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Adventures for All

Category Archives: Blogging/Writing

How to blog better, thoughts on writing/creativity and more.

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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Stress-Free Travel and Travelers Versus Tourists

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

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

So You’re Traveling to Vietnam? Some Straight Truth

traveling So you’re traveling to Vietnam. You have your guidebooks. You’ve read the posts on the big travel blogs. Let me give you a reality check about Vietnam before you drown in travel brochure superlatives. Here are a few things you really need to know about traveling to Vietnam. I’m basing this on my own experienceContinue Reading

Introducing the “Kick Myself” List

Whenever I travel, I come away with a list of things I wish I’d done. These are things that make me think “I could kick myself for not … (fill in the blank).” So, I’ve created a “I Could Kick Myself” list. I want to see this list supplant the cliched “Bucket List” people seemContinue Reading

Thoughts on the North-South Divide in Vietnam

Ask people in Ho Chi Minh City, and they’ll sing you the same song about Hanoi in a multitude of keys and time signatures. “Hanoi is 15 years behind.” “You’ll feel like someone is watching you all the time.” “Watch out for the people. They cheat you.” “They’ll steal from you.” “They’re mean.” We evenContinue Reading

Travel in Vietnam – A Few Quick Thoughts

It’s been one week since I’ve returned from a two-week trip to Vietnam. Over the next few months, I’ll have a lot to share with you about what it’s like to travel in Vietnam. Obviously, a lot of people have asked “how was your trip?” It’s impossible to wrap this trip up with a sentenceContinue Reading

Slow Travel Movement – The Truth Path or BS?

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

Why I Turn Down Guest Blogging Offers

Every week, I get several requests for people who want to do guest blogging for my site. I turn down nearly every single one of them. It’s been close to a year since I let someone guest blog here, aside from someone I sought out for a cool Halloween-related post. Let me tell you why.Continue Reading

Blogging Thoughts – Some Re-evaluation

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’ll see shifts in your style. I’ve fallen into a few bad habits, and it’s time to make some changes.Continue Reading