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Japanese man finds love in Vietnamese literature

Friday, August 09, 2019, 13:16 GMT+7
Japanese man finds love in Vietnamese literature
Kawarai Yushi enjoys a cup of Vietnamese brewed coffee in Hue, central Vietnam. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre

A Japanese man who found himself immersed in Vietnamese culture and literature works on a trip to Vietnam nine years ago has decided to spend the rest of his life in this Southeast Asian country.

Karawai Yushi, 31, is now studying for a master’s degree at a well-known university in the central Vietnamese city of Hue after giving up an opportunity to pursue space physics in England nearly ten years ago.

Yushi at that time went on a field trip with a friend to central Vietnam and was so impressed with the beauty of many natural sites and the friendliness of the host family that he decided to learn Vietnamese and start a new life here.

He began seeking part-time jobs to afford his tuition fees and other basic necessities in Vietnam.

The man got full support by local friends and teachers in many things, from university registration to language learning, which he says is a beautiful memory that will never fade away in his heart.

“They gave me strength to keep moving forward when I was at my worst,” he recalled of the hardships he faced starting his new life in Vietnam.

Yushi found his interest in Vietnamese literature when he came across a Japanese translated version of a novel named To Tam by Vietnamese author Hoang Ngoc Phach and began reading other old works in prose and poetry.

He later translated his favorite works into Japanese to promote them in his hometown and contributed as one of 21 authors in Chuyen Nguoi Tay O Xu Ta, or “Stories of Foreigners in Vietnam,” a collection of accounts written about foreign people who visited and fell in love with Vietnam.

“I want other people, especially my compatriots, to appreciate Vietnam just like I have always done,” he said.

Yushi also got a chance to travel across Vietnam, taste local specialties of each region, and fall in love with mi quang, a famous dish which includes rice noodles, meat, prawns and soup in the central province of Quang Nam.

“Each part of Vietnam has its own cultural distinction, which captured my heart and soul,” he expressed his eternal love for Vietnam.

Aside from Vietnamese, Yushi has also learned 20 other languages from the countries that he has visited, including English, French and German.

He said that Vietnamese is the hardest language he has ever learned due to complex lexical items and grammatical features and that he has spent a lot of time practicing speaking with friends and even listening to music and movies. 

It has taken him ten years to study and properly the language.

He also plans to move to Hanoi to earn a doctorate degree in Han - Nom, a logographic writing system formerly used to write the old Vietnamese language. in the near future.

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