Our team is made up of a small group individuals who are passionate about immersive educational, cultural, and natural experiences. Our team is experienced in organizing and facilitating programs in Kamikatsu for educational institutions, companies, media, and travellers. In collaboration with our community teachers, we share unrivaled knowledge of local culture and heritage, and Kamikatsu’s ambition as a zero-waste town.
Kana Watando (co-founder & director): Kana was born and raised in Canada. Her mother is Japanese and her father is from Hong Kong. She moved to Kamikatsu in 2020 to learn about sustainable initiatives and rural lifestyles. Kana finds inspiration from nature and the people around her. Through the INOW program, she aims to contribute to the preservation and regeneration of the village’s environment and culture.
Kana has diverse experiences studying and working in different countries, which has allowed her to work closely with people of different languages and cultures. She completed a Master of Science in Sustainability and Tourism Management. Kana cares deeply about climate action, sustainable development, and education.
Sil Van de Velde (director): Sil is born and raised in Belgium (native Dutch speaker, with fluency in English and French). Sil has had the privilege of working and studying across four continents. He holds a passion for education, conservation, and tourism development. He completed a Master of Science in Sustainability and Tourism Management.
In 2016, he started a Tourism for Justice project with the Sahrawi refugee community of Western Sahara. Alongside all the negative impacts that the tourism system might create, Sil believes that there is a place for tourism as a force for good, allowing our minds and hearts to open up for things that are different, and creating life-long communities of learning.
Sil moved to Kamikatsu in 2022. Previously he worked in education, communications, and research with a focus on conservation and development. Sil is a Certified Climate Coach (Belgium), which allows him to help others navigate conversations about climate change. With INOW, his purpose is to create enriching learning experiences and collaborations between guests and Kamikatsu residents and businesses.
Terumi Azuma (co-founder & director): Born and raised in Kamikatsu, Terumi is the chef and owner of Cafe polestar, a Zero Waste accredited business in Kamikatsu. Her mother, Hitomi Azuma, was one of the founding members of the Zero Waste program in Kamikatsu, and her passion for sustainability became a great inspiration in Terumi’s life.
What Terumi loves about Kamikatsu is that despite it being such a small town, there are so many possibilities. With this in mind, it shows that we can truly change anything we want. For Terumi, zero waste means finding the balance between how we use our time, effort, and money without using any of those resources wastefully.
Linda Ding (co-founder): Originally from Canada, Linda moved to Kamikatsu in 2019 after initially coming to the village on a writer’s retreat, but having fallen in love with the beautiful village she decided to stay. Since then, Linda has been committed to sharing all the gifts this wonderful place has to offer with guests from all over the world, guiding and passing on the knowledge she has been blessed to learn.
In 2023, Linda moved to Tokyo and continues to support INOW on a part-time basis as a consultant and guide. If there are opportunities to bridge Tokyo and Kamikatsu, please reach out to us!
There are many teachers who will provide guidance during the program.
Currently, homestays are only available in English. If you are interested in guiding in Japanese, please contact us.