Two's Company

atomi's Mitsuko Murano on hubby Andrew Tan: He is very hands-on

Singaporean Andrew Tan and his Japanese wife, Ms Mitsuko Murano, set up Japanese lifestyle store atomi in 2009.
Singaporean Andrew Tan and his Japanese wife, Ms Mitsuko Murano, set up Japanese lifestyle store atomi in 2009. PHOTO: ANDREW TAN

Since they set up atomi together, Ms Murano has seen a different side of her husband.

Throughout his previous career, he worked at big companies such as Standard Chartered Bank and Ernst & Young.

But Ms Murano found that he could be "very hands- on".

 
 

Although he was familiar with a corporate set-up where coffee and tea could be served on demand, he embraced changing shop displays and lightbulbs with alacrity.

He still cleans the windows at their store and at their helper-free home, a condominium in Tanglin, every day.

Ms Murano says she did not have specific expectations regarding running a business together, but felt that "it came naturally".

She thinks that this was partly due to her entrepreneurial family background.

Her parents started a tuition school and an English-language school in Tokyo in their 60s. Drawn to the language, she started learning English at six, rather than 13, like other Japanese schoolchildren.

"They never complained about being tired. I never saw my mum sitting down, watching TV. She was always busy," says Ms Murano, adding that domestic help is rare in Japan.

This diligent, can-do lifestyle is something that the younger couple are inspired by.

"Call me the boss or call me the cleaner. It's no longer title-driven. It's a team," says Mr Tan, who was taught to cook and do household chores as a child.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'He is ‘very hands-on’'. Print Edition | Subscribe