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Jewelry designer Naho Okamoto was inspired to create her own brand because of her metal allergies.



Starting from studying abroad to establishing a base in Switzerland

Takano: You are basically based in Switzerland, but did you expand overseas in 2016?

Okamoto: I didn’t expand overseas, or rather, I just went abroad personally.

Celeina: I would like to ask you how that came about as well.

Okamoto:2016 was the 10th year since we launched the brand, and in the midst of my desire to continue to work as a designer for many years to come, I was a little concerned about whether or not I could continue to do so. I thought I didn’t need to study practical design anymore, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into my own design philosophy, so I thought I would like to study at a graduate school in Europe. But I couldn’t speak English properly, so I went to England to study English first, improved my English to a level that would allow me to go to university, and then applied to graduate school.

Celeina:You are very dynamic.

Takano: It is not easy to start with language study, isn’t it? Then you went to graduate school in Switzerland?

Okamoto: Yes, I did. There were several European countries where you can study in English, such as Scandinavia and the Netherlands, and Switzerland was one of them. The theme of the department I entered was “social impact,” so basically I was designing and researching social good things.

Takano: Have you been living in Switzerland for about five years now?

Okamoto: Yes, I have.

Takano: Is there anything that surprised you about living in Switzerland, or is there any difference between Switzerland and Japan?

Okamoto: There are many things that are totally different between Europe and Japan. Swiss people are clean and serious, and their temperament is similar to that of Japanese people. However, the way they live in society is completely different. In the summer, we don’t have air conditioners, so we go to the river to cool off.

Takano: It’s like “Fuji Rock.

Okamoto: That’s quite a shock.

Celeina: Does everyone, young and old, male and female, get in the river?

Okamoto: Yes, they are in the river. They are swimming, or rather, floating a bit.

Takano:But it’s nice to be so close to nature.

Okamoto: Yes, it is. I was born and raised in Tokyo, so I am very far from nature. Also, I live in the capital city of Bern, which is an old city and a World Heritage site. It was a coincidence, but I also wanted to live in an old city, so it is fun and totally different from Tokyo. I still think Switzerland’s nature is beautiful.

Takano: I can’t help but think about Switzerland. I would love to hear more, but let’s interrupt for a song. I asked Okamoto-san to choose a song that he would like everyone to listen to together on the radio at this time.

Okamoto:It is a German song called “99 Luftballons” by an artist named Nena. I think it is probably the most famous German song in Japan.

Takano: I still don’t have a clue about it.

Okamoto: Maybe you will understand it when you listen to it.

Takano:Let’s listen to it then.



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