Takumi Shiraishi is enlivening company.

In conversation, he throws in questions, some answers, quite a few anecdotes and the odd curveball, such as his idea to scrap private universities. It helps that he’s been around the block; the day after graduating from high school in Kyoto he took off for London with nary a plan or a companion. Here in Japan, he’s lived well off the beaten track at times, on islands to the extreme north and south of the country.

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