|LIFE IN JAPAN
Time in Japan:
8 1/2 years
Where are you from?
Rome - as in the Empire.
What brought you here?
While studying at California State University, we had a visit from the governor of
Fukushima Prefecture. I was asked to escort him during his stay and in appreciation he
invited me to visit Japan. After a three month homestay, I was offered a position as a
trader in Tokyo through a friend. That was at the end of the bubble years; you could just
walk down the street and get a good job. Having a double degree in Economics and
International Relations as well as eight languages under my belt probably helped too.
What do you do now?
I am the economic advisor to the president of a Japanese multinational firm. We do
everything: retail sales, import-export, shipping, economic services, banking,
investments, consulting and loans. I am also a talento - that' a silly gaijin on
TV to you and me.
How did you get involved with TV?
My very first job was when I was a teenager on an Italian variety show. After that, my
first program was in England on a BBC mini-drama called A Piece of Cake. When I came to
Japan, my agent in England had connections with people here.
What was your favorite TV appearance?
It was a mini-drama called Setouchi Shonen Yakyudan (Setouchi Boys Baseball
League). We went on location to a little island in the south of Japan in the Setouchi Sea
called Manabeshima. It was a wonderful time. I got to be very good friends with the other
actors and staff. It was really enjoyable. I played a military officer.
What are some of your latest TV appearances?
I have two commercials on air at the moment, Sky Perfect TV and Canon Colario Fax Phone,
as well as a part in the new Fuji TV drama called Mona Lisa no Hohoemi (Mona
What is the most embarrassing job you've ever done?
I would have to say when I was dressed up like an eggplant and put on national television
for a pizza commercial. Then there was the time that I had to pretend on Fuji TV's Waratte
Ii Tomo (Yes You Can Laugh) that I couldn't speak Japanese to fit the gaijin image,
but ended up having to help the interpreter instead.
Who is your favorite Japanese celebrity?
I would have to say Shingo from SMAP because he is always so polite when working together.
With the number of people that he meets in a day it is difficult to remember names, but he
always remembers mine.
What is your favorite thing about Japan?
The lack of organized religion, yet the innate understanding, respect and tolerance of one
What was your weirdest experience in Japan?
The time I was coming home from work one day and I witnessed a man being hit by a car. I
ran into a nearby restaurant to call for help. Finding a waitress clad in her kimono, I
told her in Japanese, "There's a man been hit by a car, so please call an
ambulance!" She then says, "I'm sorry, I'm busy with customers at the
moment." I think it was just she who was missing the plot because after raising my
voice the chef came out and he made the call.
What are your future plans?
I am always doing what I want to do. Plans are for people who are not.
What is your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Patience, love and diversity. Remember that we all make mistakes. Desire everything and
Antonio Ploszay-Liberatore spoke to Maki Nibayashi.
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