Tim Tsang

Tim Tsang
Photo by Maki Nibayashi

Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)

Time in Japan:
2 years, 8 months

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. My parents are originally from Hong Kong - they emigrated to Australia about thirty years ago. They brought me up in a Chinese environment at home and I learnt how to be an Aussie when I went to school. We speak Hakka Chinese at home and English outside the home.

What do you do?
I' employed by the International Relations Division of Hyogo Prefectural Government. I am dispatched to Hyogo International Association (HIA) four days a week and I spend one day a week in the International Relations Division mainly proofreading letters and documents. Many of the letters are from the governor of the prefecture being sent overseas. At HIA my tasks are quite varied and include translating, interpreting, proofreading, making speeches, appearing on discussion panels and researching information for non-Japanese residents. One of my recent jobs was interpreting for journalists at the opening of Japan Flora, the international horticultural and landscaping exhibition on Awaji island.

What does Hyogo International Association do?
It promotes the concept of "internationalization" by promoting grass roots exchange and international cooperation programs, managing relations with Hyogo's sister states, prefectures, etc. Other functions include assisting non-Japanese people in their daily lives, accepting technical trainees from overseas, managing programs such as Japanese language education for non-Japanese residents and providing a center with free Internet and other resources aimed at non-Japanese residents and Japanese people interested in overseas cultures. Basically HIA is an association devoted to internationalization projects in Hyogo Prefecture.

What are your future plans?
My current contract with the Hyogo Prefectural Government runs out in July and I am trying to decide what to do after that - whether to work in Japan, go to graduate school in Japan or Australia, or go back to Australia to work.

What's the weirdest thing you've seen or experienced in Japan?
A wildly drunk snack mamma (who I think was a man) in an impressively large kimono who looked more like a washed-up sumo wrestler stuck between elevator doors, trying to get out. It was really hilarious.

What's the one Japanese thing you would take back to your home country?
A car. I like Japanese sports cars. I've already sent one back to Australia.

What's your advice for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Have an open mind and respect difference. I don't think living in Japan is any more difficult than living in any other country you're not originally from. Of course things are different - live, learn and soak it up.

Email Tim at

For more information on HIA see

Tim Tsang spoke to Maki Nibayashi.

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at

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Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199