I LIVE IN JAPAN / Betti FULAN / Singer, Songwriter, Pianist, Model

September 2023 (VOL.191)

but everyone calls me Fulan in Japan

  • Home country/state /city:Italy, Rome
  • Occupation:Singer, Songwriter, Pianist, Model
  • Duration of living in Japan:5 years
  • Why do you live in Japan?:Because I love Japan.  Since my childhood, it has always been my dream to live in Japan due to my passion for anime and video games.  Before moving to Japan, I lived in China for 3 years.  I have found love in Japan and great friendships.  My Husband is Japanese.

What is your occupation in Japan?

Right now, I work in the entertainment business in Japan as a freelancer model and singer.  I also compose music and do shows where I perform as a Singer and Pianist.  In the future, I plan to work full-time as a musician, and I really would love to become a singer for anime and video games.

What is the distinctive difference between the lifestyle in Italy and Japan?

There are many differences, but the first thing which comes to my mind is the approach to daily life: in Italy, there is a slower pace, and due to the heavy bureaucracy, if you want to do something, it takes a lot of time and you have to wait.  In Japan, you have great assistance with everything, and I feel that every day you can accomplish many things, and you have more opportunities.  I didn’t have this feeling when I was living in Italy.

What do you miss about Italy living in Japan?

Pizza!  In Japan, you can find great Italian restaurants, but I still feel as though the taste is different, maybe because I am from Roma and we have a different kind of pizza, not the Napoli Pizza Style.

What do you find different about living in Japan over the term compared to when you first came as a tourist?

I came to Japan for the first time a long time ago for my 18th birthday.  Japan was completely different then, and even though it was a short stay of my vacancy, around 13 days, I really loved everything.

The term compared to then is that now I understand the culture and the language much better, and I know how to behave nicely.  When I was a tourist, I didn’t notice or pay attention, but now I feel like I have become more like a Japanese person, that when I go back to Italy for the holidays, I still behave in a Japanese way by bowing, staying in silence in the subway, and even with speaking, queuing before entering a restaurant or the subway and so on.

My husband is Japanese, so thanks to him I could understand the culture deeper.

What do you appreciate most about Japanese culture?

The respect.  Many people say it is fake, but I think it is a way of living and I really like it.

Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?

Besides the known and famous places, I recommend going to rural places to see another kind of Japan.

Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?


Are there any aspects of Japanese culture or its people that you find unique?

I find the salaryman in Japan is a unique species, and if you have lived here for a long time, you know what I am talking about.  I find them fascinating!  I remember many episodes, seeing them drunk sleeping on a bush with their legs open while still holding their business bag.  Or even if they are still drunk, walking and swaying to a temple in Shinbashi just to pray.  

Would you like to continue to live in Japan for the rest of your life, or do you think you will return to your home country?

No, I plan to live here undefined, and I never thought of going back to Italy.  I feel there is a great international environment here and there are more opportunities.  I consider Japan to be my home now.

Writer: Minobu Kondo
Photojournalist in Tokyo, writing for Japanese and American magazines. Publishing an essay “101 of green stories” with the other Japanese artists such as Kosetsu Minami. Languages: Japanese, English and French.