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On August 17th, 2018, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Moldova to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Vasile Bumacov.

Moldova is a nation with a very long history; since being part of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago, the nation had had influences from Austria, Russia, and Romania. As a nation, H.E. Dr. Bumacov mentioned that Moldovans love singing and dancing, with culture closely tied to Christianity, as 90% of the population are Christians. The nation has many churches and monasteries. Moldova has a variety in its agricultural sector, growing many different types of fruits (except citrus), such as a variety of grapes, vegetables, and sunflowers, as well as producing products like honey, milk, cow cheese, and sour creams. H.E. Dr. Bumacov also mentioned that Moldova is famous for its cuisine, such as chicken soup with homemade noodles and corn, and the nation’s arts, such as homemade carpets and clothes.


H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that Moldovans are very familiar with Japan. He expressed his appreciation for the hardworking and polite nature of Japanese people. He has been working with Japan from 2000, as an engineer (especially dealing with tractors) to help farmers in their production. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova had been in a complicated situation, and Japan had been a very important partner since then. Japan recognized the independence of Moldova very quickly despite the nation’s times of pressure. H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that Moldova supported Japanese nationals for some international appointments, and Japan helped Moldovans with the issue of Russian armies residing in their country. 

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Moldova and Japan. H.E. Dr. Bumacov noted that Japan has been supporting Moldova in its pursuit to join the EU, as many may see this path as “the only way to survive”. In 2016, the embassy of Moldova in Japan and vice versa were established, which marked as an important opportunity to develop friendly relations between the countries. H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that he was assisting to open the embassy, as he was good friends with many Japanese people, having been in Japan for over 12 times.

H.E. Dr. Bumacov introduced to us that recently, as more and more Japanese people have been visiting Moldova, there have been developments of host-town projects. For the future, as Japan will engage in FTA with the EU, H.E. Dr. Bumacov hopes that Moldova can be part of this exchange and that Japan would be able to enjoy Moldovan cherries cheaply!

Moldova has been reforming its education system since the Second World War. Moldova had switched to Soviet education during Soviet rule, from a more efficient French system. Since then, the education in Moldova had been focused a lot on politics and theoretical values rather than real-life issues. H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that for this reason, Moldova is now working on adjusting and modernizing its education system to reach European standards, and to fulfill the obligation for the European Union. 

H.E. Dr. Bumacov expressed his appreciation for the Japanese educational system, for being rather difficult and good for the memory. After 18 years of working in Japan, he has realized that this is the foundation of the polite and diligent quality Japanese people possess.

Culture and Tourism
H.E. Dr. Bumacov described neighbors in Moldova to have differing cultures. Nonetheless, the nation is very united by its national Romanian language as well as unique old traditions. H.E. Dr. Bumacov mentioned that Moldovans have very rich traditions, which include dancing, folk music, food, and drinks (such as natural wine). The quality of Moldovan music is its fast tempo and accompanied dancing. Moldova is putting great efforts, especially among the youth, to recover and maintain traditions, as many have been lost during the Soviet times. 


As recommended tourist destinations, H.E. Dr. Bumacov introduced to us various places close to nature. First, he mentioned that the oak forest is a special and cool destination where visitors can find flowers, mushrooms, and berries. Churches and monasteries in the country have beautiful designs and paintings, as well as museums. The fruit and vegetable markets are very tasty due to the rich soils of the nation’s land. Moldova also has the biggest winery in the world, located underground. Furthermore, H.E. Dr. Bumacov especially recommends visiting villages, where people live traditional lifestyles in houses different from those in the city.

One cultural practice H.E. Dr. Bumacov introduced to us is “Martisor”, which is a spring celebration. During the whole month of march, there is a special token of spring worn on clothing, which symbolizes fruit trees. This celebration is recognized by UNESCO as a beautiful tradition. At schools, the children give the token to their teachers at school, who receive many and put them on their clothes.

Moldovan culture is yet to spread in Japan. In Japan, there is one famous song by a Moldovan artist, Ozone, that is stationed in all karaoke playlists. H.E. Dr. Bumacov mentioned that there is a Romanian version as well as an Asian version of this song. Additionally, H.E. Dr. Bumacov noted that there are only two Moldovan restaurants in Tokyo. He hopes that this number will increase, as he believes that Moldovan cuisine can bring a unique and different taste to Japan.


As the Ambassador, H.E. Dr. Bumacov expressed his keenness to opening the embassy towards visitors, as he believes this is important to strengthen relations between the two countries of Moldova and Japan. H.E. Dr. Bumacov conveyed that it is his dream to see more investments to Moldova for expansion and prosperity, especially by Japan as a “world power”. He believes that Moldova has a lot to offer, and has potential to make bilateral ties even closer.

Since he was a student, H.E. Dr. Bumacov had been interested in machinery, especially in the process of making and designing. When he was small, he had made his toys by himself from natural ingredients such as sugar, beet, and sunflower. Throughout his career, H.E. Dr. Bumacov has earned 26 patents on machines, and is producing them in Yamagata prefecture, Japan!


Globalization and the Environment
According to H.E. Dr. Bumacov, globalization is a phenomenon that cannot be stopped, and so it is vital that we try to make use of it, while at the same time protect the younger generation from harmful knowledge and habits. H.E. Dr. Bumacov emphasized that “education is everything”. Instead of prohibiting people from undertaking unhealthy and harmful lifestyles, people should be taught the consequences and how to live healthier and sustainably.

There have been various programs on the international level aimed to protect the environment, and H.E. Dr. Bumacov noted that Japan has been a pioneer in this field. In Moldova, climate change and the usage and export of wood has led to drier rivers. Furthermore, H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that pollution in the air and water, especially due to plastics, is a tragedy for the globe. Pollution is dangerous because it can easily destroy civilizations as it affects food and health. He believes in the importance of acknowledging environmental issues and work together across nations.

Personally, H.E. Dr. Bumacov was surprised about the cleanliness, punctuality, and sophistication of Japanese people when he first came to Japan. He had always been appreciative of Japanese innovation, especially as an engineer himself, as well as cultural shows, such as theatres. H.E. Dr. Bumacov noted that Japanese people have respect for traditions as well as the respect for other peoples’ things; which leads to security and less crimes. He noted that this traditional value is especially good for the economy. Meanwhile in Moldova, H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that locks have been necessary and sometimes even “can be no help” to maintain security. He noted that it has been this way since Soviet times, as before, houses never had locks. H.E. Dr. Bumacov explained that this insecurity has become problematic for the culture, and had been a tradition that was taken away. Finally, H.E. Dr. Bumacov expressed that it is the young generation’s duty to protect all the traditional values, so that globalization does not erode them.


H.E. Dr. Bumacov sees that the common value between Japan and Moldova is that they are peaceful nations. As both countries have suffered World War II, they have been supporting peace and each other. H.E. Dr. Bumacov highlighted education as being the key to peace; history can teach the consequences of war, languages can help people understand each other, and the value of life can lead to less violent behaviors. H.E. Dr. Bumacov hopes that education in a correct and not aggressive manner can lead to more negotiation and trades that would replace any fighting for profits, and a more peaceful coexistence of religions and peoples.

As a message towards students, H.E. Dr. Bumacov hopes to convey the importance of education, and the focus students should have on their studies. He hopes that students do not pay attention to the difficulties of studying but instead focus on the learning process. He hopes that students can study at proper times, as well as travel to know more about the world. He also hopes that students can learn from the good examples from older generations, as well as take care of them.

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