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  4. 2018.12.7

One woman. One law career. Three countries.PwC税理士法人のマネージャー、志村亜希さん

PwC税理士法人のマネージャー、志村亜希さん© THE JAPAN TIMES
Level

PwC税理士法人でマネージャーを務める志村亜希さんは12年間海外で暮らした経験を持つ。その最初の滞在国は留学で訪れた中国だった。その後アメリカでの仕事を経て現在日本で働く志村さんに、ご自身の海外遍歴のことを詳しく伺った。


Aki Shimura has studied and worked around the world. Just looking at her CV makes you think, “Wow!” It hasn’t always been easy, but she set goals and achieved them, step by step. A tax attorney who speaks three languages, Shimura recently moved back to Japan after 12 years abroad.

Like many Japanese children, Shimura took English language classes as an after-school activity. As her family lived near a U.S. military base, she sometimes attended events there, too. But at university, she became interested in another language: Chinese.

“I majored in law and chose English as my foreign language requirement. Then, in my third year I went to Beijing and studied law and Chinese there. The Chinese economy was booming, and I thought Chinese would be useful in my future career,” she explains.

After graduation, Shimura got a job at an international law office in Tokyo.

“I was the personal assistant to a Chinese lawyer. My duties included interpretion and translation. With my language skills and my interest in law, it was an ideal first job for me,” she says.

After three years, Shimura felt she had outgrown the job and thought about her next step.

“I wondered if I should take the Japanese bar exam and become a lawyer. But back then in 2002, the pass rate was only 2 percent! So I gave up that idea.”

Going back to China seemed a natural choice, and Shimura entered the Shanghai office of an international law firm.

“I was now using three languages on the job — Japanese, English and Chinese. I really enjoyed it but I could see my chances for advancing were limited. I needed to get a master’s degree in law to get to the next level.”

And so she went to study law in Boston. Shimura had been using English in her previous job, but things were not easy.

“There was a huge amount of reading for my law school. At first, I had problems understanding the technical terms,” she says. “Then, while working in New York, I decided to take the state bar exam. I didn’t pass the first time because I didn’t really study the right way. I was very angry with myself! Luckily, I passed on my second try.”

©THE JAPAN TIMES

Shimura continued her career in the U.S., working for international law firms. Around this time, she became interested in becoming a certified public accountant after a friend sent her a book about the exam.

“Before, I had no interest at all in the business side of law. I had thought it would all be about number crunching, but the more I read about it, the more fascinating it was.”

After getting her CPA qualifications, she worked as a tax specialist in the U.S. before returning to Japan in May last year to work for PwC Tax Japan.

“I’d been away for 12 years — 10 in the U.S. and two in China. It isn’t like I suddenly grew tired of life overseas, but this seemed like a good opportunity. I missed my family and I wanted to experience life in Japan again,” she explains. “Who knows, maybe I’ll go oversees again in the future.”

Shimura is pleased to be back but some things about Japan’s corporate culture are hard to get used to.

“People’s working styles, for example!” she says, shaking her head. “Just because others are working late doesn’t mean you have to. The key is to be flexible and work smarter.”

After using English at work and in daily life for 10 years, Shimura also had to get used to Japanese again.

“For the first year back, I had some trouble remembering Japanese. Sometimes the right words wouldn’t come out. Now, it’s the other way round with English, unfortunately!” she laughs. (Louise George Kittaka)

Memorable words

Leaving New York never easy
 
ロックバンド R.E.M.の Leaving New York という曲に出てくるフレーズです。ニューヨークには他の都市にはない魅力があり、一度住んだら(あるいは訪れても)、去るのがつらくなる良さがある街です。
 

プロフィール

志村亜希 (しむら あき)
神奈川県出身。神奈川大学在学中に中国に留学。卒業後、法律事務所で中国人弁護士の秘書を経験した後、中国にわたり英国系法律事務所でパラリーガルとして働く。その後ボストン大学に留学し、卒業後は大手会計事務所のニューヨークオフィスで6年間勤務。ニューヨーク大学ロースクール修了。2017年に帰国し、現在PwC税理士法人でマネージャーとして勤務。

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