Anne Kyle is the founder of Arigato Japan. I sat down with Anne the other day and listened to her story; why she wanted to start Arigato Japan and how it happened. Arigato Japan is one of our partners and they run a number of the tours that can be found on our website. In fact, we have Anne to thank for putting us in contact with Michelle, the owner of Manpuku Shokudo. You can read about my interview with Michelle here.
Anne has been living in Japan for about 21 years now. She is originally from the Philippines but traveled to Japan a lot throughout her childhood. She says that she loved Japan so much that she made it her mission to finish high school and the university as soon as possible so that she could travel. She says that when she was 19 her mum told her to spend some time in Japan before going to work for an airline. Anne went and she pretty much hasn’t left since.
She’s done quite a lot of travel in her life and says that her favorite part about traveling is meeting lots of different people and getting to make those connections. She loves being able to spread her passion for Japanese food and history with others. Anne leads some of the food tours herself because she believes in connecting with everyone. She says that the food on a tour could be less than spectacular, but if you have a good guide then the tour is great because it is all about the experience.
Arigato Japan currently has 21 different food tours on offer. The business started as a cooking school because Anne wanted to share her passion for Japan with everyone she could. As she started to create tours it began to become too difficult to keep the cooking school open and so Anne had to close it and focus on growing the business as a food tour experience.
Even after recently her first child, Anne is still constantly on the go. She balances work and home life with an ease I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. She radiates kindness and apologized to me for only having a short time to sit and talk with me. I was not at all worried about not having much time to talk with Anne because she perfectly fit everything I needed into the time we had and also managed to tell me about herself.
Anne’s decision to partner with Tokyo by Food stems from the personalities of both her and our own founder. Both are incredibly enthusiastic people who want to share their love of Japan with the rest of the world. We love what Anne does and she loves what we do. In particular, she is fond of our Food for Happiness program, because it allows people to experience Japanese culture while also supporting and feeding those less fortunate than themselves.
Anne left me with a quote that I think will get me through all of my own projects, “If you are passionate about what you do, you are going to be successful.” This is evident in her own approach to Arigato Japan, but also in other aspects of her life. Anne is the kind of person that isn’t afraid to back down from a challenge and will continue to push forward. She wants only the greatest things from her business and is excited to watch it grow.
Hello there! I’m a writer from Brisbane, Australia. I’m currently interning in Tokyo. You’ll probably find me with a bag weighed down by books eating a cake in some small cafe somewhere. Or I’ll be resting in a shady spot reading and soaking up the summer air.