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A Tribute to Kaoru Suzuki

November 2006 showed the passing of a great man. Mr. Kaoru Suzuki was a great guy, with spunk, desire to learn new things, and a great leader. I was very sad to hear that he has left this world. He was a great manager to me at RICOH when I just came to Japan out of University. He put up with my developing Japanese years ago, and I tried to understand his interesting English. The point was he made the effort to develop his English.  I am not sure if he ever got his English straight but thanks to him my High School and University Japanese got practical applications very quickly.

He was a great man, that I would see a couple times every year that always had a great greeting (aisatsu in Japanese). He was a great role model for me and our whole team. He taught us how to do business with honor.

I’ll never forget working until mid-night on a proposal for improving a multinational bank’s operations until the last train until midnight. I put a note on his desk saying I would be coming in at 930AM the next morning. As a great Japanese boss, he acted very angry with me for coming in 30 minutes late (even though I usually came to work an hour early every day) the next morning. I’ll never forget my surprise at getting in trouble, and always wonder if he really was mad. If he was mad, it probably disappeared pretty quickly when the bank put their confidence in us to deliver the solution.

Mr. Suzuki, we will miss you! I hope that I will see you again someday.

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