Tag: Japan TravelView All Tags
The value of the Japanese Yen to the US Dollar has recently slipped so far that it's nearing its lowest point in four years. Plus, the currency exchange rate has never been easier to do in your head: 100 JPY is just about 1 USD.
All of this means that if you've been planning to head to Tokyo but "Japan is so expensive," now's the time to impulse-buy an airline ticket and head on up the Tokyo Sky Tree, the broadcasting/observation/restaurant tower which only opened at this time last year.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in:
This week's Travel Cat is from Sharon Pierson who, while on an "Ice and Heat" tour through Japan, China, Cambodia and Thailand, captured this image of an apparently antisocial feline. Of him she says:
Japan Travel / Travel Technology / Google / Google Earth / Google Maps / Disaster Travel / → All Tags
You guys know that we have this weird love-hate relationship with Google Earth and Google Maps, which have basically become de facto travel technology because of all the insane places that Google has photographed. For a small taste of our ambivalence, see here and here for discussions regarding the phrase "now you can travel without ever leaving the comfort of your home." Has a douchier thing ever been said, anywhere? Travel shouldand in a very precise sense, just isabout leaving your home.
That said, there are a couple of places we don't see ourselves traveling to. If Google wants to photograph those and dump them into Earth or Maps, we'll happily indulge ourselves for a few hours (read: days). Cue this news that Google Street View has just added shots of Namie, a city that used to house 21,000 residents but is right in the center of the Japanese nuclear zone created by the earthquake plus tsunami two years ago that destroyed the Fukushima plant.
You’ll need to act quickly if you still want to escape on a spring break of your very own, and All Nippon Airways (ANA) is trying their very best to help you out by pointing you in the direction of Tokyo. A slick new website and interactive elements are part of the whole promotion called “Let’s Do Japan.”
Sure you can check out what’s available both on board and on the ground, but the way in which ANA is involved is pretty creative. They’re using what they’re calling the "Manganizer" to help you create your own manga—like a Japanese comic. Upload your photo or take a new one, and then you’re free to modify your image accordingly. Add glasses, snazzy eyebrows, and maybe even a little facial hair. After a brief load time you’ll be starring in your own comic, and the next thing you know you’ll be booking a trip to Japan—well, maybe.
We have an inexplicable fondness for stories about how there are bad things happening over there, and how those bad things are making tourism affordable, and how people should totally take advantage of that. The perennial version of this plot involves Greece travel, which takes a hit every time the country goes on strike, which reduces hotel prices by huge amounts, which if you get your timing right can be awesome (if you get your timing wrong, of course, you'll have be absolutely nothing to do; so it goes!)
Japan has something similar going on, but it's even better because it comes without the risk of the country shutting down. It's not that Japan is rioting or anything (you would have heard), but there are two things driving down prices. The first is that tourism has been low since the Fukushima, and the travel industry has had to adjust its prices accordingly. The second is that Japanese policymakers are making a concentrated effort to fix the country's anemic growth by devaluing the Yen. That, apparently, has been awesome for tourists. We just kind of figured this was something you'd like to know.
Food Travel / Napa Valley Travel / Events / Festival Travel / Flavor Napa Valley / California Travel / Masaharu Morimoto / Illustrated / Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / Andy Miles / → All Tags
Morimoto demonstrates how much wasabi is perfect for a single piece of sashimi
Napa Valley is a weird place. It's kind of demure, with rolling hills blanketed in low rows of lush vineyards, but also kind of action central, as the chances are high that the person cooking your food or pouring your wine is at the top of the industry. Recently we ventured into kitchens, cellars and wineries (all accessible to you, too) in search of the extraordinarly yummy, which really is the norm in Napa.
Contrary to popular opinion, Napa's not only about the wine. Sure, that's a lot of the attraction, but you've got to eat something at some point to keep the drinking and drink appreciation going. That's where restaurants like Morimoto Napa come into play.
As the Flavor! Napa Valley festival only allows chefs with Napa restaurants to participate, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto took the opportunity to share the basics of precision sushi preparation.
Even if you're better at ordering in than turning out beautiful rolls, Morimoto has some tips. In addition to the fun fact that sushi is actually finger food (though chopsticks are of course plenty fine), he's shared with us his four laws of eating sushi. Take notes if you're Japan-bound!
Travel Advertising / Japan / Japan Travel / Norway / Norway Travel / Wideroe / Videos / → All Tags
Fun fact: Widerře is the largest regional airline in the Nordic countries. We've had a simply adorable piece of their travel advertising in the queue for weeks. Copyranter called it "the best airline spot I've seen in a long time" and insisted that "the casting, the acting, and most importantly, the idea [are] all perfect." AdFreak gushed that the commercial "triumphs" and "almost makes you believe in magic." This, friends, is the very definition of easy content.
But then we came across this other bit of travel advertising, from Japanese travel site Jalan. In this one, a cat karate-chops a watermelon. That's not the weirdest part of the commercial either, by far. There's also a monkey rolling by an indifferent kitten. On a beach ball. Of course on a beach ball. Buzzfeed turned part of the video into an animated gif. Of course an animated gif.
Airport Security / Airline Security / Japan Travel / Japan / TSA / LAX / → All Tags
Japanese airport security officials are defending themselves and insisting that "there was nothing unusual" about Yongda Huang Harris, a Chinese-born U.S. citizen who boarded a flight in Osaka last week bound for Boston via LAX. That assertion is in questionand seems at least somewhat strainedsince Harris was subsequently arrested in the Los Angeles airport when a customs officer noticed he was wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-retardant leggings under his trench coat.
Also discovered in Harris's luggage, and also casting doubt on the claims of those officials: "a smoke grenade, a hatchet, knives, three leather-coated lead-filled billy clubs, a gas mask, a Tyvek biohazard suit, leg irons, handcuffs, body bags, a collapsible baton, various masks, duct tape, batteries, oven mitts, cooking tongs, plastic cuffs, and some sort of device to repel dogs." Ummm...?
Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Japan Travel / China Travel / Israel Travel / Egypt Travel / Australia Travel / Japan / China / Israel / Egypt / Australia / ANA / Japan Airlines / El Al / Qantas / Emirates / → All Tags
It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel. It's an even more unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel so much that we have to write about it on a Friday afternoon instead of easing you into the weekend with baby animal pictures. And yet here we are, with flights being emptied or cancelled across three continents because of a variety of geopolitical flare-ups.
The most dramatic bit of travel politics comes out of Japan, where no less than 40,000 seat reservations to China have been canceled. China has been on a bit of a tear recently, claiming a bunch of islands that by and large aren't straightforwardly quite theirs. The campaign has put them on a collision course with various other countries in the region (obviously) and one of those countries is Japan. There have been anti-Japan protests in China and, apparently, lots of Japanese people are sufficiently pissed off to cancel vacations to China.
Train Train / Japan Travel / Osaka Travel / Tokyo Travel / Photo Gallery / Max Graham / Shinkansen / → All Tags
Hopping between club nights in Japan, international DJ Max Graham faced a dilemma. Train or plane? Here, he shares his impression of a first trip on the fast train:
Faced with a trip between Osaka and Tokyo, I weighed my two main options. Would it be 2.5 hours on a comfortable train with no security or a 1-hour flight plus 1.5 hours of driving (city to airport on both ends) and another 90 minutes of security, check in and waiting at the gate? The train was winning already, but add to this that it’s the famous Shinkansen Expressone of Japan's shiny bullet trainsand it was a no-brainer.
Livery / ANA / Boeing / 777 / Airplanes / Airplane News / Japan Travel / Cartoon Travel / → All Tags
Uh oh. Taiwan's EVA Air better watch its precious Hello Kitty planes in the coming months, as Japanese carrier ANA is reintroducing their Pokémon-painted plane onto routes. It's a cartoon catfight (or rather, dogfight, since we're talking airplanes).
The routes to get the cartoon jet will be domestic within Japan and served by a Boeing 777 sporting the special livery, starring Pikachu.
Believe it or not, ANA has been flying Poke-painted planes since 1999, when a 747 was launched with the livery. They still have one or two of those big babes flying around, and they recently all came together at Tokyo-Haneda Airport for ANA's celebration of the special liveries. Gotta catch 'em all!
Scoot / LCCs / Airline News / Singapore Travel / Airfare Deals / Taiwan Travel / Japan Travel / Facebook / → All Tags
The fine people at Asia's newest airline, Scoot, have been working hard to start a new airline and expand their network. After a launch that involved enough fanfare to fuel their planes, the airline has been bringing their yellow birds back and forth from Singapore to Sydney and the Gold Coast in Australia. After adding Bangkok and Tianjin, Scoot has now added Taipei, Taiwan to their list of destinations.
Starting September 18th, happy little Scooters can scoot off from Singapore to Taipei. And if you want to fly further than Taiwan, eventually you can follow that plane to Tokyo. After a brief stop to drop off and pick up passengers, the plan is to send the plane right on to the Japanese capital. Right now, bookings are not being taken for Tokyo.