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Another view of the city experiences and Osaka

Kids of friends back in Tokyo visited Japan in numbers this Summer. Whereas we could catchup with some and probe their enchantment, some others were simply too busy touring the country to connect. One such kid toured with friends and I just got words talking to the mother that they loved Kyoto. But Osaka came on top of all destinations. Unfortunately, I won't get further details on the reasons of this infatuation but here is a hint. The Economist Osaka promotional video tackled last year with a city unknown for its beauty by scraping all the usual culprits of standard tourism, to focus instead and mostly on people and food, people and daily entertainment and fairly gritty life. You won't find a single reference on Osaka castle, museums or festivals. Kimono clad ladies do not appear, nor the latest single origin me-too café born yesterday. There is even some marginal nudity in the movie, but no crap BGM, no hectic camera movements and one second blink shots on steroid. The ove…
Recent posts

No smoking in Japan

This is the future perfect of Japan's hospitality, hosts that daringly ban smoking inside, gracefully offer an alternative for addicts, and on top of that, provide courtesy wifi that functions well. We are a long way from that home, but getting there.

A loaf of bread from Vancouver

In Tokyo, we will fare on this loaf of bread from the West End Farmers Market in Vancouver for the week to come. This loaf of bread will be the starter for stories and bits of memories. This hard type of bread doesn't taste different from what can now be found inside or even outside Tokyo when seriously looking for it. But I chose this piece of bread like a slice of local life to bring back, a life not allowed to spend on a trip shorter than 48 hours in that beautiful city buried in green. No duty free and souvenir shops can beat this loaf of bread. Choose your tasty travel memories wisely.

Locations on locations

Kazin in New York on the bathroom floor of an hotel in San Francisco reminiscent of Lisbon. It happens everywhere. Layered locations.

Those little touches

En route now.

The toughest decision: choosing not to go

Why do even sensible travelers cannot avoid mega-destinations that are perfectly known to give them the creep, with crowds of tourists and authentically faked massified food, sights and the other kinds of "experiences"? If the famous Gion street in Kyoto was located by the beach, it would be lined up with shops sellings inflatable goods and fins. Yet, many a sensible travelers are lured to the must-see-even-if-to-confirm-and-feel-sorry locations that they are indeed exactly as exposed in the positive media, that is touristic traps. If sorry is the hardest word, choosing not to go is the toughest decision even for many sensible travelers. It is cooler and a show of authority to expose online your imperial judgement that you went, saw and pointed your thumb down as a result of your manipulated decision to check in-situ that indeed, this was not worth that. What is unbearable is to cope with the barrage of puzzled looks and sleezy innuendos when pushed on your public wall in fu…

Travelers with chronic conditions in Japan

A recent article in The Japan Times highlights the unsurprising inadequacy, in the territory of communication, of Japan's medical services facing an increased number of visitors requiring medical treatment. Things cannot get better in any short time, but will be met for sure with further protocols to try and circumvent the core issue that is cringing verbal incompetence. The visitor with chronic illness should get ready before leaving home beyond the obvious. Mandatory is to carry with you enough medicines. The less obvious is to perform an early check that those, including quantities you intend to bring in, are not colliding with domestic regulations. Some banal substances at home may be forbidden here. You also want to purchase prior to flying a solid medical travel insurance and understand before what to exactly do, where to call for medical services to be launched when needed.
But there is one other essential strategy to implement seldom mentioned anywhere: have a medical det…

Tokyo night cruising for the new generation

Friends' kids in Europe are now traveling far, and Japan comes top list as a destination. A few just landed here, with the LonelyPlanet in hand. First time I had a look at the volume on Tokyo. Appalling.

Wrapping a dinner and sequels was totally based on personal experiences, of course, and focused on destinations AND pleasurable mobility AND the mix of contrastive moods and environments. This translated into sushi at Asakusabashi, a walk along the Sumida river where pleasure boats lighted like Christmas cakes were cruising just alongside our embankment, and two hours of talk, dessert and drinks at Nui. bar not packed for a Saturday night. Did they enjoy? You bet did. And they are now asking for more of this kind of Tokyo cruising.

The houses of Llyod and Endo in Tokyo

It is the sesquicentennial anniversary of Franck Lloyd Wright. The New York Review of Books expands in the current issue on exhibitions and books about the architect. You can click on the drawing of the Roswenwald school project from the article. On a big screen, it is beautiful. If you replace the front built part by a series of four tall and sturdy cherry trees, you mostly obtain the Myonichi-kan, the House of Tomorrow. A few years ago, I would take refuge in the café space of the church like building at the back of the Myonichikan, on an average of twice a week if not more, so much I had a 100 yens rebate for the entrance ticket with drink and a little sweet. This went on for a good year. Everyone newly visiting immediately understands. Calm, serene, nice vistas, visually pleasing material texture. I just think the BGM is not needed, or at least inadequate. Who needs syrup for the ears like that? Fact is that in too many locations here, audio ambiances shows a lack of sensibility …

Western Tokyo Dimensions

Locations, trajectories, roads and paths, angles, promontories, terrace, food, sights, silences, sounds, panoramas, skies, forests, bridges, stairs to shrines, paths to temples, across and along rivers, cascades, streams and ponds, leisure walks, rice paddies, comfortable breaks in cafés, with sweets, with pebble garden and an espresso or matcha latte, buried in green like wasabi, craft, indigo, silk, lacquer, a nap in a shrine. People encounters, artists, entrepreneurs, performers. And I missed some. Visiting again soon. Inquire for your own dimensions. Visit nextaroma.com.