Please allow me to introduce myself
Hello et bonjour,
My name is/ je m’appelle Luke. I have two burning passions: music and travel. I am Canadian.
My parents emigrated from Japan in the 80’s to settle in the Vancouver area where I am born. After finishing high school in Port Moody, BC I moved to Montréal where I completed my bachelor’s in music and lived for 7 years.
During my time in Montréal I worked primarily as a freelance saxophone player. Life as an artist is often tough, and like many musicians I had to find work outside music, as well as playing live gigs with my band. I improved my French and worked in restaurants and bars.
Eventually I found work in an office where I did most of my coordination in Japanese. Fortunately my parents insisted on teaching me their native language (no matter how much resistance I showed). Ultimately knowing the language and understanding Japanese culture helped me cover my expenses.
Our division had to be running while the offices in Japan were operating, so I worked ‘graveyard shift’ hours. I was playing less and less music, which defeated the main reason I had moved to Québec in the first place.
After my girlfriend at the time moved overseas and my close friend and band mate had moved to California, I had to reassess my life. My romantic and musical situations were not looking good. I kept working and managed to make ends meet, but I definitely felt lost.
One particularly beautiful summer afternoon a musician friend and I were on a terrasse in Montréal having a drink and watching soccer (which I have started to call ‘football.’) I noticed there were big, bright, red and white advertisements for Emirates. I had seen the name before and had an image of a reputable airline, but the many banners that were on display got me curious. When I got home I did some research.
I discovered that not only does Emirates fly to far-flung places that I have only read about, their professional cabin crew come from countless countries, their reputation in service and safety are unparalleled. Most importantly they were hiring! Side note; I also wouldn’t have to shovel snow twice a day in Dubai.
I knew that being able to see the world and getting exposure to a wide array of cultures would help me become a more mature musician. Growing up in a society as tolerant and as safe as Canada was an extreme privilege. Having lived in places as diverse as Vancouver and Montréal is like winning the lottery. I felt I still had yet to make sense of the human condition.
I put together my CV and necessary documents. I booked a flight for later that summer to Vancouver where there was a casting-call or what they call an ‘open day.’ I also spent this time intensively reading about the history and customs of the Middle East so I could acclimate easier when I arrive to Dubai.
The interview and joining process had gone smoothly and within a couple months I had received my immigration papers, one-way ticket and transferred the lease on my apartment in Montréal. I packed my essentials and before the first snowfall in November 2014 I drove to Toronto and flew to Dubai.
I am in my third year with Emirates working as a cabin crew and like an airplane climbs and descends, my experience here has been a roller coaster. Being a customer service job there are many challenges that we must overcome at work… especially when you are leaving at 3 o’clock in the afternoon in Seattle, but your watch says 3 o’clock in the morning, and your body and mind are asking ‘did we eat dinner yet?’
I have been incredibly lucky to: have spent Diwali in India, hung out with kangaroos in Australia, stuffed myself with delicious Korean BBQ in Seoul, tasted craft beer in Belgium, gone to live jazz shows in Manhattan, seeing the pyramids and enjoyed shisha in Cairo and met my friends and family who live abroad.
My passion of music has not died either. With music I wrote between flights (and on layovers) and plenty of planning, I was able to return to Montréal last summer to record my first album. My band consists of 19 musicians and I had written and arranged 9 pieces, mostly originals and a couple pop covers.
Seeing as there is an endless variation of people there are bound to be differences and misinterpretations. Working this job has made me realize that though we may appear to be different, we all just want to pay the bills, put food on the table, go out every now and then and be loved.
Perhaps through traveling, exchanging cultures and opening our hearts to others there is hope for a better tomorrow. Especially now when understanding, acceptance and friendship are commodities that we as a species are in such dire need of.