Kazu Wakui

Kazu Wakui

Founder of O-SU


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on June 2007

Kazu Wakui - center

Kazu Wakui - center

Can you tell us about yourself?
In Japan, I was a mixer for TV and film productions, but I left my career behind and flew to Canada to pursue my lifelong dream to go abroad. After many travels, I came to Australia on a working holiday visa, and it’s now my 18th year in Sydney, where I run O-SU, an information center for Japanese international students.

Why did you move to Australia?
When I was trying to figure out how I could stay longer abroad, I found out about the working holiday program from a friend. Three days later, I dumped my girlfriend and got on a plane to Sydney.

Why did you decide to open O-SU?
Half of the people in Australia are those who live here for good, and the other half are students and people on working holidays. Since the latter are always coming and going, a community website is a necessity to exchange information about jobs, places to stay, and survival tips.

Have you experienced any difficulties while working in Australia?
The language barrier, of course. But the most difficult thing I had to adjust to was the sometimes too-laidback attitude Aussies tend to have. The negative side of this is that they are not punctual and very forgetful. But compared to the “aesthetic” way of Japan, I have realized that this spirit—“Don’t worry mate!”—makes Australia a country with a growing population.

What do you do at your office?
I mainly help out students who come here on different visas, and provide information about schools, stays, trips, IT and much more. We now have a tie-up with Vodafone Australia and provide cellphones, which you can use to call over 100 places for free, from hospitals to restaurants. Of course, you can use them to contact O-SU anytime.

What does “Australia” mean to you?
“My lover.” I love every part of Australia: the smells, sky, flowers, trees, water and people.

And how about Japan?
“My mother.” It’s my home, where I come back to. Although I’m not living there anymore, I always hope for the best for my home country.

www.joinet.com.au www.o-su.com.au