Born, raised and currently living in Germany, I am a 31-year-old woman with a Japanese mother and a German father. When I was in high school, I played competitive basketball and that was all I cared about; nothing else mattered. If you had asked me at that time, I never could have imagined I would ever lean in once again the way I did while playing basketball. It felt like the sport was my whole life. In retrospect, I have to smile because I know now there is, of course, so much more to life.
Being raised monolingual in German, but a frequent visitor to Japan, I began to realize my Japanese heritage was not fully a part of me, although in my heart I felt this incredibly strong connection to Japan. I felt incomplete since I did not speak or even understand Japanese. Consequently, I chose to move to Tokyo for college, where I studied business and Japanese for almost two years; this became one of the most meaningful and fulfilling experiences and one that I will always cherish. Most importantly, the day finally came when I was able to converse with my Japanese grandma in my own words; it was my heartfelt wish and it made me feel a little bit more “complete.”
Always very ambitious and aware of what I wanted, following graduation, my confusion about where to apply and what to do in my professional life came as a shock. Despite my own goals and perfect information sources, I started to feel very lost and hopeless. I ended up working in recruitment, yet despite my success, my heart was never fully committed, and I constantly felt suffocated. I still yearned for passion, fulfillment and satisfaction in my career.
That day came when I knew I was ready to establish my own business. My goal was to bridge the gap between Americans and the German community. For more than 10 years, I have been interacting with US Army personnel stationed in Germany, supporting and assisting them with everyday life in Germany—helping Americans to socialize with the locals. It was all due to my own cultural background and my affinity to the United States.
Today here I am, a half Japanese, half German woman living in Wiesbaden, Germany, proudly supporting her local community and finally feeling free and fulfilled with what I do.
I am not going to lie, this is very scary at times considering the investments and responsibilities. Still, I love every minute of it. If you were to ask me what I do, I would tell you that I am leaning in – on a daily basis – with all I have.