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Martin Schwaiger

Nokia Japan

Date of birth: May 25, 1973

Hometown: Vienna

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 3 (as of October 2018)

Martin Schwaiger
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

Coming from a four-year assignment in Kuala Lumpur, I immediately noticed the mega-city’s cleanliness. Tokyo is a fascinating ecosystem that, despite the millions of people living here, works exceptionally smooth. For me, Tokyo is a role model for future cities.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

Be curious! Never stop exploring. I have been living and working in many countries, and it’s such a privilege to have been able to experience so many different cultures and people. By being open to new things and being curious about what’s around the next corner, life becomes an exciting adventure. Exploring broadens our mind and our understanding for each other.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

It’s hard to pick one thing, but I always feel proud if people miss me when I am leaving. I try to keep contact with the people and countries I worked in and it gives me a lot of satisfaction when people remember me as someone who made a positive difference in their personal or professional lives.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

I already failed one goal I was trying to achieve: to learn the language, which is a real challenge! Nevertheless, I learned so much about the unique culture of Japan, for example the dedication and proudness of what people do no matter what job it is. I hope I can use those values in my personal and professional life.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Japan is a high-context and complex culture. Most expats come here with the idea that they can implement what they are used to in their home countries. They often get frustrated when it doesn’t work, as they don’t understand the people and the culture. Take your time, listen, observe and understand first how things are working here and don’t try to copy and paste what worked well in your own country. Japan is different.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2018