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Michael Greeff

Final Report

Harvest
I learned a lot during my year in Tokyo and had a time rich with new impressions, emotions and insights. Again and again I am surprised to hear me talking Japanese, to see me reading texts I could not decipher by any means one year ago. Maybe I will forget some of the Japanese words I know now. Probably even a lot. But over the last year I realized that I can become fluent in one of the very difficult languages on earth within a short time. This was a great experience. I encountered a completely different Japan once I managed to communicate with the people in their own language. When speaking English, Japanese were hesitant and reduced their comments to phrases they thought would please me. When talking in Japanese, however, I was like a small child again and could learn a lot as the Japanese talked much more deliberately about everything. I learned as well to be modest again and more polite as I was ignorant of almost everything.

Inevitably, stacks of business cards piled up on my desk. There are too many to keep track of. But there are about a dozen contacts or so where relationship has become very strong. They will remain my reliable partners in Japan wherever I am.

AcknowledgementsThe Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce has likewise been a wonderful benefactor and partner during my year abroad. The financial support and the helpful advice, in particular from Mr. Paul Dudler, enabled me to experience Japan in a way few people have the possibility to do so. In this respect I would like to express my gratitude to the Swiss- Japanese Chamber of Commerce for the generous grant.