There is a real strength to Japanese culture, as opposed to Singapore which is very Western, understanding and open. This is a very closed society and that gives it strength – I see it as a real privilege to be able to be a part of it. Previously i might have found it complicated or irritating but now it is a privilege because I know that I am part of a very small group of people that live here. We are a real minority here and the people have opened their hearts and their country to us – that’s an honour. This cultural strength means that you can’t just get along with blinkers, and live in your own little Western world – in Singapore I could go to the supermarket and get whatever I wanted but when I go to the supermarket here I can’t even get basil half the time.