Talking to the World Project
I started this project in 2014 as a personal challenge. I wanted to see if it was possible to speak to one person in each country of the world. Talk to them about their daily lives. Our commonalities, rather than our differences. I assured them they could respond in any way they chose. Because the focus is on their words, I only identify them by their first names. To date, I have spoken with people in 60 plus countries with the help of friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. I still have a long way to go.
As I continue to reach out into the world, I realize that music is a common draw. Because of my love of the Icelandic composer and musician, Olafur Arnalds, I became aware of Mario, the Spanish composer/pianist in my post on Spain. And because of Mario, I found Rika, who is a fan of Mario’s music.
Rika and I met on Twitter. She lives in Kagoshima, in the southern part of Japan, under the watchful eye of Mt. Sakurajima, an active volcano. Her family consists of her husband, daughter (19), and son (17), and Rika. She works part-time at a travel agency. In her free time, Rika likes to shop, watch movies, and play the piano.
Rika gave me permission to use her photos on this post.
My Conversation With Rika
Look out your window and tell me what you see.
On the east side, there is Mt. Sakurajima and there are houses. On the south side, there are rice fields and houses.
What is it like to live in the shadow of an active volcano?
It may be frightening, but I don’t care so much because it has sometimes just small eruptions. It had a huge eruption about 100 years ago and it is said that it may occur again before long. When it erupts, ash falls to the town by the direction of the wind. It’s awful indeed, but most of the people who live in Kahoshima love Mt.Sakurajima, including me. It’s beautiful and our symbol.
Please describe a perfect day in your favorite season.
I love spring, which is a season of blooming cherry blossoms. We enjoy watching cherry blossoms, having meals and chatting under the trees. It is called Hanami.
What misconception or myth about Japan would you like to dispel?
I don’t know how many people still believe in Samurai or Ninjas, but here there are not any at all now. Only in sightseeing spots.
Japan has suffered from a number of disasters recently. Were you affected by the nuclear power plant incident or the earthquake?
No, I live far from those areas but I worry about the people who have been affected by them. I have helped raise funds for them. The victims are still suffering and say that they do not want us to forget them.
What brings you peace?
Listening to my favorite music. Talking and laughing with my family. My dog, Lucky.
Rika’s dog, Lucky
What concerns you about the future in Japan?
First of all, the environment. Next, the decreasing birthrate and aging population.
Please share a quote that inspires you.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein.
What is your opinion of the United States?
It is a very big country. The people are cheerful. There is beautiful nature. It is the leader of the world. I adore the USA. I would love to visit there someday.
What do you love most about Japan?