J-Syd InstaLive Series

"J-Syd InstaLive” is an interview talk series that is hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney and aired live on Instagram.

The Consulate invites you to discover more about various aspects of Japan and Japanese culture, as shared by guests and enthusiasts from the local community.

Through these talks, we aim to engage Australian youth and build upon strong Australia-Japan relations.

 Follow our Instagram @cgjapansyd

Upcoming InstaLives


Look forward to some of our upcoming InstaLive talks and mark them in your calendars!
Please note that the schedule is subject to change at any time.

Date Theme
TBC Li Harper - World Cosplay Summit Australia Committee

InstaLive Archives

Find all previous J-Syd InstaLive episodes and featured guests organised by year (newest to oldest). Access archives older than the current year through the index.


2022 Archive list

InstaLive with Chado Urasenke Tankokai Sydney Association Inc.

Watch the full talk here [25:02mins]
In episode 18 (March), we talked with Ms Ryoko Freeman, the Chief of Administration for Chado Urasenke Tankokai Sydney Association Inc.

To begin, Ryoko explains what chado is, known as 'tea ceremony' in Engish, and gives a brief introduction on the principles of chado and its history. She also talks about the kinds of activities and charity work the members of the association do.

Ryoko then shares her own personal background and we also meet several of her students who tell their stories and interest in chado

Finally, Ryoko and her students give a demonstration of a simple tea ceremony and explain the different actions and equipment used throughout.

Relevant link: Chado Urasenke Tankokai Sydney Association Inc. homepage


2021 Archive list

InstaLive with Aiko Goto and Helena Rathbone

Watch the full performance here [56:21mins]
In episode 17 (6 December), we held a special version of our InstaLive series as a part of Japanaroo+ and invited two violinists from the Australian Chamber Orchestra to perform at the Consul-General's residence: Ms Aiko Goto (violinist) and Ms Helena Rathbone (principal violinist) .

Relevant links

Mrs Hiroko Prado

Watch the full talk here [34:52mins]
In episode 16 (November), we talked with Mrs Hiroko Prado, the current President of Ikebana International Sydney #36 Inc.

To begin, Hiroko explains what ikebana is, including the meaning of the kanji "生け花" and the purpose of ikebana as a practice. She also talks about Ikebana International as a global not-for-profit organisation, the various schools of ikebana, and the activities of the Sydney chapter.

Hiroko then shares some of her own personal background, telling us about her time teaching Japanese culture in America and what first lead her to start practising ikebana in Japan.

Finally, Hiroko shows some of her own arrangements and explains the integral 'tools of the trade' before ending with a short demonstration of two simple arrangements that anyone can make at home.

In Hiroko's own words: "It's so important to have flowers in your life - they give you positive energy and power."

Relevant link: Ikebana International Sydney #36 Inc homepage

Ms Carol Cheng
Watch the full talk here [17:27mins]
In episode 15 (September), we talked with Ms Carol Cheng who was a former Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. She is also a current member of the JET Alumni Association in NSW (JETAANSW).

To start, Carol speaks more about what her role as a CIR involved and her life on JET, as well as her most memorable moments, travel recommendations and achievements.

She also discussed how the JET Programme helped to shape her career pathway and the skills she gained, and gives advice to people who are also looking to enter the Japan space as a career.

In Carol's own words: "I definitely wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't gone on JET."

Relevant links

No.14 Consul-General Kiya about Japanaroo 2021

Watch the full talk here
In episode 14 (August), we spoke with this Consulate's very own Consul-General Kiya Masahiko about the launch of Japanaroo 2021.

To begin, Mr. Kiya explains more about the new Japanaroo initiative happening between August 20 - October 2, including the types of Japan-related events people can expect as well as how to enter the major prize campaign.

Next, he talks about how the idea of Japanaroo first came to be and emphasises that Japanese culture, food and businesses are already close to people in Australia.

Finishing off in his own words: "I want you to discover Japan at your doorstep through Japanaroo and please enjoy!

Relevant links

No. 12 Tsuneari Yahiro

Watch the full talk here [13:55mins]
In episode 13 (July), we talked with Mr Tsuneari Yahiro who will represent Australia in Karate at the Tokyo Olympics in a double debut for both the sport and himself.

To start, Tsuneari speaks about what it was like for him to be selected for the Australian Olympic team and to be competing on the world stage in the home country of Karate.

He also explained more about how the kumite (fighting) discipline of Karate will work at the Olympics, how he first started on his Karate path, and his goal for gold.

In his own words about the Olympics: "To have our first event at the birthplace of Karate is very special". Good luck, Tsuneari!

Relevant links

11. Philip Mitchell

Watch the full talk here [18:59mins]
In episode 12 (June), we spoke with the President of the Australia-Japan Society of NSW, Mr Philip Mitchell.
At the beginning, Philip gives a brief overview of AJS-NSW, including its history, the various kinds of events they run in the business, cultural and education space, as well as the different membership types that are available.

Philip also talks about how he first became involved in the Australia-Japan relationship through an intensive language program when he was younger and shares three tips for learning Japanese.

Finally, he gives us his personal favourite travel destination in Japan. In his own words: "Japan grows on you. You get a bit involved and then you get more involved!"

Relevant links


Watch the full talk here [32:57mins]
In episode 11 (May), we spoke with kimono specialist Ms Tae Gessner about Japan’s traditional clothing.

At the beginning, Tae talks briefly about the history of kimono through the centuries. She then gives an in-depth demonstration of the various accessories used – both visible and hidden – when wearing kimono.

Next, Tae discusses her personal experiences with kimono, including how she first started learning kimono dressing in her hometown, practicing it in Australia, and what inspired her to create the ‘International Kimono Club Sydney’.

Finally, Tae recommends how people in Australia can start wearing kimono and learn more about kimono with her club.

In Tae’s own words: “Once you start, you meet new people and a new kind of way of looking at Japanese culture.”

Relevant links

No.10 Midori Furze

Watch the full talk here [19:50mins]
In episode 10 (April), we talk with contemporary artist Ms Midori Furze about the art of origami.

At the start of the talk, Midori explains what origami is and the history of the art form in Japan. She also shows some of her own works and gives examples of ways that the techniques of origami are used in our everyday lives. In her own words, she believes that "origami will bring the future to Australia and the world".

Next, Midori talks about her hometown of Nagoya and how she started practising origami in Australia, as well as some of the major projects she’s been involved in.

At the end, Midori gives a live demonstration on how to fold kabuto (samurai helmets) for the Japan Foundation in Sydney’s ‘Let the Carps Grow’ event to celebrate kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) in May.

Relevant links


Watch the full talk here [35:42mins]
In episode 9 (March), we talk with the Executive Advisor for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Mr Peter Gibson.

At the start of the talk, Peter explains more about the Australian Olympic Committee’s Connect Tomodachi 2021 program – a wonderful initiative bringing Australian and Japanese school students together to share each other’s cultures and lifestyles.

He also discusses the Olympic Torch Relay, which officially kicked off at the J-Village in Fukushima Prefecture on March 25 and how this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in the area.

Next, Peter talks about his own personal experiences with Japan and how his passion for the Australia-Japan relationship first started through sport. Having visited all 47 prefectures, he also listed his top travel destinations.

In Peter’s own words: “Japan is one of the few countries where you can be skiing one day and scuba diving in Okinawa the next.”

Relevant links

2020 Archive List

J-Syd InstaLive with Peter Dodd from Sydney Kyudo Kai In our eighth episode, we talk with Sydney Kyudo Kai instructor and New South Wales Kyudo Association President, Mr Peter Dodd.

First, Peter explains what Kyudo (Japanese archery) is, its origins as a martial arts form, the ranking system and the equipment used. He then discusses how he first became interested in Kyudo, beginning his practices in Japan, and how Kyudo began in Australia.

At the end, Peter gives a live Kyudo demonstration in front of a makiwara target. For those interested in starting Kyudo, he explains more about the Sydney Kyudo Kai club's practice sessions and introductory courses.

Watch the full talk here [17:09mins].

NOTE: This episode was pre-recorded and edited.

J-Syd InstaLive with Ren Yano about Japanese Calligraphy In our seventh episode, we talk to Japanese calligraphy artist, Mr Ren Yano.

To begin, Ren explains more about Japanese calligraphy and the tools used in regular and performance calligraphy. He then speaks about his personal experiences, including how he first became interested in calligraphy and why he moved to Australia from Japan.

At the end, Ren gives a live calligraphy demonstration with a wonderful message to everyone: 皆様の健康と幸福を祈ります (I pray for everyone's health and happiness).

Watch the full talk here [14:28mins].
View profile on our Cultural Directory here.

NOTE: This episode was pre-recorded and edited due to technical difficulties. It was published on 17 November 2020.

InstaLive about Japanese sign language In our sixth talk episode, we bring on guests Ms Chikako Hara, a native user of Japanese Sign Language (JSL), and Ms Sara-Jane Seery as interpreter to discuss sign language.

First, Chikako introduces herself in Australian sign language (Auslan), explaining the difference between her ‘sign name’ in Auslan and JSL. She then speaks about her experiences growing up deaf in Japan and her family who are all hearing.

Chikako also talks about learning to lip-read Japanese, learning JSL and other sign languages, such as Auslan and American Sign Language (ASL). She says, “People are always asking if sign language is the same, and I constantly say no, they’re all very different” and then demonstrates some differences and similarities between sign languages.

She then explains her motivations behind wanting to come to Australia, how she discovered Auslan and got her Diploma in Auslan, as well as her experiences in Australia, including the deaf community and the friends she has made.

At the end of the talk, Chikako teaches some basic greeting signs in JSL alongside Auslan. She also stresses that sign language isn’t just about the signs you make with your hands, but also involves your facial expressions.

Chikako’s final message is that she “wants more people to learn Auslan” and “wants to help deaf people from Japan by building better relations so they can enjoy Australia”.

Watch the full talk here [41mins].

InstaLive with Sally from JNTO In our fifth episode, we speak to Sally Miles from JNTO Sydney (Japan National Tourism Organization), who is also the vice president for JETAA NSW (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme).

To start off, Sally gives an oversight of what the organisation JNTO is all about, the Sydney office and team, and what her role involves. In that, she describes working there as her “dream job” and talks about how she first started working for JNTO, with great career advice for returning JETs or people who are interested in working within Japanese organisations.

Sally also discusses whether Japanese language ability is necessary in similar organisations, as well as her own background studying and learning Japanese later in life as someone who is half-Japanese.

Next, Sally talks about some of her experiences as an ALT on the JET Programme, based in a small town called Kanaya in Shizuoka Prefecture. She also talks about how she still keeps in touch with her old students.

Finally, she shares some of her Japan travel stories, starting with her top five recommended areas with many of them off the beaten track – perfect for those looking for new destinations to explore!

Find JNTO and more travel inspiration online at: www.japan.travel/en/au/

Watch the full talk here.

InstaLive with Koji Hiraki from Wadaiko Rindo Sydney at 4PM August 28 On the fourth episode of J-Syd InstaLive we invite on Mr. Koji Hiraki from Wadaiko Rindo Sydney.

Koji first explains what taiko is and the difference between the Japanese words taiko and wadaiko. He also discusses how many people, like other Japanese words, now know what taiko is. Using real taiko drums, he tells us more about the differences in the types of drums, the materials used and the sounds made. He sums up that taiko is all about hitting drums, making sound, having fun and enjoying.

Koji then talks more about Wadaiko Rindo Sydney and how he founded the Sydney chapter with his wife in 2010 from the main group based in Melbourne. He also shares some personal stories, including how he began playing taiko and a funny anecdote from his first live performance.

At the end, Koji gives a short taiko performance demonstration in his apartment. He finishes by saying how taiko is about playing together, making connections, and the way it can touch your heart and your mind.

Find Wadaiko Rindo on Facebook: www.facebook.com/wadaiko.rindo

Watch the full talk here.

InstaLive with SMASH Executive Director Sherina Yeung on 14 August On the third episode of our J-Syd InstaLive series, we talked to one of the Executive Director’s from SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show, Miss Sherina Yeung.

At the beginning of the talk, Sherina explains more about the SMASH! organisation and how they are completely volunteer run, as well as the annual anime convention they hold. Due to this year’s postponement, Sherina also answered some fan questions about purchased tickets, and their future plans for the convention.

Sherina also shares some personal anecdotes about going to SMASH’s first convention in 2007 and how the convention has grown since then, as well as her volunteer experiences as a crew member before becoming a part of the staff team.

Delving into some pop-culture talk, she speaks about being introduced to anime classics from a young age by her older brother, and the influence of her mother’s favourite show Doraemon. Sherina also reveals her own favourite anime series, and gives recommendations for people new to anime.

At the end of the talk, Sherina discusses how people can continue to support SMASH! on many levels, including community, personal and as a volunteer.

Website: www.smash.org.au/

Watch the full talk here.

InstaLive with JETAA NSW President Ashlie O'Neill on 31 July The second episode brings on Ms. Ashlie O’Neill, President of JETAA NSW.

At the start of the talk, Ashlie explains what JETAA is, what it does and her personal involvement since being on the committee from 2016. One of the key ideas she expresses is being a “JET for life”. 
Along with JETAA, she shares her own experiences on the JET Programme as an assistant language teacher (ALT) based in Hyogo Prefecture. Some of the stories she talks about include the senior high school she taught at, travelling in Japan and culture shock. 
She also gives some great advice as an alumni and discusses the career benefits as a participant on the JET Programme. 
To sum up the JET Programme in Ashlie’s own words: “It’s an adventure of a lifetime”.

Watch the full talk here.
InstaLive with Consul-General Kiya Masahiko on 17 July The premier episode of our series featured a talk with this Consulate's very own Consul-General Kiya Masahiko
In the episode, Mr. Kiya talks about his role as the Consul-General, the previous countries he has worked in and his impressions of NSW and the NT since moving to Sydney in October 2019. 
He also shares some personal anecdotes about his parents’ hometown in Hokkaido, growing up in Yokohama and his time at university.
Finishing off, he leaves us with a great key message: “Know Japan to enrich your life”. No matter how much or how little you know, it will enrich your life.

Watch the full talk here.