P.R. Section Chief JAL
Time in Japan:
What I would really like to do during my time here is to encourage more people to visit
Japan. This is a great place to come to, especially if you are a "thinking"
?and by that I mean someone who
wants more from a holiday than just a beach and a hotel?it is just a shame that it is not widely known just how much the
country has to offer.
I originally came to Japan because I was working for JAL in London as their PR and
Advertising Manager, and after five years they sent me to Tokyo to do some work.
Ironically, the job was canceled because of the oil crisis, but I had to come anyway as
all the paperwork had been done. When I arrived, my then boss told me I' better find
something to do, so I carved out a niche for myself dealing with foreign media and
overseas offices who have queries to do with news, policy or whatever; and that is
basically what I have been doing for the past twenty three years.
I suppose it's quite unusual for a Westerner to be in such a senior position within a
Japanese company but, although many businesses employ foreign specialists for advertising
or overseas communications, I'm not sure that there are many who are lifetime employees,
as I am. I guess they've given me that status simply because I've been here for so long.
The problems I've had in Japan are really only the kind of problems you'd have working for
any big organization anywhere. Very occasionally there might be some cultural thing that
crops up, but over the years I've learned to handle that. I have to say that I am very
lucky. I work with some first-rate people, who give me a free hand to let me get on with
my job. Above all, they trust m
an awesome thing?so I've got to trust
One of the things about living in a place for so long is that often you don't notice
things changing, they sort of creep up on you. I first came here in 1970 and the thing I
remember most about that visit is that the streets in Akasaka were unpaved. Obviously,
since then, the quality of life for the Japanese has improved, certainly in the material
e?although I'm not so sure about
the spiritual thing. I mean, these days you can walk into a supermarket and the number and
variety of overseas products that you can buy would have been inconceivable twenty five
There are so many positive things about living in Japa
n?most things work here,
and people who say they're going to do something actually do it?but it is the people who
make a place, and I think that is why Japan is so enjoyable. I've still got a few years to
go before I retire and my plan is to stay here until I do. My wife is Japanese, my son
thinks he's Japanese, so, yes, I am quite happy to carry on living here.