“Gay-dar” seems to work in every country. Using his to guide us through Tokyo’s streets, my traveling companion Matt led us to the center of the city’s small, yet lively gay quarter called Shinjuku-ni-chome, commonly referred to as Ni-chome. As if reaching a mountain summit and basking in his achievement, Matt placed his hands on his hips and confidently declared, “We’re here.”
It could have been his gay-dar which led us or it could have been all the rainbow flags and stickers posted in many of the windows indicating the gay quarter. Either way, we were “here.”Read More
Food is an important part of travel and during my Fall 2004 trip to Japan, I certainly had my fair share of common and odd bites. Following is a snapshot of my culinary journey through Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures.Read More
Landing in Japan, my traveling companion Matt and I were on a mission. Forget majestic Mt. Fuji and the sacred Buddhist temples. We wanted to see the Japanese Macaque monkeys of Hell’s Valley.
When we constantly brought up our desire to see monkeys to our Japanese hosts, we were asked, “Why?” One host warned, “They are mean.”Read More
“She owns a piano bar,” the Japanese homestay coordinator told me. Anxiously, I sat in the hotel lobby, fidgeting and wondering where my hostess was.
As soon as I felt like an abandoned child, a woman confidently walked into the lobby. Her glittery gold top sparkled with each step and black leather pants showed off her petite frame. I knew she was my hostess.
We exchanged pleasantries and I read the note she handed me. In English she had written how her piano bar and wedding planning business were based at the Grand Hotel Hamamatsu. Because her apartment was so small and much of her time was spent at the Grand Hotel, I would spend the week there as her guest.Read More
Friends told me I would lose weight in Japan, thinking my palate wouldn’t tolerate raw fish and other new tastes. As I lay on the medical-like table with the lower half of my body snuggly fit into a long, nylon bag, I realized they were right. I spent an afternoon in the city of Shizuoka indulging in the slim life experience at Art Beauty, an aesthetic salon.Read More