During his first foray to a Kyoto food market, Tad McNulty was so excited and intrigued by the beautiful displays of strange ingredients that he vowed to learn to cook Japanese food. He poured over photo-illustrated cookbooks and magazines, learning to read Japanese characters from the pictures. Whenever he encountered a new dish, he hunted down the recipe, searching for cookbooks in old bookshops and at the book fairs of Shimogamo Shrine and Chion-ji Temple. With his Japanese “family,” he spent hours at the dining table and in the kitchen absorbing the flavors and cooking methods of kyobanzai home cooking. He bantered for advice from fishmongers, vegetable sellers and tofu makers. At kaiseki restaurants he trained his eye: from kappo restaurant chefs he stole snatches of technique, from a Zen monk he learned the importance of respecting ingredients just as they are. He cooked and cooked and cooked. Today, over twenty years since his first visit, he loves to share his knowledge and enthusiasm about the many delicacies of Nishiki Market.
Alexander Bazes, originally from New York, has lived in Kyoto for 6 years. After finishing his BA in East Asian studies at Brown University he went on to take a master’s degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused on pre-modern Japanese Buddhism. In early 2012, he began training in the craft of Japanese knife making, which he is pursuing full-time. Passionate about Japanese craftsmanship and culture, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with others.
John was born in 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. At Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) he majored in English and German literatures, graduating in 1974. A chance to teach English for Panasonic brought him to Kansai, where he settled in Kyoto in 1977. Soon after arriving, he started studying Japanese at the Kyoto Nihongo Gakko, and, in 1979, he took up Nihon Buyo (classical Japanese dance) under the tutelage of WAKAYAGI Kimiha. Practicising this art form occupied much of his time and energy until his teacher's death last year. Writing and editing have also kept him busy: for three years he served as editor of the “Kyoto Visitor’s Guide”, and, as a freelance writer, he has contributed articles to The Japan Times, Asahi Evening News, and the Japan National Tourist Organization’s website. He also authored the Kyoto chapter of Eyewitness: Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides, Dorling Kindersley publisher, 2000). Interests include sumie, Kyoto food culture, the Thai language, and travel, especially to Southeast Asia. Although submerged in the Kyoto milieu, he is grateful that Osaka is only a 45-minute train ride away.
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Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka Shrine, and Kennin-ji
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