Victor Ugarte Farrerons
- Instituto Cervantes in Tokyo
Date of birth: Jan. 19, 1963
Hometown: Barcelona, Spain
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 7 (as of November 2018)
Since I was a kid, I was fascinated by Japan. My grandparents and mother visited Japan on numerous occasions for business and leisure, and used to bring me souvenirs. I fell in love with Japanese movies, especially Kurosawa films. I later had the opportunity to visit Japan with a group of EU colleagues, invited by the Japan Foundation, and realized that I would love to live and work in Japan.
“Try again and do not trust pessimists.” I am certain that some of my achievements were the result of following this motto. Many people give up too early and try to convince you there is nothing you can do. So wrong!
Being part of the launching of Casa Asia (Asia House) in Spain, where thousands of activities have been organized aimed at promoting awareness of Asian cultures, languages, as well as mutual understanding. And, of course, being the first director of the Instituto Cervantes in Tokyo and being designated later on for that post a second time.
Spanish is the world’s second most-spoken native language, after Mandarin. I would love that Japanese people fell in love with the language of Cervantes and Garcia Marquez and enjoy the diverse cultures that represent 578 million people worldwide.
I greatly enjoy my time Japan and the kindness of Japanese people. I am lucky to have a husband who is fluent in Japanese and enjoys this country as much as I do.
I will quote former Spanish Ambassador Gonzalo de Benito: “Japan is not just a country but a civilization.” This is so true. That means you need to dive into this extremely different world and try to follow local traditions as much as possible. Of course, Japanese people often indulge foreigners, but I believe you need to try and adapt to this civilization. Always trying to not disturb the other, as well as being humble would also be a good piece of advice.