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Shin Abe - ZEN Associates Inc. Founder and Trustee

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

How long have you been in Boston?

I came to Boston in the summer of 1977, so 46 years ago.

What does your company do?

Our company, named ZEN Associates Inc., does Landscape Architectural Design, Landscape Construction, Landscape maintenance, and Architectural and Interior design works. Our design styles are contemporary Asian influenced. Authentic Japanese-style projects make up less than 10% of our entire projects.

[Abe was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays for his contribution towards promoting Japanese culture in the United States in May 2023. A group photo of the 24 recipients chosen by the The Department of Foreign Affairs was taken at the Imperial Palace after they were received by the Emperor. Abe is seated third from the left.]

What are the benefits and challenges of working in America?

I don’t see a benefit to working in the US particularly, but challenges are many. The most important challenge is communication, including language, then understanding mentality differences with the clientele and employees, most of whom are non-Japanese.

What is your favorite thing about Boston?

Though I was born and grew up in Kyushu, I like Boston's climate. The clearly articulated four seasons fit my sensibility more than Japan’s four seasons. Particularly, I like the fall in New England.

The physical and cultural size of Boston, also considering Greater Boston, may be one of the most important reasons my wife and I stay here.

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