Lincoln Waweru — A Kenyan’s Experience of Living in Japan (Part 3)

A jovial, kind-hearted, vibrant, and highly intelligent young man, Lincoln Waweru hails from Kenya. Relaxed, yet driven, Lincoln has the perfect personality for a challenging PhD research topic — the remediation and proper utilization of contaminated soils from an environmentally sustainable perspective at Kyoto University’s Global Environmental Studies Department. With plans to graduate in March 2020, Lincoln would love to work full-time in Japan or Kenya at potentially a university or a research company.

Needless to say, Lincoln has an important mission to fulfill in Japan, with his critical research topic that will help create a more environmentally sustainable future.

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Karthik Rampalli — A Young Man With a Big Mission in Japan (Part 3)

Welcome to a 3-part series, highlighting Karthik Rampalli's life. For those who didn't read Part I about Karthik Rampalli's arrival in Japan, or his experiences at Tokyo Institute of Technology, check out this article. If you are interested in learning more about Karthik's experiences of co-founding the MEXT Scholars Association (MSA), working at various part-time jobs and internships, and organizing 5 TEDx events and 1 Hackathon, then read Part II.

Now get ready to learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan and the benefits that come from it, and his overall appreciation and gratitude to those who helped him achieve everything he has accomplished thus far, as well as the MEXT Scholarship. And finally, learn some important clues to help make the best use of various opportunities in Japan.

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Katrina Navallo — An Unexpected Love Story in Japan

When Katrina Navallo first arrived in Japan in April 2016 from the Philippines with a laundry list of tasks to accomplish, such as setting up a Japan Post Office bank account, moving into her new dorm room, and starting an Intensive Japanese Language program through the MEXT Scholarship program for 5 months at Kyoto University, she had no expectations of what was to come her way.

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Blending the Best of Both Worlds Through an Innovative Entrepreneurial Service

A vibrant, energetic, and warm individual, Yuka Imanishi (今西由加) is the founder of both chezmo school — which prepares Japanese students for studying and living abroad, and chezmo family — a tutoring service that pairs foreign international students with Japanese families and has become quite successful in the Tokyo metropolitan area. In the next few years, the company plans to expand nationwide due to increasing customer demands.

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10 Captivating Facts About Re-mix Co. Female Founder

An Interview with Japanese Business Owner, Ritsuko Tominaga

Ritsuko Tominaga has one of the most fascinating life histories that I have ever heard. A sole proprietor and business consultant with 4 employees at Re-mix Co., Ritsuko is a middleman or middlewoman who creates unique and innovative OEM goods, or Original Equipment Manufacturer.

This entails meeting with clients such as department stores, to deeply understand their goals and stated desires, before meeting with an appropriate manufacturer to explain the clients' goals. With her unique background of working at her grandfather's sweets factory — Olympia Confectionary — from a young age, Ritsuko knows what is and isn't possible to manufacture.

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Baking Her Way to Success — A Deeper Look into the Life of Miki Yamamoto

A positive, curious, and successful business woman, mother, and wife, Miki Yamamoto epitomizes the ideal blend of managing both a career and family. In 2011, Miki made her childhood dream — to start her own business — come true, when she opened a stylish bakery in Kameoka called Patisserie Perle or パティスリーペルル.

Impeccably designed, her store features exquisite, ready-made gift boxes and spectacularly-designed goods. Plus, Miki's baking skills even earned her 4th place in a national competition in Japan. With over 10 years of experience, a nationally-recognized baking award, and a year of apprenticeship in France, Miki is a top-notch baker in Kyoto's backyard of Kameoka.

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An Outstanding Example of Overcoming Insurmountable Odds to Create a Thriving Business

An Interview with Female Founder, Sachiko Okamoto

Seamlessly switching back-and-forth between Japanese and English, Sachiko Okamoto and I had a delightful conversation in a vibrant room filled with captivating books, games, and pen pal letters. The founder of Willpower Learning Institute — an English School with more than 100 students and 4 teachers in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture — Sachiko truly adores her job!

Due to her kindness, passion for the role of teaching, and devoted attention to her students, Sachiko's students have stayed by her side, wherever she was teaching, for over 13 years. And even some of the children of her previous students, are now attending her school. Although Sachiko ran into many obstacles along the way, everything led to her current success and fundamental happiness with the way her life turned out!

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How This Japanese Female Entrepreneur Succeeded in Designing Her Own Career Path

An Interview with Designer Sachie Suzuki of a Women's Boutique in Tokyo

Right after Sachie Suzuki's eldest child turned 1 in 1991, she launched her boutique in Tokyo. From full-time housewife to launching her own brand, Sachie made a dramatic change.

The reason, you may ask? Well, she was honestly a bit bored as a full-time housewife, sought to be financially independent, and she deeply desired to design unique items.

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6 Fascinating Facts About Dir. Of Corporate Innovation at 500 Startups

An Interview with a Man You Need to Know — Arnaud Bonzom

At the 2017 Tokyo Slush Technology Conference, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arnaud Bonzom — an extremely accomplished, innovative, and dedicated supporter of women's empowerment and diversity initiatives.

500 Startups, for those who don't know, is an international early stage venture fund and startup accelerator with offices in more than 14 countries, including Japan.

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How This Female Founder Spearheaded Innovative Kimono Accessory Designs

A stunning, fashionable, light-hearted, and fun woman, Yukiko Yamamoto happily shared her personal trajectory. Now at the age of 67, she runs a design studio for kimono accessories called 紅小梅 (べにこうめ)・京都 (きょうと) in Kyoto and Shanghai with 4 full-time employees. Yukiko creates custom-made and personalized goods for her customers based on their wishes.

Fundamentally optimistic and warm, you would never guess that Yukiko has overcome betrayal and embezzlement of a former employee, surmounted huge piles of debt, and been the target of constant gossip. But she has

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Harue’s High-end Women’s Fashion Store in Kyoto

Meet Harue — a unique, captivating, and extremely warm individual. She’s different. She’s fashionable. And she’s strong! Over the course of multiple meetings including a dinner and a few visits to her store, I got to know this remarkable woman.

Launching her first store at the young age of 21 in Aichi Prefecture and running that business for 12 years, Harue has now been overseeing a high-end women’s fashion business in Kyoto called Hodge Podge for the past 18 years.

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A Calming & Creative Twist to a Centuries Old Tradition

Graceful. Elegant. And mired in tradition. These were my three takeaways from my visit with Atsuko Mori at Camellia — the founder of a traditional tea ceremony experience, geared towards foreigners in Kyoto. Atsuko started her company a mere 3 years ago, and already plans on expanding to a new location within the next year. 

Now with a steady business under her belt with 13 people working for her, all of whom are women, Atsuko is conducting more PR and making more time for herself. She recently appeared on television, was featured on Facebook Japan’s #SheMeansBusiness to promote female founders, created a video on how to make matcha tea, and married a man from the UK

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Pioneering Female Founder from the Japanese Tech Scene

Towards the end of 2016, I wrapped up my final interview of the year with Japanese female entrepreneur Chika Tsunoda, a Keio University graduate — one of the top business universities in Japan. Within a mere 40 minutes, I learned about her views on what makes an entrepreneur successful in Japan and the best advice she ever received.

In 2013 at the age of 28, Chika Tsunoda began her Anytimes technology business with neither a background in technology, nor programming friends. As such, she started from humble beginnings of crowdsourcing employees in order to create exactly what she wanted — an online skill share platform to connect users who need services such as housecleaning or cooking with local talent. 

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Introducing Japanese Female Entrepreneur — Emi Takemura Miller of Peatix.com & FutureEdu Tokyo

Recently, I interviewed an incredible female founder, Emi Takeumura Miller. We spoke about everything ranging from the advantages of starting a female entrepreneurship to the importance of sharing your vision with everyone you meet. Not only did she co-found Peatix.com, a mobile-focused event platform, but she also co-founded FutureEdu Tokyo, an education-based community, and co-hosted Unreasonable Labs Japan, a 5-day, hyper-accelerator to give Japan-based, social entrepreneurships an “unfair advantage to scale and succeed.” Most recently, Emi spoke at TEDxRoppongi to encourage more young female participation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).

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Introducing Kanoko Oishi, Founder of Mediva — Making a Positive Impact in the Healthcare World

A down-to-earth female entrepreneur with quite an accomplished background, Kanoko Oishi received her BA at Osaka University before earning her MBA at Harvard. Through Harvard’s network, she also met and inspired Kay Deguchi, the founder of Ochanomizu Orthopaedic Clinic.

Upon graduating Harvard, Kanoko Oishi joined McKinsey consulting company and worked there for 12 years. Her role focused on how companies can make themselves more customer-oriented. Incredibly dedicated to her work, and highly intelligent, she quickly rose to the role of partner.

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