Tag Archives: travel

How to use the public pools in Iceland

My laptop apparently has kicked the bucket, after considerately surviving one whole night on our first trip since covid times. Can I blog from my phone? Hmmm….if you can believe it, this is the first time I’ve traveled abroad with my smartphone, never having signed up for an international calling plan before. While I don’t […]

How to be briefly quarantined in Reykjavik

Oh hey, we’re in Reykjavik! And once again we are wearing dorky matching backpacks!!! First of all, nobody freak out. We are VACCINATED. The generous citizens of Iceland are letting in vaccinated tourists, so we jumped. Normally I laboriously plan our trips, but I didn’t do any of that this time. I never thought much […]

Coronavirus work-around plan: send travel advice (I already have the face masks)

So what do you do when you’re about to visit South Korea and the CDC puts out a AVOID NON ESSENTIAL TRAVEL red alert?  Well obviously you put on your good citizen pants and cancel your trip. Back in 2009, HOB and I came down with the swine flu at the peak of the pandemic.  […]

A bento box of Japan tips

  One of our hotels in Japan served breakfast bento, which was perfect for me as I adore both breakfast and eating a variety of foods.  Since I have no business claiming to be an authority on Japan, I thought it would be fun to share a variety of bite-sized tips which might be useful […]

Ryōan-ji Zen garden: 15 rocks and a 15 year marriage

As a young woman I thought a typical marriage was this: the wife thanklessly plows through endless chores while her husband, planted in front of a television, yells at a sports game as piles of empty beer cans rise up around him.  I never wanted to be married. HOB and I met at a bookstore […]

Osaka as pop art installation

I was feeling self-congratulatory on the train to Osaka.  All of our other plans had fallen through because of the typhoon but we had a train pass and hotels in Osaka were cheap so we made a last-minute decision to head there from Nara.  I’d never visited a place without a binder full of research […]

Borrowed scenery: Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion and Beijing’s Summer Palace

My standard travel practice involves avoiding anything that smacks of shiny; palaces, treasuries, and—most dreaded of all—collections of silver tableware.  Nevertheless, I wanted to see the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.  HOB and I had both read Yukio Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and were curious about this temple which had been rebuilt […]

Funniest travel moments of 2019

Oh 2019, you were a silly end to a hilarious decade. As usual, I saw a lot of funny signs this year. Best love hotel name, ever.  Also, extra points for the subtlety of the logo. On second thought, this taco joint wins the award for subtlety of both name and logo. I made too […]

Nara’s Kasuga-taisha shrine and the divinity of nature

After we had to cancel our pilgrimage hike across the Kii Peninsula because of Typhoon Hagibis, HOB and I visited the tourist information center in Nara to try to find another hike.  I read that there was a primeval forest nearby and wanted to see if we could hike there.  The friendly man at the […]

Japanese toilets: so much to go on

This symbol is all over Japan: Yes, that is the international symbol for “spray your butt.” And for the ladies: Spray your ladyparts while wearing a bike helmet. This button is either the dry cycle or a close up of ramen noodles. Toilet shy?  No problem—your Japanese toilet also provides a soundtrack to cover embarrassing […]