Issue link: http://www.pubs.hotelschool.cornell.edu/i/71702
World Views Mirror on Japan: Reflections on perseverance M Tokyo's Ginza district as seen from the Imperial Hotel I have a 20-year relationship with Japan, and this catastrophe affects me as much on a personal level as it does professionally. My heart goes out not only to my own personal network, but also to the many Hotelies and other Cornellians in Japan, and those with Japan connections. Given my 24 School of Hotel Administration any of the courses I teach in Boston College's MBA program involve bringing our students to Asia, either to consult with companies about their business practices or to visit firms in multiple Asian cities. I journey to Japan with my students every few years; my most recent trip was in 2009. I expected to return there this year, but in view of the unthinkable devasta- tion caused by the March 11 earth- quake, tsunami, and now Japan's result- ing nuclear crisis, we've had to replace Tokyo with another city. deep familiarity with the Japanese cul- ture and work ethic, I strongly believe that the country can eventually recover. But for now, I earnestly hope that all of our friends are in good health, stable, and safe in the present day. My love affair with Japan unofficially began when I was a freshman in Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and my father advised me to study Japanese to satisfy my foreign language requirement. He believed the country was well on its way to becoming an eco- nomic superpower, and he reasoned that anyone with a functional language knowledge would be in a better position to be hired four years later. As an impressionable 18-year-old, I figured, "How bad could Japanese be?" What started off as a lark quickly degenerated into a personal crisis of sorts. The grammar was backwards, compared with English, and who had time to study the kanji ( by Gregory Stoller '91 ) charac- ters? While I survived the first year, I received my worst grade ever in third- semester Japanese. I began reading the proverbial kanji on the wall and decided it was time to move on, and out! A fraternity brother of mine, who was a Hotelie, suggested I take some SHA classes simply to try a partial change of academic scenery. The change did me good. The SHA courses were genuinely interesting and, given what was happening in the world economy, many of the finance courses kept involving Japan. At the same time, in Japanese class, the grammar began making a little more sense. I was really happy to receive a B- in the course at the end of my sophomore year.