The 24-year-old, who this week made his senior debut for Japan, set himself up for post-retirement even before he turned professional in combining university studies with his first steps with Kawasaki Frontale - from where he made a £1.4m move to Celtic in January.
His industry and dedication to football make sense in the context of the qualification he obtained from Juntendo University. But it transpires that maybe he should have trained as a barista.
“At university, I was studying at the faculty of sports and health science,” said the player, who doesn’t entertain replicating his scintillating derby debut in February - wherein he plundered a glorious double - when Celtic lock horns with Rangers at Ibrox this weekend. “It was all about the science of the human body, nutrition and everything around that. But I also got a licence to be a physical education teacher.
“For four years of university, I had to study a lot as well as training hard to try and become a professional football player. It wasn’t easy for me at that time. Because I had to have a lot of discipline. But it was a great experience for me. I had already dreamt about becoming a football player before going to University. That was my ambition even at high school.
"After going to university, I started to have a clear vision of exactly what I wanted to do and which team I wanted to play for. It was my goal and objective to do well in my career [though] I didn’t think I’d play at such a high level, for Celtic and for the national team. I’m not sure [though] if I’ll be a physical education teacher when I stop playing. But I think I will definitely open my own coffee shop…”
Ange Postecoglou meanwhile has insisted that Celtic's position at the top of the Premiership table is down to his side's form rather than a collapse from Rangers.
"Our form has been really, really good so people maybe have a look at their form and think they have been a bit off it but they have been pretty consistent,” he said.