You can usually find me in front of a computer scheming up a new article to post or building a website for one of my clients.
I wake up naturally at 5:00 AM and often write or study in the morning. I'm an avid learner and always in the middle of one or two online courses. If I'm not on my computer, then I'm usually reading a book, taking a walk around Hachioji, cooking up a new cancer-fighting vegan dish or watching TV.
Location Independent and Loving it!
Though I've been in business in Tokyo for over 15 years, I now run my company from home. This means I can work at a local coffee shop, my sister's dining room in Michigan or a beach in Bali. I'm the happiest working from home in Hachioji, Tokyo.
Still want to know more?
Coming to Japan
I was born and raised in Washington State on the west coast of the U.S. and have been living in Japan for over 20 years. When I first came to Japan in 1992, I lived in Musashino City and studied at Asia University as an exchange student. After completing my undergraduate degree back in WA, I returned to Japan to study at the University of Tsukuba on a Monbukagakusho Scholarship.
I moved back to Tokyo to work at Asia University. At AU, I was part of a team coordinating international programs and in particular the Asia University America Program. I left AU in 1998, and after a series of teaching jobs decided to work for myself.
Starting a company and running a school!
In 2002, my husband, Akira Kobayashi, and I started IEB, Inc (有限会社国際教育企画) to provide support for students who want to study abroad including English language lessons via an English school we ran near Musashi-Sakai Station in Musashino. So, Musashino City is like a hometown for me in Tokyo. I still have ties to Musashino and currently, serve on the Board of Trustees for the Musashino International Association.
During the first ten years after starting the company, I spent most of my time focused on running and teaching in our school. We had 100+ students ranging from 4-80 years old. My husband focused on providing support for students who wanted to study abroad. In 2011, we were selected to host an EducationUSA Advising Center, a program supported by the U.S. Department of State.
Working with EducationUSA was a huge commitment, and in 2013, I decided to close the English school and relocate to a smaller office in order to give EducationUSA and study abroad advising my full attention. Then a surprising thing happened. I discovered most of the students and parents who contacted our center for help did so via phone, email, and Skype. Few people came to our office in person, so I made a bold decision to close the office and concentrate on these online platforms.
With the switch to virtual advising, we eventually had to give up our role hosting an EducationUSA Advising Center. Although we no longer host a center, both my husband and I are trained advisers and try to support the program whenever possible. For example, you can see me (with very short hair!) posing as an adviser in the video series put out by the U.S. Embassy Tokyo and EducationUSA.
Virtually finding my way
Many colleagues thought I was crazy for giving up both the school and later the advising center. However, deciding to go virtual opened so many doors for me and paved a new way of life.
Within a few months of closing the brick and mortar office, I had to make a trip to my husband's hometown in Hiroshima to help care for his parents because he was teaching full time at Meiji University and couldn't go himself. All I needed was a computer and internet access, so I worked from the mountains of Hiroshima for a few weeks, and that's where my web design business began. Then, less than six months later, we moved my in-laws into our home in Tokyo so we could provide them with full support. Having a virtual business makes working from home possible. Having a reason I must be at home forced me to make having a virtual business possible. You tell me, chicken or the egg?
Coming out with my Woo!
While reinventing and growing my business online, I got to meet and interact with people from all over the world through Facebook groups, Instagram, and a bazillion online courses. I was thrilled to find so many people like me who love talking about spirituality! I was surprised because they weren't only talking, they were openly sharing their unique gifts publicly.
The connections I made online gave me the courage to open up and share my gifts - to come out with my woo! If you are interested, you can learn more about my intuitive readings here >>