When Sheen Ayukawa made his first trip to Croatia seven years ago, he already thought about moving into the country. The Japanese investment banker left his company in distant Tokyo and decided to settle in Croatia’s Capital of Zagreb. There is a long way from Japan to Croatia, and we are not talking just about distance. Cultural differences and different way of life were also something Sheen had to accustom to. “I immediately started to learn Croatian language,” said Ayukawa to LC source. “I didn’t want to live in the country without being able to talk with people. The friends I met in Croatia were very helpful in my wish to become a resident of Zagreb.”
Sheen had his share of traveling, as he spent his youth in Shanghai and early career days in USA, so he was somewhat aware of the possible cultural shock. “For an average Japanese person, the southeast Europe societies might look exotic. Maybe even chaotic, on some terms. However, I do my best to understand your background and be a worthy part of Croatian community.”
Today, Ayukawa owns a store with Japanese goods. He is happy with the fact that Japan and Croatia have very fruitful diplomatic relationships, and that he supports them in his own way. “I provide several Croats with their jobs, while we promote your culture in Japan. Hopefully, my business plans will reach new heights as the time passes.”
Sheen didn’t stay on a single place in Croatia. He travelled much of the country, and experienced some unique things. Being very interested in local cuisine, he couldn’t resist visiting notable gastronomic regions such as Medimurje and Dalmatia. “I also ate tasty frogs and eels in the valley of Neretva. And drinking an espresso in Split is also something I would recommend.”
“I really loved visiting the medieval towns present in Istria, and cultural life of Rovinj. My trip to Dubrovnik and swimming in crystal-clear Adriatic Sea is also something I will never forget, as well as mountainous Croatian regions of Lika and Gorski Kotar.” Ayukawa also visited the sorrowful places such as town of Vukovar, which endured heavy damage during the war two decades ago, and remains of Jasenovac, a Nazi-concentration camp from World War II.
Indeed, the trip from Japan to Croatia was a long one, but well worth the effort. “A lot of foreigners fell in love with Croatia and people inhabiting it. I am just one of them. Although the country has its issues, most notably the lengthy bureaucracy system, it is a wonderful place to live. To tell you the truth, every day I learn something new. Croatia is a country which always finds the way to entertain me.”