Adventures for All

Category Archives: Adventures

Getting off the beaten path – do-it-yourself and organized adventures welcome!

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

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

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

Sound Tourism: The Coolest Sounds to Hear While Traveling

sound travel

I’d never encountered the phrase “sound tourism” (aka audio tourism) until today; I read them in the March 2014 issue of Discover: Science for the Curious. The phrase appears in an all-too-brief interview with author/acoustic engineer Trevor Cox. It’s so new that, as of right now, not even Wikipedia mentions it. A Discover magazine writerContinue Reading

A Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels

cu chi tunnels

Plenty of writers like to call the Cu Chi Tunnels “an underground city.” But that’s just a facile throwaway phrase that trivializes nearly aspect of life in the Cu Chi Tunnels during a time of war. Out of every site I’ve visited in my travels so far, I rate this as the most thought-provoking ofContinue Reading

Insect Shield Gear – Great Holiday Gift Idea


I count myself pretty lucky to be an outdoor-loving character in a place like Arizona. It’s not 100-percent bug-free … but it’s close. Mosquitos and other hungry critters don’t pop up very much in my dry, desert slice of the world. But right now, I’m in Vietnam. I had visions of slathering myself in insectContinue Reading

Slow Travel Movement – The Truth Path or BS?

Slow Travel Movement

I have a message for the Slow Travel Movement and the douchier-than-thou characters who comprise its most-extreme adherents: Worry about how you travel and bring your egos back down from Mt. Olympus. Some of us can’t travel slow (By “some of us”, I nostly mean Americans. Yes, those of us from the alleged capital ofContinue Reading