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Ken Hartmann, 71, still opens doors for ladies, and still speaks with a brusque, no-nonsense New York accent even after 27 years in Japan. As founder and director of the Hokkaido Insider, he brings this gallant grittiness to Sapporo and sees his efforts with his online information service as another way to open doors for people.

“It never hurts to go in a door,” Hartmann believes. “If it’s the wrong door you can always go back out or find another way. But if you just shut the door and don’t take that chance, you’ll never know.”

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