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Rio de Janeiro (1) / Brazil

Featuring the beautiful town and the easygoing Cariocas (natives of Rio de Janeiro)

Naohiro Hayakawa / Rio de Janeiro Branch, Marubeni Brasil S.A.

What comes to mind when you hear Rio? I’m sure that for many of you, it’s beaches, carnivals, and recently, the Olympics, and you think that if I’m going to be posted somewhere, Rio would be good.

In a nutshell, Rio is a beautiful city surrounded by water and greenery that is mild throughout the year. On weekends the beaches represented by the Copacabana—stretching over eight kilometers when combined with the neighboring Ipanema and Leblon beaches—are overflowing not only with tourists, but also with Cariocas (natives of Rio), running, cycling, and walking their dogs. In addition, the Cariocas like to spend their free time in the inland area of Lagoa, which is also a popular location for rest and relaxation. The Carnival season features not only the large parades at the famous samba venue, but also small scale carnivals known as Bloco that are held throughout the city and it is unexpectedly unknown that anyone can easily join them.

Living in Rio I feel the positive disposition and cheerful kindness of Brazilians, and thanks to the struggles of immigrants of Japanese descent, they generally have favorable feelings for Japanese. The national character is very easygoing, and another charming point is that in most cases, they say Todo bem! (Everything’s fine!).

Possibly as a result of their being too easygoing, while the World Cup and Olympics are coming soon, they are significantly short of plan in infrastructure construction, and how they can prepare in time going forward is my concern. Now, things frequently don’t go according to plan in this country, but….

This is not necessarily always a good thing, mind you. There is sprawling suffering, with favelas (shantytowns) adjacent to the city, and security that certainly can’t be regarded as good. In addition, the cost of living that is originally high because it is a tourist area, they are increasingly surging as a result of two major events mentioned earlier. There are the additional problems of chronic congestion resulting from the inadequate transportation system and deterioration of the buildings.

And in the Rio that combines these two aspects time flows a great deal more slowly as compared with Japan. When you see the Cariocas enjoying themselves everyday, it makes me think about what it really means to have a rich life.

Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.72 (November, 2012)

  • Copacabana beach
  • Overlooking Lagoa from the shore
  • Amazonas dancing ecstatically at Carnival
  • The Christ the Redeemer statue standing on the Corcovado hill

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