- Minister-Counsellor (Economic)
- Australian Embassy
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 6 (as of May 2020)
My family hosted a Japanese exchange student when I was a teenager. He introduced me to kendama — a traditional Japanese wooden toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a string — and instant ramen. The occasional bowl of misoshiru (miso soup) still triggers memories of my first taste of Japanese food not long after that, at a restaurant in Melbourne. My first time in Japan was as a 17 year old, thrown in the deep end at the Gaidai language school in Fuchu.
I don’t really have a motto, but my starting point is to trust others. As human beings, it is in our nature to take some joy from each other’s happiness and success. There are very few situations where we are in true competition with one other.
In my career, I’m most proud of being able to represent my country in Japan in my current role as the financial attache at the Australian Embassy. In this way, I am not only reaping the rewards of my previous investment in understanding Japan, studies in economics and experience in government policy, but I’m able to give back to both countries for their investment in me.
To put into action a Japanese expression I first learned almost 30 years ago when I was first here, by acting as a kakehashi — a “bridge” — between Australia and Japan, especially at this challenging time for both our economies and societies.
Get out and see the countryside on the weekends or whenever you can get some time off. There are really cheap ways to get around, like Seishun 18 tickets (which offer five days of nonconsecutive train travel) in spring and summer, or cycle-touring gorgeous scenery on endless low-traffic paved roads. Use every opportunity to use Japanese, because that’s how you improve. Accept every invitation (and make some of your own) to do new things with new people.