I was actually born in Tokyo into a mixed family and was raised in the Japanese education system until the age of 12. I then left Japan to attend a school in England and returned to Japan seven years ago.
I used to live by many mottos, but now I am trying to be flexible with any change that comes my way. I believe that as someone who works in the field of innovation, having a fixed view on anything can slow you down. My life is constantly changing, and I want to be adaptable. Therefore, at this moment, my motto is to not live by any motto.
After 15 years as a banker, I needed to make a change — to unlearn the years of bad habits and limitations that I had forced upon myself. I am proud to say that I now only work on projects that I am passionate about.
I am pessimistically optimistic. I expect things to be tough despite knowing that they will work out as long as I am ready for whatever comes. Readiness isn’t about financial wealth for me. I’m always looking for challenges that sharpen my senses. That is what keeps things interesting for me.
Japan is one of the best countries to start a business; a visa is relatively easy to obtain, the country’s R&D budget is among the top in the world and there are many types of funding available in Japan, as banks do lend to start-ups.
Depending on your industry, there are many technical subsidies and grants from the central government. If you find the processes for Japanese grants and subsidies too cumbersome, you can always look for alternative grants abroad. To name one example, I have heard that Expo Live Impact Grant is looking for social innovators in Japan that are making a difference to the environment and or society for its grant of up to $100,000.
If you are looking to start a business like I did, Japan is very supportive of that. Just be open minded about different ways to start up — grants and subsidies can be a very affordable way to start something.