Posts with the category ‘Asia’


Nagasaki Survivor and US President On Same Page for Peace

May 30, 2016

Nagasaki survivor Takeo Aizawa, a retired school teacher now living in Tokyo, did not watch President Obama’s speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial live, as many other Japanese did. At 77, Aizawa keeps the schedule of a much younger man. He was handling other events in his life, his new grandbaby for one, and planned reunion of old classmates. But he remembers better than most, the events that brought Obama to Japan a few days ago, because Takeo Aizawa lived through them. Aizawa was a six-year-old student attending class when the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, 30 kilometers from where he sat.  “I was not affected… Read More…


A Day at the Beach, a Pinch at Dinner on Hong Kong’s Lamma Island

May 29, 2016

On a steamy but sunny Sunday in Hong Kong, I packed a swimsuit, an umbrella (to ward off rain) and a hotel hand towel, in the thoughtfully-provided nylon carry bag left in my room at the East Hotel and headed for the ferry to spend a day on Lamma Island. This is not just a place to go swimming, it is a hilly walk through fecund forests where every break in the trees yields another spectacular view of small, colorful structures tumbling down the hills and flag-bearing fishing boats bobbing on the water. Just twenty minutes across the water from super-bustling Hong Kong, it is the antithesis of Asia urban, a… Read More…


Rolling Down the River; World’s Best Waterfront Bike Rides

December 24, 2015

Somewhere between the too-slow pace of walking and the everything-passes-by-in-a-blur of driving, I think riding a bike is just right. Some places are more conducive to bicycles than others, Beijing and Hanoi are for the suicidal pedaler, too much traffic, not enough respect for the two-wheeler. Seoul and Santa Monica, on the other hand are two of many cities where in a manageable distance one can go from city center to scenic waterside trail.  An additional plus in Seoul is free daily bike rentals for visitors.  That’s right, I don’t know how long it will last but the rental is absolutely free with helmets and locks included. How hospitable… Read More…


Kyoto’s Geisha Real or Imagined Still Captivating

May 7, 2015

One would think that Kyoto, Japan was in the middle of a geisha boom, the way the streets are filled with kimono-wearing women, shuffling down the sidewalks in their six-inch high wooden geta and split toe socks. The jangly metal fan ornaments and flower blossoms in their hair called kanzashi bob with each step they take.  But they are not real. Okay, the women are real but they are not geisha, geiko or even maiko, (what they call women training to be geisha). These are tourists taking part in the booming business of dressing up and touring the town, creating excitement every where they go, not the… Read More…


White Girl ‘Rocking a Kimono

By Andrea Lee Negroni     Sure, I anticipated it might be complicated to put on a Japanese kimono. Then, when a group of women, spouses or companions of participants in an international aviation conference were invited by the Sapporo Tourist Office to do it, I realized it IS complicated. First, we were each given two helpers and shown to racks of colorful silks. Spellbound, we thought we’d dig right in and wrap ourselves up. Wrong. A lot gets put on before the fun begins. I started with a sort of knee-length muslin slip, which has short sleeves, a V-neck collar and a tight sash around the waist. Then another patterned collar gets… Read More…


Lesson from the Rails; There Are No Strangers On a Train

February 7, 2015

The sound of raucous conversation greeted us when the double saloon-style doors opened to the Gold class lounge on Australia’s famed long distance train, The Ghan. My sister Lee and I were late in arriving for the departure cocktail party because we’d stopped first to check out the compartments where we’d be spending the next two nights crossing Australia from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the far north. We each had a single room and the tiny cubicles were across a corridor so narrow, we could have left our doors open and held hands if we wanted. But we did not. We would have welcomed being closer to the… Read More…


Tourists Cross a Cartoon Divide at Kyoto Manga Museum

January 6, 2015

With the Academy Award nominations for the films of 2014 about to be revealed, now is the time to go back to the 2013 near-win of The Wind Rises, the latest and probably last project of Japanese film director, artist and animator, Hayao Miyazaki. The animated story of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi was first released to Japanese audiences in 2013 and it was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe last year. It didn’t go global until 2014, and then with the voices of Emily Blunt, Jennifer Gray, John Kransinski, Stanley Tucci, Martin Short and William H. Macy. Westerners may feel a film about the design of Japanese fighter planes in… Read More…


Sony: Express Less & Learn More About How the World Views America

December 24, 2014

Bear with me for a moment because at first glance you may not think a post about Sony Pictures and the movie, The Interview is about travel, but it is. It is about the metaphorical journey we take as we try to live together on this planet in spite of our cultural and national differences. Or maybe its about why Amy Pascal, Seth Rogan and the rest ought to travel and listen more and express less. When my son, Antonio was in elementary school, he took responsibility for an act of vandalism in the boys’ restroom. He did not actually do the damage, he told… Read More…


Face to Face with Young Cambodians in Siem Reap

April 18, 2014

I went to Siem Reap to see the ancient temples. My friend Marion Mapstone visited in 2012 and came back to show me photos that I couldn’t believe were of a real place. So don’t get me wrong, I loved climbing them, wandering through their aged stone walls, listening to the guide tell the stories behind the murals and carvings. But there’s something else in this city that’s not old and very much worth getting to know and that’s the young, animated and energized Generation X. Student Visit in Wat Bo On a late morning walk, outside of the tourist district, my husband Jim and… Read More…


Malaysian Visit Just in Time for Dinner, Dancing and a Show.

February 16, 2014

America is often referred to as a cultural melting pot but I give the Malaysians credit; they’ve got the go-along/get-along thing down to an art. Just like Singapore, their next door neighbor, Malaysians are a mix of Indian, Chinese and Malay. Skin color ranges from dark to light and the three big religions, Christian, Muslim and Hindu are represented with sizable and well-visited houses of worship.   The downtown Holy Light Presbyterian Church in Johor Bahru at the southern most end of the country, takes up an entire city bloc with sanctuary, school, sports fields and meeting space. The nearby Hindu temple is ringed by stalls selling strings… Read More…


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