Tom grew up in Devon, England and, after graduating in European History from the University of Derby, has travelled widely. He has also worked in a variety of jobs, which have included being a tram driver and teacher of English, as well as a tour guide. In 2002, Tom decided to visit Japan after a chance meeting in Western Australia with some Japanese travellers, who had deeply impressed him with their modest nature and gentle kindness. This proved to be the beginning of a fascination with Japan’s exotic culture and language, and he has spent many of the subsequent years living and working in the nation.
Initially armed only with patchy and phrasebook-style Japanese, after a few months in Japan Tom began to find he was not only developing an ability in the language but also a passion for it and its seemingly infinite variety and complexity. To further his interest in all things Japanese, in 2004 he began study for an MA in Japanese Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Upon graduating, Tom returned to Japan, where he undertook and passed the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for non-native speakers.
At this time, he also began to explore Japan's hinterland, which included a 5,000 mile, meandering journey on a bicycle from the northern tip of Hokkaido to the southern tip of Kyushu. Inspired by his adventures, in 2009 he took up a career as a full-time guide and has since led tours to many areas of Japan, including to the peak of Mt. Fuji.
Tom is currently based in Brighton, England. When at home, he teaches online and face-to-face Japanese language classes, and also leads walking groups on the nearby hills of the South Downs. With any spare time in Japan, Tom takes himself off exploring the remoter regions of the country, camping and working on farms. Tom joined Walk Japan in 2014.