Interviewer: Eddy Lau
Eddy: Today’s topic for the coffee break is “Favourite Place to Travel”. Mende-san, you must be travelling a lot. Do you have any favourite place, you will not get bored of visiting again and again, or even living there?
Mende: Yes, I have been to so many places, but it is hard to decide which one is my favourite. Each place is very interesting to explore.
Eddy: For me, one of my favourites is Barcelona in Spain because the weather there in summer is amazing, sunbathing on such a beautiful long coastline. Especially for tourists to explore the city, there is such a nice walkable environment with stunning historical architectures all around the city, which are surprises everywhere to discover. The food is nice, and so are the people. How about if you want to move to a place, other than Japan, where will it be?
Mende: I mean moving to live at a new country and travelling is a little bit different. Maybe travelling is more like a first impression. I never stay in one place for a long time, like studying aboard. So, I almost get a bit nervous living aboard, and you know, staying in Tokyo is much more convenient. There is one place that comes to my mind. My wife and I went twice or thrice to Andalusia, southern Spain, and there is a very small city called Ronda. This was the first and one of the oldest places to have bullrings. The landscape is beautiful, and Spanish is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. Travelling for me is exploring because of curiosity. I am completely interested in meeting different people, seeing landscapes, tasting different food, and so on. Each place has its special characteristics to explore, and I will still enjoy going somewhere new and have never been to, for example, some places in South Africa, Australia, and South America. But, if we are talking about living there, besides Tokyo, it will be small cities in Spain or Portugal.
Eddy: Do you like the countryside or cities more?
Mende: The countryside is interesting and fun to travel to, but when you consider living there, it will be a little bit inconvenient. And within big cities, I enjoy the excitement there, filled with people and rich cultures I could interact with. Travelling is very important, particularly for lighting designers. It could be inspiring, to feel and see something different, like cultures, lifestyles, and different natural environments, and to wonder why it is so different from us, Tokyo, or Japan. Have you been to China or other Asian countries? I am very much interested in visiting China again, especially Shenzhen with the new office and many other places.
Eddy: A little bit, like Thai, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and so on. It’s quite a different experience from Europe, feeling more relatable to the culture, but different at the same time. As for China, I actually been to a few cities, but not recently. I remember when I was younger, there was a travel campaign taking trains to Beijing from Hong Kong and visiting cities along the route. With such a long train journey, it was a fun and unique experience meeting a lot of different people.
Mende: It reminds me of my young age, I was very much energetic and keen to travel and explore the world, even with small money. Experiences like losing wallet, hitchhiking and staying, and chatting with the locals, are unforgettable.
Eddy: Are you a well-planned traveller or a random explorer wandering around the cities?
Mende: Haha. My wife is more like a well-planned traveller, therefore at the beginning, I follow. As the trip goes on, I will explore a bit and walk around to see. Mostly point-by-point, but I enjoy walking, exploring, and meeting friends. I have quite a lot of friends around the world, and I like talking to people with different backgrounds and observing how they live and what their lifestyle is like, discovering something inner as the life of locals. Meeting during travel is a very short time, but I would like to see the values and differences of the locals and what it feels like as them.
Eddy: Hope we could travel freely again soon! Can’t wait to get out and explore more of those beautiful countries!