Born in Portland Victoria, the son of a livestock buyer and inheriting his mother’s enquiring mind, John was fortunate to gain experience in all aspects of meat processing during nineteen years with Thomas Borthwick and Sons, the then leading meat exporter. During the 1960s he was involved in the rapidly expanding Japanese boneless mutton market
In 1970 John was a team member in the pioneering of chilled vacuum packaged beef shipments to Japan and represented Borthwicks in Japan during the tumultuous 1970s. Returning to Japan in 1979 for six years to represent the Australian meat industry in North Asia, John gained a deep appreciation of the fast-evolving change in the Japanese food market and was at the forefront of the introduction of chilled lamb to the Japanese market.
John was a committee member of the Saint Andrew Society of Yokohama and Tokyo and helped form the Tokyo Piping Society which he led for several years. These roles created life-long friendships and opened new windows of discovery into the blending of Japanese and foreign cultures.
The observations and stories in Meet Japan are enhanced by a selection of Lois’s letters. Lois gained a BA and BSW at University of Melbourne and was the daughter of a commercial flower grower. She was an intrepid photographer. Her qualifications and upbringing came to the fore in her weekly letters to her mother and sisters as she described in detail the colours and landscape of Japan along with astute reports of everyday life of ordinary people.
While in Japan, Lois extended her skill of painting to include, oil painting, sumie and the ancient technique of oils and silk dust on silk. A pottery shop was a magnet. Lois had a particular interest in the deep relationship of Japanese life and nature.