My story starts in 2005. At this time I met my current husband and the love of my life with whom I have been happily married since 2011. He is a Japanese that had rooted himself in The Netherlands (my home country) after his family had decided around the time he was born, to follow their dreams and the great unknown and to settle themselves in The Netherlands to start their own business.
My husband always wondered what it would be like to live and work like ‘a true Japanese’ in Japan. Since he had lived in The Netherlands practically all his life, he always wondered what it would be like to come to Japan on a (semi) permanent basis. He put his money where his mouth was, and looked for a job in Tokyo. After I had been convinced he enjoyed living in Japan and didn’t want to come back home having to cope with such a completely different environment, I decided to quit my job and follow my love halfway across the globe to enable him to follow his dreams.
By now, we have been living in Japan for quite a few years and I have not regretted it. The culture, the language, the landscape, the customs, the food, it all intrigues and inspires me and still to this day I am amazed about what is happening around me, the things I taste, see, feel, smell and witness in a metropolis like Tokyo.
Who am I?
As you may have picked up from the previous paragraph I am what you might call and adventurous spirit. When I was in university I lived several months in Beijing, China to study the language (as far as one can get a grasp of that in a short period of time) and to write a paper on the (cultural) difficulties that Western companies face when trying to set up shop in China.
When I was still single I often times went on trips with not much more than a lonely planet, my passions and dreams, and some clothes to discover new places and meet new people. One of my passions is to try out new (alley) ways to see where I end up (both literally and figuratively), and to experience new discoveries that you might not see when taking the beaten track. I always count on the fact that if things go wrong, there will be a helping hand nearby that is willing to point me in the right direction.
Inquisitive and a thirst for knowledge are some phrases that really apply to me. I want to squeeze every situation or experience for all it’s worth and take out all that I can from it. It is never too late to learn something new, and what I hate the most are missed opportunities. Better to have lived and learned (making plenty of mistakes on the way), rather than living safe and end up with regrets.
Since I became a mom I am unavailable for tours. However, I will not leave you stranded if you want to explore Tokyo! I will leave you in the very capable hands of one of our specialized city navigators listed below. They have been trained by me and can tell you as much (if not more) about Japan, its culture and customs, all the sights and their history, and can answer all questions you might have. All city navigators can speak English fluently and are very flexible. We pride ourselves in making each tour a unique experience and customizing it to our clients’ needs as much as possible. Even during a tour we can alter the itinerary to suit your needs, whether you have booked a custom tour in advance, or have booked one of our regular tours.
Ever since I went to Thailand aged 18 to be a volunteer English teacher I have been fascinated by the Far East. When I wanted to recreate that experience a few years later I went on an exchange program to South Korea, and that is where I met my Japanese husband.
We have lived in New York City, had a son, moved to Belgium and The Netherlands, and eventually moved to Japan early 2013. This will be the place we call home for the foreseeable future, and I realized when we moved here that this is a dream come true. I remember very well how back in 2005 when my husband and I were still dating, I visited Japan for the first time to meet his parents and get to know more about the culture. It was an overwhelming and memorable 2 weeks, and I remember hoping that one day we would live here for a longer period of time.
I loved and love how people sometimes go out of their way to help you, the delicateness of not only the food but of other art forms and many things in daily life. I’m still astounded by how detailed and precise customer service is in Japan. There is something invented for every (in)convenience, everything is thought out so well from the other person’s perspective.
It is such a privilege to have gotten to know this once mysterious and still wondrous place up close, and I would love to share with you what I have gotten to know, and am still learning every day. I can especially tell you about daily life in Japan, working for Japanese companies and eating at restaurants in Japan. I can also show you Japanese style karaoke if you like singing, it doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune or not.
Tokyo (and its surroundings) is the place in Japan where it all comes together, where most that Japan has to offer can be experienced, and where you can have a holiday that will leave a lasting impression.
Like many other people, my interest in Japan (or more accurately, my obsession) started with anime. From there it snowballed into a deeper infatuation with Japanese music, in particular Visual Kei, a Japanese music-style originated from glam-rock. It was this powerful interest that would literally shape and change my life: I decided to study Japanese, visited Japan on several short and longer trips and even my wish of getting to live in the country that fascinated me, was granted.
I’ve now been living here for three years, two of which I lived in Tochigi Prefecture. I got a job as an English Conversation Teacher there and despite initially regretting having to leave Tokyo, I am now grateful for the experience of living in the country-side and teaching both kids and adults. I currently live in Tokyo again, but now I appreciate Japan’s nature and the beauty of ancient sites like Nikko all the more. Still, I also enjoy the hustle and bustle of city-life, the inexhaustible amount of options and entertainments that Tokyo offers. I would like to show both sides of Japan to our visitors, whether their interests are in pop-culture and modern technology or ancient history and legends. Visiting temples and beautiful gardens, experiencing new and exciting cuisine before taking in the sparkling nightlife of Shinjuku and Shibuya; that can be done in Tokyo in a single day.
I’ll be delighted to tell you many things while we are experiencing them first-hand. Let’s get out there and make some memories!
Kelly L. (Languages: Dutch, English and Japanese)
More information coming soon!
More information coming soon!
I have been interested in Japanese culture since my high school years, and after graduation I decided to turn that interest into a study at Leiden University. During my Bachelor ‘Japanese Studies’ I spent one year in Japan as an exchange student, consecutively living in Yamagata, Okinawa and Nagasaki due to circumstances. This experience provided me a very broad view on Japanese life and how it differs per area. After my Bachelor I started the Master ‘Asian Studies’ at Leiden, through which I am now back in Japan, this time in Tokyo.
All in all I’ve studied Japanese for over 5 years now and I’ve come to appreciate the country more and more. The atmosphere, the people, the customs; one is even stranger than the other. Of course I have yet to solve many of Japan’s mysteries, but that makes living here all the more interesting. Every day is a new adventure!
It is my passion to share these adventures with others, so when I met Tokiotours’ Nicki Yoshihara who provided me with the opportunity to do so via tour guiding I didn’t have to think for long. I used to work as a tour guide in Amsterdam which I really enjoyed, so guiding tours in Japan was a perfect opportunity. I always try to show people all the different ‘faces’ of Tokyo, both historical highlights and ‘kodak moments’ as well as the daily life of Tokyoites; jaded ‘salarymen’ packed in trains like cans of sardines and hip youth showing their extravagant fashions in the streets. Since Tokyo is such a vast city, and even now few Japanese speak English, one can easily get lost and wander around for hours in the metropolis. Although some people like to do this intentionally, for all the others a well-informed guide might be just what you need. We are sure to show you the best of Tokyo!
Originally from Italy, I have always been interested in languages. As a kid I was also very interested in Japanese anime and pop culture. Then, at university I started studying Japanese language, history, and literature, and eventually I earned a bachelor degree in Japanese language and literature. So I am this two-headed monster, part of me likes the pop, while the other part of me likes the “pure culture”: theater, temples, classical literature, history, etc..
I came to Japan 11 years ago, the very day after I earned my degree I was on a plane to Japan (to go really learn the language) and I never left. I have lived in Aichi prefecture for a long period, which is quite a provincial part of Japan. What I like about Tokyo is that it is cosmopolitan and it has pretty much everything you need to have a great life… My favorite places in this big city are Sugamo, Shimokitazawa, Asakusa, and pretty much everything that is ‘shitamachi’ (‘downtown’).
When it comes to taste, I am quite eclectic. I like the pop culture (although I am picky, I do like to stay informed about stuff I’m not into as well), but I love history, literature, temples/shrines, and traditions which I am quite knowledgeable about… and I have a degree to prove it. I am more than willing to share my knowledge with you while we discover this great city together!
FOR KYOTO/OSAKA/NARA TOURS
More information coming soon!
FOR HOKAIDO TOURS
Monica D (Languages: Italian, English & Japanese)
My name is Monica D’Angelantonio. I am Italian and came to Japan in 2009 with my Japanese husband. In Italy I studied Architecture at the University of Venice.
Now I live in Hakodate, in Hokkaido, Japan, with my husband and my son.
I am working as an Italian and English teacher and my passion is Argentinian tango. My husband and I met through our shared love of this passionate dance.
What I love most about living in Hokaido is the beautiful scenery and the majestic vistas. I am from the North of Italy and Hokaido is not that different from my birth place in terms of weather and scenery. I love the outdoors and living in Hakodate I have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Japans beautiful nature and wildlife.
FOR KANAZAWA/TAKAYAMA/SHIRAKAWAGO TOURS
My name is Rocky Koishi. Before becoming a guide I have been working in Finance.
I spent 6 years in US (New York & Chicago) with my familyand used to be controller of Japanese subsidiary of a Swiss company for 8 years where I frequently visited Zurich and other cities.
Since I lived abroad and dealt with non Japanese on a daily basis I got to experience first hand the difference in dealing with non Japanese people and I have learned a lot about different cultures over the years. Of course being native Japanese myself and having studied as a guide I know everything there is to know about Japanese culture and love to see the similarities and differences.
Soccer has always been a passion of mine. I started when I was in Junior High School and still play the occasional bout.
In a way, the English language, the world of Finance and soccer are all bridge building tools. Finance is being carried out pretty much the same way where ever you go, English is a common language that unites people of different countries together and most people have a love for soccer so I have found that I had always some common ground which made it easier to relate to people from a different back ground.
As a tour guide, I would like to welcome you to Japan and lift the veil of mystery that has surrounded the country for too long. As Japan has been closed off for so long to foreigners, it was able to establish a very different culture of any other Asian countries and I can’t wait to tell you all about all those interesting aspects such as our Shinto faith, Bushido; the way of the warrior, Japanese cuisine and the world of the geisha and maiko of course.
Although I am based in the Takayama/Kanazawa area I also know Kyoto and Hiroshima well so I can even show you around these places should the need arise.
Untill we meet!