|LIFE IN JAPAN
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
Time in Japan:
Where are you from?
Upstate New York.
What brought you to Japan?
This job. I' been training for this for the past 13 years. I have a law degree, I'm a
sports lawyer and I studied Japanese for three years at Cornell. I did all that so that
some day I could do what I'm doing now; I've been working on this for a long time.
Why did you study Japanese?
Because I knew I wanted to work in international sports involving Asia and the US. That
meant you had to focus on Korea, China or Japan, and the one that had the most appeal to
me was Japan. I finished law school first and then went on to Cornell to study Japanese. I
had to find a niche because it's a very difficult field to break into, and you have to
develop some sort of expertise. International sports was and still is a growing field, and
so I thought if I could position myself, I could be successful.
What do you do exactly?
That's a good question. We act as a cultural bridge between the US and Asia, or between
Asian countries themselves that want to do business in the sports industry. That's a very
broad definition, but within that context we help people in the sports industry with their
counterparts in other countries. We help to bridge language differences and then provide
background information on the sport as it exists in those countries, along with the
cultural nuances and negotiation techniques, so they can better establish good
How long has Rising Crane been in operation here?
It's been in conception for 13 years but formally in existence since February of 1999. We
moved here in June and incorporated in New York in August and already we've had some
success with small companies.
What kind of clientele do you have?
We have a broad range, from athletes and teams and leagues, to corporate sponsors to
associations, media, and IT magazines. We represent Sports Business International
which is a trade magazine for the sports industry. We do events, like putting on a global
sports conference in Singapore this November. We represent Somax, which is a company that
works with athletes and dozens of Olympic gold medalists, helping with biomechanical
training, to increase their performance levels. We're now making this training available
to Asian athletes.
What do you foresee for the future?
I don't put our goals in terms of monetary things; I'm not in it for the money. I'm in it
for the excitement of being involved. For me, our goal is to leave behind a legacy in this
industry by making a contribution as a team or a company that has been significant to the
growth and development of this industry. That's my goal.
What is your favorite thing about Japan?
I like J-Pop, especially Nanase Aikawa and Koji Tamaki.
What's the strangest experience you've had here?
A couple of times when I was on the street asking someone for directions in Japanese,
somebody would cut in front of me like I wasn't there, as if I was a ghost. It was very
hard for me to get accustomed to that. After a while you just kind of shrug it off.
What's your advice for a successful life in Japan?
I think for a foreigner, you have to have an open mind and appreciate the Japanese
perspective on doing things. You should always be willing to try to do things the Japanese
way instead of the Western way. Allow yourself to experience everything and appreciate the
David Snyder spoke to Maki Nibayashi.
Do you know an
interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org