Judith Clancy first came to Asia as a paramedic in the Peace Corps in South Korea. It was a childhood dream to live in Japan, so after her two years of service, she settled in Kyoto in 1970. She entered the Urasenke School of Tea Ceremony and studied there for six years while taking lessons in Ikebana Flower Arrangement. Her first book, Naturescapes was about the floral arrangements of her teacher, Tamura Suiko. While writing for the Kyoto Visitor’s Guide, she assembled these articles and turned them into a series of walks for this very walkable city. "Exploring Kyoto – on Foot in the Ancient City" was published in 1997. "Kyoto: City of Zen" and "Kyoto Machiya Restaurant Guide" were both published in 2012. In 2015, she published “Kyoto Gardens — Masterworks of the Japanese Gardener’s Art,” and in 2016, “The Alluring World of Maiko and Geiko.” She currently lives in an 120-year old renovated weaving studio in Nishijin, Kyoto’s weaving and dyeing district while teaching at Otani University, interpreting, and guiding.
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.