Rin Yamamura, Japan


Rin Yamamura, Japan


The 35-year-old theatre costume and stage designer Rin Yamamura moved from Tokyo 15 years ago, to study puppet stage design at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia. She is still here, making the stage designs of a number of plays in Sofia and the country.

Did Bulgaria surprise you?

Fifteen years ago, everything in Bulgaria looked grey, I felt like I was in a grey egg. And the Cyrillic alphabet, it was so different. But it was also interesting. It is actually very sweet, the Cyrillic.

Have you noticed any special attitude towards you because you are a foreigner?

When I create something, people say that I am capable of it because I am Japanese. "Here is a bit of Japanese work," they say. I know that they mean it as a compliment, but for me it is not a compliment. Not all Japanese people are able to do the things I do.

Have you experienced sexism in Bulgaria?

No. But I think to Bulgarians I am not a woman. I am Japanese. That is why when I am on the phone with some company for my work, I usually say "Hello, the Japanese lady is calling, I've ordered this and that from you." They wouldn't remember my name anyway, so being Japanese has become my business card.

Is there anything you consider typically Bulgarian?

Grumbling. Bulgarians grumble at work that this or that cannot happen, they say "we'll do it tomorrow, or later", they do the big things well but don't pay attention to the tiny details. And I want even the tiniest things crafted to perfection. So I listen to them grumbling, and then I tell them, "Yes, this can happen, you can do it."

Describe Bulgaria in three words?

I have been here for only 15 years, and I live in a closed circle. But these can be: black, white, colourful.

Do you plan to stay in Bulgaria?

I am definitely staying here.

Do you feel a part of Bulgaria?

Yes, I do. I am Bulgarianised Japanese. In the first five years, Bulgaria felt like a temporary home. Now it is my real home.