Romanian Ambassador Radu Serban is a veteran diplomat with a mission to promote economic ties with Japan. But the envoy, 61, has another agenda — promoting cultural and educational exchanges, which ties into his personal love of Japanese literature, especially haiku.

Serban's love of haiku and admiration for Japanese haiku poets, including the Edo Period legend Matsuo Basho, has culminated in him publishing a Romanian haiku book in his home country — on the themes of nature and religion — last July.

He takes pride in being a successor to Gheorghe Bagulescu — a Romanian military attache to Japan in the 1930s who later became ambassador and wrote a novel about the daimyo — and tries to study and understand Japanese literature as much as possible.