When I was a kid, my dad told me never to work for anybody, and I really took that
to heart. Japan has become my home because this is where I have been able to realize my
dream of being my own boss.
My first experience in Japan was a home-stay for two months during the summer before my
senior year in college. After studying Japanese for a year, I was inspired to do a work
exchange. However, I didn' know what I was really getting myself into, because instead of
teaching English, I found myself knee deep in the dirty work of a chicken farm'gathering
eggs and killing chickens in rural Saitama.
Although I would never choose to do that kind of work again, my chicken farming story
helped me to win a national Japanese speech contest in Chicago the following March. The
prize was a first-class, round-trip ticket to Japan. So after graduation, I returned to
the land of the rising sun in search of a cleaner, more fulfilling Japanese experience.
My first "real" job in Japan was at a computer company, selling multi-media
equipment. I had studied marketing in school and enjoyed sales, so I was much happier than
during my earlier experience. Eventually I developed a solid relationship with computer
companies all over Asia to whom I had sold hardware. After establishing a network of
contacts, I was able to break off and start my own company called Discount Supply
International. With the help of my staff of five, I now supply hardware and software to
companies all over Asia.
One of my major projects right now is Modelbase, an on-line network to promote models
from the US, Europe and South Africa. I have been coordinating network parties and fashion
shows in Japan to get people interested here. Cyber-scouting is expected to completely
change the Japanese model industry and we will be a part of it.
It has been a real challenge, being a foreigner here and starting my own company in an
environment which has historically been very exclusive. But in these changing times, Japan
has become a land of opportunity, and Tokyo is the place to be if you're a new
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