Immigration lawyer, saké sommelier and tasting room associate, Miyuki Yoshida is also a project executive/counsel of Tenzen Springs. For years, the Yoshida family and the entire Tenzen team have worked to make the collection of Japanese natural bath houses built on the side of private minimalist cabins in Skamania County a success. “Tenzen Springs is my late father’s ‘American Dream’ project. He wanted to share Japanese culture’s love for hot springs ‘onsen.'” Learn about Miyuki Yoshida…
Hometown: Born in Yokohama, Japan, but grew up in Portland, Ore.
First job: Bilingual legal assistant at Nishi, Tanaka & Takahashi law firm in Tokyo, Japan.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Visiting wineries, hiking and soaking in hot springs.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Becoming an immigration lawyer! I’m a first-generation immigrant to attend college, let alone law school. I earned my JD from Seattle University and my Master’s of Laws (LL.M) in Asian & Comparative Law from the University of Washington in Seattle. Being an immigrant myself, it was a natural path for me to pursue a professional career in business immigration law. I worked at big law firms in New York City and Seattle before starting solo practice and helping my family’s hot springs business.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: While living in Japan, I had difficulty getting into law school in the United States. After two attempts, I decided to go to graduate school to prepare myself for the rigor of law school. I was on a “secret mission” for two years, earning my Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Columbia University in New York City. It was a challenge working on my Master’s thesis while applying to many law schools and not telling my classmates.
Someone who inspires you and why: My late father, Takeshi “Tak” Yoshida passed away six years ago with Parkinson’s disease. In the mid-70s, he was ahead of his time because he wanted to raise his family in United States. My father sent my brother and I to private international school in Yokohama, Japan. Even though he only went to dental technician school, he established a thriving dental technician laboratory business in Japan and later in Portland. He was an entrepreneur! He started acquiring property in the Columbia River Gorge. He had the bright idea that if he drilled somewhere on his property maybe we would be lucky and hit geothermal waters (2,000 to 3,000 feet below surface)!? He is a crazy immigrant story!
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: I think the key is to never give up! Find good mentors who can help and guide you. Guard your association. Who you hang around with is whom you become five to 10 years from now. Stay in the creative mode.
Favorite quote: “You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.” –Sheila Graham
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I’m learning about wines. I’m a tasting room associate at a winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. I’m also a freelance Japanese saké sommelier. I don’t brew any saké but pour saké at private dinners, events and saké trade shows.
What makes someone fabulous: Someone who loves and cares about others. Making a difference in other people’s lives. Someone who strives to become a better person each day!