Where in the World? Stunning Lake

Follow the posts down to the lake. Do you know where you’re going? Update: The winner is David…who guessed, Lake Baikal in Russia! Thanks again to Magda for a beautiful photo. Here’s what she had to say: This photo was taken on the Olkhon Island on the Lake Baikal in Russia. Lake Baikal is world’s oldest and deepest lake as well as the largest source of fresh water on the planet. Olkhon is the largest island on the lake and for centuries the local people have believed it to be a spiritual place. Shamanism is a very strong cult on the island up to this day. Olkhon is not only mysterious but also a very beautiful place. David gets the prize this week. So check out his great blog Ogijima that is all about the beautiful islands in Japan’s Inland Sea. Personally, I love this area of Japan. Welcome to the weekly Read full article…

My Experience During the Japan Earthquake

The Japanese Earthquake On Friday 11 March 2011 just before 3:00 pm the largest earthquake in Japanese recorded history hit with a magnitude of 9.0. I was in Tokyo at the time visiting my wife’s family. As I sat at the kitchen table, happily posting pictures of Japan on Facebook, the room began to shake. The quake started small, but with a sudden jolt. When the shaking didn’t stop I started to worry as the large cabinet rattled at my back and the light above me began to swing violently. I moved to the middle of the room, away from anything that could fall on me. The preparation drills tell you to get under a table, put a cushion over your head, and open the door to make sure you have a way out if the house collapses. You are also supposed to shut off the gas to prevent a Read full article…

Where in the World? Ancient Stone Bridge

  Update: The winner is David…who guessed, Old Bridge, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar was named after the “bridge keepers” who guarded the Stari Bridge (old bridge), which was rebuilt in 2004 after being destroyed in the conflict. David hasn’t won in a while here but he is back and gets the prize this week. Dave doesn’t have a blog so while I wait for Dave’s choice of links I’m including an APPEAL to Help Japan: My Experience During the Japan Earthquake.   Welcome to the weekly Where in the World? Travel Photo Contest! We have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up to challenge your world travel knowledge each and every Friday. If you’re new or never bothered to actually read what I write, each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) either from a featured travel blog guest (see below for Read full article…

Find Love, Good Health, Wealth and High Test Scores in Japan

In the last article we explored the Japanese trend of visiting “Power Spots,” areas where you can gather invisible energy. Whether you believe in Power Spots or not the act of visiting specific places to gain a certain type of benefit is a long held practice in Japan. Temples, shrines and hot springs are the most commonly visited. Natural areas are usually associated with one of them and are where visitors focus their prayers when venturing out into rural Japan. Much of what people ask for are physical rewards. While I’m not sure praying for wealth is the best use of your time, there are thousands of places all over Japan that cater to physical and spiritual improvements. If you are heading to Japan and you have issues with health, love, and money, need to pass an exam, could use a bit of healing, or just want to get rid Read full article…

Power Spots: Japanese Spiritual and Travel Craze

Gain Energy, Luck and Happiness through Travel to Power Spots Want to get married, become rich, get rid of a little evil, or do away with that ugly wart? It’s as simple as visiting a Power Spot. One the biggest trends in Japan last year was the rise of Power Spots, and any type of travel associated with them. Power Spots are supposedly any place where you can receive invisible energy that can help you achieve all your life’s dreams, whether they be material or spiritual. This is of course not a new concept in Japan, as the Japanese have ascribed specific powers to temples and shrines for thousands of years. Shinto beliefs also stress a spiritual aspect to nature,  inhabited by millions of gods. What is new is the packaging of all such Power Spots into one large mixture of your favorite spiritual energy dogmas. A little Feng Shui Read full article…

Where in the World? Another World?

  Update: The winner is Rebecca…who guessed, Coober Pedy, South Australia! Thanks again to Laurence and his universe. Here’s what he had to say: “It is an awesome place, somewhat reminiscent of Mos Eisley, only without so much scum and villainy, plus nearly everyone lives underground to escape the heat. The surrounding landscape and attractions are also surreal, with names such as the Moon Plain and The Painted Desert – it’s not hard to see why it was chosen as the set for Pitch Black, which is set on an alien planet.” Rebecca gets the prize this week. So check out Cadence: Planning and Design, it’s not travel blog but they can help you design a peaceful living environment. Sounds nice to me Welcome to the weekly Where in the World? Travel Photo Contest! We have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up to challenge your world Read full article…

5 Unique Things to Do in Boston

Boston is not only a visually stunning city, it is also home to the Red Socks, Beer and Lobster! The city of Boston is one of my “second” homes. From historical battle fields, to Irish pubs, a mix of colonial and modern architecture, the fusion of blue collar values and lofty academics leaves me feeling relaxed and welcomed. The city is smaller than most capital cities and boasts a host of unique neighborhoods. It’s more intimate than it’s rival New York, and  it’s easy to escape for those dreaming of New England sea coast villages or the mountain wilderness of New Hampshire and Vermont. Boston is where my mother’s family is from, where I went to school, it’s where all of my best friends live, it’s my first stop during any trip home, and it’s one of those places you could spend years exploring and never really figure it all Read full article…

Inside Tokyo's Red Light District Kabukicho

As far as red light districts go, Tokyo’s Kabukicho near Shinjuku station is relativity tame. Unlike Amsterdam there are no pot houses (aka “coffee shops”), prostitutes are not for sale in windows like a pimped out version of a holiday display, and at only 600 square meters it’s not even that big. What Kabukicho lacks in overtness it makes up for in subtlety and uniqueness. I spent a day walking around during the day time, but come after 6 pm and the streets are packed with partying salary men showing business associates a “good time” and getting hammered. Sounds enticing doesn’t it. What type of clubs exist in Kabukicho? The area is dominated by small drinking holes, DVD shops, peep holes, and host and hostess clubs that cater to lonely husbands and wives who need a little attention from well dressed, flirtatious professional conversationalists. If you are expecting the run Read full article…

Stone Face: Friday Photo Contest 34

Update: The winner is Justin…who guessed, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Turkey! Thanks again to Chirs and his great travel blog. Here’s what he had to say: “This is from the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul near Hagia Sophia. This underground cistern was built by the Romans under Emperor Constantine. After the Turkish conquered the city in the 1400s they did not discover the cistern for over 100 years until someone got suspicious why locals were able to fish from their basements. This particular picture is a column with a statue of Medusa at the base. “ Justin gets the prize this week. So wander on over to Justin Was Here and let him know that your were There. Welcome back to the Friday Photo Contest! We took a short break and but are back, are bigger than ever (not really) and we have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up Read full article…

Nanakusa Gayu (Japanese Porridge or Congee with Seven herbs)

This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife! This is a special and traditional dish that Japanese eat on January 7th with the wish to get rid of evil and bring health. Also, there is a connotation for resting your stomach after eating heavy and rich Osechi Meals over New Years. The porridge/congee is cooked with seven kinds of herbs: (Japanese parsley (seri); Shepherd’s purse (nazuna); Jersey Cudweed (gogyō); Common chickweed (hakobera); Henbit (hotokenoza); Turnip (suzuna); and Daikon (suzushiro). They are seven herbs which represent spring. For your reference, there are seven leaves for autumn but they are for decoration not for cooking. To be honest, this is not a very tasty and attractive dish as it is, but I like the significance of this custom and the idea to rest my stomach after eating a Read full article…

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