A 20 year resident of Japan, Trevor Reynolds has many hats: father, money manager and president of the Australian Society of Japan. Tasked with bringing Aussie cheer to Tokyo, Reynolds works hard organizing BBQs, balls and other social events to bring together the community of Australian expats and locals that love the easy-going country. It’s a busy schedule, but Reynolds has enjoyed his fair share of help over the years in Japan, and feels like this is an excellent opportunity to give something back to others.
What gives you inspiration?
Helping people achieve their goals. Tokyo is full of vibrant and interesting people and I have had the good fortune to meet and work with many of them. As I have lived here and been helped over the years, it is great to be able to help others. Being involved with the Australia Society Tokyo is an extension of that too; being able to do for others what has been done for me. Before I was involved with AST, I was attending their events, so now it’s my turn for a while to help with the society.
‘Tokyo is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. However its transient nature means that we have to constantly work at making friends and contacts’
What are Japan specific challenges you face here?
Tokyo is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. However its transient nature means that we have to constantly work at making friends and contacts with the moving cycles of friends and colleagues. I think this is one reason why the Australia Society Tokyo is such a great society and our events are well attended. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends in this sometimes overwhelming city.
Tell us a bit about Australia Society and its history.
It all started in the 1950s as a volunteer organization to get Australians and friends of Australia together to share a bit of Australian life in Tokyo. Since then, AST has had several stages of growth. Back in the ‘80s there used to be meat drops, and the society played a very different role then than it does today. Now we are spoiled for choice in Tokyo, but AST maintains that ethos and shares the same values of the AST of the ‘50s.
At AST we believe the best way to get people together is to organize enjoyable events catering to a variety of tastes, so that’s what we do! We are lucky to have a full committee of fantastic people all pulling together, donating time and effort to put on events. We recently held a wine tasting which had over 75 people attend, and we will look to plan another one this autumn.
Our premier event is the annual Australia Day Gala Ball in January, where we also raise money for charity. We currently support a Children’s home for underprivileged children here in Tokyo. Our other major functions are the Adults BBQ to be held on Oct. 2 — currently taking registrations — and the Melbourne Cup Luncheon, our own version of a day at the races, on Nov. 2, this year celebrating 150 years. We also organize wine tastings, adult and family BBQs, Christmas parties, regular coffee mornings and a variety of other events. So we welcome everyone to come and join in to make AST and Tokyo life just a little bit better.
The society is blessed with a large group of sponsors, and I would like to thank them all for their support over the years. We also cannot thank the Australian ambassador and his staff enough for allowing us access to the embassy grounds for our events and parties.
What kind of advice would you give to those who aspire to making a difference in this country?
There are many different ways to get involved in Japan, whether it is on a voluntary basis, joining a society like AST or setting up a new venture. The most important thing is to keep aiming for your goals. You’ll meet hurdles along the way, but don’t give up — keep asking and doing and don’t lose sight of what it is you set out to do. Finally, come along and join in an Australia Society event for a taste of Australia in Japan!
What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not spending time on AST, my wonderful young daughters take up all my free time. At weekends we enjoy bike riding, going to parks, BBQs and swimming. We also love to travel and make the most of getting to Australia as often as possible.
For more information: www.australiasocietytokyo.com
Photo courtesy of Australia Society