Felix Moesner met Makiko Aikawa in 1991 when he was doing a one-year robotics internship at Toshiba Corp. and a home-stay at her grandmother's house in Yokohama. Then a university student, she often visited after cooking classes at a restaurant nearby.

They eventually fell in love, but Felix, originally from Appenzell, Switzerland, returned to finish his studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The young couple continued to correspond by letter, phone and fax in those days before the Internet, and Makiko remembers her monthly telephone bill once reaching ¥80,000. To make the situation easier, Felix returned to Japan in 1993 and embarked on a master's and then a doctoral program through the University of Tokyo.