Jim's Japan Blog
Raised in Arizona, my life-long embarrassment has been the fact that my Mom gave birth to me in Chicago, a city that I was in for less than few months and know absolutely nothing about. Nonetheless, I have scars to prove that I was there. The doctor that performed cesarean on my mother missed my backbone by just a few centimeters. The scar is still there to prove the fact.
My father joined the Navy prior to the war and participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz in the South Pacific where the ship he was on, the USS Porter, was sunk by a Japanese submarine in October 1942. The Navy shipped Dad back to the States to place him on a different ship. He took this opportunity to visit his home state of Iowa. During the few weeks he was there, he successfully courted and married my mother whom he had know since he was in high school. They then went to Oakland where he was stationed for a few months. By the time he left again for the South Pacific, I had been conceived and Mom went to live with her sister in Chicago where I was born in November 1944. After the war Dad took my mother and me to Arizona for her health.
After graduating from high school, I joined the Navy in 1964 where I served as a Fire Control Technician working on guided missiles and 3D radar. In 1971, I left the Navy in order to attend Sophia University in Tokyo. There I majored in both Far East Studies and Sociology. I began graduate school there majoring in Japanese Anthropology but suspended my studies to begin doing translation and providing consulting to Japanese and foreign firms. In 1986 I established a company called DataFlow International, Ltd. In the early '90's with the event of browsers, I began developing websites and business strategies for companies looking to exploit what was then a revolutionary but strange and not-easy-to-understand new means of marketing using the Internet. In 2011, I returned to the US to take care of my aging parents who have subsequently passed away.
In 2010, prior to understanding the condition of Mom and Dad, I began a circumnavigation of Japan in my 16' dinghy called "Deai." Deai, in Japanese, means to encounter.Although I was able to sail for only 4 months before having to return to the US, those 4 months were the most memorable 4 months of the nearly 50 years I lived in Japan.
My short journey ended with me sailing into a small coastal village on the western side of Izu Peninsula. The village is called Matsuzaki and has become the inspiration for me to restart a project that I had first envisioned in 1992, that of setting up an online community that helps small local businesses provide services and products to a wider range of clients. Since returning to Arizona to take care of my parents, I have been developing two websites, japantouring.jp and japantouring.com with that aim in mind.