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.

Sheila Cliffe

Name: Sheila Cliffe

Nationality: UK

Activity: Kimono researcher

Residency in Japan: 32 years

Now living in Tokyo

Favorite phrase: “Natsukashii”


“Natsukashii” means “nostalgic,” and it’s a word that Sheila loves. “The word has a nice warm feeling,” she says. “It's about thinking about the past, and appreciating things that happened and that you’re connected to. It's about connections with people and happy memories.”

Favorite thing: “Tansu biraki”


Kimonos are very expensive, and in the past it was customary for them to be handed down from mother to daughter with great care.
However, people today mainly wear Western clothing, and kimonos are usually left sitting in drawers and closets.
“Tansu” means closets and “Tansu biraki” means to take out a kimono and talk about the past times it reminds you of.
Her wish is to have people re-recognize that kimonos have brought people together.