Mark Harbison began his bio by talking about his first visit to Maui to go to a wedding – his own. My reaction to planning our wedding on Maui was, “Can’t we go somewhere exotic? Like Tahiti?!” Well, the Maui girl has come home after a long and enriching journey to the mainland, to Asia, and to Europe.
My adventures started in Happy Valley in Wailuku (not Hong Kong!) where I was born and raised. Happy Valley is still one of the poorer parts of the island but when we were growing up there, life was simple and honest. We lived across from the now famous Takamiya Market, around the corner from True Value Hardware (then called Valley Hardware) and played around stores that are now only memories — T.K. Supermarket, Ogawa Station, Kong Store, Takara Store, Guerrero Store, and the Happy Valley Tavern. I walked to Wailuku Elementary and Iao School, passing in front of the mysterious and dark Molina’s Bar, winding my way through Market Street and Main and High. On occasion I even walked the long, hot path to Baldwin High School. My father worked for Maui Electric as a repairman, but his alter ego was that of a master inventor of energy-efficient machines well before anybody thought about conservation. His other passion was baking bread. Ask any old-timer today if they remember Mr. Oyama’s bread. Mom, for her part, was not to be outdone, and was famous for her lemon meringue pies with the melt-in-your-mouth crusts, truly spongy sponge drops, and other wonderful, delightful desserts. My brother, Terrell, went to Lahainaluna and the Art Center College of Design and is an award-winning industrial designer in La Jolla. My sister, Bette Nomura, is a state-recognized home economics teacher at Baldwin High, a gifted craftswoman, and a graduate of Stout State University in Wisconsin.
College took me to Scripps College, one of the Claremont Colleges in southern California. It was cold! Stanford, where I met Mark and where I earned my master’s degree while working, was even colder!
Every job I’ve had has had some connection with Asia: Jerrold Electronics, The Asia Foundation, Stanford University – all in northern California; then Kodansha International Publishers, Baring Far East Securities, W.I. Carr, Union Bank of Switzerland, and Commerz Securities – all in Tokyo. This really wasn’t the plan at all. My real dream was to live in Paris! But that is another story.
Now that Mark and I are back home, a fourth career — in real estate — has evolved for me. My first three careers covered four years in academic administration as Assistant Director for the Center of East Asian Studies at Stanford, six years in publishing in Tokyo as a senior book editor, and 15 years in equity research and management for three major European banks. As director of research at Union Bank of Switzerland in Tokyo, I developed in two years an equity research team that ranked first among European banks, reaching the highest international and domestic analyst ratings since the department was established. I recruited leading analysts and nurtured trainees who have now became first in their sectors. I transferred from Tokyo to Hong Kong to head the UBS senior client account program in the Asian market: Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines. Returning to Tokyo, I joined Commerz Securities and again developed a team, within one year, that ranked 6th in Japanese equity research in Japan and Europe.
Real estate sales for me will draw upon learning — from these previous experiences — the importance of the client relationship. Mark and I have counted as our clients some of the most demanding investors from the U.S., the U.K., Europe, and Asia. Competition was fierce, standards were always being raised, expectations were unrelenting. Isn’t it the same for clients who are making a huge, highly personal decision to buy or sell property?
Welcome to our website. We look forward to meeting you in the very near future to talk about investing in the “Best Island in the World.”.