I was raised in a small village in the Judean Desert.
Lots of hills around.
My dad immigrated to Israel from Marrakesh in 1963, my mom was born and raised in Jerusalem. Her parents immigrated from Baghdad in the 1930s.
The youngest of three kids, I spent way too much time looking in the atlas.
From some reason I felt a particular affinity towards China.
Fast forward fifteen years, having backpacked for several months in Siberia, Mongolia, and China, I made a call from a public telephone booth in south Beijing.
On the other side was my older brother.
I ask him to enroll me into East-Asian studies at Tel Aviv University.
I am quite sure I had told him I wanted to study Chinese language and history but he has different plans for me.
And so a few months later I am sitting in a Japanese language class, with the lovely Dr. Mika Levi Yamamori, who, over the next three years, helped direct my attention towards the land of the rising sun.
And vending machines.
Fast forward another thirteen years and in 2017, after a short gig as a Country Director of a small-scale NPO based in Tōhoku, I obtained my PhD from the University of Tokyo, where, under the guidance of Prof. Akihiko Tanaka, I examined Japanese threat perceptions during and after the Cold-War.
The better sections of my dissertation were written during a three-months-solo-1800km-cycling-trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido (not one puncture).
I cycled really slowly and there was lots of wind in my hair.
I always loved wind.
In August 2018, after almost a decade of living in Japan, I-turned-we packed our stuff into four suit-cases, boxed the bicycle, and moved to London.