About the Shiranai Travel Team Main Organisers

Niels Viveen (follow Niels on his Blog)

Niels is the chairman of Stichting Promotie Japanse Popcultuur. Niels likes Japan as country and loves it’s culture. He has been to Japan for holiday and travel, a number of times (14 at moment of writing). Niels is the one that organises the holiday packages and he is one of the people that usually accompanies the holidays as guide as well. He writes most of the content for the travel guide and books all accommodation and transportation. Niels has set up Shiranai Travel to distance the holidays from Stichting Promotie Japanse Popcultuur. As the managing director of this travel agency, Niels gets paid exactly 1 can of Boss Café au Lait per holiday. If the budget can withstand this impact.

Kaj Schulten

Kaj is the treasurer of Stichting Promotie Japanse Popcultuur and is the main force behind the layout of our travel guide. He makes sure every rambling typed by Niels is correct, spelling wise, and adds his own experience into articles of the guide book as well. How much do we pay him for this? Nothing! What does he hope to get out of this effort? A holiday with less annoyed customers that know what they can do without asking him or Niels about details. Kaj, with the help of Niels and Masami also created the JR reservation leaflet that allows you to book a trip on a JR train with a bi-lingual form that is understandable for the JR employee and for you as traveller. If Kaj goes along as guide, he’s the guy to tag if something electronic fails!

What do we do and how do we profit?

Shirani Travel Shiranai Travel organises these holiday packages at cost. The reason behind it is that the guides who join you on this Holiday want to go on holiday as often as possible. Going in a group will make travelling affordable for them as well as for you. Shiranai travel does not compensate it’s guides and does not make a profit. Your holiday packages incur a charge of about €10 to cover printing charges, web hosting and other administrative costs (Stamps, envelopes etc). Sometimes, our guides get offered a discount by one of our partners. Otherwise, they nor anyone else at Shiranai Travel are paid at all. The profit is in the margins We have received, three times now in our 11 holidays organised as Stichting Promotie Japanse Popcultuur or Shiranai Travel (Since 2003) a slightly larger room in one of the accommodations we stayed at. We did however have to pay, as guides, the same amount for this luxury as our fellow travellers. We did not get that accommodation for free. In these small ways, our guides might profit from time to time. If we fly with JAL, the guides sometimes get special seating with some extra leg space. This is due to us bringing in 20 or so seats to the carrier who likes us for it. We again pay the normal fee for this small perk and do not get the entire flight for free. Why do we do it? Because nobody else does. We like this way of doing a holiday. You’re not cooped up with the same person your entire holiday. You can go do what you want and usually do not have to do this alone, because there will usually be someone to join you. Aside from that, it’s just a lot of fun to do. Searching the net and various other sources for information on new places to see and things to do because you have to keep the guide book up to date might be tedious, but it also lets you come across information you had no prior knowledge about and would have skipped due to the lack of knowledge. So, it causes us to find spots we might otherwise have missed.

About the Guides and their Guide book

The Guide book The Guide book is for the major part, written and researched by Niels. However, Kaj, Robert and René have also contributed with various pieces of info and tips. The very first pages on food in Japan were added by Dennis and Erika Lardenoye. These have been so heavily modified that non of their original text can be found any more. Still, we need to thank them at least here on our website for their time and effort. Our guide book is a continuous work in progress. If you have anything to add or some ideas of yourself and would like to contribute, please let us know. We’re thinking about setting up a Media Wiki to edit content currently available and to, at some time in the future either make it public or talk to JALpak or an other organisation about distributing a 100~150 page guide with their free to roam packages.
Please note, Shiranai Travel is run by volunteers. None of the staff gets paid more then a can of Japanese Ice Coffee for their troubles.