Catalans Abroad

Isaac Zamora


Japanese delight

Isaac zamora I sitjàis from Badalona. He has lived in Japan for twelve years with his wife and children, a 10-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son
Why did you leave Catalonia?
I think I wanted to leave Catalonia the day I was born, don't misunderstand me, I love my country but I always wanted to travel and “see the World”. The first chance I had was going on an Erasmus grant to England, to study Graphic Design, I was very disappointed with my results at the University of Barcelona, so after my forth year in Fine Arts I decided I had to move forward. UK gave me the opportunity to learn how to do and see things in a different way. Back in Catalonia, I could never readjust to my country, by that time I had no idea I would end up in Japan.
Why did you choose Japan?
As I said, I was trying to readjust back in Catalonia, then I met Aya, my wife, at the opening of an exhibition of a project in collaboration with other artists. After we married I wanted to learn more about her culture and country, so I asked her to move to Japan.
How long have you lived there?
This summer it will be 12 years,five years in a country town, and seven in Hiratsuka, a seaside city near Yokohama, on the Shonan Coast.
Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?
I had great expectations but reality hit me hard, it's very thought for foreigners to work for Japanese companies, when I was looking for a job at “Hello Work” (the public employment office of Japan) about 70% of the employers refused me because I was a foreigner, even without looking at my resume or knowing the language. I consider myself lucky.
What do you think is the best thing about living in Japan?
The best thing about Japan is the politeness of the people, the security, customer service, public transportation, and good quality food at reasonable prices.
What do you consider the highlights for any brief visit for the first time?
Everybody who comes to Japan has to visit at least Tokyo and Kyoto to understand the past and the future of this country, technology and tradition. In Tokyo, the fashion town of Shibuya, the night life of Shinjuku, the new Tower Tokyo Sky-Tree (634m) and the traditional temple of Asakusa.
In Kyoto, the Golden Pavilion, the Temple of Kyomizu, and the Fujimi-Inasi Shrine are my favourite places, also the nearby city of Nara.
And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?
People who have more time or wish to know the country better should visit Yokohama and its China Town, or the old Capital Kamakura and the Great Buddha. Nikko Temples in autumn, Osaka's Castle, Hiroshima, climb Mount Fuji, or the mountains, enjoy the hot-springs of Hakone, or the snow of Hokkaido. Japan has many places for different adventures.
What do you miss most from home?
I miss the beauty of our towns and cities, I miss the museums and the Mediterranean sea, the weather and the late sunsets. This is one of the main reasons I helped to create the Tokyo Catalonia Society. One of the best things of being abroad is that I remember only the best part of Catalonia and the distance makes it nicer, cleaner, and brighter.
Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?
My wife says that she pictures us living in Catalonia after we retire, it could be nice, but we'll probably stay as close as possible to our children.
Sign in. Sign in if you are already a verified reader. I want to become verified reader. To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader.
Note: To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader and accept the conditions of use.