I was born in the US but came to Japan many years ago. For several years, I worked as a guide for a company that offered tours in Japan. I would often be asked by guests for my recommendations for things to do after the tours and also for activities to do in addition to the ones that were booked for them. A lot of times, people would tell me that my suggestions were more enjoyable than the activities that were planned for them by their agent!

I love traveling, exploring and discovering. I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of excitement and freedom when being in a new environment. I'm also very big on photography, so I love finding beauty in new places. Traveling has opened up my world up to things that I could not have imagined before it and has matured my world view.

Alan's Travel Expertise

I really like quirky and strange locations and activities, so I tend to specialize in these types of off-the-beaten-path experiences. Like shrines hidden in caves that you have to spelunk in order to find, or islands that have wild dolphins in the surrounding sea.

I also LOVE Japanese festivals and all of the madness that can be found in the really special ones. There are a few that are particularly special to my heart, like the one where they cut down large trees and then 'surf' them down mountains, or the baby sumo wrestling one. Visiting the festivals also gives you a unique perspective on Japan's spiritual heritage, which is very rich.

I think that as a company, we really shine on visits to lesser-known towns and villages in Japan, and islands. Small communities are great ways to get a feeling for an authentic Japanese lifestyle that does not exist in the cities.

May sound a bit strange, but I think I can say that we specialize in trains too! When I came to Japan, I was amazed by the number of trains and their efficiency. You can take a train almost anywhere in the entire country. Themed trains guarantee that your ride will be interesting.

Oh and festivals! Not necessarily music festivals, but Matsuri. I don't think anyone should visit Japan without having seen or participated in a matsuri festival while here. There are so many amazing festivals here that are unlike anything that can be experienced anywhere else in the world.

So, in closing, I specialize in many things, but the top would be:

- Islands
- Matsuri festivals
- Smaller towns and communities
- Traditional Japanese martial arts
- Japan's pristine nature locations
- Food (we have a whole database of good eats all around the country)

Expert Destinations

Alan's best travel experience

For Japan, when I first participated in one of Kyushu's local festivals, I was blown away. It destroys the common stereotypes that most people have in their minds when they think of Japanese people. Everyone was sufficiently lubricated on sake and out to have a good time, and what a time it was!

The festival starts off with elementary school-aged kids sumo wrestling. The older kids and adults all have a go at it, and then two newlywed ladies dressed in full formal kimonos play what I can only compare to ping pong, but with no table, and they do it while standing on top of two sake barrels. From there, a divination tug-o-war ceremony is held, followed by the carrying of a large straw sandal (maybe 12 or so feet long) throughout the town. All of the women who are single are placed on the sandal and then thrown into the air three times for good luck. This is of course all done by the men who were sumo wrestling earlier, and they are still wearing the typical sumo mawashi.

Of all of the fascinating festivals I've been to in Japan, this one is the most memorable

Why is Alan the right travel expert

If you are looking for an experience that is not your typical, hum-drum, beaten path-type trip, then you should contact me. I love traveling, and I love Japan. Being here for so long has given me the chance to not only see so much of what Japan has to offer but has also allowed me to see what others really enjoy when visiting.

I'm pretty easy to talk to, so send me a message if you have any questions!