|Nobuko san is a wife of a Nigerian man who owns the African bar in Shijuku. The place is called esogie and it's the place you can drink African beers and special cocktails, but there is whole lot of more. It's actually one of the best African Restaurants as well. This interview was done inside the bar in November.|
AJC : Nobuko san, how did you get involved in Africa at first place?
Nobuko : I went to Ghana when I was a student.
AJC : How long did you stay there and why did you go to Ghana?
Nobuko : I stayed in Ghana for a year. Looking back and think about the reason why I went to Ghana…it was just a curiosity, I wanted to see the world unknown to me at that time.
AJC : Was it a fun staying in Ghana ?
Nobuko : Yes it was fun.
AJC : There were not many Japanese people, I would guess.
Nobuko : That is true. There were just few from the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
AJC : What did you do when you arrived in Ghana? Did you go out to have fun?
Nobuko : It was the international student exchange program I was involved. So the caretaker picked me up at the airport.
I stayed at a house with the host family over there, but before that, there was an orientation for one week. I met some other exchange students at the dormitory of the National University in Accra. There were many students from all over the world. The most of them came from Europe, I was the only Japanese there. So we would talk and go out sometimes.
AJC : Are there many playing spots in Ghana?
Nobuko : Yes there are many. Drinking and dancing, many places you can have fun. Ghana is very peaceful. A girl like myself can go out alone. I never feared anything would happen to me. Never experienced anything bad there.
AJC : Is that so. So after the orientation, you went to the place where you stayed with a host family. How was it?
Nobuko : The members of the family I stayed with had gone to Japan with the Overseas Cooperation Volunteer program. So they would understand who we are. I was rather lucky because of that.
AJC : You didn’t understand Ghanaian language, did you?
Nobuko : No I didn’t. But the host family would speak to me in English. English is the public language in Ghana, so pretty much everybody speaks English out in the streets.
AJC : Is Christianity their religion?
Nobuko : mostly. But there are a number of Muslims as well. My host family would go to church on Sunday. So I went to church every week as well. They would sing gospels and dance together. That is casual entertainment there in Ghana.
AJC : We would think of them as joyful.
Nobuko : Yes it’s true. I mean there are many people who are pleasant in any country, but I think they are strong minded. They don’t regret too much, always very positive…they don’t look back and be sorry.
AJC : Many Japanese feel sorry all the time. The longest life expectancy and on the other hand, so many suicides..
Nobuko : They can’t imagine killing themselves. Africans can enjoy their life while being poor. It’s up to your attitude. You know even the funerals are like parties. I’ve never seen a funeral like that. They would dance all night, no sorrow, no gloom. It is really different from the basis, that’s why it is so interesting. It makes my eyes open. As a matter of fact, I sometimes tend to think too much living here in Japan. Then my husband would say you are too negative..
AJC : While you were staying in Ghana for 1 year period, I would imagine you would face some difficulties.
Nobuko : It was hard not being with my friends from my old school. There was no e-mail back then, right? I couldn’t make many phone calls, so I would write to them occasionally. So I felt lonely without a friend. But I never missed Japan that much.
AJC : OK, you stayed in Ghana for a year and came back to Japan. What is your impression on Africa now.
Nobuko : I married a Nigerian, so it is my second homeland. It’s not just another foreign country. I love Africans who are living positively and having fun even though there are many serious problems. The distance between Africa and Japan is still very far. But in the future, I hope the Japanese would feel that Africa is so near.
AJC : Where did you meet your husband?
Nobuko : He actually lived in my neighborhood in Japan. I was just walking a dog one day and we met accidentally. It was right after I came back from Ghana, so I was excited that there was someone from Africa. I was glad to know him because we could talk about Africa. I felt close to him. That’s how we became close to each other.
Nobuko :This is the 5th year now.
AJC :What are your attracted to him most?
Nobuko : His honest personality and kindness.
AJC : Have you been to Nigeria many times too?
Nobuko : I’ve been to Nigeria twice. With my husband, for about 3 months each time.
AJC : Now there are many Japanese women who are married to Africans. Do you think that Japanese women are attracted to Africans?
Nobuko : I don’t know about that…I was in Africa before I met my husband, so I may be exceptional. But I don’t think it is our good impression on Africa, it is individual matter, I think. Because that someone is a great person, we would decide to marry. It’s not whether someone is an African or not, it is just that individual person that matters.
AJC : I agree with you. Thank you very much for the interesting interview.
|ノブコさんは新宿でバーを経営するナイジェリア人の男性と結婚されています。ただ飲めるだけではなく、超美味のナイジェリア料理を食べながら、アフリカの心地良い音楽が聞けるお店 esogie（エソギエ） 。11月にこのインタビューは店内で行われました。|
AJC : ノブコさんとアフリカとの関わりとなった原点からお聞かせいただけますか？