Messages from U Share community

Full support by members who have top level experiences in various fields worldwide.

Co Founder

Hiro Furufu

KUROFUNE Design Holdings Inc. / Managing Director

Hiromasa Hurufu started the student venture when he was in Tokyo Institute of Technology. After graduation, he started his own business called “Oisix”, which sells safe, secure, and delicious foods such as organic vegetables. “Enrich the dining tables in Japan through foods and change society for the better”. Under this mission, he was in charge of the value creation of the projects, such as product development and system development. He drove the business growth of Oisix and it went public on the stock exchange in 2013. After that, while he was in MIT Sloan Fellows MBA, he met Inoue and Ueta, who went to Harvard University at that time, and he started the KUROFUNE Design Holdings Inc. with them. Also, he is drafting a plan for space business by making use of the networks in MIT.

Out of your comfort zone

Meeting people who have different values will make you grow a lot. It is true that good encounter happens by chance, not by intention. However, increasing the chance of meeting a nice person can be realized by making a slight change in your behavior. Looking back on the past, when I drastically change where I am, I was at a turning point in my life.

To give you an example, when I was a student at Tokyo Institute of Technology, I went to the training in Los Angeles although I have never been to abroad. At there, I got bewildered because there were many kinds of people whom I usually didn’t met, but at the same time, I was influenced and inspired by them a lot. Furthermore, I ended up starting the “Oisix” with the person whom I happened to met at there and hit it off with. When I founded the KUROFUNE Design Holdings, it all started when I attended the lecture of architecture design, which was completely different from my major. With the teacher of that lecture, Ueta, I ended up starting the new business.

There might be a lot of people who think that entrepreneurship is something that you start after you polish the idea or after you make a solid business plan. However, not only limited to my example, in the world, there are many cases that entrepreneurship starts while you talk with “different type of person whom you happened to met”. The encounter, in and of itself, is something that happen by chance, but what they have in common is that it happens when you change where you are. Old friends, family, the place where you have lived for a long time… those are cozy and comfortable for you, but let’s step out from there and enjoy the opportunity to grow by getting out of your comfort zone. Also, for those who are thinking of study abroad, overcoming the different environment is directly connected to the evaluation from universities in Europe and the United states (This is a bit calculating but...)


Taichi Murase

US tech company

Taichi Murase works for an US tech company after he graduated from Waseda University, the department of commercial science. From the childhood experience when he lived in United States for 6 years, he lived in the international student residence for 4 years when he was in waseda university in order to put himself in more international environment. Also, from the experience when he interacted with the students from different backgrounds in international student residence, he decided to go study abroad to the Toronto University. After study abroad, he worked as a RA in the international student residence and he supported the japanese students from countryside and foreign exchange students

Personality Depends on their Environment

Since my parents get transferred a lot for work, I lived in many and different environments. By living in various environments, I grew a lot as a person and I realized that people around me, people involved with me every day, much more people who live together with me have a tremendous impact on my life. That’s why I believe that the environment which you put yourself at is really important.

Fortunately, I spent most of my university life in the international residence. Through the environment where I lived together with diverse friends under the same roof regardless of nationality, age, and sex, I was able to broaden my horizon, I was able to develop a personal flexibility to accept diverse values, and I was able to build the lifelong relationships. I’m sure that these experiences and time I spent will definitely be the precious assets in my life.I think that U Share is one of the few, valuable environment where you can exactly experience these things. By making use of the experience that I put myself in the international environment and the experience of living together with diverse people for 7 years, I myself will help you as much as I can!


Minami Neeley Kanzaki

Waseda University, School of International Liberal Studies

Minami Neeley Kanzaki goes to Waseda University, major in international politics. She was born and grown up in the United States. She has a dual nationality and she is fluent in both English and Japanese. Currently, she works as a tutor for english conversation and as a resident assistant at international student residence. She aims to work for United States Department of State in the future.

“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.”

Through life as a resident head in the international residence for 2 years, I realized how important relationship, connection, and interaction with others is. Even though there are so many people and culture in this whole wide world, most people don’t know and don’t want to know about others except for people around themselves. However, I believe that knowing others is exactly what we need to grow. See the world not only from your perspective, but also from different stand points. That is the way we should go in the modern, global society.

Through U Share, please know a lot of cultures and create the bonds. I’m sure that you will have an unprecedented experience and encounter. Take the first step and step into the world!

Step outside of your comfort zone. Try something new. Challenge yourself. You never know where it might lead you.


Akiko Takai

Goldman Sachs Inc. / Vice President

Akiko Takai was grown up in Japan, France, England, and United States. After she graduated from Sophia University, department of English Studies, she worked for Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., department of international finance, and took part in fundraising for overseas enterprise. At that time, she was sent on loan to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and being involved in the negotiation of FTA with Philippines and Thailand. After that, she received a Master of International Corporate Strategy degree from Hitotsubashi University Graduate School. During her time at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School, she spent a year at HEC Paris in France as an exchange student, and she also did the internship of the project called Saved the Children. After that, she worked for product development department in Deutsche Bank Group and Goldman Sachs Group and had professional experiences in marketing and composition of the product which incorporates project finance, asset finance, and derivatives. During maternity leave, she moved to Boston since her husband went study abroad to there and she gave birth to a 3rd child. Now, she is raising three kids; 1 year old, 3 years old, and 7 years old, respectively.

New International Family Form

When I lived in the family dormitory room in Harvard University, we got along with the family from Singapore who lives upstairs.Birth of our 3rd baby in United States, terrible twos, and the first overseas life for other two babies… we had hard time in there but their existence saved us. “Today, I can bring your kids to the nearest bus station and pick them up” “ I made a lots of chicken rice today, do you want some?”. These conversations happened on a daily basis. Moreover, we had many things to share as a global family; teaching each other’s traditional cuisines, talking about women’s career development in each other’s country, exchanging opinions about international education, and encouraging each other.

Looking back on the past, there was a natural sharing economy under the situation where each family cared each other, inspired each other, and grew together. Also, even though our kids were suddenly thrown into the environment where you need to talk in English every day, far from being discouraged by it, they learned English from experience and they started to play with other kids from all over the world. When we went back to Japan, all of us cried since that family from Singapore were like a part of our family. The mother of that family graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education and she succeeds as a teacher in the Singapore. She is also a comrade for me in the sense that we are putting efforts in both work and child-raising. By meeting mothers who succeed overseas, I myself was able to expand the career opportunities while doing both work and child-raising at the same time. I’m sure that you will have a new family or friend in U Share by living together and sharing the time! Also, the life in U Share gives your children a international stimulation, and it makes your child-raising (which is sometimes hard) enjoyable. I’m looking forward to seeing what is going to be created in U Share, where you can share culture, experience, and knowledge across the border.


Riona Kunimoto

Waseda University, Political Science and Economics / Student

Riona Kunimoto goes to the Waseda University, major in Political Science and Economics. She got 940 score on TOEIC and she obtained Grade 1 in the EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency without having the experience of living abroad. After she spent a year at Babson College in Massachusetts, United States, during her time at Waseda University, she helped start the U Share project and she worked on business support, such as creating content for services.

Experience and Personal Relationship is a Treasure

“The Digital Generation” “The Era of Significant Change” ”Artificial Intelligence & Big Data will take over human jobs”... I heard these words so many times during job hunting. We don’t know what will happen and we don’t know how the world will change, but that’s why I believe that “increasing the number of things you can do little by little” and “building a believable and respectful friendship” is really important.

Through summer school in Stanford University and study abroad at Babson College, I made a lot of personal relationships with various students from all over the world and those relationships definitely became my treasures. Also, not to mention the fact that I improved my language skill and cross-cultural communication skill, I realized that I grew as a person by being surrounded by the rold model and by living under the same roof with various and respectable friends.

I’m sure that U Share is the best place to realize both “increasing the number of things you can do” and “making a respectable friend”. I will try my best to help you spend a “dense and fulfilling time” with “friends who can inspire each other and learn from each other”.


Sara Tanaka

Office Worker

Sara Tanaka works in the finance industry after she graduated from Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus, Faculty of Policy Management. She spent 4 years in the international school in the Sri Lanka during her time in elementary school and in junior high school. After she was admitted to the Keio University, she devoted herself to the cross-cutting research in the seminar which studies about practical management strategy through consultation and in the seminar which studies the ideology behind the financial policy in the Islamic countries with a focus on Indonesia.

Goslings Lead the Geese to Water

Because of the technological development, we live in the era of rapid, frequent, and significant change. Being able to flexibly adapt to the change without fear in this situation, I believe that the important thing is helping and cooperating with each other by making use of one’s speciality.

Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus, where I spent my university life, is the place where new value is created by exchanging opinions of various students who have different interests. “A student who has the Japanese citizenship but her mother tongue is English because she was born and grown up overseas” “A student who was born and raised overseas but who started to major in Japanese since high school”... various students studies together on campus regardless of nationality, race, or native language. Since we don’t have the age restriction for course, there was no hierarchical relationship and we were able to find the new and different values through class and research. I chose SFC by my own will but the reason why I chose my seminar and student organization was because my colleagues and seniors invited me. SFC was a stimulating environment in the sense that there were many people who connects me to the world that I’ve never seen.

In U Share, I’m sure that you can experience these things on daily basis as well as in university life. In addition to that, I think that the appealing point of U Share is that there is “access to the information” around you which is most difficult to obtain when you think of your career. I believe that U Share can not only provide the opportunity to generate the unique idea from gathering and interaction between various people, but also creates the environment to support you realize those ideas.


Zoë Vincent

Fukushima Prefecture Tourism and Local Products Association / Overseas Promotion Specialist

Zoë graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2015 with a First Class Honours B.A. Degree in Japanese with Distinction in Spoken Japanese. As part of her 4 year degree program, Zoë spent 1 year as an exchange student at Waseda University in Tokyo, studying on the university’s Intensive Japanese Language Program.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Zoë moved to Japan and worked for 1 year as an Assistant Language Teacher in Unzen City, Nagasaki Prefecture, before starting her current job at Fukushima Prefecture Tourism and Local Products Association.

Fluent in English and Japanese. Zoë’s hobbies include photography, travel, and hiking.

Providing a Space for Cultural Exchange

I appreciated having the opportunity to interact with students from around the world when living in university dorms during my time at the University of Edinburgh. This experience contributed to my understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

I greatly enjoyed my time at Waseda University and I loved living in a dorm with international students. However, I definitely feel that my ability to make Japanese friends and improve my Japanese language skills would have benefitted greatly during my year abroad if I had also been able to share my student dorm with Japanese students.

I personally wholeheartedly support U Share’s mission, which would encourage lots of interaction between students from different backgrounds, and be a very mutually beneficial experience for all parties involved.


Armando Sullivan

Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants / Planner

Armando Sullivan works as a Transportation Planner in the City of New York. He earned his Master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His passion is using spatial analysis and urban design to empower marginalized communities with mobility. This mobility opens doors to economic and cultural opportunities that have the power to transform quality of life.His current work focuses on using design, spatial analysis, quantitative analysis, and strategic planning to improve the quality of transportation systems around the U.S. By improving these systems, a greater number of residents are able to benefit from the mobility provided by these systems.Before beginning at Harvard, Armando earned his Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Temple University. He has studied urban development in Brazil, Estonia, and Japan. Domestically, he has worked in public, nonprot, and private sectors in transportation planning.

New friends are just one conversation away

It was at Temple University that I learned the power of social interactions and communication in fostering meaningful relationships with diverse groups. I worked as a Conversation Partner in the university’s writing center. My role centered on conversing with international students to increase their confidence in using English to build friendships/relationships with fellow students at Temple. I forged friendships with these students, and took them to different events around the City of Philadelphia (where Temple is located).

It was this program that shed light on the importance of fostered social interaction in bridging gaps between diverse groups. It changed the way I developed friendships moving forward.

I believe in U Share's model of using dynamic housing to develop meaningful relationships between residents