As we're celebrating our 4th anniversary this month, we thought it was time we shared a little bit about our team.
ZenPop is a small team of 6 - James, Laura, Sarah, Yumiko, Olena and Luna, our mascot!
We're a little shy, but luckily we know a amazing manga artist who was happy to turn each of us into a kawaii manga character!
The process was really fun, as we each had to give her a few photos of ourselves, as well as one of our favorite items, so she could capture our likeness. We've also met the artist a few times, which helped her to draw each of us.
We're all really happy with our cute manga characters! We think the similarity to each of us is really good, so much so that you may even recognize us if we bump into each other on the streets of Osaka!
James started working for our parent company, ZenMarket and helped launch ZenPop in 2016. As the Manager of ZenPop his head is filled with an endless parade of noodles, candies, and pens. He loves getting out of Osaka city for a hike or to discover beautiful Japanese beaches. After 9 years in Japan he still gets excited over an extra sour umeboshi (pickled plum) or a hot bowl of noodles.
Laura joined the ZenPop team in 2018 and has been slowly introducing the team to heaps of Australian slang (she’s from Melbourne). If you’ve chatted to someone on social media that’s probably her, as she manages ZenPop's English site. Laura has fallen hard for Japan’s snack culture, amazing hiking spots, rotenburo (open-air hot springs) and arts & crafts, like ikebana and calligraphy. Laura is drawn with a brush pen, as she is learning brush lettering.
Sarah has been in love with Japan since her first visit in 2010. She launched our French site in 2018 and enjoys planning our Stationery Pack together with Yumiko each month. After 5 years in Kansai, Sarah most loves the richness of the area's food and culture. She rescued a cat from the streets of Kobe and is so crazy about him that she'd happily end up an old cat lady! Sarah is drawn with a hot bowl of instant ramen, her favorite meal.
Yumiko joined the ZenPop team in 2018. As she works part time, Yumiko is always very busy. She can sometimes make tens of phone calls a day to our suppliers! She’s a self-confessed stationery addict and particularly loves curating our Stationery Pack. Yumiko was born and bred in Kansai and is the go-to expert for our Japanese cuisine and culture questions. Learn some of Yumiko’s recipes, like how to cook perfect Japanese rice or takoyaki (octopus balls) on our blog! Yumiko is drawn with an おべんとう (obento), a Japanese packed lunch box, as she really loves to cook.
Olena also works part time for ZenPop, but is based in Ukraine (ZenMarket was actually founded by Ukrainians and Russians!) She really loves learning new languages through music (she decided to study Japanese at university because of her love for J-Rock) and enjoys to sing-a-long when nobody's listening. Her favorite ZenPop box is the Sweets Pack and we wish shipping to Ukraine would resume, so we can keep sending her treats! Olena is drawn with her two favorite Japanese snacks, Pocky and Calbee potato chips.
Luna is happy to be celebrating her birthday this month! She's been ZenPop's mascot since we launched in October 2016! Our original manga, starring Luna, launched in 2018. Follow Full Moon Magic on Instagram to discover Japanese culture, food and language with Luna, a moon bunny who landed in Japan. Luna is drawn in her yukata (casual summer kimono), which she wears to Japanese matsuri or festivals.