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Justin Sanders

Director, Continuing Education
Temple University, Japan Campus

Date of birth: Tuesday, June 3, 1980

Hometown: Martinez, California

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of March 2020)

Justin Sanders
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

Besides an abundance of Beat Takeshi movies as a kid, I first came to Osaka for an education conference in 2013. It took a couple of years before I finally moved to Osaka from Singapore, but I was hooked from that first visit.

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

I appropriated this from a university banner I saw many years ago, but — “Do well, but also do good.” A former teacher asked us to pick the world’s most pressing problem and offer some potential solutions. I realized then that nearly all problems at some level could be addressed through education. From then, I knew I could only do work that contributed to the greater good.

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

In my early 20s, I spent a few years volunteering in rural Azerbaijan. I raised some funds back home and installed glass in the windows of the school I worked at (it was terrible in the winter). It was the first time I had to really manage a project (suppliers, contractors, budgets, corruption, all of that). I’ve taken on bigger projects since then, but it's always the first, right?

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

I honestly believe that Temple University, Japan Campus’ Continuing Education program has the potential to make major contributions to the Tokyo community. For a city this dynamic, that’s a hugely exciting proposition. Of course, actively contributing to individuals improving their lives is incredibly rewarding, but at the same time we have this amazing opportunity to positively influence the internationalization of the city.

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

Make friends with your local bartender.
Some of my most interesting and helpful cultural insights have come through conversations with the tight-knit communities that form at local watering holes. So go by yourself, sit patiently with your drink, and almost certainly you will develop strong friendships (at least in Osaka).

Last updated: Mar 24, 2020