Kyoto Geisha Tour
Dusk over Gion
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. An offer 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. (Kimiha-sensei died in 2015, and in 2019, John resumed his dance study with WAKAYAGI Shuho.) In addition to dancing, writing and editing have also kept him busy. For three years he served as editor of the “Kyoto Visitor’s Guide”. 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 happily mired in the Kyoto milieu, he is grateful that Osaka is only a 45-minute train ride away.
Marcin is a Ph.D. Candidate at Kyoto University, studying Folk culture in contemporary Japan. Marcin's Ph.D. studies are a continuation of his Master's thesis, which he also completed in Kyoto. His studies focus on the depictions of Japanese Otherworld and Buddhist Hell, but also usage of these traditional motifs in present-day Japan's culture and tourism. Marcin also has a Master's degree in Japanese studies from Warsaw University, Poland. There he specialized in Japanese folklore, ancient culture, religion and history. He published the book "Kaidan - Strange Tales of Edo period" (2011) in which he introduces Japanese ghosts, demons and goblins in 17th- &18th-century Japan. He also co-wrote "The Culture of Heian Imperial Court" (2008) about Japanese culture in the 9th and 10th Centuries. Marcin has a wide knowledge of Japan, starting from its history, folklore and religion, through its politics and post-war society, but also has an interest in its more recent pop culture and media. In his spare time, he enjoys walking through Kyoto’s streets rediscovering its secrets. He also enjoys riding his Kawasaki motorcycle, seeking more remote and hidden places. Marcin has lived in Kyoto for 10 years.
Marc enjoys sharing the understanding and the knowledge he gained over the years regarding traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto’s historical patrimony and Japanese society. After earning a Ph.D. in Biology and an M.A. in Psychology in France, he originally came here to carry out postdoctoral research. Passionate about the history and culture of Japan since childhood, he decided to stay in order to learn and study it first-hand. He studied several crafts including pottery, as well as several traditional arts. After many years of study, Marc was granted a 2nd degree tea ceremony instructor certificate and obtained a 3rd Dan in iaido. He also became a connoisseur of Japanese antiquities which he has been collecting and restoring. Before settling in Kyoto, he lived all around the country, in the countryside as well as in large cities for more than 12 years; a rich experience providing him with a wide knowledge of Japan. Marc now lives in the heart of Kyoto with his family in a 100-year- old house he is currently restoring. He presently teaches foreign languages at university and instructs local Japanese guides.
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