I like researching, walking, shoestring backpacking to places that took a long time to find information on, and making maps.

I transitioned out of the 9-5 work life in 2014 to create the sustainable lifestyle that keeps me productive and sane. I travel, meet inspiring people, read, walk, cook, and work on things I find meaningful.

I write about Japan travel and culture for topics I usually research in Japanese or learn first hand from locals. I write to provide information on niche topics that I wish I could have just searched up, such as LGBTQ travel. And I also write to share nuances of East Asian culture, travel, and intersectional identities that challenge stereotypes and easy categorization.

You might have noticed, I also do coffee walk maps when I feel like it for cities like Vancouver, Tokyo, London, Taipei, and Berlin. I prefer doing them for more local areas.

My other work includes:

My short bio:

I’m a Vancouver-born, Chinese-Canadian content marketing consultant, writer, and project starter. I run a content marketing agency based in Hong Kong, specialising in the web and mobile app development, impact investing, and startup industries. My mission is to share East Asia’s entrepreneurial talent and creativity with an English-speaking global audience.

I have worked in social innovation and startup spaces in Canada, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Japan. Some of the organisations I’ve contributed to are TEDxYouth@HongKong as a founding team member, SOW Asia, LearnLab China (光合空間) to create accelerator programs in Hong Kong and China, LaunchPilots (領創派) and MakerBay (工匠灣), Hong Kong’s first makerspace.

I am an avid reader and history enthusiast, heavily influenced by post-colonial theory. I highly appreciate aesthetics, attention to detail, and technical aptitude in any field of pursuit. I love waking up to a fresh early morning, bouldering, and brewing tea or coffee. My preferred modes of transport are cycling, walking, and taking trains.

I am also the map-maker for Niche Tokyo and have contributed to publications such as Tech in Asia and LifeHack and Mogul.

Interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal (in Chinese).

My longer bio: 

Athena runs a boutique content marketing agency with an East Asian focus for startups and web and mobile app development. She has worked with organisations in the impact investing space such as SOW Asia and LearnLab China (光合空間) to create accelerator programs in Hong Kong and China. She prefers to work with companies that create explicit or implicit social impact like LaunchPilots (領創派), which empowers university student leaders, and MakerBay (工匠灣), Hong Kong’s first makerspace.

She has founded community projects in Canada, and conferences in Hong Kong, and supports initiatives that support entrepreneurship and innovation. She has also judged regional Asian social entrepreneurship events and presented at startup and international development conferences respectively.

Related to her previous experience, she seeks out local innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, policy makers, artists and makers to create knowledge exchanges. She also helps new startups develop their products and businesses. This includes product development, business development, building an online presence, and community building. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts specialising in East Asian Studies and English Literature from Trinity College at the University of Toronto, a Masters of Social Science in Media Management from Hong Kong Baptist University, and a Masters of Science in Population and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with a thesis on the long-term development effects of weather seasonalities in South Asia.

For more: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram

History as a community organiser

Believing strongly in being part of the solution to problems that she cares about, Athena volunteers her time to work with individuals and communities who are creating positive social and environmental change. She initiated Project OUTPost, a grassroots anonymous community art project that received postcard submissions from around the world in 3 short months to produce a solo exhibition in the University of Toronto’s Hart House and as part of Pride Toronto 2011’s Artwherk Exhibition. She also organised industry events for the international development sector while studying in the LSE. In 2010, she co-founded TEDxYouth@HongKong, which has since gone on to set records as Hong Kong’s largest TEDx event, only fully bilingual TEDx conference.


  1. hi athena, thanks for your travel blog on shikoku henro. i am currently preparing my 3rd trip intending to complete the round, your blog is so much fun to read and so helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Oliver,

      Thank you for the kind message! Where are you starting from for your last trip? Matsumoto? When did you take the previous ones? I think it’s been snowing quite a bit, so be careful and take care!

      Also, best wishes for 2017!


  2. HI Athena,
    I’ve been reading your Shikoku henro blog and appreciating it. I’m preparing to start in late June (middle of summer). All other websites and online discussions refer to this as the worst time. I see that this is when you went. Is the weather as bad as they say?


    1. Haha, yes it is. Rains a lot, then it’s super hot. But each to their own. It was tough, but I didn’t mind it. Too hot to sleep some times. Bring lots of mosquito incense…. That was what got to me most. Also bring a poncho so your belongings don’t get soaked. I also liked that there weren’t many people, but the flip side is places close for summer. That I wrote about in my Kagawa stretch.


  3. Hi Athena!
    I saw your article about entitlement/privilege and being a digital nomad on Medium when Kirsty shared it. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful piece. As someone from a similarly privileged background it’s taken being married to someone from a totally different background to open my eyes to so many things that I take for granted. Thanks again! Kate


  4. Hi there, I would love to see your food map of Tokyo!! We leave for there on Saturday from Boston. We are super excited! It said something about “put in your email” so I am hoping this works… Love your pages here!


  5. Athena,
    Yours is an amazingly well-organized and well-written presence on the web. I’ve enjoyed every word. I am looking for a Japanese/English speaking companion to undertake the 88 Temple Walk starting in September 2018. I walked the Camino a couple of years ago and I feel that I am in condition to undertake the Temple Walk. Do you know of any blog or other site that caters to walkers trying to locate walking companions? I appreciate any direction you can provide.


    1. Thank you for the kind words!

      I think try the Henro forums? There’s also a Henro guide website that collects writers like David Gilbert (randomwire) and others. You should be able to meet some people.


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