Tokyo secondment story

There’s a word in Japanese, "sugoi!", which broadly translates as "oh wow!". Frequently uttered with a look of surprised delight, it perfectly describes my secondment to Anderson, Mōri & Tomotsune in Tokyo so far.

AM&T is a great place to work and, typically of Japanese people, everybody is very welcoming and friendly. The range of work here certainly puts my multi-specialist credentials to the test and so far I have assisted on M&A and financing transactions, as well as litigation questions.

As a secondee, I have also been lucky enough to attend language lessons, both before my arrival in Tokyo and while I'm here. Although full of challenges, the conjugation of verbs depending on politeness level being a typical example, I’ve really enjoyed learning this fascinating language. And seeing my Japanese colleagues rattle off English language agreements each day is certainly a great motivator to progress beyond the tourist phrasebook.

I'm living in the famous Roppongi district, which is known for its lively expat atmosphere. However, whether you enjoy nature, history, shopping or fine dining, Tokyo has something for everyone. From the frenetic bright lights of Shinjuku and the manga-filled towers of Akihabara, to seeing the costumed teenagers filling the streets of Harajuku or joining the kimono-wearing locals visiting shrines in the parks of Ueno, the city's many contrasting wards have more than enough to entertain for six months and beyond.

Of course, there is much more to Japan than Tokyo, and I have visited a number of other places, such as Hiroshima and Hokkaido. A real highlight was standing on the edge of a bubbling hot-spring lake in Hokkaido, surrounded by sulphurous steam and the vibrant autumn colours of the hillside.

I have found Japan, and Tokyo in particular, to be full of the unfamiliarly familiar. Whether it’s taking on new challenges at work or taking a busy metro service that never has signal failure, this secondment has been packed with moments that have made me say, "sugoi!".

James Mead
Trainee secondment to Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune