Interview with Judith


Judith – can you please tell us a little about yourself ? Where you grow up etc..
ジュディス – あなたのことを少し教えてください。育った場所など。

I am a Kiwi (from New Zealand) and I live and work in the capital, Wellington. I grew up in a beautiful small city in the North Island, Hastings. I worked for the New Zealand Government as a diplomat and lived in Japan from 2017-2022. Now I work for Amazon Web Services in public policy. I’ve spent most of my career working with or in government.

私はキウイ(ニュージーランド出身)で、首都のウェリントンに住んで働いています。私は北島の美しい小都市、ヘイスティングスで育ちました。ニュージーランド政府で外交官として働き、2017年から2022年まで日本に住んでいました。今はAmazon Web Servicesで公共政策に携わっています。私はキャリアのほとんどを政府関係者、または政府関係者とともに過ごしてきました。

Lot of fond memories from your days in Japan, what do you miss the most / when was the funnest time ?

The first day I arrived in Japan it was a humid summer’s day. I remember walking in Kamiya-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo and feeling like I was home. I’d never visited Japan before but I felt like I discovered a love for Japan right away, love at first sight. I’ve been obsessed with Japan ever since and will never stop loving Japan and Japanese people.


What brought about the decision to move back to NZ ?

My father got quite sick so I moved back to be closer to him. It was a hard decision and sometimes I wonder if I will move back to Japan, but I do love being back home in New Zealand.


We are very big on supporting Rural communities, any good ideas for groups in NZ we could support ?

There was a bad cyclone in my home town recently, Cyclone Gabrielle. Many people lost their homes and livelihoods. Supporting Hastings and Napier by promoting it as a travel destination for great wine, golf, food and beaches, would be a great way to support the community there.


Some of us have read the book, well done ! Tell us about it.
あなたの本を読んだ人がいます、素晴らしいことですね! あなたが書いたその本について教えてください。

I wrote Sumo Sam during COVID-19 lockdowns. I was studying Japanese full time and living in Ibaraki-ken. I had just visited a sumo stable and met some sumo wrestlers with my classmates. They were strong and dedicated to their sport, I had no idea how technical and hard the sport was. I decided that my nieces and nephews in New Zealand needed to learn about Japan, see what it was like for a kid to grow up in the countryside. I had visited Kamaiishi before and fell in love with the people there too. I did a house stay with a kind Japanese family who taught me some traditional Japanese cooking and explained the impact of the 2011 Great East Earthquake on their community. I decided I needed to set the book Sumo Sam as being from this village so that people would hear about it and visit. I hope it can make a profit and give back to this community and others in need in Japan. I also wrote it to be a legacy for my nieces and nephews as I dedicated the book to them.

COVID-19のロックダウン中に『Sumo Sam』を書きました。私は日本語をフルタイムで勉強していて、茨城県に住んでいました。ちょうど相撲部屋を訪れ、クラスメートと一緒に何人かの力士と会ったところでした。彼らは強く、自分たちのスポーツに専念していました。私は、このスポーツがどれほど技術的でハードなものであるかを知りませんでした。私は、ニュージーランドにいる姪や甥に、日本について知ってもらい、田舎で育った子供がどのようなものかを見てもらう必要があると考えました。以前、釜石を訪れたことがあったのですが、そこでも人々に惚れ込みました。親切な日本人家族の家にホームステイし、伝統的な日本料理を教えてもらったり、2011年の東日本大震災が彼らの地域に与えた影響について説明してもらったりしました。私は、『Sumo Sam』という本をこの村のものだと設定することで、人々がそのことを知り、訪れてくれるようにする必要があると考えました。この本が利益を上げ、この地域や日本で困っている人たちに恩返しができればと思います。また、私の姪や甥にこの本を捧げることで、遺産になるように書きました。

What can we do to help promote the book here in Japan ?

please share it with friends, if you know of a school wanting to get copies for their English classes etc, that would be amazing.

It can be purchased from Amazon in physical or kindle version. Or if someone is able to help me network with resellers or distributors that would be super helpful.



Sumo Sam is available in soft cover hard copy at Amazon Japan store for ¥1,210


LINK:Click here/ここをクリック