Japanophile and founder member of InsideJapan Tours along with Simon King and Ayako Koide, Alastair first went to Japan in 1998, arriving on 21st February to teach Bristolian English to unsuspecting Junior High School kids in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Having taken a paper on Japanese modern history during his time at Oxford University, Alastair had a real interest in Japan and yet knew very little about the country. It was his experiences during those two and half years in Toyota which inspired Alastair and Simon to establish a travel company, offering people the chance to share in some of the wonders of Japan. 11 years on and Alastair’s passion for Japan is stronger than ever and on this site you will find him blogging about everything and anything (not always Japan related). Never shy with putting forward an opinion, Alastair welcomes all comments to his posts and you can guarantee he will never be slow to respond! Outside of all things Japan, Alastair spends Saturday afternoons at Ashton Gate following the mighty Bristol City and has a Texan girlfriend to keep hinm on his toes. He hopes in future to study Japanese to a higher level and has a long standing ambition to be a chef.
Jim has two passions in life – Japan and the claret and blue shirts of West Ham United FC. It is hard times for the Hammers but at least since joining the InsideJapan team in April 2005 Jim can share his passion for Japan on a daily basis! Jim’s experience of Japan is extensive having spent 3 years working in Junior High Schools in the back and beyond of rural Gunma Prefecture before following this up with a year teaching English in Tokyo for a year – two very different experiences of life in Japan. After returning to the UK in the summer of 2003 Jim worked for a Japanese engineering company before deciding to make sharing his love of all things Japan more than just a way of annoying his friends! He has travelled extensively throughout Japan and speaks excellent Japanese, some of it perhaps not quite what your grandmother would want to hear! On tour Jim is sure to keep everyone amused with his quick wit, cheeky persona and renditions of the best of Japanese comedy. When he’s not injured, Jim is also a dangerous midfield man but never quite made it to pulling on one of those beloved shirts.
As well as planning tailored packages and tour leading, Jim also takes responsibility for PR, a role for which he is ideally suited!
Tyler is InsideJapan Tours’ senior group tour leader and has 7 years’ experience of leading tours all over Asia. Having nearly lost a leg to a box jelly fish sting in Malaysia and been asked to sow back on a Thai guide’s fingers, Tyler decided that Japan was the place to settle down. Tyler first came to Japan 8 years ago, travelling by boat from India and certainly had no plan to make it his permanent home. However, from the moment he stepped foot in the historic city of Nagasaki Japan seemed different from anywhere else. Attracted by the ancient rich culture and the futuristic edge of the bustling cities, Tyler fell in love with the Japanese traditional arts and the Japanese language itself. In 2007 he moved from China to Tokyo so that he could be in Japan permanently, studying Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), Japanese literature and, of course, enjoying the the country’s rich and varied cuisine. His current job affords him the luxury of showing groups of foreign tourists a country he loves whilst also providing plenty of study opportunities. On this blog you will find Tyler sharing his thoughts on Japanese culture and arts as well as some of his fantastic photographs more of which can be seen on his personal site My Hidden Japan.
Tom’s interest in Japan started during 3 months spent apple picking with Japanese travellers whilst on a working holiday in Western Australia, in 2001. Encouraged to visit Japan by the friends he made there, he went to Nagoya as a teacher for an English conversation school. He worked there for 2 years, in the process developing an infatuation with Japan’s numerous 100 Yen shops. Since then, he has spent 2 years teaching in a High school in Ibaraki prefecture. After his contract finished there, keen to explore rural Japan, he cycled over 5,000 miles around the country, visiting its northern and southern most points. On lucky days, friendly locals indulged him with top notch Japanese cuisine, an unlimited supply of beer and a comfy bed in their spare room. Less fortunate evenings were spent sleeping in internet cafes, railway stations and even the odd car park. As one of our expert tour leaders, Tom now spends his nightsa in more conventional accommodation, both when on tour with customers and when at home in Tokyo. On the blog you can read Tom’s musings on just about anything Japan related whether it be the oddities of Japanese cuisine, a new bar he has discovered or the latest adventures with his tour groups.