Name: Mark Choon
Title: General Manager, The Peninsula Tokyo
Hometown: Seattle, U.S.
Years in Japan: 2.5
What was your first encounter with Japan?
My first trip through Tokyo was a bit of delayed honeymoon in 2007. I did a small trip that went through Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, and I was in Tokyo for around four days with my wife. We just fell in love with the city and were fascinated by the mix of quite old, traditional architectural and visual culture, which butts up against something that’s completely contemporary yet happily coexists.
Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.
“Expect the unexpected.” It makes life interesting and makes you want to seek out things that are a bit different instead of just staying in your comfort zone.
Your career spans multiple countries and cultures. Has it been challenging adapting to these environments?
Before my first international assignment in Bangkok, I recalled that one of my passports as a child had expired and there were no stamps in it. I was very much a typical American in that sense. I went in knowing that while I would be serving in a similar role, I had to go in with an open-minded perspective because I had no idea what to expect. I had to remind myself that I needed to first seek to understand before I could jump in and offer my suggestions.
What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?
I think all of us — not only in the hotel but the country and the world — hope that the Olympics take place in some form or fashion. We would like to continue our goal of really establishing The Peninsula on the map here in Japan. It’s interesting because while we’re the oldest hotel company in Asia, our presence in Japan is a fraction of some of our competitors. But we still feel that we have different levels of service to offer customers.
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