Olympics-Stranded Japanese honeymooners end up as Cape Verde’s team ambassadors

Article content continued

“We felt the urge of giving back,” said Leonardo Cunha, the islands’ chef de mission for Tokyo.

“The guys are Japanese citizens and they deserve, in the name of the friendship we have with Japan, just to be well-treated,” he added.

“It was our interest to accompany them on their journey as well (and) making them part of our adventure in Japan.”

Miles from home with dwindling funds, the Kataokas could easily have panicked, but Rikiya, who occasionally works as a videographer back home, made social media videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdgeSYowlD8ZLtvROaXHbXg, tagging hotels and restaurants, in exchange for lodging and food.

“I shot many things in restaurants and hotels, as a volunteer,” he said, adding that had prompted job offers.

“For example, the restaurant owner offered me a job… and then they gave me food for free.”

Wife Ayumi modeled for the shoots when not doubling as a reviewer.

That kind of enterprise could pay off in Japan for the Cape Verde Olympic Committee, which learnt of the couple when they moved into a hotel owned by American former windsurfing world champion Josh Angulo.

“You go to another planet, Planet Olympics,” said Cunha, describing the benefits for the Kataokas.

“When they will arrive there, they will be in shock, because it is so big and so emotional, they really will understand where our invitation comes from and what it will mean for them.” (Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Clarence Fernandez)