From Tokyo to Evergreen: Yuhdai Sawa ’06 Visits Campus

Yuhdai Sawa ’06 (left) and Julian Genette ’08 taken on Yuhdai’s July visit to Evergreen.

Yuhdai Sawa ’06 dropped by campus this week. He traveled from his home in Tokyo, Japan, to spend his vacation in Portland, Olympia and Seattle “because all my friends are here.”

Yuhdai fell in love with this region after spending several summers attending snowboarding camp near Mt. Hood, Oregon. Returning to the Northwest for college seemed natural.

Yuhdai started his college career at Portland State University, (he freely admits to doing poorly there) and found his way to Evergreen for a transformational last two undergraduate years. Focusing on cultural studies,Yuhdai soon met faculty member Rose Jang, who he now lists as his most influential teacher.

“Rose was a big part of my Evergreen life,” he said.  “She’s from Taiwan and we had a lot in common in terms of work habits and cultural orientation. I respected her because I was able to understand what she was trying to say and do.”

YuhdaiI took two year-long programs at Evergreen, Foundation of Performing Arts and Asian Culture and Arts, including program-based travel to Asia.

From the Facebook page of Glassroots Co. Ltd. – Yuhdai Sawa’s young company located in Tokyo, Japan

After graduation,Yuhdai returned home to Japan, taking a job in a Tokyo public relations agency. It was not a good fit for this enterprising Greener:

“I worked for this company for few years, and I hated it. … It was a very corporate culture. … I have learned many things from working in this company. I learned how to follow my superior. I learned to execute tasks without reasoning (meaning I stop asking why).”

Deciding the traditional corporate career path was not for him,Yuhdai turned entrepreneur, launching a small  business, Glassroots Co., Ltd. The company sells high quality, fashionable glasses frames in a mid-price range. (The website is emerging, so add a bookmark and track the success of this venture. Find them on Facebook too.)

“If I had to define one thing that I learned from attending Evergreen,” Yudhai noted, “it was how to design my own life. Running the company means I have control over virtually everything. It would be possible to bring the business to America in the future.”

On this visit, Yuhdai praised the CAB remodel, saying “it’s beautiful. I wish it had been like that when I was here.”

Community Activities Building today

His one disappointment came when he visited the “Mods,” his Evergreen home for two years, and noted that the house he lived in is gone.

“It’s shocking,” he said.  “I met  my greatest friends in that house.  It’s sad, but you know…you move on.”

Yuhdai is indeed moving on. A loyal Greener with strong Evergreen friendships, he has promised to correspond with The Evergreen Mind periodically and keep us abreast of how he’s doing in his career and in his life.

Do you live outside of the U.S.?  The Evergreen Mind would love to have more field reports from Greeners across the oceans. Please be sure you keep your contact information current and feel free to leave a “class note” for the Evergreen Magazine.










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