Name: Tulio Andrade
Occupation: Cultural Attache at the Brazilian Embassy
Likes: Freedom, arts, architecture, music, outdoor activities, philosophy, harmony
Dislikes: Natto (fermented beans), repression, narrow-mindedness, pretentiousness
1. How did you get from Brazil to Tokyo? I joined the Brazilian Foreign Service in 2009 and was posted to Brazil’s Embassy in London in 2014 before coming to Japan at the beginning of 2018. Living in Tokyo has always appealed to me as a fundamentally Eastern experience that could tremendously expand my perspective in life.
2. What do you miss most about Brazil? Family, friends … and the carnival.
3. Describe your role at the Brazilian Embassy in three words. Representation, information, negotiation.
4. How effective is soft power? I believe soft power is the capacity to influence behavior through “attractiveness.” Attraction is powerful because it is sustainable in the long term, but it’s also more challenging to gain and manage.
5. Is there an aspect of Brazilian culture you want to see adopted in Japan? Diversity. It is beautiful to witness the heterogeneity of colors, origins, customs and traditions within Brazilian society, including what we gained from Japanese immigration. This year marks 110 years of “human bonds” between Brazil and Japan.
6. If you could work with any Japanese icon for an event, who would you pick? I would be delighted to collaborate with Pikotaro, who has been personally engaged in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of our main cultural projects at the embassy is the concept “From Rio to Tokyo,” in relation to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We expect to promote sustainability.
7. How do you manage the challenges of working in an international group? I try to manage cultural differences through openness, humility and detachment. Sharing different visions can be extremely enriching, but it has to be a horizontal exercise to be truly effective.
8. What are the essential tools of your trade? In any circumstance, the only tools that are absolutely essential to fulfilling my needs are my intellect and my emotions.
9. You are upfront about your sexuality. Did you have any concerns about being LGBTQ in Japan? I had no concerns about being gay in Japan because the country has no notable record of physical violence against the LGBTQ community. But I was surprised by the extent to which sexual orientation and gender identity are subject to social pressure here.
10. What challenges have you confronted being gay in Japan? A feeling that I had to constantly “get out of the closet” in Japan, which is out-of-date in relation to where I am in my own life and where Brazil and the U.K. are in terms of LGBTQ rights recognition.
11. Where are the most LGBTQ-friendly places in Tokyo? Cultural and art-related venues tend to be LGBTQ-friendly, because if they fail to promote freedom of expression they would forfeit their own purpose.
12. What is the best and worst thing about being out in Japan? I feel my level of comfort in my homosexuality and my own experience is inspiring to other people. The worst part is being confronted with cases of individuals who are subject to so much social pressure that they have no hope of living the way they want.
13. Do you have any advice for someone who is considering coming out in Japan? Go on and persevere. Coming out is a hard and sometimes long process, but it is worthwhile. It made me so much happier, stronger, more resilient and more respected by those who truly deserve my respect.
14. What would make the world a better place? If people were more empathetic.
15. What would you title your memoir? “The Revolution of Everyday Life.” This actually comes from a 1967 book by Raoul Vaneigem. Impermanence is a constitutive nature of my character and something I learned to accept.
16. Favorite movie quote? “With great power comes great responsibility,” from “Spider-Man.”
17. What do you always have in your refrigerator? Water, milk, orange juice, Greek yogurt, cheese, eggs and wine.
18. If you had a signature scent, what would you call it and what would it smell like? “Grama” (which means both grass and gram in Portuguese). It would smell like lemongrass.
19. All-you-can-eat churrascarias — good or bad? I must say there are very nice Brazilian churrascarias in Tokyo. What is important is to avoid overeating and food waste.
20. Who is going to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup? The politically correct answer would be that everyone wins … but what I really want to say is Brazil.