Shimohira Itsuo is a Professor, Senior Advisor for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). He came to Kyrgyzstan in 2017 and believes that this is the most beautiful country in the world after Chile.
Kyrgyzstan has it all — beautiful women, nature and wine.Shimohira Itsuo
— What were your first impressions after arrival in Kyrgyzstan?
— I am from Tokyo. I had served at the Ministry of Agriculture of Japan for 35 years. I worked in many countries — in Panama, Chile, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Mongolia.
In Chile, I was sure that this was the most beautiful country, because three W are important for me — weather, wine, women. Having arrived in Kyrgyzstan, I realized that these three W were also here. Kyrgyzstan is in the first place after Chile for me now.
— What places, besides Bishkek, have you already visited in Kyrgyzstan?
— Within the framework of the project, I have traveled almost the whole country. I was in Issyk-Kul, in Naryn and Talas. My hobby is horse riding. I like to ride horses, and in winter — to ski.
— What region do you like the most?
— It is Issyk-Kul region, of course! Because there is everything that I love — horses, nature, the lake.
— What national dishes do you like, and what are you afraid to try?
— I am a veterinarian by profession, therefore, in principle, I am not afraid to try anything. I like dymlyama most of all. I did not eat sheep’s brains and eyes, but I tried byzhy, kazy and karta. I liked it. In Vietnam, we were served a pudding made of sheep’s blood, which I could not eat. The only meat I do not eat is dog meat. A dog is a man’s friend for me. But recently I ate yak meat.
— Has your family moved to Kyrgyzstan with you?
— No, unfortunately, my wife is in Tokyo to look after her mother. Before that, she accompanied me wherever I was. Last summer she came here and we traveled around Issyk-Kul region. She liked everything, too.
— Do you have a favorite place in Bishkek?
— In Bishkek, I like to walk along Erkindik Boulevard, I love parks. I always ride a bicycle. I like that your city is green, there are no mosquitoes. I like the climate.
I also like that all the shops and cafes in Bishkek are located at a walking distance.
— What has disappointed you in the local population?
— The only thing that disappointed me is your officials from the Kyrgyz Agrarian University and the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to the project, the Kyrgyz Agrarian University should provide counterparties. The Japanese side fulfills its obligations, and Kyrgyz officials do not.
As a result, we lose a lot of time and money. The project, which was aimed at creating a model cowshed, is not successful yet, because your party takes on empty commitments. This is the biggest disappointment.
— And what good did you notice in Kyrgyzstanis?
— In general, I have a good relationship with your people. The Kyrgyzstanis are similar to Japanese not only by their appearance, but also by their origins. Most likely, we have a common genetics. Kyrgyz language is grammatically similar to Japanese. Many people say about it. Everyone takes me in a kind and friendly way, almost like a native. It is comfortable and convenient for me to work and live here.
— What would you change in Bishkek?
— It is road infrastructure. There are huge traffic jams in Bishkek.
If you don’t make elevated bridges or subways, the problem of traffic jams will escalate. You need to learn the lessons of other countries.Shimohira Itsuo
— What reminds you of your hometown?
— I think the similarity of Bishkek and Tokyo is that you have all the necessary conditions for life. That is, supermarkets work 24 hours a day, taxis — around the clock. It was uncomfortable in this regard in other countries. It is also safe in Bishkek and Tokyo. You must be satisfied with your city. I do not know how it was before, but everything is fine here now.