Jay Farris received a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Tokyo where he focused his research on the conservation of historic spaces and landscapes with a particular focus on food production and the agricultural families and communities in and around the city. Having been a resident of both rural and urban Japan, Jay has a particular appreciation for the visible transformation of the country's settled environments as ideas, resources, and the culture itself has changed over the past couple of centuries. While he has lived in a variety of cities and towns in the US, Syria, Russia, the UK, and Japan for study or work, he finally settled on Tokyo as home. He enjoys sharing information about its hidden history, constant development and endless layers.
Troy Fisher-Harper, born of a Japanese-American family, has lived nearly half of his life outside of the States. Given this, his study of cultural anthropology focusing on contemporary Japanese culture, and 14 years involved in education while living in Japan may be a natural result of this upbringing. He feels fortunate that life in Japan has allowed him to continue his passion for travel and people and afforded him ample opportunity to help others discover new vistas, ways of thinking and experiences in places ranging from Japan to Thailand to Papua New Guinea. Troy firmly believes that everyday scenes and events can provide some of the greatest insights into a new place and the key to an appreciation of the richness of a culture can often be found by simply learning to recognize the "mundane" patterns as they are reproduced in different contexts and varied over time.
Irene Herrera, PhD(c) is a Venezuelan photographer, documentary filmmaker, journalist, and professor at Temple University Tokyo. Among her documentary works are 'Gaijin no Honne' (2004), 'You Can Call Me Nikkie' (2008), 'Women in Refugee: Stories from a Border' (2009), 'Crossing Hispaniola' (2010), and 'Spirits to Enlightenment' (2012). Irene has also been an active collaborator, producer, and director for the Lebanon and Japan Chapters of the Global Lives Project. In 2008, she was a fellow at the Flaherty Film Seminar and, in 2009, a Resident Professional at the Knight Center for International Media. Her films and have been shown at numerous festivals, universities, museums, and art centers in the U.S. and abroad, including the Asian American International Film Festival, the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, the United Nations Association Film Festival, the Boston Latino International Film Festival, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and Southwest Arts Festival. Irene often explores issues of gender, statelessness, refugees, and mobility. Her work and love for travel have taken her to over 45 countries where she has learned 5 languages. She lives and works in her hometown Tokyo, when not filming and shooting further afield.