Just a stone’s throw away from the Dutch parliament is the most remote of the Erasmus schools: the International Institute of Social Studies, a graduate school made up of mostly international students. So who will you run into when you wander around the school? This time around, we got to know PhD student Shigehisa (Cape) Kasahara.
If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?
“I’m a very relaxed person, I don’t mind. I’m 64 at the moment.”
How did you end up at the ISS?
“I moved from Japan to the U.S. to do my undergraduate studies at the State University of Michigan and my graduate studies at the American University in Washington. In the middle of my PhD program I got my first job offer at the World Health Organization so I jumped into it. That was in 1981. Later on, I had finished all the classwork for my PhD studies in economics when I received an announcement about the United Nations competitive exam for employment. I took it, passed it, and started working for the UN in 1987. My PhD was in suspension, but now I’ve been here since 2014 to finally finish off what I had once started.”
How do you like it in The Hague?
“You may be surprised by this, but I really don’t know anything about The Hague. My colleagues always say ‘Cape, you don’t anything about your own city’. It’s true, because I’m always in my office. I probably stay in my office ten to thirteen hours a day.”
You’ve been here since 2014. How have you not seen the city yet?
“I have a lot to catch up on you guys. I am too much in a bureaucracy, and I cannot afford to have time. Time is a luxury to me, so I must economize every moment that I have left over. I live just 100 meters from here. Most of my time is spent within these 100 meters. I’m not even sure about the public transportation system.”
Have you tried biking yet?
“I did, but then I realized I have no where I need to go. That’s just how I am.”
Since you are inside all day, the Dutch weather doesn’t bother you, right?
“Oh it does. I don’t always notice the outside weather, but I still need to go outside take a break sometimes. The climate over here is just, in a way, very depressing. I know it’s not a good idea to start bitchin’ about my host country’s weather, but I cannot help it.”