Ukraine, known in Japan for its attractive people, is rapidly becoming a place of interest.  International marriages between Ukrainians and Japanese are on the rise, making Ukraine all the more fascinating.    Japan brings forth images of sushi, hot springs, Mt. Fuji, Tempura, and its service industry.  But what about Ukraine?  Here are some appealing images of Ukraine, sure to make you want to visit!  

Friendly Girls on the Train

Ukraine is a treasure-house full of attractive people.  Yulia Tymoshenko is said to have been the most beautiful Prime Minister in the world. (although her lineage is actually Russian).  Viktor Yushcenko , the 3rd president of Ukraine, is said to have been a real head turner in his day.

Ukrainians are generally friendly to foreigners so that you only have to ride the train to meet a cute girl.  Did you know that Barbie Doll is fashioned after a Ukrainian and not a Russian, as originally believed?  Neighboring Russia is also known for its good-looking people.  But even a patriotic Russian man quite willingly admits to the fact that Ukraine has the most beautiful women in the world.

Chernobyl is in Ukraine. The well-known Nuclear Disaster of April 26th 1986 took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.  Japan’s own more recent nuclear disaster of March 11th 2011 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant due to the disastrous earthquake and tsunami must be a sobering reminder for Ukrainians.  This shared experience of nuclear disasters prompted Ukrainians to build a statue of cranes erected on April 26th after the Fukushima disaster to commemorate their own disaster as well as offer prayers and positive thoughts to the people of Japan.   In 2012 Japan and Ukraine made a pact to share openly, responses to nuclear disaster.  Chernobyl and Fukushima share not only the painful experience of nuclear disaster, but also  mutual empathy for having the same kind of experience.

Ukraine has Borscht and other tasty dishes.

Ukrainian Borscht

Borscht, the stew made with red beets giving it this bright red color, is known as a Russian dish.  But in Ukraine it is a staple food, as important to Ukrainian cuisine as miso soup is to Japan.  Over its history, Ukraine has been under the rule of places like Mongolia, Poland and Austria, bringing with them their cuisine.  Ukraine’s rich soil also supplies it with the best ingredients, giving Ukrainian cooking a special edge. Ukrainian Borscht is the perfect example, there is no reason for it not to be great!

Ukrainian dishes are full of fresh vegetables like a dish called varenyky which is a meatless dumpling filled with cherries among other things.  Chicken kiev- chicken breasts rolled around cold garlic butter with herbs, and cabbage dishes in the form of cabbage rolls with minced beef or bacon and rice fillings stewed in tomato sauce are also Ukrainian specialties.  Any Japanese would find such cooking agreeable.  Even the Russians acknowledge Ukrainian cooking as being tasty.

Cossacks are Ukrainian.

The dance where you squat down and kick your legs out one at a time with your arms crossed in front of you, known the world over, is the ‘Cossack dance’.    What kid hasn’t tried it and ended up sprawled across the floor!  Cossacks are originally Ukrainian so this dance also comes from Ukraine.  These Ukrainian warriors galloped across Ukraine on horses as much a part of their bodies as their swords.  They are famous for their brave equestrian techniques.  Ukrainians are proud enough of the cossack heritage to include them in their national anthem.  Their fearlessness in the face of death is reminiscent of the Japanese samurai.

Ukraine is famous for its agriculture.  Anyone who went to Japanese Jr. high school may remember Ukraine from their geography classes for its black fertile soil.  Ukraine consists mostly of flat grassy plains abundant with this soil where things like wheat and rye along with potatoes thrive.  Ukraine supplies surrounding countries with this produce.  The stark blue of the sky reaches to the horizon where the yellow of the wheat fields takes over.  This image can be seen all over Ukraine.  In this 21st century, countries without sufficient food supply may very well  find themselves more and more dependant on Ukraine for its agriculture.

 Ukraine’s Solar Energy 

Even after Chernobyl Ukraine remains  ranked 7th in the world for nuclear energy production.  But they are also working on alternative energy solutions as this solar energy plant indicates.  This year they have the biggest solar energy plant in all the world with solar panels covering 200 hectares of land at the PEROVO Solar Energy Plant in Ukraine. 

Ukraine is a major producer of honey.  Many homes in Ukraine have their own bee hives.  Honey production is ranked 4th in all of the world.  Homemade honey is given as gifts when visiting friends.  Mead, a sweet alcoholic beverage, is also produced from honey. At this honey market bees swarm all around without anyone noticing.

Those are bees swarming on the rims of cups filled with mead and bowls full of honey!  The bees are largely ignored.

You can tell that no one is bothered by the bees, they have grown used to them.  Mead is also available in Japan, without the bees.

Ukraine has beautiful architecture

Ukraine was influenced by the Roman Empire’s byzantine architecture leaving it with the splendid buildings of that time.  Beautiful churches along cobble stone streets offer magnificent views.

The world’s most romantic tunnel can be found in Ukraine

It looks like something from the enchanted forests of C S Lewis’s Narnia.

Ukrainians are kind and hospitable people.  Ukrainians are friendly to Japanese visitors.  A visitor reported Ukrainian kindness on more than one occasion.  In being seated next to a Ukrainian in a crowded station restaurant he was treated to beer and snacks.  On speaking briefly with a man on a train, he was invited back to his house for a home cooked meal with his family because ‘the more the merrier’!

Wouldn’t Ukraine be a fabulous place to visit?  I’m sure many people would agree!
[ Read in Japanese ]