Destination: Tokyo

‘Hello Kitty’ Gets a Theme Park of Her Own

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.

Interview with Michael Scott Moore: ‘Sweetness and Blood’

Jim Benning talks with the author of a new travel book about the spread of surfing around the globe

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Roger Ebert on ‘Lost in Translation’

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)

Photos: Tokyo Taxi Tops

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)

World Travel Watch: Travel Insurance Now Required in Cuba, Maoists Shut Down Kathmandu and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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This Gamer has Some Issues With Japan

Tim Rogers’ rant at Kotaku about expat life in Japan is racking up the page views—and has stimulated quite a conversation. So far, more than 2,300 people have commented. Rogers’ dislikes about Japanese culture include:

But he does like Japanese trains! (Via The Morning News)

Photo You Must See: Tokyo Punk Parasol

Photo You Must See: Tokyo Punk Parasol REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Japanese girls in punk fashion sit under a parasol in Harajuku, Tokyo’s fashion district.

Kyoto Joins Tokyo Near the Top of the Michelin Heap

Kyoto Joins Tokyo Near the Top of the Michelin Heap Photo by rhosoi via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by rhosoi via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Brace yourselves, foodies of the Western hemisphere: If you were disgruntled about Tokyo landing top Michelin honors last year—receiving more stars than Paris and New York combined in its debut guide—then you probably won’t be happy to hear that Kyoto is following close behind. The city received 110 stars in its first-ever Michelin treatment, including six three-star restaurants—one more than New York City.

Moon-Gazing Around the Globe

Full moon over London Photos by cybea via Flickr (Creative Commons)

From Puebla to Paris, 12 photos by moonstruck world travelers

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Living Among Incompatibles

Torii in Japan Photo by tiseb via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

Why Japan has the best mind Pico Iyer has encountered in a lifetime of traveling

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Parking Fees Around the World

The Economist has a great chart on parking fees around the globe. Among the highlights from its report: “European cities have some of the highest daily parking rates, with Amsterdam and London coming out on top. Tokyo is the most expensive place to leave your car outside Europe.”

Cheap travel tip: You’ll find great rates in Chennai, India. Um, road trip!

(Via the Idea of the Day blog)

The Art of Kaiten Sushi

Kaiten sushi conveyor belt in Osaka, Japan Photo by roybuloy, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Conveyor-best sushi. Sushi-go-round. Sushi train. Whatever you call it, it's a beautiful thing.

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Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death

Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death REUTERS/Patrick De Noirmont

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T.G.I. Friday’s in Tokyo

In Slate, Daniel Gross goes to Tokyo and tackles the city’s “SPC ratio” (Starbucks per capita) and other oddities of the Japanese love affair with American chain food outlets.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan REUTERS/Issei Kato

Visitors watch as Pacific bluefin tuna swim in a fish tank at Tokyo Sea Life Park

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