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Jon Walsh

Business Grow

Date of birth: July 8, 1971

Hometown: Auckland

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 18 (as of March 2020)

Jon Walsh
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

It was through my girlfriend who at that time (mid-1990s) was my pen friend. International phone bills between New Zealand and Japan became as high as a flight ticket between our countries so I moved. I had next to no knowledge of Japan besides the traditional stereotypes and the fact that it is a manufacturing powerhouse behind many household name products and extremely reliable vehicles.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

“Do your best, then surprise yourself.” I think we are all capable of more than we think, and sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zones and scare ourselves in order to change an “OK” result to “wow!” — something that will amaze, intrigue, and inspire others to imitate us and possibly improve themselves.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Becoming likely the only native English-speaking urban farming consultant and instructor in Tokyo, possibly all of Japan, while teaching nearly 1,000 people how to grow healthy urban food like our grandparents did. Also, building possibly Tokyo’s first hotel organic vegetable garden at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in 2018.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

In Japan, my goals are to train more people to be urban farming consultants/instructors and together train thousands of people how to grow healthy urban food; run urban farming programs in more schools, hotels, embassies and clubs; and encourage as many people as possible to grow food where they are and donate a portion of it to charities and food banks to help alleviate urban hunger issues.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

For non-Japanese, try not to automatically assume that what you are familiar with in your home country will work, or be acceptable in Japan. Regarding working, identify what you love to do and figure out a way to monetize it. In other words, work your passion, while also being flexible in mindset and open to whatever training it takes to get you there.

Last updated: Mar 2, 2020