Discover our teams
Discover our passionate teams and the jobs at Japan Experience.
Xavier, Managing Director
Xavier discovered Japan in 2001, studying architecture at the University of Tokyo. He stayed twice there, for a total of 6 years, during which he passed his JLPT1, an exam which luckily has no expiration date ;) After various activities in Japan, the United States, and France, including 8 years at Google, Xavier partnered in 2019 with Thierry Maincent within Japan Experience, and then joined the company in 2021 to launch the new “ food” activity. His favorite ingredients are yuzu kosho, which has completely replaced mustard on the family table, ankos, which he eats from morning to night in various forms, and of course, katsuobushi dashi.
Thierry discovered Japan in 1994 during a professional internship in Tokyo where he met his future Japanese wife.
After graduating from Paris Dauphine University in 1995, he returned to Japan in 1996 for 2 years to work in marketing and operations for a French cooking school. After returning to France he co-founded an online wine sales company which he floated on the stock market at the end of 2006.
In early 2010 he returned to his travel roots and joined the company and embarked upon the development of the company in partnership with its founder. After sustained international growth, Thierry Maincent became President in 2019. He alternates living between in Paris and Tokyo with his family.
He is passionate about many different places in Japan, but the one that holds a special place in his heart is the peninsula of Noto, in Ishikawa prefecture; preserved fishermen villages situated at the foot of green mountains inhabited by traditional minka; typifying rural traditional Japan, with many craftsmanship traditions being kept alive.
Shoko, Accounting Manager
Shoko is Japanese and born in Osaka. She lived in Italy with her family from 3-6 years. Her family moved to France at 8 to open a Japanese food business in Paris. Shoko moved back to Japan after graduating in Design to study food fermentation in Tokyo. After working in a rice company in Japan, she moved back to Paris where she started working as a financial and admin manager in different companies. Shoko is bilingual Japanese-French and fluent in English. With her language skills and her working experience in a Japanese company, she oversees accounting and HR for our office in Tokyo and accounting for the headquarters in France. She has been involved in the set up of our new ERP in French and Japanese, and created new tools to support all the co-workers working conditions in different levels.
Vincent, Sales Director
After studying International Relations and Japanese Civilization, Vincent decided to go to Japan to strengthen his language skills. He had the opportunity to teach French to Japanese people in a private school in Yokohama, then worked in the small French alliance in Tokushima City, on the island of Shikoku. There, he found a dynamic French-Japanese association and forged many links with local Japanese, with whom he remained in touch. Through his stay in Tokushima he discovered the richness of nature in Shikoku, as well as its culture, through the pilgrimage of the 88 temples, and through the famous dance festival Awa odori. He also took the opportunity to travel around Japan from north to south, by train, car and on foot. Back in France, he worked in inbound tourism, receiving Japanese tourists in France, then joined Japan Experience as sales director, promoting Japan as a destination for French travelers, and managing a team of travel advisors, all of them passionate about Japan.
Julia, Project Manager
Traveling since she was born, Julia has discovered more than 20 countries and lived in 5 of them, with very distinct cultures, until settling on her two favorites: France and Japan. As part of a double degree in Economics, she went back to Japan for 2 years to immerse herself in Japanese culture. Back in France, she completed her Master's degree in Applied Foreign Languages and then worked a little in retail, in the food industry, and in translation of anime, before joining Japan Experience, the travel sector, as an assistant product manager intern. As her various hobbies show, she is passionate about Japan: martial arts, tea ceremony, practice of the koto (Japanese musical instrument) and of course, Japanese cuisine. Today Julia has switched from the travel to the food business at Japan Experience, helping to give birth to a whole new project.
Stéphane, Lead Developer
Stéphane is our Lead Developer. In 2021, he decided to join Japan Experience with two main objectives: internalize technical knowledge and set up a team of developers along with the project manager. As such, they collaborate daily to define the next strategic developments that the technical team will implement thereafter. After obtaining a Master's degree in “Languages and Programming” and working for five years in an SME on various projects, Stéphane decided this time to put his knowledge to use in a product; to drive its development by being as close as possible to customers and teams in order to meet their needs. For Stéphane, Japan is still an unknown country just waiting to be explored through his photographer's eyes; Lake Kawaguchi, Nara or even Fushimi Inari will soon no longer be strangers to him.
Saki, House Operations Manager
Saki is our Housing Manager and manages the operational aspect of our vacation rental homes of Japan Experience in Japan. Her recent passion is assisting in the preservation of traditional japanese homes and art through tourism. She has contributed in setting up services, activities and products in Japan for international travelers.
Saki was born in Osaka but grew up in an international environment, enrolling in an international school from the age of 3. After graduating from university with a degree in International Communication and Linguistics she moved to the traditional city of Kyoto. In Kyoto she started her career in tourism and found joy in sharing the culture, thoughts, and customs of Japan with the international community.
Her motto in life is represented by four kanji; “温故知新 Onkochishin “ roughly translated to mean ‘learning from the past and use this knowledge to create a new path for the future.’
Her favourite place in Japan is Kyoto because it is a city where history can be felt and traditional customs are still very much alive, and the city where her motto is aptly appropriate.
Chris, Accommodation Product Manager
After graduating with a Global Studies degree with an East Asian emphasis, Chris moved to Japan in 2010, and has been there ever since. After teaching ESL, Chris started working for Japan Experience as a Travel Angel, developing the vacation rental and activity business in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.
Currently, Chris is our Accomodation Product Manager, overseeing the development of not only all the vacation rentals Japan Experience promotes across Japan, but also is responsible for curating our hotel and ryokan selection for our customers. Chris’ main goal is to create an enticing, unique and carefully verified selection of accommodations to present to customers.
Japan is filled with good places, and Chris hopes to give people the right ideas to help them create their own dream trip.
Christian, Travel Consultant
Christian is a Travel Consultant in charge of Individual and Custom Tailor Tours for the German market. He studied Law in Berlin and Paris, graduating with a masters degree and worked several years in a Berlin law office. In 2016, he switched careers into the Tourism Sector to follow his passion for Japan and started with Japan Experience. Aside from working as a Travel Consultant, Christian helped relocate the Berlin Office, established the German section for Custom Tailor from the ground-up with a self-taught, hands-on approach and represented the company in several local and national Marketing Events (ITB, CMT, Main Matsuri etc).
On exploration trips to Japan, Christian likes to travel by rental car, train, ferry or go on a hike to see the most remote corners of the country. He loves the Kansai region, but his favourite place is the small Island of Shodoshima off the coast which produces one of the best soy sauces. Next to Japan's cuisine - especially kaiseki - he enjoys onsen, the art of Kimono-wearing, bunraku, visiting shrines and traditional crafts.