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Date of publication: Apr 22, 2019

Lowell Sheppard

Asia Pacific Director/Japan Executive Director
Hope International Development Agency
www.hope.or.jp

Date of birth: March 20, 1955

Hometown: Saskatchewan, Canada

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 22 (as of April 2019)

Lowell Sheppard
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

The first was landing in Narita airport three months after it opened and seeing the “air mines” and protest towers (built in the runway’s path) still about. I had a one-night layover and was put up in a Narita hotel. Getting in and out of the airport required extremely high security.

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

My motto is “It’s never too late!” In fact, it is the title of one of my books as well (out of print). Life is about embracing adventure, mystery and all the twists and turns that comes our way.

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

I am proud of my family. My wife and I have two sons, both of whom are pursuing successful careers in Tokyo and beyond. Personally, I suppose it is riding my bicycle the length of Japan in the year 2000 followed by my “Chasing the Cherry Blossom” book. And equally significant to me is the privilege I have had connecting Japanese with families in Cambodia and Southern Ethiopia who desperately needed access to clean water.

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

I have three goals. With Hope, I would like to continue building support in Asia-Pacific, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore. Second, I would like to cross the Pacific solo by sailboat from Tokyo to Vancouver by the time I am 70!
Finally, launch an educational initiative in early 2020, focused on thought leadership and community legacy. The initiative will be called Navigate 22, helping people and organizations navigate through the complexities of the 21st century with a view toward the 22nd century.

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

Having a long-term view is very important. As my senpai (mentor) told me 20 years ago, the moat and walls around a Japanese castle are not only designed to keep outsiders out but also keep insiders in. The challenge is to become an insider without losing the freedom of being an outsider.

Last updated: Apr 22, 2019