My father had a very large library with many books. There was one book in particular that stood out. It was called “Hiroshima.” I started reading it without understanding a word — I was barely able to read at that age, but I was fascinated by it, especially by its exoticism.
Believe in yourself and your goals. I think that believing in your goals is important. It is irrelevant how remote your goals are. If you believe in them, they become attainable. I like to remind myself of this motto, because it is very simple yet very easy to forget.
I’m extremely proud of teaching international arbitration to law school students at the University of Tokyo. I see it as a great opportunity to guide, nurture and prepare future Japanese lawyers. It not only allows me to share my knowledge and many years of experience with them, but I can also learn from their highly interesting observations and comments.
I’d like to stay in Japan indefinitely and my goal, or task as a foreign citizen of Japan, is to try to smoothen the differences between Japan and Europe. In doing so, I have no intention of changing either. I believe that increasing mutual understanding would, in itself, be a big step in the right direction.
I have only been living in Tokyo for five years, but in my short time here, I have been able learn a lot from other people who are living and working in Japan. For instance, I was recently enlightened while listening to a presentation by a highly respected manager of one of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan members. During his presentation, the gentleman explained that in Japan, appearance is of paramount importance. He concluded by saying that there is a general understanding in Japan that what does not look good outside cannot be good inside (referring to the perfection of the packaging of the company’s products). I realized in that moment that this actually applies to many situations.