I spent another day in the Japanese neighborhood (Liberdade) and felt defeated from not arranging a single interview even though I popped into at least 10 different stores. Most of the owners were simply ‘not there’ or ‘hardly showed up’. At first I thought the staff were lying to me, then it occurred to me that the staff were quite young, and the owners probably hired them to handle the store’s daily operations. It is likely that the owners are much older.
Then I ran into the Centro Social de Chinês de São Paulo (Chinese Social Center of Sao Paulo). Several lights in my mind blinked since this could be a useful space to tap into connections. But, when I walked in, only 4 women were sitting at a table chatting over the newspapers. One woman left her spot at the table to talk to me at the reception. She was very friendly, and we chatted.
She told me that most of the Chinese business owners travel in September and October, so it won’t be easy to meet them. The majority of the Chinese, she said, came from Taiwan but, more recently, they hail from the mainland. These young women come to Brazil and work as waitresses in restaurants. She took my phone number and said she’d pass it to any owners she meets, but it probably will not happen.
I have an appointment to speak with the owner of a Japanese restaurant on September 20 (Thursday). I would also like to interview the owners of two establishments: Cochilo, and Restaurant Bela Bela.