Torrence Smith

Nationality: American
Time Living in Japan: 2 1/2 months
Employer: Rikkyo University International Exchange Student
Areas of Expertise: Macro/Microeconomic outlook of countries in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as the U.S.
Education: Business Leadership Bachelor’s Program (University of Toledo) / College of Economics (Rikkyo University).
Language Ability: English (Native), Japanese (intermediate), Mandarin (Beginner)

I think I may be one of the most determined people around. In fact, sometimes I think I need to slow down because working myself into the hospital is not the outcome I’m looking for, but I have big goals and whatever I can do (within reason) to get there, I am willing to try. I believe the best indicator of a person’s future (with exceptions) is what they’ve done in the past, and my past is littered with successes, and many failures, but most importantly, evidence of perseverance.

Favorite Thing About Living in Japan:
The number one thing about living in Japan is also the reason I decided to move here: connecting with Japanese people. Interacting with people whose culture is so drastically different from my own is very fascinating. The second is Japanese nature. There are many beautiful sites to visit all throughout Japan.

Favorite Place to Visit in Japan:
Thus far, my favorite place is Arashiyama, in Kyoto. Walking through the temples, and the bamboo forest is truly like a movie.

What has kept you in Japan?
As a person who has been in Japan for less than six months, my entire worldview has expanded.  Japan is almost the exact opposite of the U.S. (my country of origin) in every way, and these cultural and linguistic differences have opened my eyes to potential opportunities through which the East and West can develop more of a connection.  My goal is now to cultivate further connections between Eastern and Western cultures.

Favorite Place to Visit Outside Japan:
Canada.  Canadians have a reputation for being very friendly, and that reputation is well deserved.  My time spent in Canada has always been met with warm greetings and welcoming conversations. 

What you have noticed has changed throughout your time living in Japan?
What has changed throughout my time in Japan is myself.  Moving to a different country is a life-changing experience.  I have been forced to grow psychologically, academically, and emotionally in ways that I could not have anticipated before leaving the comfort zone of my country of birth.  I look forward to more growth, no matter how bitter or sweet, because I can learn from each experience.