I left Tokyo the other night to come to Hawaii. I have noticed quite a few differences since I arrived this morning.
First of all, the weather is nice and warm, unlike very cold and harsh days in Tokyo last week. Though it is breezy in Hawaii and you need sweater or some type of jacket at night (people from here are in T shirts!), the mild weather warms you up, I feel.
The state of Hawaii has suffered from poor economy and many people have two jobs to support themselves, the atmosphere is upbeat and positive, it seems. People are very friendly, and I feel even more so than last year.
Because it was a long weekend (Presidents’ Day), many families are around and they enjoy good times. Disney Resort which opened a few months ago nearby seems to have attracted so many people. (They were taping the live TV show, and there was a LONG line of people waiting to get in.)
The pace is much slower and you can almost feel difference in the air. People say something funny and we laugh, too. Immigration officer at the airport wanted to know where I live etc. and we ended up talking about jogging in Tokyo! The air, people and the pace seems to be more relaxed than in Tokyo.
Naturally I feel more relaxed as I have no deadline coming every day and my days are not filled with meetings. The fact that I am a visitor (i.e. not from here) makes me feel freer and more relaxed, too.
Getting away from it all helps, if you can.
Yoko Ishikura is a Professor at Hitotsubashi University ICS in the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy in Japan. She has held positions as a professor at the School of International Politics, Economics and Business of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, as a consultant at McKinsey and Company Inc. Japan and a visiting professor at Darden School.
Professor Ishikura is a consultant to a number of multinational companies and has been a frequent speaker at management conferences, seminars, and workshops throughout the world. She was a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee for the Japanese government and the International Competitiveness Commission for METI. She is currently a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum.
She is the author of Strategic Shift from OR choices to AND paradigm, Building Core Skills of Organization , and the co-author of the following publications: Managing Diversity in the 21st Century, Strategy for Cluster Initiatives in Japan , and Building a Career to the World Class Professionals – all in Japanese. Her books in English include: Asian Advantage, Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management and Trust and Antitrust in Asian Business Alliances.
Professor Ishikura’s current research interests are focused on global competition, innovation, and knowledge management. She received her BA from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan; MBA from Darden School, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia; and DBA from Harvard Business School.