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[Columns]Japanophile father

Olena hails from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Ukraine has had little connection with Japan, and in her young days she hadn't met even a single Japanese. But her father's collection of Japanese literary works inspired her interest in Japan. 'My father was a keen reader and his bookshelves were lined with Russian translations of The Tale of Genji as well as the works of such modern writers as Ryunosuke Akutagawa and Yasunari Kawabata, all of I have read. I am impressed by the Japanese sense of beauty and particularly fond of Noh plays which explores the innermost of the human mind' Olena says.
After graduating from the Kiev State Linguistic University where she majored in the Japanese language, Olena worked at the Japanese Embassy in Kiev for two years and came to Japan in July 2000 to take up the post of a staff member of the Kyoto Prefectural International Center. Having a deep interest in Japanese culture, she learned tea ceremony of Urasenke School and Japanese dancing of Wakayagi School. She once danced on the stage of a theater in the town's Gion amusement district to the tune of kouta, a Japanese ballad-type song. She even learned kendo (Japanese fencing). Also, she has mastered the dressing of Japanese kimonos and can wear kimonos for herself.
Proficient in languages, she can speak Ukrainian, Russian, Japanese, English and German. She is really a talented woman. Hoping to become a specialist in Japanese literature in the future, she is studying hard preparing to advance to a graduate school to pursue her Japanese studies. (H)