In addition to working in Japan travel, Anna has worked in a variety of interesting roles - including tour guiding at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (where her specialties were US WWII naval history and women in the military), and managing a Halloween fancy dress shop in New York (peddling Styrofoam skeletons and the like to tourists, locals and celebrities alike). These days, Anna is based in Boulder Colorado - where she uses her in-depth Japan expertise to put together amazing itineraries for North American clients.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"The Kanto area of Japan and Japanese food and art are some of my specialties. My favorite Japanese food is okonomiyaki! I love it made-to-order by talented teppan chefs, like at my favorite Tokyo spot (Okonomiyaki Daikonman in Shimokitazawa), or DIY - as at the popular chain restaurant, Dohtonburi."
How did you get involved in travel?
"A cultural omnivore, I love art (whether viewing or making), books and movies - all in as many styles, genres and periods as possible! It is thus unsurprising that what first led me to Japan was Japanese art. Inspired by a framed Hiroshige print of my mother's, I went on to study ukiyo-e woodblock printing and other Japanese art forms at college, along with the craft of printmaking.
Following this, I moved to Japan to become an English teacher on the JET programme, which placed me in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture. As well as enjoying the local sightseeing, restaurants and shops, I developed a particular soft spot for Koedo - or "Little Edo": a small, historical area packed with old buildings, a retro Penny Candy Lane, and numerous street stalls selling everything from fresh senbei rice crackers to a pint of the local craft brew, Coedo Beer. For this, Kawagoe remains one of my favorite places in Japan.
It was a natural progression to jump into travel after my time as a teacher was over. "
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"After living in Japan for about a year, I took an overnight boat to Kouzushima, part of the Izu Islands south of Tokyo. There were no reserved seats and it was a sort of open, picnic-style trip up on the deck in the fresh sea air. I was with a big group of friends and strangers, and we were heading there to go snorkeling and hiking. Unfortunately the camping trip was rainy and a bit of a disaster, but the ride down, making friends, staying up late, and playing cards on the steel deck of a slow boat to an isolated paradise was a unique experience that I will always remember fondly!"