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My karaoke career began and ended in Tokyo

I shoved the microphone at Him and took two long strides toward the door. “I gotta go!” I said. “I’ll be back.” Perhaps it was the sight of those frosty Suntory beers on the table. Or maybe it was simply the excitement of reenacting a scene from one of our favorite movies. But within five…

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Thailand Budget

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a country budget, so I am going to try to catch up over the next week or so. After spending two months counting every penny while traveling in very expensive Australia and New Zealand, the value of Southeast Asia was outstanding.  Instead of cooking our own food, we…

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Kyoto: Hundreds of monkeys and a hair rope … oh yeah, and some awesome temples

While thinking back over the cities we’ve visited, Kyoto is on the top of my list.  The city is a mesmerizing union of modern and medieval Japan. Of busy city life and nature.  A thriving metropolis dotted with mind-blowing Buddhist temples and Japanese gardens.  The city, for me, exemplifies what I love about travel and…

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Making furry, fuzzy friends on Miyajima Island

According to “Nihon Kokujisekikou” (“Observations About the Remains of Japan’s Civil Affairs”), Confucian scholar Shunsai Hayashi’s painfully titled book chronicling his 17th century travels through Japan, Itsukushima ranks among the country’s three most scenic spots. Our own travels did not include the other two locations – Matsushima and Amanohashidate – but we’ll give Hayashi the…

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We’re big in Japan, or: How to ride overnight buses in the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan has a reputation of being an astronomically expensive country. To be sure, it’s not a budget destination, but one of the biggest expenses travelers face — intra-country travel — doesn’t have to leave you with an empty wallet. Many people purchase the JR rail pass which provides unlimited travel within the country’s train system…

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“Doing” Japan (Because Dave Barry recommended it)

While in Vietnam we convinced ourselves to backtrack and add Japan to the itinerary. There were two deciding factors: The first was we wanted to visit my friend and former co-worker, Charlie Reed, who lives outside Tokyo. The second reason was that Dave Barry recommended it. Yes, I’m referring to Dave Barry, the former Miami…

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Warhol-ing it in Hong Kong

After our less-than-stellar experience in Hanoi (though the rest of our visit to Vietnam was very enjoyable), and a couple months in the developing world craziness of Southeast Asia, we were looking forward to the First World comforts provided by a major world city.  Hong Kong did not disappoint. We arrived very late, but the…

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