Tokyo resident Khamida Malianchinova, 26, hails from Kyrgyzstan. The eldest of seven siblings, she moved to Japan in 2019 after receiving a MEXT scholarship to conduct research at the University of Tokyo, where she’s a proud member of the “Potsuai” aikido club. Last year, she co-founded a video podcast, “Tokyo State of Mind,” which focuses on helping international residents find community and combat loneliness.
1. What first brought you to Japan? When I was 14, I watched my first anime show and decided that one day I would go to Japan, not as a tourist, but to live. I remember at that time everyone thought I was a freak because I was the only one who liked anime. People from Kyrgyzstan rarely come here, as there are very limited opportunities to come to Japan on a Kyrgyz passport.