I lived with my family on Okinawa from age 11 to 16 at the height of the Vietnam War. I basically grew up and experienced all my firsts there. We lived on and off base while my father (a career officer) did duty in Vietnam. Years later, after finishing college in Georgia, I returned under a Monbusho scholarship, getting myself into Japanese law school, and then luckily landed a job inside the Japanese Parliament as the first non-Japanese to work there.
I subscribe to the adage that, “Excellence is a habit, not a single act,” and that one should strive to do one’s best. I also believe there is dignity in all forms of endeavors, i.e., that things worth doing are worth doing not just “right,” but masterfully. There is a beauty in dedication, devotion, consistency and attention to detail.
I originally thought that going to law school would be a great achievement. But then, after three law degrees and a master’s, it doesn’t seem so huge now. More impactful is raising a family — not quite an “achievement,” but I’m really proud of the four kids I was able to raise. Nowadays, as I strive to address the most difficult problems that embassies, companies and individuals face in Japan…well, that is a source of great satisfaction. Writing a book in Japanese about my experience in Parliament was also pretty gratifying.
My life goal is tied to my relationship with Japan — my company, employees, family, kids, cars, friends and business connections are all here. Moving elsewhere would not provide the same level of inclusion. It would be terrific to leave a long-lasting mark here (as I have benefited from those of others before me). It would also be a nice achievement if my YouTube channel was recognized as a well-regarded reference on what is going on in Japan.
Nothing of any significance is simple, easy or inexpensive in Japan. In fact, anyone who is truly striving here is bound to run into obstacles, failures, language difficulties, individuals who want what you have, or individuals who simply (for whatever reason) have decided this or that about you. Sometimes, it is other foreigners who give you the hardest time. The point is to strive for success in any event — just do the best you can, don’t let detractors diminish or sway you from your path. You are here for a reason; discover that reason and don’t give up. Make a difference.
Finally, through my YouTube channel, I try to educate and inform in an entertaining manner (maybe even sometimes humorously) about public affairs in Japan. Maybe highbrow for some, but being informed about the big picture allows one to predict and anticipate, and adds richness to one's life overall. Please give it a gander!