It’s lucky that we’ve planned to be early to our coffee with Tais Mazza, because Immermanstr. on Japan Tag is a whole other world. By the time we reach the foyer of Me and All Hotels we’ve narrowly avoided a squad of Samurai, manga characters galore, and a rather miserable looking Storm Trooper dealing with the heat and what we can only assume is some rather nasty chaffing…In the lounge on the 11th Floor however, serenity reigns! With a spectacular view over the city, the crowded streets seem another world away.

Originally from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Tais came to Germany to study for her masters degree in energy systems in Julich. This was a new program at the University and the town wasn’t quite prepared for the influx of students. She ended up living instead in the tiny town of Linnich (population 12,420), a far cry from the bustle of Sao Paolo. In Linnich stores closed on the weekend at 3 – “If you weren’t prepared you were screwed!” After university she moved to Dortmund and lived there until the daily commute on the A40 to Essen nearly drove her mad. Now she’s living in Düsseldorf, working for Loesche – heading up their waste conditioning team; a job that takes her all over the world. Düsseldorf, however, is home for now; a city that provides a good balance of being big enough but without the chaos of somewhere like Sao Paolo. And where “if you’re stressed out you can go down to the river and calm down!”

1. If you could invite one person to dinner who would you choose?

“I would like to invite someone who is doing something for the world…It’s easier to be a hero if you’re in a position to do so…but I would like to have dinner with someone who is doing something heroic but still living a normal life.”

2. What is your favourite possession?

“This sounds weird, I’m not really into possessions, but I still have my baby blanket…It’s something I like to have…This is my family. I’m close to them but there’s still quite a big distance…My blanket is like my mother hugging me.”

3. If someone gave you 100K for a legacy project, what would you do with it?

“There’s an institution called Engineers without Borders. I find their work fantastic. I would give it to them in a heartbeat….We have such luxury that we don’t even think about…Everyone of us has a duty to each other…You can do something small to help and I think we should.”

4. What are your hobbies outside of work?

“I like to travel. I want to know the whole world. My parents were always traveling. I think I’ve got the [travel] virus from them. I love it. The most beautiful  place is Bolivia…It’s just breathtaking…Salar de Uyuni is a salt basin and there’s a little bit of water on top that makes it into a mirror. The beautiful blue sky is mirrored…I’ve been to many impressive places in the world, but this one impressed me the most.”

5. Where are you happiest?

” I’m happy when I’m with my dear people having fun, laughing about silly things. You don’t need much – a glass of water and a good friend.”