Dr. John Solomon Maninang is a postharvest and food scientist who currently teaches at the University of Tokyo. He first came to Japan to pursue his Ph.D. degree as a scholar of MEXT (Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) specializing in food safety with his research focusing on the functional properties of food to promote human health and well-being. For him, Tsukiji – the world’s biggest seafood market – is a must-see to further appreciate Japanese food culture. His scholarship and exposure makes him an interesting docent – satisfying both the hunger for that authentic Japanese treat, and the inquisitive mind with cultural and science-based facts.
Davey Young is an educator and writer who has lived in Tokyo since 2012. He studied Literature and Art History at the University of Puget Sound before receiving an MA in TESOL from Seattle Pacific University in 2010. He currently works as a Program Manager in the Center for English Discussion at Rikkyo University and writes about travel & culture in Japan and food & drink in the nation’s capital for a variety of outlets. His work has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Le Pan, and BeerAdvocate, among others. He is a regular contributor to both Culinary Backstreets and the Japan Times, where he writes a monthly column about the craft beer scene in Tokyo. Davey loves to share Tokyo’s bar and B-kyū (B-class) gourmet cuisine, as well as Japanese history with particular regard to the development of religion in Japan.
Aquiles Hadjis 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.