Ira Bolden

Ira BoldenOccupation:
Program Manager

Time in Japan:
3 years

Where are you from?
San Jose, California.

What brought you to Japan?
I came to Japan on a scholarship to study Japanese in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. It was a special course to help engineers do business in Japan with language and culture training.

What do you do?
I work for Texas Instruments as a program manager. I work on chips that go into your mobile phones.

You’re also involved in HOPE Worldwide. What is HOPE?
HOPE Worldwide is an organization that does a lot of volunteer work. They do things like go to old folks homes, help out and spend time there, or assist at orphanages, or feed the homeless and let them know we care.

What is the International Run for HOPE and what do you do for it?
I’m just the coordinator. The run itself is a 10km relay run. There will be six people on each team so you don’t have to worry if you’re out of shape because you’ll only have to run about a mile! The goal is to raise $50,000 which will go to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE in Cambodia. $5000 supports one doctor, so we’re hoping to support ten doctors at the hospital. In one year, ten doctors can treat two hundred more patients per day or 60,000 more people per year. They say that only four doctors survived the mass murders of the Khmer Rouge and now there’s only one for every 9500 persons. There are 25,000 to 40,000 amputees, and one amputee in every 300 inhabitants. The scariest thing is that there are nearly as many land mines as there are people. This hospital is giving hope to those people.

How do we join the relay?
It’s really easy. Just call our HOPE Worldwide Japan office and they’ll make sure you get an entry form. The deadline is April 8 so there’s still time. The entry fees are JY60,000 per team, so that’s just JY10,000 per person. There will be raffles and prizes for the team who raises the most money. I can’t name the prizes yet but there will definitely be good ones!

How does a team raise money?
Well, you have six people on your team so just get everyone to start asking their friends and co-workers, companies, etc. for donations.

What’s the one thing a person should see in Japan before leaving?
I’m an outdoors person so I’m really partial. Mt. Fuji’s cool but you have to see the Japan Alps; not just go and take pictures but hike it. It’s so beautiful.

What’s your recipe for a successful life in Japan?
Find groups that are personally satisfying to you. For me, I found the Tokyo Church of Christ where I became a Christian seven months ago. Although I’m busy at work, I also have a great way to relax and interact with people and spend my free time doing volunteer work and other activities. And of course, I go out with friends.

Ira Bolden spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

For more information on HOPE Worldwide Japan call 03-3460-4430 from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at

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314: Ira Bolden
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300: Miguel Angel

Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199