"A fascinating insight into a culture we knew little about beforehand”.
Akihabara Tour - A Look at Electric Town
From Trains to Dolls to Games
From Pray to Play
Kara has suffered from wanderlust for most of her life. Leaving her native New York to bicycle across America as a teen, she then backpacked through Europe for a year before landing in Japan, where she has made her home since 1985. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in Art History at Tokyo’s Sophia University, along with certification in Fine Art Appraisals at New York University, she founded her own art gallery supporting emerging young Japanese artists. She has curated numerous exhibitions, organized symposiums, and lectured frequently at colleges including the prestigious Keio University. Kara is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers on Japan’s art scene, and is the author of “Contemporary Art Walks” in a Tokyo guidebook published by Stone Bridge Press. Media appearances include interviews in 'Newsweek', 'New York Magazine' and prime-time TV shows. She speaks and reads Japanese fluently, and spends her free time pursuing first-hand experience of Japan’s culture and subculture. With a particular interest in indigenous Buddhist practices, she has endured rigorous Yamabushi training with ascetic mountain-dwelling monks, and traveled 30 countries including remote areas such as Lombok and Mt. Kailash in Tibet. More of an urban explorer these days, Kara’s current passion is unraveling hidden aspects to Tokyo, always with a unique insight into visual anthropology.
Edgar is a Ph.D. candidate in International Studies at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies of Waseda University. He specializes in the Cool Japan Strategy, Japanese popular culture and creative industries. His contact with anime, manga, and videogames during his teenage years triggered an interest in learning about Japanese culture. In 2012 he obtained the Monbukagakusho Scholarship to come to Japan and was officially appointed as CoFesta Ambassador by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Japan International Contents Festival (CoFesta) Executive Committee. In 2016 he was appointed as "Cool Japan Ambassador" by Japan's Prime Minister Cabinet Office. His experience with the media and his academic research has given him the opportunity to collaborate with different government agencies and private companies involved in the “Cool Japan Strategy” on developing projects to export Japanese contents such as Anime, Manga, Music, Videogames, and Film. This has made him familiar not only with all the unique places related to otaku culture in Japan but with many different aspects of the Japanese media production as well as its cultural significance and background. Edgar's other research interests include Japanese Modern History, IR of the Asia-Pacific Region and Mexico-Japan relations.
Aquiles has been living and working in Tokyo since 2009, when he arrived on a MEXT scholarship to develop his art practice at Tokyo University of the Arts, where he completed his MFA and PhD degrees in Fine Arts. His artistic work and research focus on the links between free improvisation, experimental music and visual arts. He has performed and shown his work in many countries including the US, Japan, Germany, Venezuela, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Aquiles’ relationship to Japan predates his arrival to the country, as he has been studying Japanese Art and culture since the late 90’s. He has focused on the study and practice of Kendo (Japanese fencing) and Zen Buddhism of the Soto school, integrating the philosophical core of both disciplines into his artwork. During his time in Tokyo, Aquiles has lived in the Yanesen neighborhood, an area that has been gaining popularity the past few years for its unique combination of old temples and ancient buildings with many curious shops and cafés in which independent designers have channeled the area’s historical background through ingenious renovations.
Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.