From Ancient Temples to Bronzed Buddhas
Born in Russia and raised in Uzbekistan, Elena is a highly adaptable professional with extensive experience in cross-cultural communications. She received a Master’s degree in 1987 from the Tashkent State University, graduating with a specialization in Asian Studies and languages. For over 20 years she has been teaching the History of China and Japan at Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies. Besides her main teaching responsibilities at Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, Elena also taught Russian and provided cultural education to foreigners residing in Tashkent. She often took her students on excursions around the little-known and obscure corners of Tashkent’s old town. In 2004-2005 and 2010-2011, while she was at Waseda University in Tokyo as a visiting scholar researching the late Edo and early Meiji Japan, she fell in love with Japan, and now loves sharing her passion for Japanese history and culture with others. In her free time, Elena enjoys sampling Japanese cuisine and discovering new corners of Tokyo, as well as blogging about her life in Tokyo for her network of family and friends.
Jiro graduated from university in Japan with a MBAE and has since lived in New York and London, as well as Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka. He started his career in the finance and IT industries working for a Japanese bank and an English and American financial IT company. This afforded him multiple opportunities to make many friends from around the world, whilst understanding various cultures much better. As a result, he decided to retire in 2009 and become a licensed English guide in Japan, with his main goal wishing to create a cross-cultural bridge between Japan and other countries. His expertise is the Edo-Tokyo Museum which specializes mainly in 17th Century Japan to a more modern history. He enjoys exploring this interesting and diverse history of Japan with visitors but also going further afield to Hakone, Kamakura and Mt. Fuji. Jiro can provide a unique insight into Japan given his upbringing and his knowledge about peculiar Japanese topics, ranging from pensions to modern, social and cultural issues.
Patricia is a longtime Tokyoite, with research interests in Japanese sake (nihonshu), travel (recently throughout Shizuoka (near Mt. Fuji), and travel literature. Her Masters in Japanese literature from University of Colorado at Boulder provided a deeper context and appreciation for what she encounters. Favorite places include Tsukiji fish market, Asakusa, Shibuya, and the Imperial Palace center of Tokyo. She lives in Ryogoku, home of sumo, and often visits Kamakura. She teaches English at Meiji University and Meiji Gakuin University. Other interests include photography, Japanese food, museums, body building and wandering around the streets of Tokyo poking into places. She enjoys sharing the surprises and making sense of the seeming chaos with visitors.
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