|Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you originally from?
My grandfather (mother's side) is from Basel Switzerland, but I was born and raised in the USA. My family bought a house on the beach in Seaside, Oregon when I was five-months old. I was raised in this small coastal resort town (90 minutes from Portland) and had a fantastic childhood filled with barbeques on the beach, evening football games on the beach (before mom called the gang in for dinner), and hikes and picnics in the coastal range. In my high school days, I excelled in varsity athletics and music. I started playing drums in a few local jazz bands at age 16, and went on to pay for my college education by spending the summers playing music up and down the coast in local clubs and restaurants. I still perform from time to time. Here's a clip from a local club in Osaka (that's me on drums). Recently I have been experimenting with some local blues musicians in Osaka. (Hear a blues sample in QuickTime.)
Where did you go to college?
Since I was a kid, I wanted to play football for the OSU Beavers. So, I attended Oregon State University in the '80s and walked-on the football team. I made the team in spring ball and proceeded to rupture my Achilles tendon (twice). So much for my football career. I ended up graduating with High Scholarship with a BS in Philosophy, receiving the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation Award recognizing me as the department's top undergraduate student. After some time in Peace Corps (Micronesia) and the JET Program in Japan, I completed my graduate work at the University of Hawaii. While in Hawaii I interned for two years at the East West Center and received a certificate in International Management from the Pacific-Asian Management Institute as well.
Why do you live in Japan?
I am asked this questioned a lot. What can I say I simply love living in Japan. I left Japan twice, once for graduate school and once for Apple Computer. And while I had a great time back in the US on both occasions, Japan kept calling me back. What is it about Japan? It is a mixture of many things: The food (love it!), the great customer service, the trains, the bits of traditional culture that still lurk here and there, and the fact that Japan is radically different (and yet superficially quite similar) from where I am from. I could live virtually anywhere I want in the world and I choose to live here in Osaka, Japan. I do not plan on moving back to the States, but you never know. For now, I love what I do, and I love where I live. I consider myself very lucky.
I'm in business should I really get a Mac?
You bet! I'm a business guy too. I know what you are dealing with. But here is the deal: Whether you run your own small business, or work in a huge multinational firm, adding a PowerBook G4 can take you to the next level. This is not hyperbole, I am talking about a cool tool that can help you differentiate yourself from the regular business crowd. You want to Make killer presentations? Get a Mac. You want to get more work done with less (no?) downtime? Get a Mac. You want a tool that just lets you get your work done? Get a Mac. And if you don't mind looking cool, hip, and on the cutting edge...then get a Mac.
Where did you learn about design?
When I was quite young, I was interested in Jazz and wanted to be a jazz musician. My teacher made me listen to record after record of the great jazz artists of the day and the past. By listening, really listening, I developed my talent. My teacher was smart. It is the same way for learning design. I am not a professional graphic designer, but I have learned to be more designed mindful by observing great design, by hanging out with designers, and by reading dozens of design-related books over the years. I keep a scrap book of good design examples and not-so-good examples. I have items such as business cards, brochures, magazine layouts, webpages, pics of wonderful office furniture, etc. There are several books I recommend on general design and graphic design in the resource section of this website. I urge you to become more design aware and more knowledgeable about how design (even of your PowerPoint slides) can impact your professional life.
How do you keep fit?
It is much easier for an American like me to be fit in Japan than in the USA. Life in Japan is urban. Here we walk up and down stairs to the train stations everyday and think nothing of walking 500 meters or more to our next appointment. In the US, the automobile is used for even very short distances. When I worked at Apple, if I did not force my self to the gym everyday (located on the Apple campus), I do not think I would have walked more than 500 meters in an entire day! But "life is motion," so they say. So, yes, I (and my iPod mini) work out about 3-4 times per week at Tipness in Kyobashi. This is a wonderful fitness center with a sunny, bright atmosphere and a good supply of free weights. I used to do a lot of running in the '80s and '90s (I even ran a full marathon best of 3:08 in San Francisco), but now I concentrate on doing quick, intense workouts almost exclusively with free weights. For both men and women, I highly recommend weight training with a bit of aerobics thrown in on the side. "Use it or lose it," that is my philosophy. For good physical and mental health, we've got to push both our bodies and our brains to be better.