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Toshimi Tsuruta

@Toshimin

Born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Graduated from the Faculty of Economics at J. F. Oberlin University. After completing the Japanese Language Teacher Training Course at Hamamatsu Gakuin University, he was dispatched to Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil as a JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Senior Volunteer for Japanese-Brazilian Communities. From 2010 to 2013, he worked at Japanese language educational institutions in Amazonas, Acre, Roraima, and Rondonia, mainly for the Western Amazon Japan-Brazil Association. After returning to Japan, he worked as a Japanese language teacher for JICE (Japan International Cooperation Center), in charge of job preparation training, while also working as a personality on the Japanese and Portuguese program "AMIZADE HAMAMATSU" on FM Haro! in his hometown of Hamamatsu, which foreigners in Japan can enjoy, and as an arena DJ for the professional basketball team "Hamamatsu Higashi Mikawa Phoenix."

(Updated June 2015)


Stories from This Author

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Takataku 80th Anniversary Ceremony

April 12, 2017 • Toshimi Tsuruta

August 12, 2010. "Since you've come all the way from Japan, you should first check out Villa Amazonia." When I first visited Parintins with a JICA coordinator, I had the opportunity to visit Vila Amazonia, arranged by the vice-mayor at the time. Vila Amazonia is a settlement where Takataku (a graduate of the Japanese Higher Takushoku School) and his family once lived and ran the Amazonia Industrial Research Institute. They were known as the Japanese who successfully cultivated jute in …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Japanese in Parintins – Part 2

July 14, 2016 • Toshimi Tsuruta

Read Part 1 >> One of my activities in Brazil with JICA was to make a round trip to Japanese language education institutions scattered throughout the western Amazon region. I helped out with Japanese organizations in each state capital, with a focus on Manaus in Amazonas State, Rio Branco in Acre State, Boa Vista in Roraima State, and Porto Velho in Rondônia State. In the places where JICA youth volunteers were dispatched, I taught classes together with them and planned …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Japanese in Parintins - Part 1

July 13, 2016 • Toshimi Tsuruta

There are many strange festivals around the world, but there is one in the Amazon jungle that is unique. This is "Boi Bumba," which takes place every June in Parintins, the second largest city in the state of Amazonas, with a population of 110,000. Transportation to Parintins is by boat or plane (propeller plane). There is no land route to the city, as it is cut off by the Amazon River and the jungle. It is truly an isolated island. …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Vegetables brought by Japanese immigrants, part 2

Feb. 17, 2016 • Toshimi Tsuruta

Read Part 1 >> "It was probably from 1960 to 1964. My father and my brothers were selling vegetables. I was about 13 or 14 years old then. I sometimes helped out. At that time we sold radishes, cabbages, and cucumbers. Our friends from Sales (immigrants and Japanese people in Manaus call the Efegenio Sales settlement Sales) also sold bitter melon, calling it 'niga gori' when selling it to Brazilians who had no idea what it was." "Hahaha. Back then, …

Thumbnail for Vegetables brought by Japanese immigrants, part 1
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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Vegetables brought by Japanese immigrants, part 1

Jan. 13, 2016 • Toshimi Tsuruta

There is a tourist spot called Teatro Amazonas in the Centro (downtown) of Manaus. It is an impressive building with pink walls and a mosque-like roof covered with tiles that imitate the Brazilian flag. Every year at Christmas time, a large-scale opera with the participation of local citizens is held on the stage of Teatro Amazonas. On the day, an orchestra plays inside Teatro Amazonas, and local singers sing Christmas songs to the background. Another thing to look forward to …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Regular Japanese events held in Manaus

Nov. 11, 2015 • Toshimi Tsuruta

One day, while I was working in the Japan-Brazil office, I was approached by Mr. Kawada, a living encyclopedia of the Amazon who is over 80 years old. "The sports day is next week, so could you help me buy the prizes?" We got into Kawada's car and headed for Centro. A few days later, under the scorching hot tropical sun, a sports day was held at the Manaus Country Club, a golf course in the city. Participants were Japanese-Brazilians, …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
The unique students of Japanese language schools

Sept. 28, 2015 • Toshimi Tsuruta

I was dispatched as a senior Japanese language education volunteer to the Western Amazon Japan-Brazil Association (commonly known as Japan-Brazil) in Manaus, Amazonas, and the first thing I did was to observe about 40 Japanese language classes that were held every week. The students' levels varied, from those who struggled with writing and reading hiragana to those who spoke to me in fluent Japanese, but it was impressive to see everyone enjoying learning Japanese and Japanese culture. The efforts of …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Japanese language classes in Manaus

Aug. 24, 2015 • Toshimi Tsuruta

After completing our pre-training in Japan, which began in March 2010, we Japanese community volunteers flew from Narita to Brazil via New York on July 1st, where we also undertook a month of on-site Portuguese language training in Sao Paulo. Once this training was over, we were finally dispatched to various locations throughout Brazil, where we began our respective activities. Our teammates set off to various parts of Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, Campo Grande, Brasilia, and Foz do Iguaçu. …

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Japanese society in the Amazon jungle
Visit the tropical city of Manaus

June 23, 2015 • Toshimi Tsuruta

"It happened! It happened! It really happened!" It was May 2010 and I was at the JICA Yokohama Migration Museum in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. I had been selected to be dispatched to Manaus, Brazil as a senior volunteer for the Japanese community in 2010. Before being dispatched to South America, volunteers undergo three months of pre-dispatch training. I was living together with my colleagues who were going to work in Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Brazil at the …

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