by Michael Yessis | 12.29.11 | 7:46 AM ET
Like Daisann McLane in her three-part series about Japan in the wake of its triple disaster, Pico Iyer has captured a haunting snapshot of life in the country post-earthquake and tsunami. He writes for Businessweek:
When I went up to the area around the nuclear plant in October, I found myself staying in, of all places, a golf resort by the sea. Many of the locals had left the area after the disaster, I was told. When I arrived, late at night, the big hotel looked like a ghost town. Only a handful of kimono-clad guests seemed to be enjoying the tea lounge and the play area.
Next morning, I awoke early and went into the breakfast room at 6:15—to find every table packed. Dapper golfers from Tokyo were busy scarfing down their eggs, about to head out for their first round, undeterred by pelting rain and the belching factories that surround the seaside course. In some places this could look like recklessness or indifference; in Japan it seemed to stand for fortitude.
by Tara Austen Weaver | 12.13.11 | 12:36 PM ET
In an e-book excerpt, Tara Austen Weaver finds a new home in rural Japan
by Jim Benning | 11.02.11 | 12:40 PM ET
Jim Benning asks the musician about his new book of photographs and how travel has humbled him
by Jim Benning | 03.15.11 | 12:38 PM ET
Like everyone, I’ve been horrified by the news out of Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant explosions. Among other things, I’ve been wondering how author and World Hum contributor Pico Iyer is doing, and whether he has been home in Japan or traveling as the disaster unfolds.
I just heard from him via email:
By curious chance, and with rare good timing, I actually flew out of Japan last Thursday night, hours before the earth began to move, and so I’m just sitting in placid Santa Barbara now, where nothing seems to move at all. But everyone I know in Japan sounds fine, and is going about her life as usual, for now at least a safe distance from all the horror.
Let’s hope the Japanese, who have more resolve and fortitude than almost anyone I’ve seen, can put their land together again very soon.
by Amy McKeever | 02.09.11 | 1:52 PM ET
Amy McKeever explains how to navigate an epic night of beer, yakitori and "nomunication"
by Eva Holland | 10.26.10 | 11:33 AM ET
The new park, Hello Kitty Kawaii Paradise opened late last week in Tokyo. “Hello Kitty” creator Sanrio already had two theme parks devoted to Kitty and her friends, but Gadling blogger Leigh Caldwell notes that this is the first one where the famous cartoon cat flies solo on the marquee. So congrats, Hello Kitty, on having top billing all to yourself.
by Eva Holland | 09.22.10 | 5:15 PM ET
Yep, the heiress followed in some famous footsteps today when she was denied entry to Japan because of a U.S. drug conviction.
As Gawker’s Jeff Neumann points out, she’s now a member of a rather elite travel club: “She joins Wings-era Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones on Japan’s list of druggie deportees.”
I hope she enjoys the moment—judging by this music video, she won’t likely see her name alongside McCartney’s and Jagger’s again anytime soon.
by Jim Benning | 09.08.10 | 12:32 PM ET
Jim Benning talks with the author of a new travel book about the spread of surfing around the globe
by Michael Yessis | 08.17.10 | 11:25 AM ET
University students such as Daniel Ramirez, 24, often turn to mid-range hotels in central Caracas to be with their significant others. On his first visit to Hotel Roda, Ramirez had the opportunity to be intimate with a month-long girlfriend for the first time.
“There was no place I could go to see her,” said Ramirez, who lives with his family because he can’t afford an apartment. He was reasonably satisfied with his experience—including clean rooms, wall and ceiling mirrors, and a television with pornography—and later returned with another girlfriend. The awkward part, he said, was a lack of privacy in the hallways.
“Couples pass each other like this,” Ramirez said, ducking his head and cupping one hand over his eyes.
by Jim Benning | 08.10.10 | 12:28 PM ET
I’ve never read a more insightful piece about the beauty and nuance in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation”—a masterpiece of a film—than this one. Coppola has one objective, Ebert writes:
She wants to show two people lonely in vast foreign Tokyo and coming to the mutual realization that their lives are stuck. Perhaps what they’re looking for is the same thing I’ve heard we seek in marriage: A witness. Coppola wants to get that note right. There isn’t a viewer who doesn’t expect Bob Harris and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) to end up in love, or having sex, or whatever. We’ve met Charlotte’s husband John (Giovanni Ribisi). We expect him to return unexpectedly from his photo shoot and surprise them together. These expectations have been sculpted, one chip of Hollywood’s chisel after another, in tens of thousands of films. The last thing we expect is… what would probably actually happen. They share loneliness.
Among other highlights, Ebert explains why he can’t take his eyes off of Bob Harris (Bill Murray) in the film, and why whatever Johansson’s character whispers into Bob’s ear at the end simply doesn’t matter. (Via LAObserved)
by LiAnne Yu | 06.08.10 | 11:14 AM ET
When LiAnne Yu visits other countries, she watches people from behind a one-way mirror. She now knows which cultures prefer jeans that accentuate curvy butts.
by Michael Yessis | 05.26.10 | 2:24 PM ET
Alexander James shares 50 of them in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. The tops feature, among other things, dogs, frogs and what appears to be a neon green football—see No. 17. (Via Coudal)
by Terry Ward | 05.20.10 | 11:57 AM ET
Petit dejeuner, frühstück, desayuno -- call it what you will. Terry Ward dishes on some of the world's great breakfasts.
by Eva Holland | 05.18.10 | 1:10 PM ET
An up-tempo time-lapse visit to Japan
by Eva Holland | 05.11.10 | 12:43 PM ET
The New York Times takes a look at an ongoing debate in Japan over the future of the country’s tourism industry. At the heart of the issue: Should efforts to boost tourism emphasize modern initiatives, like the monster aquarium in the works in Kyoto, or focus on the country’s heritage buildings and traditional culture?
It’s an important question for a national tourism industry that has lagged behind its competitors. Reporter Hiroko Tabuchi notes that “the country generated just $10.8 billion from foreign tourism in 2008, a tenth of the $110 billion the United States earned from overseas tourists that year. Ukraine and Macao each attract more foreign tourists a year than Japan.”
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