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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

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

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

So You’re Traveling to Vietnam? Some Straight Truth

going to Vietnam

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

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

What NOT to Do With an Expired Passport

expired passport Boeing 787 Dreamliner

  Shortly before the government shutdown in October, I realized my passport would expire just days before we left for Vietnam. I filled out the paperwork and sent the money for an expedited renewed passport. Two weeks later, I had a shiny-but-blank passport. A few days after that, I got my old expired passport withContinue 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

All Nippon Airways Review: San Jose Mineta to Tokyo

All Nippon Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Before my recent flight on All Nippon Airways, I’d only flown two Asian airlines before: Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air. Jeju Air was a perfectly nice hour-long flight. Asiana, though, was the first Skytrax 5-Star airline I’d ever flown. It completely reset my expectations about how pleasant an economy-class trans-Pacific flight can be. Recently, IContinue Reading