Japan: Part 3

Wahei Takeda.
Wahei Takeda.

In the classic book and film, “The [Wonderful] Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy and her ragtag group of friends are told that in order for them to resolve their respective dilemmas, they must see the man who has all the answers, namely, the Wizard of Oz. In the similarly classic film, “The Wiz,” Dorothy and her motley crew are told to see Richard Pryor. And in the classic film that is my life, I and my multinational cohorts were referred to Wahei Takeda.

For those who don’t know, Mr. Takeda, or Wahei-san, is a big deal. Deemed by those in the know as “the Warren Buffet of Japan,” Wahei-san is one of the country’s wealthiest investors, in addition to being the founder of the successful sweet treat outfit, Takeda Confectionery Co. (In other words: Money, money, money, money…moneeey.)

Upon reading his bio in preparation for my trip to Japan, I wondered – with high hopes – if this wealthy wizard would lead me from being in the red, up the yellow brick road to bathing in the green—cash, that is.

I’m off to see the Wizard…


Wahei-san’s translator, Yuriko, repeated this word over and over again, as she fed me and my non-Japanese-speaking/understanding colleagues the wizard’s wisdom over the course of two days. Throughout this time, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if my yellow brick road to riches had hit a brick wall. Sure, it was great to be in Japan, learning lessons first-hand from a man who was so greatly respected in the world of business. But this great businessman wasn’t teaching business lessons; he was teaching MAROWA.

“We are born with wholeheartedness.”

“Wholeheartedness is the will of God, the will of heaven.”

“As we obtain wholeheartedness, we will become like Buddha and Christ; not so that we can be worshipped by others, but so that we can encompass the same wholeheartedness as Buddha and Christ. Connected to God, connected to people.”

Say what?

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought that I was at a Baptist-Buddhist revival rather than a business leadership retreat. But I did know better. I knew that my life coaching mentor, Alan Cohen, wouldn’t have recommended me for some transcontinental, get-rich-quick scheme. I knew that this event would have some heart to it. I just didn’t know how much.

To help us further translate Wahei-san’s MAROWA-message into a language that we could understand, our retreat coordinators conducted several breakout sessions, in which we discussed, in small groups, how we could apply more heart to our businesses, relationships and lives overall.

The whole experience was very enlightening for me. Not only was I conversing with people who, a week prior were continents away from me, but we were communicating without any barriers to understanding. Where English left off, our hearts took up, nodding our heads at each other in earnest, knowing what the other person means to say even if their vocabulary won’t let them say it.

I am a citizen of the world, I thought gleefully.

After the first couple of days of our lecture-seminar-discussion routine, we took our heart-class outside of the four walls and out into Japan, roaming the country’s walkways, highways and railways. I reveled in my global citizenry, with heartfelt thanks to Wahei-san, Buddha, Christ, the retreat coordinators, etc. for filling my heart with such extraordinary experiences.











And yet, during my revelry, there was still a part of me that wondered why I was there.

What am I supposed to take away from all of this? I thought. What am I supposed to do next?

My confusion revealed itself in my body as constipation. I was bloated and bamboozled; flatulent and frazzled.  (This also could’ve been a result of all the rice, noodles, etc. that I was sucking down, not to mention that I was on my period as well; but I digress.)

After days of feeling weighed down with uncertainty, on that Friday night, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Actually, it felt like a…nevermind. What’s important is that I had a breakthrough. In talking with a friend that night, I realized that I was supposed to do what my heart said do. What my heart flowed with naturally. What my heart knew, all too well, that I was an expert in—head-smart/heart-dumbism.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed to my friend in excitement. “I will use my heart and my heart-dumb expertise to coach other women down the road of head-smart/heart-dumb girl recovery!”

And wouldn’t you know it, just like Dorothy, I had the answer that I was seeking with me all the time. (To see how my answer manifested itself in my Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Coaching practice, click your heels mouse here.)

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t go any further than [myself]. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” ~ L. Frank Baum/Stephanie Rochelle Redd
Copyright © 2014-2016 Stephanie Rochelle Redd. All rights reserved.


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