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Melanie Calvert

First Secretary (Political)
Australian Embassy

Hometown: Kiama, Australia

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of May 2020)

Melanie Calvert
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I first visited Japan on a school excursion in 1992. I enjoyed it so much I applied to become an AFS Intercultural Programs’ exchange student and I spent a year of high school in Kumamoto when I was 16. My lovely host family helped me experience many parts of Japanese culture. But I still don’t really like the local delicacy of raw horse (basashi).

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

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” I like taking action and making progress, even if there is still some uncertainty. It’s especially useful to take this approach when trying to speak in a foreign language — most times, when I’ve tried and made mistakes, I’ve still been able to convey a message and I’ve often learned something along the way.

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

Prior to working in Tokyo, I helped deliver the Australian government’s aid program while working in the Australian embassy in Jakarta. It was very rewarding to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. I think there is a lot of potential for Japan and Australia to work together to help countries in the Indo-Pacific region be more stable and prosperous.

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

My goals for my time in Japan are to enjoy as many parks and playgrounds of Tokyo as possible with my three-year-old daughter, and meet Kumamon if possible. I would also like to become better at polite keigo language, but that is a very challenging task.

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

Japan can sometimes be a confusing and frustrating place for a foreigner. I think it is really useful to find an aspect of Japanese culture that resonates with you — be that “Terrace House” episodes, cherry blossom picnics, baseball fan chants or Kit Kat flavors — and find time to engage with the delights of that.

Last updated: May 11, 2020