- Founder and Principal Communications Consultant
- Saga Consulting
Date of birth: July 18, 1979
Hometown: Riverside, California
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 10 (as of September 2019)
As a child of the ’80s in California, my first encounter with Japan was through the rise of Japanese consumer goods and pop culture of that decade. My fascination with Japan became serious when I studied Japanese for a year in college. After two back-to-back vacations in Japan in 2007 and 2008, I decided to make a life here. Since then, I’ve grown to appreciate the culture and history of Japan.
“No regrets.” I appreciate the simple, all-encompassing nature of this expression. We only have one chance at life and we owe it to ourselves to live it to the fullest, even at the risk of failure. In a way, we can predict the future. We know many people enter their twilight years lamenting unpursued dreams. Why not apply that knowledge to the present and eliminate as many regrets as possible?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it an achievement, but I’m most proud of my personal and professional network. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the friends and family who have patiently supported (and tolerated) me. I’m also grateful for the countless professionals that I’ve worked with in both the U.S. and Japan. Without this support network, I wouldn’t have been able to start my own proprietorship.
In the long term, I’d like to build a life where I can divide my time between the U.S. and Japan. Not only would this allow me to spend time with friends and family on both sides of the Pacific, but it would also help me better serve my clients. In the meantime, I hope to optimize my business, improve my Japanese, and continue exploring the furthest reaches of Japan.
The following three actions (in order of importance) will enhance your chances of success in Japan — build a quality network, learn Japanese and earn an advanced degree. All of these have made a significant and quantifiable positive impact on my life in Japan. And the good news is that you don't need to have these in place before you come here — you can work on them as you go.
Lastly, I’d like to paraphrase Yoko Kuroda, an entrepreneur I interviewed a few years ago. When it comes to business in Japan, in order to be valued for the diversity that you bring to the table, you first need to prove that you can understand and smoothly participate in Japanese culture. Once you do this, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how open minded your Japanese colleagues can be.