Born in 1971, Caroline Pover grew up mainly in Plymouth in the south-west of England, where she dreamed of three things … becoming a primary school teacher, writing books, and eating pickled onions. She attended Exeter University, and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics and Education, and a Dean’s Commendation for the quality of her written work. Following graduation she worked as a primary school teacher in the school she actually attended as a child, before a desire for adventure got the better of her and she headed off to Tokyo in 1996.
Caroline taught at an alternative Japanese high school, where — having developed an interest in girls’ and women’s education at university — she was thrilled to be teaching predominantly teenage girls. Teaching by day, Caroline launched a magazine to support foreign women living in Japan, called Being A Broad, which eventually led to what is now called Savvy Tokyo — a guide for women and families living in Japan.
Being A Broad magazine led to Caroline writing her first book, “Being A Broad in Japan: Everything a Western woman needs to survive and thrive,” released in 2001, and based on interviews she conducted with over 200 foreign women. This independently published book then led to her establishing Alexandra Press, through which she published others' books as well as a number of magazines for the international community in Japan, including what was known as Tokyo Weekender, and the Foreign Correspondents' Club publication, Number One Shimbun.
Caroline is also the author of the “Guide to International Schools in Japan,” (English and Japanese editions), and a bilingual book for Japanese women, entitled “Ask Caroline,” answering the many interesting questions that Japanese women often ask of their Western counterparts. The book is often used in private and group language lessons where the students are predominantly female Japanese. Not to neglect the men(!), her fourth book is “Love with a Western Woman: a guide for Japanese men,” (English and Japanese editions).
Caroline experienced three strokes in 2006 and 2007, due to a previously undetected heart condition she had had since birth. After having heart surgery in 2007, she moved her busy Tokyo office into a home-based one with a smaller team, and sold her main magazine, instead focusing on writing rather than the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
After March 11th, 2011, Caroline made the decision to prioritise supporting the survivors over her writing and publishing career, and eventually sold her remaining business interests in order to focus on her philanthropic activities. She spent the first few years after the tsunami sharing her time between the UK and Japan, gathering support for Oshika hanto, a remote fishing community in the northeast of Japan. She has raised £170,000 for the community, and voluntarily managed around thirty different projects to help them rebuild. She still visits the fishing communities of Oshika every year, each time staying at least a month with them and looking for more ways to help. Her fifth book, "One Month in Tohoku: an Englishwoman's memoir on life after the Japanese tsunami," was written to mark the ten-year anniversary, in the hope that the people of Oshika will not be forgotten.
Caroline now lives in Cirencester, where she (kind of unintentionally, really!) established Auntie Caroline’s Pickled Onions & Chutneys in 2013, and now supplies independent shops throughout the UK, but mainly in The Cotswolds. Despite saying she had no desire to return to the entrepreneurial lifestyle, she has been surprised to find her pickling business to be such an unexpected success, and is thrilled that it gives her both the time and the resources to regularly return to her friends on Oshika.
Caroline has been the recipient of a number of awards over the years, including Plymouth’s Top Ten Women of the Year, Japan-British Society Award for Contributions to Japanese-UK Relations, International Women’s Day Outstanding Service Award, British Business Award for Best Entrepreneur, FEW Award for Contributions to the Foreign Women’s Community in Japan, and Body Confidence Awards Nominee for her “I Love My Bum” TED Talk. Go and have a watch ... you know you want to!