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.
Jiro Takahashi 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.
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Meji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, and Omotesando