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Japanese family about life in Kazakhstan and safety in Astana
465

22.12.2018

Japanese family about life in Kazakhstan and safety in Astana

Norimasa Shimomura, 48 years old, hometown — Tokyo, UN Ambassador

Hitomi Shimomura, 50 years old, hometown — Hokkaido, wife of UN Ambassador

Reika Ekaterina Shimomura, 13 years old, hometown — New York, schoolgirl

Kensei Leonardo Shimomura, 10 years old, hometown — Skopje, schoolboy


About us


Hitomi. We met many years ago when we lived in New York, in a dinner with friends. Norimasa was amazed by my beauty, and after a while, we started dating.

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I remember the day of the proposal — he started a speech and spoke for a long time. I have asked him, «Are you asking me if I'm going to marry you?». And then I said «Yes».

Norimasa. You said, «Yes»? I don't remember.

Hitomi. Maybe I didn't, it was a long time ago. Anyway, we are married.

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Norimasa. In 2001, we worked and lived in New York. I was sitting in my office when I saw from the window the building Hitomi was working in was on fire. Twin Towers, September 11. I knew her office was on a high floor, right in the area where the plane crashed. I was sure she was dead. She didn't have a cell phone at the time, so I couldn't call her and know if she was okay. I walked for a while from work down the street, listening to the radio reportage about new victims. Then I called her parents and told I was sorry, but their daughter died in a terrorist attack.

Hitomi. Yes, I was in the building when it happened, our office was on the 49th floor. We have been running down the stairs all 49 floors on foot. I'm one of the lucky ones who survived.

Norimasa. I was devastated while I walked home. Deep down I hoped it is a joke and she was okay. When I returned home, I met Hitomi, she had been waiting for me all this time. It was the best thing ever happened to me. Then my parents said I should get married, and that's a sign.

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Hitomi. Our daughter was born in New York, where we lived for a while. Then we lived in Macedonia, where our son was born, then in Albania, Tajikistan, Japan, and now in Kazakhstan.

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About Astana


Hitomi. We arrived in Astana on 29th of December, 3 years ago. I remember being surprised by the small amount of snow in Astana. In Hokkaido, we had a -10 degree at that time, but there was much more snow. There's not much snow in here, and I wish it would be more.

Kensei. We studied geography before arrival. At school, the lessons were about the countries of this region, so I knew about Astana.

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Reika. I like snow too and like to walk outside, but I don't like the cold here. I wish it was warmer here, more snow and mountains. But I like there is a wide river in Astana. Sometimes in winter we go out there with the whole family and walk on the frozen river.

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Norimasa. I came to Astana in the summer before moving, then it was hot. Before Kazakhstan, I lived in Dushanbe. My colleagues sent photos from Astana in September, and it was already snowing in the city. I was surprised because in Dushanbe it was +30 degrees. Interesting, that when you come to Astana, you realize that can live well here, despite the cold.

I notice how the state is doing more and more to make the city beautiful and better in winter every year. People here are hardworking. In Japan, something you create stays that way for years. And here every year something new is opened or built. Sometimes it can be boring in Astana, because of a cold and lack of events. But people do everything possible to support the city and make it interesting for life.

My favourite places in Astana are my office and the embankment. Every morning and evening I have a walk along the promenade and the Park. This place is changing every season, at the beginning of winter there is no one and in the middle of winter, there are many people riding on the roller coaster and the skating rink. I also noticed that people like ice cream in Astana. In summer, on the waterfront every 30 meters you can find trays selling ice cream.

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Hitomi. I was surprised by safety in Astana. On food courts or in coffee shops we often leave bags on chairs to make the order, and nobody touches them. Many people from Europe say it is safer here than in Europe. The city safety here is almost like in Japan.

Norimasa. I noticed that even at the airport, where usually a lot of people passing by, people leave bags on the seats. I think people in Astana are not quite aware of how safe it is here.

Hitomi. People are honest and kind. The Kazakhs and the Japanese have a common feature: when the driver changes the line, and he was passed, he turns on the emergency light to gratitude. In Japan, we do the same, but nowhere else I have not met such a feature, even though we managed to live in different countries around the world.


About family


Hitomi. I am a positive person and trying to be on the positive side, I think my daughter is the same.

Norimasa. I'm the opposite of the wife and am trying not to show emotions and be serious.

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Hitomi. Our son is serious like his father. Kensei is trying to be fair and austere. I think it's okay sometimes to be soft or absent-minded, but son disagrees and always remains accurate and specific. When we eat, he first looks at the food, pays attention to how it looks, and only then eats. That's nice. Despite his age, he is more critical.

Kensei. I am strict and attentive to details.

Reika. I'm similar to dad, but my state of mind is similar to mother. We are happy people.

Kensei. We also have two hamsters, and one is mine and the other one is Reika's. I like playing with animals.

Hitomi. These hamsters are different and similar in nature to our children.

Reika. If we talk about family traditions, then every Christmas parents give us gifts, for each New Year — money, and for the birthday — gifts.

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Norimasa. And all these holidays are held within one month. Therefore, this month we become much poorer. But with a lot of holidays and joy.


The state of mind


Hitomi. Now we are going home with son to Japan, and I am worried about his health, I hope everything will be fine.

Reika. Mom and brother leave me, and dad for a week. I have never been without my mom for so long, therefore I'm a little worried. But I know we can do this, and it's going to be okay.

Norimasa. I have two states: on the one hand, everything is difficult, I think I should relax, but on the other hand, when everything is perfect it is not always good. We must challenge ourselves, set new tasks and try to solve them.