Discover Polina and her family, a young Russian working at TYK that I met a fortnight before the end of my stay in Tajimi.
On my penultimate week at TYK, I worked in Ôbata factory in the Alpha Team who works in the actory and not in the R&D center. So, for lunch I ate in the refectory of the factory (bigger and with more choices). This is where I met Polina, a young Russian of 29 years old from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia! She handles the sales of TYK international department since 2011.
Polina studied linguistics at the Siberian Federal University. Japanese and English for five years. At 21 she came to discover Japan in homestay to finally a year later continue her studies at Nagoya University for 2 years. It was during this period that she met her future husband, Kentaro. Polina lives with her husband and son in Kachigawa, a town at 20min by train of Tajimi. The mascots of the city are three somewhat strange cactus.
Polina’s son, Mihei is a cute little one of three years old, mix of his Russian mother and his Japanese father. During one of my last weekend, I came to spend an evening and night at Polina’s house at Kachigawa. She showed me the center of the city, small shopping street with a quiet atmosphere.
In a small alley parallel to the shopping street is a gigantic statue of Kôbô Daichi (aka Kûkai)! He is the founder of Buddhist Shingon school of which I have already mentioned in my excursions on Shikoku island last November. Find a statue of him of this size in Kachigawa is a bit curious, the city having a priori nothing special, but Kûkai’s popularity in Japan is so important that it does not surprise me much.
Polina had Mihei at the age of 25 years old. They get along well and they speak in mix of Russian and Japanese. At the nursery, Mihei speaks Japanese. But Polina wants him to learn Russian, so she speaks Russian to him at home. For the moment Mihei understands Russian but does not speak yet.
Polina and her family live in a modern Japanese style apartment in central Kachigawa. The large building in which they live is called “Château” (in French). The view of the city and the first neighborhoods of Nagoya (in the background) is impressive especially at night.
It is time to prepare the meal! Homemade Okonomiyaki on the menu! Polina prepares the mixture and the vegetables, Mihei hooked around her neck, wanting absolutely to help. It’s 6pm, the little one is getting hungry.
To calm him, Polina turns on TV and gives him his toys. Mihei loves the TV series Super Sentai (Japanese superhero series) and especially Doraemon (kind of small blue cat cult in Japan). I look at him, amused and impressed, while he reproduces the choreographies of the generics.
Polina prepares with a master hand the Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish consisting of a paste in which are different ingredients cut into small pieces, all cooked on a griddle. Ours are made with vegetables and meat pieces.
Once cooked, the Okonomiyaki are complemented by a nice layer of mayonnaise and Okonomi sauce and a small green garnish that taste algae. The meal was delicious! Tea, salad, soup with eggplant, rice, Okonomiyaki and ice cream for dessert!
Kentaro comes home from work and I meet a very friendly gentleman who traveled a lot abroad in his youth. Polina and Kentaro get along very well and the harmony of their family is nice to see. Kentaro is an operator in an engineering company working within Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, located right next to Nagoya. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is one of the main factories in Japan’s aerospace industry and main japanese aircraft manufacturer.
After lunch, they showed me many pictures of their wedding and their youth: Kentaro showed to me his various trips (including England) and Polina unveiled her childhood in Krasnoyarsk in black and white pictures taken by her dad. Her father, Vladimir Datsyshen is head of the World History Department of the Institute of the Humanities in the Federal University of Siberia. He specializes in the history of Asia and Africa. He has worked on Chinese and Japanese history and even published a book on the modern history of Japan. By helping him in his work, Polina began to learn Japanese and to take an interest in Japan.
The next day, Saturday, is exceptionally a working day at TYK! We take both the early train to join Tajimi. Sunlight warms the cool atmosphere of the beginning of the day.
Twenty minutes later, we have arrived and Polina retrieves her bike in a bike parking right next to the station. Here’s one good japanese idea that French should adopt ! Normally, Polina performs the trip train station-factory on bike. But today we have time and we quietly walk on foot to reach our workplace, stoping for breakfast on the way.
I leave Polina to join the R&D center, warmly thanking her for this very friendly and full of discoveries evening. What a pleasure to make a new friend so kind which whom I can exchange easily. I would have liked to have met her earlier! Polina, thank you very much for these shared moments with you and your family! See you soon !