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James McCarty

Co-founder and COO
Zehitomo Inc.

Date of birth: Jan. 24, 1983

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of February 2019)

James McCarty
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I lived in Tokyo for part of elementary school, then returned to Japan when I was 19 for a one-year student exchange program in Hofu, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which was a wonderful experience. After graduating university in the U.S., I returned once again to Tokyo to start a career in finance.

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

I find it difficult to choose something as transitional and variable as a life motto might be. For instance, any motto I would have chosen for myself 10 years ago would probably make me cringe today. But if I had to choose a motto for my current self, it would be “self-improvement through self-criticism and self-compassion.”

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

The toughest decision I made was to leave my previous job trading bonds, where I had some terrific teammates and exciting daily challenges. However, because I followed through with that decision, I’ve had the opportunity to grow in new ways. I’m most proud of in my career of the team at Zehitomo that we've assembled to tackle the large and extremely complex challenges that exist in bringing local services online.

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

With Zehitomo, our success will be measured by how many people’s lives we change in a positive way. I am moved and feel a deep responsibility every time I hear a pro relies on our service. And it is thrilling to hear an excited user tell us about a pro who made their day. Maximizing these kinds of experiences is my goal.

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

Living and working in Japan, many of the best parts of life take time to reveal themselves. Most people can visit Japan for a week or two and enjoy themselves, but living here brings a different variety of joys and challenges. I’ve grown to really appreciate living here — I think I better understand the details and subtleties in everyday life now, which were not always apparent. One simple example is the food — you see it over and over, in the attention to detail in all the food displayed in department store basements or at any train station in Japan, and in outwardly modest restaurants that reveal hidden treasures to their customers.

Last updated: Feb 4, 2019