Celebrating Diversity and Difference at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark — A Poem About Challenging My Identities, Norms, and Stereotypes

This past February 2019, I was very fortunate to attend a conference on International Women’s Day at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in Denmark called “Fight the myths about gender at International Women's Day 2019.” Not only were there fantastic speakers such as Nima Sophia Tisdall of Blue Lobster App, who was recently featured by the Obama Foundation, but also we all participated in a GenderLAB experiment, where we were asked to identify our various, unique identities and the stereotypes that surround them. For example, I distinctly remember writing down that “I am a woman, but I cannot cook, and I don’t want to be a housewife.” This innovative and compelling exercise, stimulated my creative juices and got me thinking about other areas where norms, identities, and stereotypes all collide.

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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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Karthik Rampalli — A Young Man With a Big Mission in Japan (Part 2)

Welcome to a 3-part series, highlighting Karthik Rampalli's life. For those who didn't already read Part I about Karthik Rampalli's arrival in Japan, or his experiences at Tokyo Institute of Technology, check out the first article in the 3-part series.

In Part III, you will learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan, the benefits that come from it, and Karthik's 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.

Now let's learn 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.

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Karthik Rampalli — A Young Man With a Big Mission in Japan (Part 1)

Welcome to a 3-part series, highlighting Karthik Rampalli's life. In Part II to learn 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 in Part III, you will learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan and the benefits that come from it, and Karthik's 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.

Now, let's get started on Karthik's experience of moving to Japan, diligently studying Japanese for 1 year of intensive studies, and obtaining acceptance into Tokyo Tech's Department of Information Engineering.

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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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A Home Away From Home — Guest House Hachi In Kyoto

When I visited back in June of this year prior to their official launch in August 2017, I was fortunate enough to receive a sneak preview from one of the owners — Takuji — an extremely warm, friendly, and open-minded owner. With his business partners — Onur and Amelia, the trio collaborated and designed an immaculate guesthouse called Guest House Hachi with spectacular decor.

Pouring their hearts and souls into establishing the business, the trio often worked long hours and often into the middle of the night to launch this guest house in time for its grand opening this year. Not only did I witness the result of their combined efforts to transform a traditional town house (or 町家 / まちや)into an impeccably-designed guest house in Kyoto, but I also received such a warm welcome that I couldn’t wait to publish an Instagram story about it.

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The Top 3 Best Salads in Kyoto, Japan

While there are many types of Japanese-style salads that are readily available in Japan, one of the first things that I truly missed are San Francisco-style salads. In the bay area, you can easily obtain enormous, customizable salads with nuts, protein, vegetables, fruits, and even grains at places such as Sweetgreen. One of my personal favorites is a warm, friendly café called Crepevine that serves a hearty Bangkok Thai Chicken Salad with peanuts and a piece of bread on the side. On my recent trip back home, I went to this café at least 3 times with my family.

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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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Cultivating Women Entrepreneurs and Female Founders in Japan

In July, I had the great fortune of presenting at a fantastic Non-Profit Organization or NPO called Kyoto SMI (Kyoto STEM Cells, Smart Materials & Innovation. 

The goals of the presentation were the following: 

  1. Provide an overview of my background, 
  2. Share major highlights about the research I've done so far regarding female founders in Japan, and
  3. Offer a few recommendations on how Kyoto SMI can cultivate and support more women entrepreneurs in Japan. 

Thank you very much for taking a look at this presentation.

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Women for World Peace Japanese Speech Contest|日本語弁論大会

After hours upon hours of preparing and practicing the presentation, I finally presented the following speech about “My Future Aspirations” to an audience of over 50 people, including the local mayor. The Women for World Peace (WFWP) NGO organized a half day of festivities for us, replete with a sushi bento for lunch, two spectacular performances, an awards ceremony, and light dessert with the judges at the end.

Enjoy part of my presentation (on albeit, a shaky camera).

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An Introduction to Silicon Valley's Landscape and Top Companies

"An Introduction to Silicon Valley's Landscape and Top Companies" was prepared to cater to a Japanese audience. Last week, I presented this in Japanese to Kyoto University undergraduate students. 

In Japan, we receive very little news and updates about the latest in Silicon Valley technologies. As such, the purpose of this presentation was an overview of the captivating facts and fundamental information that everyone should know.

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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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A Fresh Renewal — 8+ Years as a Housewife to a Self-Made Business Consultant

On a sunny afternoon, I met with an extremely well-mannered, well-dressed, and warm-hearted female entrepreneur — Yoko Yamada of a Business Manners Consulting Company. An inherently positive person, Yoko does her best to uplift others through her seminars. In fact, she even hosts workshops around building self-esteem and self-confidence called, “自分を褒める” or “Praise Myself.”

Every morning without fail, Yoko positively uplifts herself by saying “今日も頑張ろう!” Or, “Let's do our best today!”Recently back from a whirlwind 10-day trip to conduct a Business Manners course for a few companies, Yoko Yamada was full of energy, and dare I say, impeccably dressed. In fact, she looked younger and more vibrant than me, even though she has a 20-year-old son.

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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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Why This Professional Networking Service is Excelling in Japan

Confident. Transparent. And approachable. These are the 3 words that I would use to quickly describe Akiko Naka, founder of Wantedly — the game-changing, professional networking service in Japan that offers two unique services.

One, Wantedly allows candidates who are interested in a particular company to visit the offices of the potential employer — a highly unusual service in Japan. Two, Wantedly’s mission is to create: “A world where work meets passion.”

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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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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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Breaking Stereotypes —  A Young Foreign Mother & Female Founder in Japan

Impressive. Inspiring. And invigorating! These were the words I immediately felt while speaking to amazing female entrepreneur  —  Omima M. Miki, or “Mimi” for short. Currently, her task list is larger than most Japanese サラリーマンor “salary men.” One of her latest initiatives is planning and launching an “温泉と旅館” or a Japanese-style hotel paired with a relaxing onsen spa and delectable Japanese-style food.

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