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It was not long ago when I had the good fortune of discovering Pukio, a little shop in Osu, Nagoya, which specializes in goods from Peru. It was fascinating to see all types of traditional toys, material and musical instruments. I met with Miguel, a Peruvian and Pukio’s manager. I was intrigued by the shops name and Miguel quickly informed me that ‘pukio’ means ‘lake’ in Quechua the langue of Tawantinsuyu, the Inca Empire.

As Japanese in Japan, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are quite a few smaller, less known communities residing here. I mean, American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, UK and Brazil are all quite well represented but until now I was ashamed to admit that I had not heard very much about the smaller but no less significant South American countries like Peru and Bolivia. I asked him to tell me a little bit about his home land. At this his eyes brightened and his already beautiful smile widened.
Miguel didn’t really go on to tell me a lot about Peru but he explained his deep love and passion for his homeland, expanding by simply saying, “I want to introduce everyone in Japan to Peru.”
He has made a good start. Miguel is an organizer for an association promoting awareness of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Ecuador. Every year Miguel (with a help from other like-minded patriots) puts on performances of traditional music and dance. This happens 20 to 25 times a year and the events are held all across Japan. After hearing about this I couldn’t help but ask if I could see first hand.
Luckily, I arrived early on the day of “Andes Song and Dance Concert” and had a chance to meet some of the participants. One of the dancers, Karla a Bolivian living in Nara, Japan for the past 8 years, gave me the chance to speak with her briefly about the reason why she performs at these events.
“I just love my country so much and I guess I have the opportunity to show Japan a little bit about Bolivia. For us singing and dancing is everything. It’s part of our soul.”

Karla’s father, another Miguel is an organizer for an association promoting Bolivia in Japan. He emphasized the importance of what he is trying to do in Japan, namely, encouraging the Bolivian community to share their culture, history, music and dance with all people throughout Japan.
Miguel is a busy man, dealing in precious minerals, so I was interested to know just how he manages to stay on top of it all.
“It’s easy. A job is a job but being given the opportunity to share our great country with others is more like a privilege. I really want people to come and experience some thing other than their day-to-day existence. There are things more important than work. I hope our concerts are one of those things and I know when people experience what we have to offer they’ll feel great.”
Seeing the pre-performance warm-up it was easy to see the love each and every one of these performers has for their country. The experienced dancers (with performances including EXPO) spend at least 6 hours on the weekends, fine tuning dances and music. Like any musician or performer the most rewarding time is when the audience shows appreciation through applause. Unlike any musician or performer, the cause is, in a very real sense, for their country.
Before I left Peruvian Miguel to enjoy what was to be a brilliant performance, I asked him for a message to the foreign community in Japan.
“Please don’t forget your real purpose and reason for coming to Japan. Please be proud of your country and never forget that, no matter where you are.”

South American Population in Japan
No, 1 Brazilian
No, 2 Peruvian
No, 3 Bolivian
No, 4 Ecuadorian
No, 5 Argentinean

In Japan, Brazil is very well known but there are many other beautiful South American countries. I was lucky enough to get just a taste and I can’t wait to see the next concert.

If you would like to know more about Peru and South America please visit theses two shops.
Pukio (subway Osu station Exit 2)

TEL 052-211-5351
Act five (Sakae station. Nova building 7F)
TEL 052-242-3522

Information about the Bolivia Society
Mr. Miguel Nagayama
Tel & Fax 0747-54-5120
Cell phone 080-5336-1965 (Spanish, English and Japanese)