Posts

Tales from Japan: "One-man Trains"

Our group is on a local train bound for Nakatsugawa, on the JR chuo-line. It’s one of the many local lines running across Japan, following the ancient Nakasendo connecting the imperial capital, Kyoto, to the shogunate in Edo during the Edo…

Tales from Japan: 90 years on the job

The screen door slid open, inviting a blast of cold air that was tempered by the warmth of the charcoal burning slowly in the middle of our hut. In came an old lady, carrying a heavy-looking plate of chicken that was to be part of our menu…

Tales from Japan: Packing Backpacks

We are about to go on a new adventure. Bernard, my other Roaming Backpack, together with four more merry backpack(er)s who have gracefully agreed to forsake suitcases ­– their usual choice of comfort – are joining me on “roaming”…

The Five Fields, London

I know, this feels like shameless advertising. But we love food, and even more those who put their hearts and minds into creating a good meal. Food, after all, is the epitome of one's culture – you are what you eat. Besides, a good meal…

Lost in Translation: 'Sweet As (Arse?)'

You know how Kiwis (New Zealanders) love to say ‘sweet as’ to everything? Once there was a Kiwi in the United States having a conversation with a local. She said something and he went ‘sweet as’. He was eventually sued for sexual…

Meeting People

The white-haired taxi driver, a burly gentleman who has three doctorate degrees, looks after two libraries at home, and is also a volunteer firefighter in the Canadian Rockies. The husband-and-wife-team, who devotes their entire lives to…

Travelers and Tourists

On the road, you meet tourists, and then you meet travelers. Tourists: boring. Those poor folks who are content with fixed itineraries, and who get ferried around in tour coaches from one place to another. They swarm around in groups, and…

The Routine of Travel

Back in university, I remember attending a course on travel and culture, and we were discussing if traveling is subconsciously enjoyable because it offers people a break from the routines of their daily mundane lives. Oh, c’mon! You don’t…