"Despite our big, multilayered, newcomer community in Japan, the truth is that not much is known here about the variety and richness of Brazilian culture and society. It is really rewarding for me to show aspects of my home country, beyond carnival, soccer and the Amazon, that people have never imagined."

An only child, Lilian Mendes Kano was born to a Japanese mother and a Brazilian father in Rio de Janeiro. "One-and-a-half years later, I lost my mother," she said. "I went to live with my Japanese grandparents and aunts in the countryside. When I was 7 my father died. I am very grateful for the solid family I was blessed with, who took care of me. Each one of them is a very important part of the person I am now."

She now teaches Portuguese language and Brazilian culture at Kanda University in Makuhari and Sophia University in Tokyo. She also works at Radio Japan.