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Ari Honkanen

First Secretary
Embassy of Finland

Date of birth: Dec. 2, 1983

Hometown: Helsinki

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 2 (as of October 2019)

Ari Honkanen
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

As a child, Japan came in to my life simultaneously on so many levels, from famous Formula One drivers and ski jumpers to pictures of beautiful Mount Fuji and high-quality audio systems, that it’s impossible to say which one was first. Japan was something exciting and I never would have thought I would get to live here one day.

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

Perhaps the most adorable Moomin character Little My put it quite bluntly, saying “If you are always in a hurry, you never have time to do anything,” and I think it’s important to keep that in mind in our busy lives — especially in the world’s busiest city, Tokyo!

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

I am optimistic my proudest professional moment is yet to come, but regarding this posting, I am really proud to contribute to Finland’s Metsa Pavilion project that will run on embassy grounds during and after the 2020 Tokyo Games. It will host our Olympic athletes, VIP guests and provide a platform for Finnish companies to present their solutions for a happier and more sustainable future.

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

My biggest goal is of course to maintain a good work-life balance. Happy home, happy office. Secondly, I aim at creating added value to Finnish activities in Japan by facilitating our bilateral relations and supporting Finnish companies’ business opportunities so that they become reality. Also, I hope to leave Japan bidding farewell to my new local friends and with some understanding of the tricky language and abundant culture.

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

For professional success, always bring tons of business cards, never be late and have patience. A good relationship is like heating a smoke sauna — it takes time and effort, but it’s very much worth it. On a personal level, do your best trying to learn the basics of the language as it will surely make your life easier and offer you a light icebreaker when meeting new people.

Last updated: Oct 7, 2019