Nick Szasz, CEO&publisher, Fukuoka Now
- Nick Szasz starts his day with a walk on the beach.The vast ocean is just in front of his house. Yachts float offshore, and sometimes a hang glider flies overhead.
- After taking a shower he gets behind the wheel for a thirty-minute drive along the highway to his office.He enjoys what he calls a “movie-like morning” every day in Fukuoka.“It’s just like the west coast lifestyle,” he says.
- Nick Szasz was born in Toronto, Canada. He discovered Buddhism when he was backpacking around Asia, and spent a year doing ascetic training at a Zen temple in Tokyo.He went back to Canada temporarily but came back to Japan when he realized he wanted to live there. In 1990 he got a job at an IT company headquartered in Fukuoka.
- “In those days, there was media for foreign residents in Tokyo and Osaka but nothing in Fukuoka,” he says. The 1990s were a pre-Internet age. Nick launched a Mac-created digital edition of his magazine. That DIY magazine flourishes today as “Fukuoka Now.” The number of foreigners living in Fukuoka has also increased, and inbound tourist numbers have rocketed.
- “Fukuoka City is strongly encouraging and promoting foreign-run businesses. It’s almost hard to believe the ease with which you can get visas and subsidies. We’re not exposed to competition as tough as Tokyo or Osaka. It’s the perfect environment for startups.”
- Five years ago, Nick left central Fukuoka City and set up home on the coast of Itoshima to the west of Fukuoka. The number of non-Japanese attracted to this “west coast lifestyle” are on the increase in his neighborhood.
- “I want to help build a community where resident foreigners, travelers and Japanese can all intermingle, and create a healthy environment. Come join me!” says Nick.
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The ideal lifestyle finally found in Fukuoka
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