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Chabad of Tokyo presents

Stories from
Around our Table
Shabbat Candles
Jerome Chiche

Interview picture edit.jpg

March 6, 2020


  This week we will be sharing our conversation with Mr. Jerome Chiche.


1. Please introduce yourself. 

My name is Jerome Chiche, a 29 year old French guy, working in the financial industry after getting a Masters in mathematics from Paris Sorbonne University.

Originally from France, where the majority of my extended family still lives.

Even though Paris is where I am from, I haven’t called it home in a while as I have moved around quite a bit.

Starting with Boston when I was just a kid for 2 years for my dad’s job, I always knew I  wanted to go back to the US by myself later.

This opportunity came in 2015 when I was offered a job in New York for a French investment management company where I spent one year.

I then did another Master in Finance between Paris and London. There, the idea of my next experience being in Asia started to grow.

This is how I found my job in another French bank in Japan, working for the risk department from November 2018 until last week.

2. Why did you choose to visit Japan? 

I chose to come to Asia, but Japan chose me. It starts with the job opportunity, as I was originally applying for a job in Hong Kong, but was redirected to Tokyo. Now, looking backwards, I am glad, the culture fit me very well, with the notions of respect, thoroughness and quiet which are rooted in the Japanese lifestyle. Not only was it a great job opportunity for me, it was also a test to see how well I would do in a new unknown where I was not even familiar with the language. It ended up being a great reminder of how important and warm-hearted the Jewish community is.

3. What are some memorable things about your trip? 

There are so many, all of Japan is awesome to visit. Whatever you are looking for, Japan has it. The zen temples with amazing history and beautiful art, the Japanese style castles and gardens, the onsen are perfect places where I could just relax and admire whatever was in front of me. If you want something that moves a little more, the samurai path is a great hike, skiing resorts are very nice, and everything on Yakushima island is just marvelous. Also, Takayama was amazing, even though I didn’t get a chance to visit the recently opened new Chabad there. As for the party scene, golden gai, Shibuya and Roppongi keep a special place in my heart, as well as some of the more fancy rooftops to admire different beautiful views of Tokyo. These are only a few of the memories I will keep all my life.

4. What did you think of the Chabad here in Tokyo? 

As a jew moving to a new city where I knew absolutely no-one, it was obvious that I had to see the Chabad house early on.

And so I did on my very first Shabbat in Tokyo, this was the best decision of my adventure in Japan, thanks to rabbi Mendi and his wife who organize amazing shabbat dinners for everyone visiting or living in Japan.

That Friday night, the Chabad was full as it usually is, I remember sitting sitting next to two people around my age, and we had a really nice dinner and great conversation. One of these people ended up being a great friend for the few months she was in Japan (and was the cousin of one of my friends from preschool). We met a few other nice people at Chabad in the following weeks and were at some point a nice group of friends living here, having all met thanks to Chabad.


Chabad also helped me during the hard times, and the holidays. Hanukkah was a great example, as I was finishing my Masters thesis, just started working, and was looking for a new apartment in Tokyo. In every city I have live, I have always lit Hanukkah candles every night, and only had one single candle to light on the first night here in Tokyo. On the second night, there was a lighting organised by Chabad, at the foot of Tokyo tower, which was on my way between my work and where I then lived. This was my Hanukkah miracle as I got a Hanukkiah that people were distributing, and I was able to light my candles every night.

Finally, I have to mention that I saw my girlfriend for the first time at Chabad house, and will be joining her in Israel soon, all thanks to Mendi and Chana.

Living in Tokyo was a great experience and was made so much better thanks to Chabad of Japan. Rabbi Mendi is a great host and I am very happy to call him a friend.



  We would like to thank Mr. Chiche for joining us for being apart of our Chabad Japan community and taking the time to be a part of our interview series.