Hiroko Celina Tsutsumi
Capão Bonito, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2016 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2016 to March 2017
Hello everyone! My name is Hiroko Selena Tsutsumi.
After being recommended by the Nagasaki Kenjinkai (association of people from Nagasaki) in Brazil, I recevied the opportunity to come to Nagasaki as an Overseas Technical Trainee from August last year until March this year. It was a wonderful six months that I worked at Kenyusha learning many different things and meeting many different people. I’ve been back in Brazil for nearly three months now. The time goes by so fast!
Have you ever heard of Capão Bonito? It’s my hometown. It’s a small town in the countryside of Sudoeste in the state of Sao Paulo. It’s about 230km away from Sao Paulo city and its main industries are agriculture, stock-farming, lumber production, and granite mining.
Here is Capão Bonito
A farm in Capão Bonito
The granite mined here is called Capão Bonito Granite and it’s exported overseas. It’s often used in construction and it’s a beautiful reddish-brown color!
We don’t have many big buildings way out here, but we are surrounded by a lot of beautiful nature. In Capão Bonito you can find caves, waterfalls, and rivers to enjoy.
At the center of town there is a Catholic church. It’s said that many towns in Brazil were built around churches then expanded outward. Most of the area’s companies, shops, and banks were founded around this church.
A Catholic Church
A couple of our most popular foods are Bolinho de frango and Rojão.
“Bolinho” in Bolinho de frango means “small ball”, and “frango” means “chicken meat”. In this dish, thinly-sliced chicken is rolled into balls with chicken dashi and cornflour, then deep fried.
Rojão is seasoned ground pork rolled around a stick then cooked over coals. It’s seasoned in a different way than is customary in Japan, but I definitely recommend it if you enjoy yakiniku.
Bolinho de frango
Ground pork rolled onto a stick to make a Rojão
There are around 1,500,000 people of Japanese descent living in Brazil which is the most of any country in the world! It’s for that reason that all through Brazil, but especially in Sao Paulo, that there are many activities to promote Japanese culture to hand it down to the next generation. The Capão Bonito Cultural and Physical Education Association began their operations 65 years ago. They do activities like Sumo, Karaoke, Taiko Drumming, Japanese-style Calisthenics, and Japanese Language education, as well as have events for New Years, Performancem Arts Festivals, Sports Days, meetings to show respect for the aged, and the Bon Festival Dance.
The sumo club was established 53 years ago. Every year there are tournaments for Sudoeste, the state of Sao Paulo, All Brazil, All South America, and of course the world! The club now has many members, and not everyone is of Japanese descent.
Sudoeste Sumo team at the Sao Paulo State Tournament
In 2002, Genryu Daiko became the official taiko team of Capão Bonito. At first they could barely hold the instruments correctly, much less give a performance, but they persevered these 15 years. This April they went to Kobe for the 19th Japanese Taiko Junior Contest and came in 5th place! Congratulations to them for their wonderful showing at the contest!
19th Japanese Taiko Junior Contest
（Brazil Taiko Association Facebook Page：https://www.facebook.com/taikobrasil/photos/pcb.1335711386518655/1335709166518877/?type=3&theater）
Many Brazilians are interested in Japanese culture and see it as a model for how to be disciplined, industrious, and sincere. Since childhood I have been directly involved with Japanese society and have learned many things about Japan and Japanese culture. I am very proud of all that I have learned through the events that I take part in every year, the Karaoke Festivals, the Taiko Competitions, and Japanese language education.
I’m going to continue to challenge myself to do many different things and be a bridge between Japan and Brazil! I’ll be sure to report about interesting events the next chance I get!