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
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.”
American Population in Japan
No, 1 Brazilian
No, 2 Peruvian
No, 3 Bolivian
No, 4 Ecuadorian
No, 5 Argentinean
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.
you would like to know more about Peru and South
America please visit theses two shops.
Pukio (subway Osu station Exit 2)
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