Miyako and Ichiki Watanabe

People - Itaguaí


 

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86-year-old Ichiki Watanabe and his wife Miyako, 84, are a special couple. He prepares homemade medicine and grows Bonsai trees at the City Department of Environment, where he works. He also teaches children how to care for the plants. Everything that is produced is later donated to City Schools. He uses no pesticide: "if you plant without care and if you don't water the plant, it won't grow", says Ichiki to those who visit him.

His wife, Miyako, collects hand fans and she does not miss a gateball competition. She also catalogs the hundreds of photos the couple has taken since their arrival in Itaguaí, where many Japanese settled during the II World War. 

 Ichiki Watanabe, 86, and Miyako Watanabe, 84: Japonese immigrants. Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias

Miyako speaks Portuguese with a heavy accent, tough to understand. "It's not an easy language to learn", they say, which is why they rely on their children for eventual translations.

When the couple moved to Itaguaí from Santa Cruz, they brought two plates and a bed. All their belongings fit in the carriage that transported them. "During war, Itaguaí welcomed many people and protected the Japanese", Ichiki likes to say.


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