There has been much talk of Italy, and Apulia especially, in the Japanese press lately. Utada Hikaru, one of Japan’s most famous and beloved pop stars is getting married to an Italian bartender, Francesco Calliano, a native of Fasano, a small town near Brindisi.
The two have met in London at the hotel where Calliano works. They will get married in Polignano a Mare, hometown of singer Domenico Modugno (of the famous Volare song), on May 23.
“It’s sudden and it makes me chuckle – I’m getting married soon,” the singer announced on her blog. “ He is Italian. He’s a sincere young man, loved by many friends. His family is large and cheerful – they seem to be coming right out of a manga cartoon! At this point I've reached the right age to do it, and I'll be happy if he can take care of me." Utada is 31, while Francesco is eight years younger, 23.
Utada is a celebrity in Japan and throughout Asia. She has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Her 1999 multi-million-selling debut record, “First Love,” is one of Japan’s biggest-ever hits. Her mother, Junko Utada, was one of the greatest interpreters of the Japanese song style "enka".
We can expect Apulia will be getting a boost in Japanese tourism over the coming months.
Listen to Utada sing her hit "First Love":