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Jorma Winkler

Maikai Wood Hawaii

Date of birth: Jan. 31, 1969

Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 23 (as of March 2020)

Jorma Winkler
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

After selling everything except my mountain bike and laptop, I came to Japan with a plan to stay for two years. Having fallen in love with so many different things, including my wife of 20 years now, I decided to make Japan my home and am still here.

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

Live with honesty, integrity and a true love for God and others. Success and satisfaction in your professional career or personal life is about having real and honest relationships that come from showing the kind of true and unselfish love and care to others.

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

Starting my exotic wood import and export business from scratch in Japan and having it grow to support many employees in Hawaii and Japan as well as $25 million in revenue over the last two decades. And all this due to my dentist in Nagoya saying, “Why don’t you think about the music market to sell your wood to?”

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

To raise my two daughters to be responsible, independent and loving adults with the same level of honesty and integrity I try to live my life. In addition, I am looking at the next stage in my career and into sharing my talents and experience with a larger corporation, while at the same time selling all or parts of my companies to someone who can take them even further.

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

Have persistence and the ability to take risks; do not be afraid to fail when you do and to pick yourself back up and realize that every failure is a bigger learning experience than success. This is true whether you are a Japanese national or an expat living in Japan. And, if you are an expat, I would highly recommend learning Japanese. It will take you so much farther in having a better and more fulfilling experience, not to mention being able to go into any restaurant and order so many things that you would not be able to otherwise.

Last updated: Mar 30, 2020