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Rwandans’ hard working attracts Japanese in business

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A woman from Osaka in Japan has opened a restaurant in Rwanda after a move with her husband and three young children. The Yamada’s decided so in 2016, holding the view that the country has many hard-working people and witnessed remarkable economic growth in recent years.

“Africa is full of great potential. I want to continue doing things to make Japanese people aware of this,” Yamada said, according to Japan News.

Mio Yamada, 34 — who once bicycled across eight African countries — has taken a major step toward her dream of acting as a bridge between Japan and Africa by opening the business 11,000 kilometers from her home.

The restaurant in Kigali, named KISEKI (miracle), was opened in January on a corner of a residential area in the capital.

This idea was born, while Yamada got along well with Rwandan who ran a sushi restaurant in the city of Osaka. The man thought, “I could do something interesting with the Yamadas,” and the Yamada family soon found themselves moving with him to Rwanda.

As the dishes require a lot of time and effort, the restaurant’s meals are priced at several thousand yen, putting them beyond the reach of most local people.

However, on the back of the recent Japanese food boom, foreigners mainly from Belgium, France and the United States come to appreciate the food served at the restaurant, according to Yamada.

“Little by little, our restaurant is becoming known to locals as a place to enjoy authentic Japanese food,” Yamada said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun after she returned to Japan in April this year.

Yamada manages about 20 Rwandan staff at the restaurant, seemed happy about the way things were going with her business.

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Yamada took up cycling as a way to visit a variety of places. From October 2004 to January 2005, while in her fourth year at university, she took a solo bicycle trip across eight African countries. She traveled from Kenya to South Africa, the southernmost country on the continent — a journey of about 5,000 kilometers.

Yamada said she remembers the African people she met on her trip as being kind almost to the point of meddling, and having a natural penchant for helping others.

After working at a publishing company and other jobs, Yamada married her husband, Kohei, in 2009. Kohei, 37, had worked in Africa as a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, and the couple cherished dreams of living in Africa in the future, especially in Rwanda.

They decided to move to Rwanda in 2016, holding the view that the country has many hard-working people and witnessed remarkable economic growth in recent years.

“Africa is full of great potential. I want to continue doing things to make Japanese people aware of this,” Yamada said.

Rwanda, is populated by around 12 million people, after more than one million (CNLG) have been killed in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, an indiscriminate mass slaughter.

Efforts have been since then made to achieve reconciliation, and the political situation has been stable from around 2000. In recent years, Rwanda has been described as the “miracle of Africa” thanks to its economic growth of about 7 percent per year.

All thanks to the ruling president Paul Kagame with his liberating party FPR Inkotanyi, the man whom Rwandans still want on power by August presidential elections. They have manifested it on December 24th 2015, by voting the said “referendum”.

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Jean Baptiste Karegeya

 

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