I was born in Hamburg, a beautiful northern German city, and eventually left it for Vancouver, Canada, an even more beautiful place. Academic appointments led me to Montreal, London, and now Toronto, with as much time as possible spent in Tokyo over the years. Among non-academic accomplishments, I have climbed all Eight-Thousanders in Norway (measured in feet), including the Glittertind that I scaled with a group of British explorers fully equipped with ice axes and crampons. We were cheered at the summit by a dozen Norwegian families while their toddlers were playing in the snow. I also delayed my undergraduate education by unsuccessfully trying to get my heavy metal band signed, and by backpacking through most of Europe and parts of Southern Africa. After all of this, my favourite places to live (if I could afford them) would be Naka-Meguro or Kilburn.

I still like travelling and mountaineering,  managed to become more or less fluent in six languages (including my mother tongue), learned how to dance Cuban salsa, am a fan of Haruki Murakami’s novels, love wines from Mendoza and food from Peru, Korea, and Japan, and snowboarding in BC with my wife and children, who don’t seem to understand that at my age the terrain park is not the right place.