Ayaka Cleobury was born in 1978 in Japan, in Gifu Prefecture near Nagoya. Her name, which means “adding that colourful or colour shade”, was picked by her mother who studied design and loved its Japanese characters.  Talking about what brought her to Derby, she had to go back about five years ago.

“I met my husband in Nagoya, where he was working for Toyota as an engineer. We got married, and then in 2013 we moved to Derby because of the Toyota factory, the closest to Solihull where my husband is from. At that time, I could barely speak English but working already as hairdresser for Tony & Guy in Japan, I had a skill to use so I spotted the one in Derby straight away, even before my arrival in town”.

Being in town for just few years, she did not have much to say on how the city has recently evolved except from been modernized with new shops and restaurants.

“I really enjoyed going to Iberico, a tapas restaurant, which opened around five years ago and closed down a year ago, more or less at the same time another one opened in Nottingham. I missed it, though I am much busier now with entertaining my four-year old son. You know, when we go into intu Shopping Centre, even if I want to go shopping, we get stuck in the Soft-play area or at YO! Sushi watching the food coming out on the belt for hours”.

I always have found fascinating what foreign people have to say about the adoptive country where they are living in, so I asked Ayaka one more question on what she would change or improve about Derby.

“About Derby, I would definitely change the family structure. Probably this is more of a cultural thing but I would prioritise the family more. I have to say that I am very lucky because my husband’s family is very close – we even talk about small things like what colour our carpet should be – but in general, I think spending time with your relatives, especially with the kids, is more important than everything else. I know we also need to work hard to provide for them, but it is not necessary to be obsessed about it. This is how Japan have become so materialistic: thinking that in order to make their families happier, they would work really hard to provide all sorts of new technology items. But instead they lose the real connection which is what we need”.

Leave a comment