Hengtee Lim - Writer in Tokyo

Hengtee Lim

I'm a writer in Tokyo, Japan

Available for contracts

I speak English and Japanese

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My activity

About me

I'm a Tokyo based writer from Australia. I write about food and coffee, and on the side do short stories and flash fiction.

I love to get out and discover Tokyo. In the overwhelming mass of people and places exist a host of unique personalities, and writing is a way to understand and share them with those around me. I hope you'll join me on the journey!

My Creations

  1. Link: http://sprudge.com/in-tokyo-roasting-coffee-masterfully-at-age-one-hundred-79240.html

    As I slowly pieced this article together for Sprudge.com, I realized that what interests me about kissaten culture is what interests me about Japan and Tokyo in general - it's the clash and harmony of the contemporary and the traditional.

    In that sense, the article is something of... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  2. Link: https://human.parts/getting-to-know-you-a7d1937c727d

    Snippets is where I explore the facets of personality and human nature that intrigue and confuse me. I mostly do this through snippets of conversations between people who could be you, or me, or people we know.

    In writing this most recent piece, I wanted to play with... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  3. Statistical Anomalies

    25 September 2015

    Link: https://human.parts/statistical-anomalies-28f06c88b851

    The term, “everything happens for a reason” gets thrown around a lot, I feel. What intrigues me though, is the idea that there might not be a reason for any of it. Things might just happen. In that sense, if we assume or believe there are reasons for... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  4. Link: https://human.parts/the-somewhat-tragic-story-of-henry-j-b1a24c8c5af5

    Someone once told me, “Your writing reminds me of Murakami.” Murakami was (and is) a huge influence on my work, and yet I felt the piece was unique on its own. This got me thinking about the term, “Fake it ’til you make it.”

    But what happens if... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  5. Link: http://sprudge.com/tokyo-single-origin-coffees-new-home-in-ryogoku-85412.html

    In writing this piece for Sprudge about the opening of Single O Japan, I wanted to put focus on the way travel can change and sculpt the lives we lead. Travel is the whole reason head roaster Yu Yamamoto is who he is today – that felt like... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  6. Something Like Love

    17 October 2015

    Link: https://human.parts/something-like-love-cf2fdc1db0ec

    Recently, a friend told me he'd talked to an ex-girlfriend and realized the spark was gone; the 'something' that brought them together was lost. Thinking about that, I felt that the same could be said for my own home since coming to Japan. This newest short story is... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  7. https://human.parts/the-secret-to-a-good-night-s-sleep-e5c0864f7675#.7r7a7km09

    I wrote this on a bus from Nagano to Tokyo, watching strangers asleep side by side. I thought, "What would the success rate be if you intentionally tried to fall asleep on people? How many would simply let you?"

    I enjoyed playing with contrast in this story; what at... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  8. Link: http://sprudge.com/seven-cups-seven-stories-90424.html

    The Tokyo Coffee Collection had a unique slogan – seven cups of coffee, seven stories – which allowed me to ask each participant an interesting question:

    "What story does your particular coffee tell?"

    It took a while to gather all of the stories. It also took time to... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  9. The Ones That Got Away

    29 December 2015

    Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/the-ones-that-got-away-e3b6d79903d4#.tmlcwl1ke

    This story is my first ever collaboration with an illustrator, Mariya Suzuki.

    I wrote this story because I feel we have relationships with the places we visit. And just as with people, these relationships change the more time we spend in them. This idea was floating around in... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  10. Watercolor Romance

    22 January 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/watercolor-romance-5a1e56ee11c3#.v7zd7t702

    I wrote this after I cleaned my bookshelf, and was left with a collection of unfinished books and nostalgic postcards I'd been using as bookmarks. I wondered, "What might happen if I'd taken these books straight to Book-Off without realizing the postcards were in them? What sort of... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  11. In Passing

    31 January 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/@Hent03/in-passing-6d1617a8e4a2#.nxah9jh3r

    I wrote this for my father, who passed away earlier this year.

    Believe it or not, I’ve always had trouble expressing myself. I tend to hide who I am behind characters, and comments, and descriptions.

    But with this story, I wanted to share an honest piece of my... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  12. This is the debut episode of the HT Podcast, my newest project with my friend Micah Wiley. In it, we talk to Trunk Coffee founder Yasuo Suzuki about his specialty coffee pale ale: Drunk Coffee.

    This particular episode was a challenge because of the workload. First I wrote a transcript... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  13. When Home Is Another Planet

    21 February 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/when-home-is-another-planet-c5da0ebedafb#.688w1hjq1

    This is a story about being away from home so long that home doesn't feel like home anymore, and the good and bad that comes with that feeling.

  14. Suicidal Empathy

    7 March 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/suicidal-empathy-e443996f2d9a#.4k7q1me1m

    This is a story about empathy, as it relates to things that perhaps we don't feel comfortable empathizing with. Understanding other people also means taking a deeper look at yourself; I feel like sometimes this is why - subconscious or otherwise - we sometimes shy away from it.

  15. Link: http://sprudge.com/onibus-nakameguro-94298.html

    When I saw the new Onibus location, and sat down to talk with owner Atsushi Sakao, I was struck by how much the new location reminded me of their first location in Okusawa. When I thought more about Sakao's path to this moment, I felt there was a... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  16. Then and Now

    22 March 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/then-and-now-4a8e5fe1cb0b#.mj43pixbi

    If I saw the past, the present, and the future as three separate relationships, what would they be? How would they differ, and which would make the most sense?

    This story explores that idea.

  17. Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2016/04/01/food/chef-zaiyu-hasegawa-presents-creative-takes-dishes-mother-proud/#.Vv-eThN97Vp

    Not so long ago I had the chance to sit down with Zaiyu Hasegawa, who owns and is head chef at Den—one of the most talked about restaurants in Tokyo. I wanted to learn about his creative approach to kaiseki cuisine, and what first inspired it. I enlisted... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  18. Paper Planes

    11 April 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/made-up-words/paper-planes-10b5ee0f65df#.mtklaj4kv

    This is a short story about finding comfort, friendship, and love in distance. I wanted to explore the idea that as population density rises, so to does the feeling of loneliness. At the same time, I feel many of us enjoy a feeling of connection with others, but... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  19. In this episode of the HT Podcast, I talked with friend and musician Adam Ritchie, about his work with modular synth – through having him create an entire piece of music for me.

    I've known Adam a long time, but this was the first time for me to learn about... continue reading (0, 0 images)

  20. Link: https://medium.com/the-coffeelicious/the-best-day-in-a-three-month-relationship-4179271b77dd#.d55v9cyj3

    This is a story I wrote recently with illustrations by Erica Ward (I actually got in touch with her after seeing her work here on Canvas).

    I've always loved writing dialog, and sometimes I enjoy writing stories based entirely around it – when I wrote this, I wanted... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  21. The Long Way Round

    31 May 2016

    Link: https://medium.com/@Hent03/the-long-way-round-e6aba49c5a03#.5pm9axryo

    When I first wrote this story, I shared the idea with Rie Miyoshi, who told me she'd been trying to capture this feeling in a picture for a little while. We decided to collaborate, and the result is a story about the immensity of the world we live... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  22. The Night Life

    22 June 2016
    The Night Life

    This post was originally published on medium.comI wrote this story quite a while ago, but it was lacking a visual element, so I left it and forgot about it. Recently I...

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  23. On Watching a World Burn From a Distance

    This story was originally published on medium.com---Last night, I stared at the ceiling and I listened to the flow of life bleeding from a single, half-open window. I ...

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  24. Love, Sex, and Loneliness

    19 August 2016
    Love, Sex, and Loneliness

    Writer's note: This story is a blend of thoughts and episodes about the interweaving of love, sex, and emotion with personalities and desires. I find it interesting th...

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  25. The Pace of Emotion

    12 October 2016
    The Pace of Emotion

    Story link here!A recent collaboration with the wonderful Chiyun Yeh, this story is about trying to meet someone with an emotional pace to match your own, and falling ...

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  26. Operation Fateful Encounter

    5 December 2016

    Story link: https://medium.com/human-parts/operation-fateful-encounter-3f895aaba346#.kfx2aqc0x

    The rush hour trains and stations of Tokyo sometimes strike me as ocean-like; it's strange that I can take the same train from the same platform almost every single day, and yet feel constantly surrounded by unfamiliar faces, each of them staring at a phone, or listening... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  27. Haunted

    30 December 2016

    This collaboration with Kaori Nagata started as a Sprudge article about haunted cups of coffee, but unfortunately that particular project didn't work out. However, I liked Kaori's pieces so much I still wanted to use them for something. That something eventually became the story below:

    Link: https://medium.com/@Hent03/haunted-1dd2fa1954b6#.sqnjjx9ba

    I'm fascinated with... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  28. Chasing Cats

    28 February 2017

    This is a story about lonely people falling in love. It's an exploration of where loneliness and trauma begin, and how they change with adulthood. It's also about cat lovers.

    Link: https://medium.com/human-parts/chasing-cats-ed619de5c00#.irm9fyrlb

    All artwork for the piece was done by Fern Choonet (Thanks!). Her style has a deceptive simplicity and... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  29. Forget Me Not

    30 March 2017

    Link to the story: https://medium.com/@Hent03/forget-me-not-f2d98c91ba9b

    If you've ever been to a networking event, you'll know they can sometimes be a mess of faces, names, and business cards. It shouldn't be surprising that some people will forget you (and that you'll forget others), and yet it still hurts to expect a... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  30. Story link: https://medium.com/@Hent03/she-wore-her-hair-up-726c99772764

    I recently read, "Snow Country", and Kawabata's subtle use of seasons and the weather to create layered feelings and atmosphere made me want to play with the same idea, in my own style, and pay homage to his work.

    The result is the fairly simple story of... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  31. For this story, I collaborated with @julia-nascimento, whose work I found right here on Canvas. I thought her style would add an interesting dimension to the tale of an accused groper, who runs into the train tunnels and meets a young woman smoking cigarettes in a small, dark, hideaway.

    The... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  32. In short, this story is about a romance that weaves through past lives.


    I had the idea while I was reading Spring Snow, by Yukio Mishima. I started wondering how the world would react to the discovery of transmigration, or the passing of souls into new lives after death... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  33. Candles

    5 October 2017

    I wrote a short story about candles, koi fish, and the fragility of life and relationships. Afterwards, I got in touch with Erica Ward, whose style I thought would be a really nice match for the themes that run through the story, and she crafted two really wonderful illustrations for... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  34. The Girl at the Bar

    16 October 2017

    The Girl at the Bar is a simple story that explores love, friendship, and family. Within a basic framework of boy-meets-girl-at-bar, I wanted to explore the conflicted feelings of finding love in the midst of bad/unusual circumstances, and love-hate relationships with alcohol.

    The illustrations for the story were done by... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  35. Something Like Hope

    26 December 2017

    While doing editing work on the readlongshorts.com story, "The Invisible Man", I started thinking about what being invisible means, and what impact it could have as a symbol. These thoughts coalesced into a story, which you can read here:


    It's a story about a kind of romance between an... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  36. A Reason to Write

    2 February 2018

    My newest short story is about accidentally receiving another person’s mail, and reading it. I first got the idea for this when I found a torn-open envelope in my mailbox. It was bill, and I think my neighbor must have received it by mistake, opened it, realized it wasn’t theirs... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  37. I wrote this story to explore the idea of what we'd leave behind if we left our bodies for a life online. I wondered how much of the human condition would be left over as we grew used to new ways of seeing, feeling, and understanding a new environment.

    The... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  38. This is a short story about the strange way we make friends, get to know our neighbors (kind of), and meet unexpected pets. It was also a collaboration with Odding Wang (https://www.canvas.co.com/creatives/odding-wang), who I first discovered here on Canvas and have wanted to work with for a long... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  39. A Window to the Future

    22 September 2018

    This is a short story I wrote called "A Window to the Future," which is about how knowing the future might impact your relationships with other people. It also looks at how much we really want to know the future, and what we might do with it if we have... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  40. A Book of Snippets

    27 February 2019
    A Book of Snippets

    Some of you might know that I write short stories. It's something I've done for a long time, and this year, I'm putting a selection of them into a book, of which I jus...

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  41. A Kind of True Love

    11 April 2019

    A story about idols, their fans, and the lies we tell to convince ourselves of our feelings and how those lies and feelings double-cross us.

    Also another collaboration with Julia Nascimento, who did a great job of capturing the contrast at the heart of the story in her two images.

    ... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  42. This is a short story I wrote about gun control, and a hypothetical situation in which a school finds itself supporting the idea of arming a student. It came about as a result of an interview I heard with survivors of a school shooting, in which one students said, "We... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  43. Something Like Hope - A Book of Snippets

    My short story collection "Something Like Hope" is finally complete, and you can find it here, along with some story samples.In this short story collection, paper plan...

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  44. A short story set in my old hometown of Shimabara, about friendship, loneliness, and speed eating. Often when I write about the countryside, I am drawn to the scenery of Shimabara, and this story gave me a chance to indulge in those memories a little.

    Story link: https://medium.com/the-junction/what-our-eating-habits-say-about-us-a4872773b9f?source=friends_link&sk=376a1cc2aa36089c2e5e535957ea88d8

    Original artwork... continue reading (0, 1 image)