Alumni of the University living in and around Tokyo are invited to network with other alumni in the Tokyo area. Our Volunteer Alumni Coordinators in Tokyo are Ryann Thomas, Gary Wang and Cindy Ryu.

VAC profile: Ryann Thomas (Bachelor of Laws - Honours, Bachelor of Commerce)

After graduating in 1992, Ryann worked for four years as a lawyer in Auckland, before deciding to take a six-month working holiday in Japan. She then went on to England. 19 years later, she still lives in Tokyo, where she works as a partner for PwC Japan.

Ryann says that international tax was definitely not what she anticipated doing with her Law degree. “I took no tax law classes, which sounded dull and not like something I would ever need!”

She says that being well-rounded is one of the keys to success in the legal and accounting professions:

“Everyone who interviews for a job with us comes with the same qualifications. What distinguishes between those interviewees are the extracurricular activities they engage in, and how those fit with our objectives and goals. The same also applies after employees join our firm. Those who succeed are often those engaged in activities outside the workplace, which broaden their skills and experiences.”

On a cautionary note, she also warns that employers do check the internet. “Be careful what your public social media presence says about you.”

Outside of work, Ryann tries to have as many different life experiences as possible.

“I don’t intend to leave this life with regrets,” she says. “If I find something I want to do, I make a plan to do it as soon as I can.”

Ryann has great memories of her time at the University of Auckland. She recalls spending sunny days studying on the balcony of the bar in the Faculty of Engineering with a pint of lager by her side.

“Everyone else was in the library, so I had the place to myself. It was wonderfully quiet and peaceful.”

Ryann is interested in hearing from alumni based in Japan.

Contact Ryann

Email: Ryann Thomas 
LinkedIn: Connect with Ryann

VAC Profile: Gary Wang (Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture)

Gary spent five years at the University undertaking a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture. He took up Japanese as a hobby while he was a student.

“After I graduated I really wanted to practise the language and also check out the Japanese architecture that I learned about in books in person,” says Gary.

Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity to board a plane to Tokyo as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. This allows young New Zealand graduates to teach or work in local government organisations in Japan.

Since then, he hasn’t looked back. Gary now works as a Brand and Sales Manager for Alfa Cycle Supply, a motorcycle parts trading company. He plans on starting his own business sometime in the future. 

Gary loves spending his free time exploring Tokyo’s many cafés and restaurants. “The city is so big that there is always something new to discover,” he says fondly.

Recently, Gary decided to give back to the New Zealand community by getting involved with the New Zealand Alumni Club of Japan. This brings together those who have studied or lived in New Zealand as a group to meet one another in social settings.

His role involves connecting people with New Zealand through events and activities. Gary is looking forward to hosting various cultural experiences such as New Zealand wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. 

He is keen to hear from alumni based in Tokyo.

Contact Gary

Email: Gary Wang

LinkedIn: Connect with Gary

VAC profile: Cindy Ryu (Bachelor of Science)

Cindy began her university studies in 2005. She had always been intrigued by ideas around taste and scent, so she decided to major in Food Science. “It’s fascinating how much value it has in our lives,” Cindy marvels. “Whether it’s the taste of the ice-cream brand you enjoy, your favourite perfume given to you by a special one, the smell of laundry that brings back childhood memories…the list is endless.”

Cindy moved to Tokyo in July 2019 after spending over 5 years living in Seoul working as a Marketing Specialist at Seoul Flavour & Fragrance before working for Diageo as their Associate Brand Change Specialist. Cindy’s role at Diageo revolves around supply project management and ensuring that products are realised and delivered to the market in the desired format.

Cindy will still be working for Diageo as a Technical Specialist based in Tokyo. One of the factors that led to the move to Tokyo is Cindy’s interest in Japanese culture, along with her ability to speak Japanese after learning this at school. After Cindy graduated from University, she taught
English at a public High School in Kyoto. “This allowed me to make invaluable friends who form big parts of my life still, and made Tokyo feel less like "foreign Territory" when considering an offer based here.”

Whilst in Seoul, Cindy acted as our Volunteer Alumni Coordinator and was also the Chair of Kiwi Alumni – New Zealand Alumni Association Korea, a group that holds social events for anyone who lived in New Zealand, but in particular for those who were educated in New Zealand.

One of the things Cindy enjoys most about living in Tokyo is walking around and discovering cafes and shops that sell interesting items. Cindy is keen to hear from alumni based in Tokyo.  

Contact Cindy

Email: Cindy Ryu

LinkedIn: Connect with Cindy