People from all over the world come to Japan and find new lives here, and they often even play a role in supporting Japanese culture and traditions.
Here we introduce their stories and their voices. We learn why they came to Japan, what captured their heart, and the words and phrases they love the most.
The words they share with us are persuasive and truly rich in meaning.
Listen to their favorite Japanese words and learn about the treasures valued in this country.

Eric Chevallier

Name: Eric Chevallier

Nationality: France

Activity: Blacksmith

Residency in Japan: 5 years

Now living in Osaka

Favorite phrase: “Okaeri”


The word “Okaeri” is what is said to welcome someone home. This word is used with to “Tadaima” or “I’m home”. In France, “Je suis arrive,” and then “Bien venue,” are used, but Eric feels that the Japanese greeting, especially “Okaeri,” has a special warmth. We have to wonder if this is due to the characteristics of the Japanese language, or if it’s just the love of his wife reflected in her words. Incidentally, the meaning of the word “Okaeri” is “return” with an “O” added to make it sound especially polite. This simple word contains affectionate feelings of appreciate for the safe return.

Favorite place: “Kofun”


Kofun were enormous tombs for powerful people in ancient times. (They are almost like the pyramids of Japan.) From the ground, they only look like a large hill, but from the sky, you can see that they’re shaped like circle, square, and keyhole-shaped mounds. The kofun that Eric likes, Itasuke Kofun, is one of the keyhole-shaped tombs. This 147-meters-long long tomb almost looks like a huge yet the hidden door to the long history of the city of Sakai.