Adventures for All

All Nippon Airways Asks “Is Japan Cool?”

Is Japan cool? Yes. And so is ANA and its Dreamliner fleet.

Is Japan cool? Yes. And so is ANA and its Dreamliner fleet.

Really, All Nippon Airways doesn’t need a website to answer the question “Is Japan Cool?”. The company knows the answer: yes to the fourth power, Japan is cool.

So what’s the deal here? Well, it’s to find out what’s absolutely the coolest of the cool about Japan. It asks readers “Is Japan Cool?” by rating their favorites. Here’s a snapshot of the latest Top 10 right now:

  1. Japanese Hospitality – 6,216votes

  2. High Tech Toilets – 5,133votes

  3. Hot Spring Spas – 4,531votes

  4. Toybox Kawaii Shop – 4,866votes

  5. Kyoto Summer Terraces – 4,278votes

    is japan cool

    You haven’t seen cool until you’ve seen Akihabara.

  6. Mt. Fugi – 4,033votes

  7. Character Bento – 3,886votes

  8. Ultramodern Vending Machines – 3,850votes

  9. “Sushi Go Round” (How does the United States not have this?) – 3,163votes

  10. Soba (Japanese Traditional Noodles) – 2,864votes

Let me put some Wandering Justin perspective into this, starting with Japanese hospitality: Tokyo is a futuristic, packed-to-the-gills, on-the-go metropolis that boggles my mind. Yet in this maelstrom, residents notice foreign visitors who look lost in the subway system. They offer help, and go so far as to walk with them to their destination. This happened to me numerous time. So this is spot on. Domo, domo, domo, Tokyo!

Is japan cool

Hachiko of later years. He looks an awful lot like my Kuma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Number Two (though you can also do a Number One in them) is Japanese toilets. I had my first encounter with on in Busan, South Korea. My wife was in the bathroom and began cackling maniacally. The cackle shifted into a full-throttle guffaw, and I had to see what was up. I entered the bathroom to see her shooting a 12-foot stream of water across the spacious love hotel bathroom from a spigot in the fancy toilet. The only thing a Japanese toilet won’t do, it seems, is deploy an attachment that high-fives you for a particularly voluminous fart.

I won’t dispute the list because we’re all different. But here’s what else would make my list:

Japanese curry – I’d had plenty of curry, but never the Japanese variety. I encountered this near Hakone, and I proclaim it delicious.

Akihabara – I have a friend who can hand-build tube-powered guitar amplifiers. There is a market in Akihabara where it is literally possible for him to push a cart and build and amplifier with the parts on the display. They’re all arrayed like goods at a farmer’s market. Epic!

Is Japan Cool

My Kuma … see the resemblance?

The Hachiko Statue – I have a soft spot for Akitas … those big, curly tailed, powerful Japanese dogs. I had two of them named Suki and Kuma when I was a teen. I have plenty of great dog stories about them both, but nothing that can quite match the tear-jerker about the loyal Hachiko. Um, sorry, got something in my eye.

Obviously, I know plenty more things that are cool about Japan. But I don’t want to ramble too much. My suggestion: Find out for yourself what’s cool about Japan. And if you already know, share some in the comments and vote at Is Japan Cool?.

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Halong Bay: Why You Shouldn’t Go – and Why You Should

halong bay

Halong Bay isn’t quite Lake-Havasu-On-Spring-Break crowded. But it’s not far off. By nightfall of our first day, we’re anchored among hundreds of other boats holding anywhere from 20 to 100 passengers. Some look fresh from the factory, while others sport worn, weathered wood and a distinctly “seen better days” look. Our Christina Cruise is somewhereContinue Reading

Stress-Free Travel and Travelers Versus Tourists

stress free travel

Some travel bloggers love to debate the difference between “travelers” and “tourists.” Nearly every single idea I’ve read about this implies that tourists are lower on the evolutionary scale than travelers – there’s room for both, in my view. But I don’t want to be what I consider a tourist. My goals are just different.Continue Reading

Thoughts on Culture and Live Theater in Phoenix

live theater in Phoenix

People love to say that Phoenix doesn’t have any culture. It’s a notion that people parrot constantly. And it puts me in the mood to brandish a cricket bat in a threatening manner. What they really mean is one of of the following: I’m too lazy to go out and find any culture in Phoenix TheContinue Reading

Does Chuck Yeager Deserve Special Treatment?

Chuck Yeager with Bell X-1.

Travel writer and consumer advocate Chris Elliot posted a story about a request he received from Chuck Yeager – that’s right, the decorated WWII pilot who went on to be the first human to break the sound barrier in straight and level flight. It seems General Chuck Yeager got bumped from an Alaska Airlines flightContinue Reading

Is Spring Hikers Versus Mountain Bikers Season? No.

Hikers versus Mountain Bikers

Dear Hikers, Hi! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood mountain biker. Look, I want you to have a good time on the trails. I want your children to have a good time on the trails. And yes, your pets, too. We can all enjoy ourselves – it’s not really a question of hikers versus mountain bikers.Continue Reading

The PERCH Pub & Brewery – First Visit

The PERCH Pub & Brewery

I just got my first look at The PERCH Pub & Brewery in Chandler. Sarah and I went there for dinner and some nice craft beer. The bottom line: A very welcome addition to downtown Chandler, which is an area on its way up thanks to places like this. Sorry I don’t have very goodContinue Reading

Win a Helmet Hero – Plus, Tips for Awesome Videos

Helmet Hero

If you don’t have a GoPro Helmet Hero, you’re missing out on some fun. I’ve used my Helmet Hero to document all sorts of mountain bike rides. My friends at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors love using them to capture SCUBA adventures, and they’ve teamed up with ScubaEarth and GoPro to give away aContinue Reading

Do You “Explore”? Not Likely.


I have this little eccentricity about travel writing: I gag whenever someone casually uses “explore” in any form. For example, “I explored Sweden this summer.” Or Twitter bios that say stuff like “I’m an explorer who is determined to visit every country in the world.” OK, I’ll admit that these are legitimate uses of theContinue Reading

Adventurous Ideas to Go to Iceland

go to iceland

I started this blog for one reason: to give people ideas for finding the right adventure for them. My favorite days as a blogger are not when an advertiser throws some cash my way. It’s when someone writes and says something like “Hey, I got the top of Mt. Ngauruhoe using your tips.” So IContinue Reading