For my Tsugaru attempt, I wanted to engage fully in a culture I enjoyed studying many years ago while in high school. And an integral part of this effort became the connection between Adobe Japan and Adobe San Francisco.
Because of the remote location of where the swim was to take place, I had an idea that perhaps if I reached out to my colleagues at Adobe Japan, someone might be interested enough to lend their support. In October 2013, my story was featured in a company-wide blog piece. When asked about my next swim, I mentioned Tsugaru and responded somewhat in jest, but with an underlying component of hope: “anyone interested in a little boat ride?” Over a period of 8 months, a cohesive team effort materialized around my swim. Tomo Izumikawa, Aya Sakata and Akira Konno generously committed to being part of the crew on my boat.
The more I engaged with my Adobe Japan colleagues and learned about their own personal stories, particularly with regard to the devastating Fukushima disaster in 2011, the more I realized that this wasn’t just about my swim across Tsugaru. Everybody was embarking on a journey.
And it wasn’t until I met up with Tomo and Aya in Aomori two days before my swim when I was presented with a massive banner upon which numerous Adobe Japan employees – from the president down – had written such wonderful messages for my quest, that I realized the depth of support and encouragement from my Japanese colleagues. The following day, Akira, the third member of my Adobe crew arrived. I was completely struck by the spirit, enthusiasm and generosity that surrounded me. Not the least of which was the behind the scenes support from my family back in New Zealand and friends around the world. One particularly special component was my Mum joining the crew for the very first time.
As with my previous swims, I knew my Tsugaru attempt would be no different. Although I was yet again embarking on a solo swim across the sea, none of this would be possible without my team.