1981-2000｜０〜19 years old｜Sports. Surfing. PC.
Born 1981, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Japanese. Loves sports and music, played baseball until junior high school. It wasn’t until high school that I started to become passionate about surfing under the influence of my classmates. During school years, I worked in a surfboard factory and became fascinated by the surfing lifestyle. Education provided in school was only interesting to me up to the age of 10, after which I became indifferent to school education. I wasn’t really fond of group activities, and often preferred to do things alone or in small groups. It was also around this time that I got my first laptop with Windows 98.
2001-2007｜20〜26 years old｜Ichinomiya, Chiba. Anxious for the future. Bonesetter. Tateyama, Chiba.
I had no particular serious future plans and spent my life in a frivolous and random way. At the time, I was living in Ichinomiya-cho, Chiba Prefecture, the site of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, for surfing. One day, I had a concrete vision of my future. The 25 or 30-year old version of myself that would undoubtedly come to me as I continued to age. This is not good! I thought. I immediately returned to my hometown and decided to rethink of my future path once and for all by a method of elimination. From then on, I went to study body building and function with a focus on muscles and skeletal structure at a vocational school for three years. During that time, I also worked in a surf shop and had the opportunity to set up the first athlete body care booth at a JPSA (Japan’s Professional Surfing Association) event. It was around this time that the smartphone was introduced to the world. However, I did not yet understand exactly how valuable they were.
2008-2009｜27〜28 years old｜Challenges. Independence. Leisure. Internet society. SEO.
Without much experience, I opened a clinic in my hometown at the age of 27. Patients did not come, although I had heard from someone that they would come right from the start of the opening. Since I was bored, I closed the clinic about four days a week in the random days of the week and went surfing and shopping. Six months after opening with no patients coming in, I thought about quitting.
However, in the seventh month of business, a turning point came. It was an IT marketing strategy for feature phone. The strategy was simply to use my spare time to create a dedicated mobile phone website using a CMS. A few days later, a patient came to the clinic after learning of the establishment through the website. The response was instant. This is interesting. Incidentally, at the time, CMS was just starting to appear on the market.
I then created a website for PCs, again using a CMS that had just arrived in Japan. The patients came to see my website again. I mixed the text and content on the website with information about the clinic and my own personality. I think this had the effect of adjusting the clientele.
Just by creating a website and implementing SEO measures, the hospital’s management quickly improved. I think we were able to achieve this result because we happened to be able to “read a little ahead of the times and act earlier than others”. What happens when you take the right action at the right time, in line with the times? This accidental success experience changed my value.
I continue to get into web marketing after this. I had my own domain and created an original design website in WordPress. Then, I controlled the customer attraction by focusing on patients who were likely to be high value in a short period of time. I thought that was an essential action to make time and money and to move on to the next stage.
2010-2012｜29〜31 years old｜Reaching success. Meaning of life. Habits. Information. Power of search information.
The number of patients increased and money started to flow. By choosing my clientele, I had more free time, even though I was running the clinic on my own. I turned that time and money into my ability to select and extract information. This was because at that time, the world was changing to an era that demanded the ability to search. I conducted a massive stream of information, mainly through listening to it by ear, and extracted the essence from it every day, without a break, for several years. If I found someone I was interested in, I gathered sources of information, read and listened to them, and learnt their insights and thought processes. I think this was an important habit to maximise one’s ability to flourish in a way that was in tune with the times. This process is still ongoing and remains interesting to this day.
At the age of 30 years old, I finally felt that I am starting to live my life.
2013｜32 years old｜Consulting. IT revolution. Deterioriating health. Life priority. Employment.
During this period, I created a separate company and did some consultancy work for other hospitals. I wanted to find out if the same success formula could be copied. As a result, I found that the essence of the IT revolution can be copied.
The next turning point came when the management of my own clinic was going well, and the workload was becoming too much for one person to handle. In the best of these circumstances, I fell ill at the worst possible time. And already, my priorities in life were set: 1) health, 2) time and 3) something to immerse myself in. I changed direction to a path of continuous trial and error in order to realise this.
After five years in business, I created a template for the entire management of the hospital, so that anyone could run the hospital operations. Furthermore, I decided to take the hospital out of my own hands by employing other people, including the director, to create more health, time and experience for myself.
2014-2015｜33〜34 years old｜Employment failure. Outsourcing failure. Around Japan.
The management of the hospital, where staff were employed, was tried for two years. However, this was a failure. To begin with, the employment did not take the clinic out of my own hand.
The next move after failing in employment was to outsource the entire hospital and again try to take the work of my own hospital off my hands. This, too, was not successful, but it would give me some time off from being tied to a spot. I took advantage of this opportunity and travelled around Japan to get to know my own country first. I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t feel like surfing, but I drove around Japan to see the whole country. Japan was a very wonderful, culturally rich, samurai country. I would definitely like to see Japan become an IT superpower, leaving behind the old things that cannot be rebuilt.
At this time I decide to do my own personal business, which is completed 100% online.
2016-2018｜35〜37 years old｜Migrated overseas. Resumed surfing. Communist country. Business transfer.
I decided to leave Japan when I was 35 years old. For some reason, I figured that in order for me to grasp a broader perspective further, I need to leave Japan. There was a strong burning desire within me to know who I am. I couldn’t bear how monotonous life was in Japan, around Japanese people and the unchanging everyday life.
After quite a long break, I resumed surfing, a part of me that I was losing interest in. Being apart from the sea for such a long time was probably one of the main reasons for the lack of interest. Initially, I didn’t find it as enjoyable as it used to be, but I slowly wandered around overseas to find places that I could surf at. At the meantime, I tried to do business on the side whilst traveling. Despite all the ideas, I gave up halfway as I lack passion in executing it. Since I was still feeling burnout and exhausted from the previous years, with no set goals, I continued to live abroad. I thought to myself that rather than coming back to Japan with nothing in mind, it would be best for me to spend time living abroad.
When I lived abroad, I lived a nomadic life, moving from one hotel, condominium and private accommodation to another. I have always liked moving and have moved several times in Japan in as little as three months. Overseas, it is easier to move than in Japan, as there is no key money or broker’s fee of one month’s rent, which are outdated burdens in Japan, and the accommodation is furnished. However, I did not like to move as fast as a backpacker and stayed in different countries on a monthly basis. The places I chose for these stays were San Diego, USA; East Taiwan; Phuket, Thailand; and Da Nang, Vietnam.
San Diego is still my favourite place. Unfortunately, with the culture of high racial prejudice and discrimination, commodity price and food culture was not within my favor. East Taiwan on the other hand has a clean air. Despite that, the place was lacking in terms of the people, goods, money and information. I couldn’t shake off this feeling that there was a problem in my own self-growth. Phuket was too westernized for me to fit in. Then, while I was on my way back to Phuket in October 2016, I stopped by in Da Nang, which is the third largest city in Vietnam. I was immediately hooked into it.
I chose Da Nang because at the time there were no allergic sources to which I reacted, it was youthful, economically developing, inexpensive, and I could enjoy my hobby of surfing in the reserved ocean. Also, being a socialist and Buddhist country, the Vietnamese people’s various reactions and behaviours were different compared to other Southeast Asian countries. It seemed emotionless and faceless. At best, they forget unpleasant things easily and leave you alone, but they are caring. I don’t like people who meddle excessively or call out to me from behind, so this atmosphere suited me. I ended up staying in Da Nang for about three years. Needless to say, the economic bubble experience in Vietnam was not common knowledge in modern Japan.
Living abroad so far has allowed me to experience that there are indeed many different people living in the world, each with their own values. This has convinced me that I can let out my individuality and thoughts, which have been suppressed in Japan.
The osteopathic clinic was eventually transferred to a Chinese businessman after running it for a total of 10 years. It was a moment when I felt strongly that the times are the Chinese way, which I had also felt strongly in Vietnam. With this, I felt I had finally made up my mind to move on to the next stage of my life. However, I learnt a lot during these ten years. It also became clear to me during this time how general school education from junior high school onwards in Japan cannot be used directly in management practice.
2019-2020｜38〜39 years old｜YouTube. Vietnam longitudinal journey. Covid-19 pandemic. Bali Island.
As the city and sea of Da Nang become noisier, more distant and less local, I decided to leave Da Nang. So, a journey is set out, traversing the Vietnamese coastline and mapping the surf spots. The trip to Vietnam had many problems, but we learnt a lot. Each place had its own regional characteristics. I felt that if you can survive the odds, the stronger the load, the more growth you will get out of it.
For more information on the trip, please visit the Vietnam Mujin Surfing website. It’s full of information on all of Vietnam’s uncharted surf spots!
While we were in the countryside of Binh Dinh Province during our surf trip across Vietnam, we started to receive news of the spread of the corona outbreak. This became increasingly hard to ignore and we had no choice but to change our plans and return to Da Nang. When we went out after returning to Da Nang, we were repeatedly refused rides by Grab drivers. The reason was that the number of Japanese people infected with the new strain of corona had temporarily increased. We predicted that this situation would worsen in the future and decided to leave Vietnam.
I chose Bali, Indonesia, as my next destination. I thought that if I knew Indonesia, the world’s number one surfing destination, and compared it to Vietnam, I could explain the advantages of surfing in Vietnam. I immediately booked my airline ticket. However, the situation with the pandemic outbreak worsened day by day and there was a possibility of a blockade of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. I immediately abandoned my planned airline ticket and crossed to the Indonesian island of Bali to rebook an earlier ticket. This was just in time, two days before the closure of Bali’s international airport.
From this point on, we would stay in Bali for more than a year in the new Corona disaster. Tourists stopped coming, and Asia’s number one tourist destination began to decline, and the more touristy the area became, the more shuttered it became. One after another, foreigners returned to their home countries. Indonesians from the surrounding islands also left Bali. I went back in time to Bali, which was 25 or 30 years ago. I didn’t like the noisy crowd in Bali, but it’s great to be in Bali without so many people.
Although my life in Bali was full of the discomforts of living abroad, I thought I would stay until the pandemic settled down. However, when a year has passed, I felt the urge to return to Japan, both in terms of the mutating corona and intuitively. I hadn’t been back home for almost two years and I was tired of being abroad in an unstable world situation. I decided to recharge my batteries in Japan for the first time in a long time and returned to Japan.
2021｜40 years old｜Japan. Domestic. Covid-19 pandemic.
After returning to Japan, I am, as always, impressed by the taste of food. And I’ve hardly been out, shopping through iHerb and Amazon, watching YouTube Premium and listening to Voicy. I haven’t surfed once. Once I get to know the surfer-free waters of Vietnam, I may never surf in the world’s most crowded ocean in Shonan again.
When a Japanese person is fed Japanese food and allowed to breathe Japanese air, he or she feels energised. The tiredness of the long journey has disappeared as I feel the high level of people who keep their promises and rules. My disordered internal compass pointed north again.
2022-2023｜41 years old｜Da Nang.
Currently back in Da Nang, Vietnam. Let’s continue moving forward.