanese descendants in Maringa are doing our best to tell the world about Japanese culture from this city where deep connections with Japan can be felt.
I will also do my best to be a bridge between our two countries!
Thank you for reading all the way to the end! Muito Obrigado!