METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
LIFE IN JAPAN
Ben Leibson

Ben Leibson

Maki Nibayashi

Occupation:
Scuba Diver


Time in Japan:

Seven years



Where are you from?
Originally, Louisville, Kentucky, home of Kentucky Fried Chicken. But I' lived in Las Vegas for 12 years, Hawaii for a year and Key Largo for two years. I've been around.

How did you end up in Tokyo?
I came with National Panasonic to develop the English program for them. It was just awful. Working in a big Japanese company environment is just not my cup of tea.

How did you go from there to scuba diving?
Well I've been diving for about 25 years - since I was a teenager. When I first came to Tokyo, I wanted to dive and I looked around for someplace to go. I couldn't find one organization that would take me because they didn't speak English or some other odd reason. It seemed strange that in this huge city, I would be the only English speaking person who wanted to go diving.

Have you started your own scuba diving school?
Well, I've been organizing it. I got a contract to teach at Yokota Air Base, but it's been a struggle. It took six weeks to get the day pass, then I got the gate pass. Now I have a lot of problems getting my tanks filled because they are American-made. The Japanese have a big issue because they have all this paper work to do and submit to the government whenever you fill USA-made tanks. But we're dealing with all that, so hopefully it'll all get sorted out. I also teach privates at Yokota and out of my house and at this diving shop in Toranomon. I teach confined water instruction at Yokota.

How's diving in Japan?
Down south is just gorgeous. It's beautiful, especially around Okinawa. It's a lot like any other recreational area around Tokyo; it's always bombarded and polluted with people. If you go to Futsu for the weekend during the summer, there's a line to get into the water. Ridiculous. There are like 500 divers, and people are kicking each other's masks off. If you go up north, it's too cold and the visibility is bad.

Where's your favorite diving spot in Japan?
I haven't gone diving in enough places to tell you, but as of now, Ishigaki Islands. There are other places where I'd like to go, like the Ogasawara Island chain.

What was the weirdest thing you've seen or experienced in Japan?
On a school outing there were three guys, maybe ninth or tenth graders, who were trying to be the tough guys in the crowd. All three of them were eating big pink lollipops and putting on this tough-as-a-Chevy-truck" front. I thought that was kind of strange.

What's one thing you'd like to take back to your own country?
The heated toilets-the coolest invention ever.

What's your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Eat good food, get a little exercise every day, and smile.

Contact Ben at bleibson@hpo.net 

Ben Leibson spoke to Maki Nibayashi

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at maki@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
360: Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer
355: Alec McAulay
Filmmaker
352/3: Mary Frenzel
Professional singer / songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
350: Kate Smurthwaite
Bond analyst and aspiring novelist
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
Advocate
345: Chris Chavez
Dancer/Singer
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
Musician
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
325: David Baran
Managing Partner, Compass Partners
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
Drummer
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
Cellist
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
Researcher
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel
Bartender

Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199
TOP