Macedonia’s 1st ambassador loves Japanese films

Andrijana Cvetkovikj is this nation's first ambassador from Macedonia, a republic that became independent from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. The 34-year-old was chosen through open recruitment by the Macedonian government when the embassy opened in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo.

Today she is busy with such tasks as introducing her native country and attracting Japanese companies to Macedonia with her excellent Japanese.

Cvetkovikj's first encounter with Japanese culture dates back to when she was around 5 years old. Watching Akira Kurosawa's movie "Rashomon," she was stunned by its music, costumes and scenery, she said.

She came to Japan in 2005 and entered the graduate school of the Nihon University College of Art. After watching more than 2,000 Japanese movies, she obtained a doctoral degree for her study of Tora-san, the lead character of the series "Otoko wa Tsurai yo" (It's tough being a man) and other subjects.

Movies are also her Japanese textbooks. She mastered Japanese partly by writing down words in a notebook when she didn't understand them in a movie.

She assumed the ambassadorship in October 2014, and even delivered her declaration of resolve in Japanese at the ceremony late last year for the presentation of her credentials at the Imperial Palace. Asked by the Emperor about her favourite movie, she named director Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece "Ugetsu Monogatari" (Tales of moonlight and rain).

The ambassador's favourite Japanese food is umeboshi pickled Japanese apricots, which she eats at every meal. She thinks Japanese and Macedonians have things in common, as both peoples tend to be shy and have consideration for others.

"When we encounter a different culture, the important thing is to find things they have in common," said Cvetkovikj. With this in mind, she hopes to become a bridge that allows people in the two nations to interact.