- Facilitator and Coach
- Jennifer Shinkai
Hometown: Bury, United Kingdom
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 20 (as of December 2019)
I remember watching sumo with my dad on Channel 4 when I was growing up in Bury. When I arrived in 1999 as a Geos teacher in Chiba, I never imagined I would still be here two decades later with my own training company, a family and a mortgage.
As a facilitator and coach, I do love a good motto and there are really too many to choose from!
The one that resonates with me the most now is “I am enough.” It’s a powerful and simple statement that helps me when I am comparing myself to others or to my own expectations, worried about how people will perceive me. It gives me permission to “just be.”
That in every role I have had, there has been no career plan. I have always endeavored to craft my own job taking into account the needs of the business and my own skills and passions. Looking back, I can see how I was always growing in whatever role I was in and I think maintaining that forward momentum while not burning out is something to be proud of.
As a facilitator and coach focusing on ikigai (life purpose) and inclusion, my goal is to help people live fulfilling lives and have their voices and ideas heard and respected. With 100-year lives, automation and the changes in work style, I really believe this is a time where we can evolve how and why we work. I want to help more people embrace their ikigai and enjoy their work more.
There are so many brilliant people and events going on in Tokyo every day — get involved and find your tribe. It can be easy to get frustrated with cultural differences. I think that realizing, that as a human being, The more similarities the person shares with you than differences is a powerful reframe. What do you both agree on? What unites you? What can you learn about yourself from this interaction? And of course, take time to think about what do you love, what are you good at, what can you be paid for, and what does the world need? As a foreigner living in Japan, you can bring some unexpected but precise perspectives to find solutions and opportunities. You just need to find ways to communicate them to other people.