As my birthday is right around the corner, I decided to reflect on my life. Just a little bit.
For the last 5 years, I have been living abroad. Germany, Sweden, Boston and now San Francisco.
I left Japan, not because I couldn’t achieve my dream in Japan, but because simply I saw more opportunities in other parts of the world.
When I grew up, people kept telling me to get on the right railway.
They say that if you could get on a right one, you will be “fine” as long as you work hard for the rest of your life. The reward comes at the end like a yummy dessert. This was dangerous. The yummy dessert becomes something symbolic that you start loosing the real meaning of what you doing without noticing.
If you fail to get on the one of them , you are kinda screwed. You might have to wait or look for a long time for the next one to come. To call these people, the society made up a new vocabulary which didn’t exist before. “Losers”. The media and the winners took advantage of using them.
I really didn’t want to get on to the one of them or become a “loser”. But at least, I tried once to get on. But soon, I got off. Well, I was forced to get off by the people who strive for the yummy dessert. Instead of looking for another one to come, I looked for an another option. I decided to take a plane to go across the ocean to come to the Land of Liberty.
For the past 5 years, I worked hard to find the gold that’s supposedly buried deeply in this continent. There was no right “railway” that could guide me to the right place. Since there was no right tool to dig the gold from the beginning, I educated myself. I even got a job where they operated in the most innovative way in the world.
Over the course of my training, I learned how to find the gold in a very rational, but yet creative and innovative way. People called it “Design Thinking”. Every one liked to use this phrase for everything. Even smart people started using that word.
Since the land is vast, collaboration was the key to the success. Everyone needs to help each other to make something big. To survive in this country, you cannot just stay in the cabin alone and master the katana making until you die. Nobody would hear or help you if you just hanging out lonely in the big corn field.
For me, that was hard. In the country where I grew up, I did not need to tell explicitly or do anything to express my feeling and opinion. People just feels it and knows it naturally. It was ok to go with a flow, because you are supposedly on the right railway that guides you to the right path.
But in this vast cornfield, you have to shout hard so that people can hear you and help you. It’s crucial to have your view on everything if they ask you something for your opinion. People would not help you, just because you wear a fancy dress. At least, you have to say “Your corn looks phenomenon today, son!!.” I had to fight myself to have a point of view on everything. Even the color of the socks I wear…. But a lot of time, I had to fake it, which worked out pretty nicely.
But at the end, I couldn’t find the gold that I was looking for. It was buried everywhere. But I was not able to find what I dreamed for. Maybe I didn't dream enough or had a wrong dream. During my journey, I met a lot of great and smart people. I mean.. Real People. They guided me, made me laugh, and shared great knowledge with me. At the end, I decided to get out of my dream and go to look for something else instead. It might be a diamond. who knows…
That’s why I came to San Fransisco. The land of promise.
Off course, there is no right railway here either. It’s not easy. I have to make my own rail and find what I am looking for. But at least I see something is shining there. Maybe it’s a gold, again…
I am happy and inspired for the next challenge.