CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On humid summer days, Sean Gaston likes to sip tea at a café built atop an ancient, Japanese temple.
The West Virginian native lives halfway across the world in Tokyo, where he works for a Japanese entertainment company called XING.
His division -- SumahoMAMA or "Smartphone Mothers" -- creates educational apps for children.
Gaston focuses on developing and marketing apps for the company.
He conducts market research about American educational trends and works alongside American firms to coordinate new app launches. A former interpreter, Gaston occasionally translates for the office and offers advice on American culture. He also debugs and designs app software.
The company has recently released a new app called "Touch and Sing Along Picture Book." Gaston describes the app as "a collection of popular kids songs presented in an interactive environment to encourage learning for kids aged 2 to 7."
It was originally a project spearheaded by a group of Japanese mothers who hoped to teach kids basic skills through new technology, Gaston said.
The brand has thrived among Japanese audiences, but struggled to enter the American market, Gaston said. He has attempted to make the product friendlier for the Americans.
"iPads and smartphones are a great way to introduce traditional learning concepts such as the alphabet, numbers and science to kids," Gaston said. "It also offers an outlet for kids' natural curiosity and creativity."
Gaston has come to enjoy the fast pace of Japanese life. Every morning, he watches Japanese businessmen scurry from platform to platform on the subway network that connects the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo.