Ayako Ezaki is originally from Tokyo, but moved to the USA to study. She lived there for several years, working in the field of eco-tourism. Spending time in Washington DC and Portland (Oregon) until her visa ran out, she met Ferdinand and adopted Mai, their loyal canine companion. Ayako, Ferdinand and Mai could have lived anywhere on the face of this earth. All the more reason to ask: why Hamburg?
I met up with Ayako at Balzac, which is a Hamburg coffee-chain, in Ottensen. Ottensen is part of Altona, one of Hamburg’s hippest quarters that has changed hands between Germany and Denmark over the years. Altona was an independent city before becoming part of Hamburg in 1938 and is the stage on which many controversial discussions about urban development are played out – and one of the City of Hamburg’s aims is to make Hamburg attractive to internationals, or the “creative class” to which Ayako undoubtedly belongs.
After drinking a coffee and briefing her a little, I asked Ayako to take me somewhere nearby that has some particular significance for her. On the way, she talked to me about why she chose Hamburg and I recorded the interview on my phone. Mai was happily trotting along a few footsteps behind us, with Ferdinand on the other end of the lead.