Contact information: japaninsight(at)gmail.com
Aloha, I’m Tim Sullivan. And I’m happily married to my wife of
31 years, Kurumi. We are now officially empty-nesters.
Got two grown sons, one’s in college the other just entered the real world. Number-one-son Ry resides in Tokyo where he just lived through the biggest earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history.
Number-two son Grady attends University of Hawaii Hilo, works as a scribe at Hilo Hospital, teaches hip-hop dance at Center Stage, and lives with a roommate in Hilo Town. For my “oya baka” ramblings on Grady, check out this post. For Grady’s trailer click here.
What’s My Gig?
I’m a cross-cultural business consultant. It’s not a profession easy to describe. My wife likens it to marriage counseling because often my job entails helping frustrated Japanese and American coworkers “kiss and make up,” so to speak. Every workshop we’ve ever done ends in a borderline love-fest. It’s kind of creepy but in a good way. Can’t think of a more rewarding way to make a living.
That’s one part of my gig. The other part is helping Western organizations connect with Japan. My work in Hawaii tends to be customer-service consulting and workshops for clients serving the Japanese visitor market. We start with “deep culture” by educating clients on Japanese history, values, cultural traditions, geography, etc., and through this cultural lens, how they view–rightly or wrongly or stereotypically–folks from the West. From this foundation we challenge participants to come up with their own ideas on ways to improve.
The beauty of this approach is that once folks get the big picture, most figure out on their own that they need to raise their game. And if you allow the improvement suggestions to be their ideas, then they’ll make sure those ideas become reality. It’s not rocket science–try it at your company, you’ll like it.
What qualifies me to do this?
It helps to have a knack for it. Lots of hard-knocks experience to back my knack, including 37 years dealing with Japan; 27 of that working with Japanese-owned subsidiaries in the U.S.; the other 10 living, studying and working in Japan.
If you want to put my name to a face and voice, here’s a short clip of me in action, taken at a seminar last year at Halekulani for my client Hawaiian Airlines:
I speak, read and write Japanese, just don’t ask me to write it without my computer.
My educational background includes a Liberal Arts degree from International Christian University in Tokyo in Communications, specializing in Cross-Cultural studies. That, and 27 years’ experience working elbow to elbow with, and between, Japanese and their foreign counterparts.
We work only with top-shelf organizations committed to quality and excellence. Clients include Hawaiian Airlines, Halekulani, Hilton Grand Vacations Hawaii, Nordstrom, Christian Dior, Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton, Gemini, Pacific Air Force Command, and Hawaii Tourism Authority to name a few.
As of this writing–and for the foreseeable future–I’m living the dream in Pahoa Hawaii, nestled in the lush green jungles of Puna. When I’m not working, I’m reading, writing, picking at my guitar or just putzin’ around my taro patch. And on a sunny, lazy Hawaii morning you might catch us swimming laps at Ahalanui, a beautiful hot-pond cove on the sleepy shores of Kapoho. Life is good.
Thanks for reading this far. And don’t be shy about making comments.
aloha nui from Pahoa,