Alistair MacLachlan

Alistair MacLachlanOccupation:
Finance Manager

Time in Japan:
2 years

Where are you from?

Birmingham, England.

What do you do in Japan?
I work for BootsMC, which is a joint venture between Boots (the UK' number one health and beauty retailer) and Mitsubishi Corporation. We offer a range of international and national healthcare, personal care and beauty products. We have many products (including Boots' own brands) that are unavailable elsewhere. We also have English-speaking pharmacists in our stores and a dispensing pharmacy in our Ginza store (there will soon be one in our Kichijoji store too). We have opened three shops in Tokyo in the last year, Harajuku, Ginza and Kichijoji, and will be opening a branch in Mitsukoshi's Yokohama department store in September.

Do you have a favorite restaurant and bar in Tokyo?
Any bar with a karaoke; alcohol improves my singing abilities (in my opinion, at least). Alternatively, the Hub does a nice Caesar Salad. A good restaurant for taking kids is Sizzler.

What's the weirdest thing you've seen or experienced in Japan?
The reaction to my three-year-old son, James. Apparently he is cho kawaii and people often ask if they can take photos of him or with him. He has blue eyes and red hair, which causes a stir. People like to touch his hair and ask if it's been dyed. He's in for some culture shock when we return to the UK.

What do you miss most about the UK?
Long summer evenings (particularly when combined with a beer garden). At the moment, with the European Championship, I'm also missing the football - watching matches at 4am is not much fun.

What's the one thing you'd like to take back to your home country from Japan?
Inokashira Koen or a view of Fuji.

What will you miss most about Japan?
The lack of violence and crime. It's a great environment to raise young children in, except for the lack of escalators at subways and train stations.

If you could change one thing about Japan what would it be?
I think that Japan itself is starting to change socially in a very fundamental way. Young people nowadays don't seem to have the same set of values as their parents. There is a move towards individualism and it will be interesting to see if Japan can embrace this while maintaining the virtue of respecting the community; the UK seemed to lose this when it went through the same process. Married to this is a business environment that's also changing. Careers for life and jobs that wouldn't exist in the West seem to be disappearing and this will no doubt also be unsettling for the population. The recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan is to go with the flow, don't take things personally and don't catch the Chuo line in the rush hour!

Contact Alistair at   or 03-5229-6519.

Alistair MacLachlan spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

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