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.

Allan West

Name: Allan West

Nationality: U.S.A.

Activity: Artist, Japanese style painting

Residency in Japan: 30 years

Now living in Tokyo

Favorite phrase: “Komorebi”


Allan loves komorebi. This refers to the beauty of sunlight that shines through trees. “The beauties of nature and the way the light plays on trees, I like to express in my art work.”

Favorite thing: “Yatate”


Yatate is Allan's favorite thing. It is a portable writing tool that has a brush and ink. “Using brushes in daily life has become Allan’s second nature,” he says. “From 25 years ago, I decided to never use a ballpoint pen or pencil or anything, and only use the brush in my daily life. This has been an important part of my life for the last 25 years, just as anyone with their favorite pen or pencil would probably do too.”