Meet the Core Team
A legal alien of the ‘Welshman in Tokyo’ variety, ‘Mister G’ is a 25-year resident of Japan whose relationship with the country dates back to Cambridge University in the early 80s. His formative working years in Kuoni in the 80s explain his insistence on quality and seriously dated taste in music.
Bean Counter par excellence, Yoko’s dedication is as boundless as the deserts she visits once a year to practice counting stars. When she’s not under canvas, Yoko is an avid feline-fan, whose cats have included the aptly-named pair of Debit (a pleasing black which, being domestic, displays an unfortunate lack of interest) and Credit (a frankly scary red).
Rumored to be the role model for George Clooney’s Michael Clayton, Kozo is the man to know when you want to turn visions and ideas into events. And, his Black Belt in the martial art of Karate has allowed Kozo, responsible for the Team’s Product and Purchase, to develop and master some unique negotiating positions.
James is well known to the global industry having spent a decade raising the presence of Japan in the MICE world and he brings a new dimension not only to the Team’s capacity to serve our clients, but also to our trademark quest for the peak of professionalism. His alter ego Mr Tea embodies his philosophy on life: He knows only one truth – to achieve perfection one must put heart and soul into making each and every cup of tea. His work is an extension of his tea making.
A French national born in Geneva, Loic brought his jeunesse, trilingual (French-English-Japanese) talents & academic and working experience of Travel to The J Team in 2012. During 18 months in Kyoto, Loic’s Gallic charm & innate creativity quickly gained fame across Kansai, so, now based in Tokyo, it’s no surprise that he, his black belt in Aikido, & all the powerful ‘ki’ that goes with it are quickly burning an impression on Eastern Japan, raising energy levels in 24/7 Tokyo still higher, & adding a 2nd-dan of security to each event he works on!
Sarah’s youthful journey has already taken in 4 of the world’s great cities, Tokyo, Singapore, Manila & Brighton, and brought her trilingual (Japanese-English-Tagalog) fluency, a degree in Event Management, a year’s experience of MICE-handling at Kuoni UK, a surprisingly mature taste in 80s music & a small dog. Under the Universal Theory of Youthful Vitality, Sarah’s fresh exuberance & her multicultural experiences are channeled into each event in which she is involved.
To many he is the voice of Kyoto. To a growing fan base he is the voice of The J Team. Want to know more? Dial our number and this DJ might be the voice in your ear. Percussionist, artist, photographer, native Californian, and possessor of a slick sense of style; his handlebar ‘stache has quickly become the official Team mascot. Paul is the man with an eye for the detail that adds the touch of pizzazz that takes your event to the next level. Let him mix your needs, ideas, and Japan dreams on his turntable for a perfectly blended event.
Our very own ‘Eastender’ from downtown London, Marc joined the Team with 30 years of experience in the global travel industry. And, in spite of his extensive travels, and his current residence in the mighty metropolis of Tokyo, Marc is most at home on quieter Kyushu, Japan’s southern island, which he first visited 25 years ago, then called home for 8 years more recently. Delighting in the quirkiness that makes Japan so wonderfully fun and unique to visitors, Marc has many a Japanese tale to tell. So, join him for Green Tea and Taiyaki and you may even hear the legends of his youth as a ‘soccer – rocker’!
Tokyo, through and through, our resident ‘Edo-ko’ Nozomi has lived her life in the shadow of the City’s latest and physically greatest icon, just completed 634m Sky Tree (est.May 2012). Little goes on in this town of 20 million that Nozomi doesn’t know of.
An honorary Brummie after four developmental years in Birmingham, Mai originally hails from Fukuoka, capital of the southern island of Kyushu, and a city nominated as one of the world’s 10 most dynamic by Newsweek as recently as 2006. Dynamic is Mai’s middle name.
A fully qualified guide & interpreter, Akiko spent one of her formative years on the other side of the world in Argentina. After gaining more than 4 years’ experience as a coordinator in our Tokyo Head Office, Akiko relocated to Kyoto, and is now gaining a local’s knowledge of Western Japan, and applying her unique insider’s perspective of both Tokyo & Kyoto to the events she co-ordinates. At the same time, she has added her personal flame of Latin-American passion and the occasional Tango to our Kansai Team. Arriba, Akiko!
Karina hails from the beefy Japanese city of Matsuzaka, south of Nagoya. The proximity of some of Japan’s most sought-after steak may explain Karina becoming a self-confessed foodie, but that could equally result from her formative years in Hong Kong, a city she still considers home. A spell at Exeter University produced a degree in Sociology and an appreciation for beer, both the result of diligent hours in the (licensed…!) Uni Library! A happy wanderer who has already clocked up more countries than years on earth, Karina is the proud owner of a PADI License, proving either that she can dive, or that she can tell draught Guinness from its bottled counterpart in a sip!
A child of Chiba, just to the east of Tokyo, Satomi channeled the wanderlust which had already taken her across Northern Europe and much of Asia into a 2-and-a-half-year sojourn at Lasell College, Newton, Massachusetts, studying Hospitality Management, while indulging her passion for sports in the home of Boston’s legendary Red Sox, Celtics & Bruins, and New England’s Patriots. And while that sporting passion had already led her to take on the role of caretaker for the American Football Team in her university days in Tokyo, Satomi’s own talents are expressed with equal passion through art, notably the art of Calligraphy, in which she has a black belt … or brush…, and more recently the art of DMC-ing, where she’s quickly developing an equally stand-out character!
Straight outta Saitama, with a ‘kakushi-aji/secret ingredient’ of her mother’s roots in Okinawa, and a flavoring of Belgium, where she spent a year studying beer, chips, chocolate and the finer things of life in general, Ayuka joined the Team in spring 2016, and during her first year has managed to satisfy the intellectual hunger of 30 french architects, and the ravenous hunger of 400-plus Aussie award-winners … and looks forward to future challenges of every size & origin!
Kuni-chan (Takashi), fixer extraordinaire. If we’ve got a problem and no one else can help us, Kuni can. And it seems not one person in the business of providing services to business events in Japan does not know him, trust him, and work to make miracles happen for
him you. Nothing makes him happier than a chance to find a solution to a new exciting challenge. So come on, make his day today!
Born and bred Kyoto, the city, its culture and its charm are in Toyoko’s blood. As many a business partner will concur, there are very few people in Kyoto that Toyoko cannot summon at a moment’s notice to add value to your experience in Japan. With Toyoko at the helm, our Kyoto Office is on course to realise as yet uncharted MICE experiences here in the Jewel in Japan’s Cultural Crown.
You can count on The J Team, and The J Team counts on Hitomi, our Counter Fortissimo! Hitomi’s academic endeavors reached their crescendo at Tokyo’s famous Kunitachi College of Music. And having embarked on a career in accounting, Hitomi still enjoys nothing more than jamming & playing sessions on her Magic Flute with musicians she meets on her travels abroad. Now, whether Beat Counting in sessions far afield, or Bean Counting in Tokyo, Hitomi puts the Beat in our Balance Sheet.
And The Rest Of The Team
Our Team includes a host of others, porters and drivers, geishas and guides, spread across Japan, all vital to the success of what we do, and all sharing a common desire to be the best at what we are.