My hometown is very close to Duesseldorf, Germany, which has the third-largest Japanese community in Europe. In my childhood I attended Japan day celebrations every year and watched the annual Japanese fireworks over the Rhine river. It was always fascinating for me. Duesseldorf also has a lot of Japanese restaurants where I, fortunately, was able to learn to eat with chopsticks from a very young age.
I like Albert Einstein’s famous words, “Try not to be a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” I believe that it is easier to be successful than to add value. In my job, I move around every couple of years and it is important to me that people feel that I have added value in my workplaces and that I had a positive impact on people’s lives.
It is very difficult to pick one, but my time in Libya and having been part of the opening of the first luxury hotel in Tripoli makes me proud. I had to teach our Libyan colleagues the very basics of our business and they were so grateful and appreciative for the opportunity. I had families of employees hugging me and thanking me on the street. That’s a very special feeling.
My main goal is to ensure that the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, continues to be successful and that I add value to the hotel, to my colleagues’ lives and to the lives of the people around me during my time here.
I would also like to travel in Japan more as there are many beautiful and interesting places I have yet to visit.
To me, Japan is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries in the world, but it is also truly unique and requires foreigners to have an open mind and embrace its uniqueness. In business and personal life, we foreigners may have the same or similar goals as our Japanese colleagues and friends, but the ways and processes to reach the goals are distinctly different. Foreigners who are patient, able to adjust and flexible will find a lot of fulfillment and pleasure living and working here.
I would also encourage everyone to make every day in Japan count and enjoy it as I believe that life here is as good as it gets.