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Olympics Travel / Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / Tokyo 2020 Olympics / Sports Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
In the famously busy "Shibuya Scramble" intersection
So you may have already heard that Tokyo beat out both Madrid and Istanbul in its bid to host the XXXII Olympics in 2020. Granted that's still quite some time away, but a seven-year advance notice means plenty of time to come to love Japan if you don't already.
Save Friday, 24 July – Sunday 9 August 2020 to your iCal for the actual Olympic Games, and get psyched along with us as we brainstorm what the 2020 Olympics will mean for an already awesome metropolis:
· The cutest Olympic mascots yet!
London's "Wenlock and Mandeville" mascots were disappointing, not to mention vaguely sperm-y, and Sochi's look like long-lost Disney rough drafts. Beijing's 2008 Olympic mascots came closest to the concept of cute, but surely Tokyo in 2020 will make us forget all about decades of creepy characters. Kawaii!
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.
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!
Christmas Trees / Christmas Travel / New York Travel / Paris Travel / Austria Travel / Sydney Travel / Tokyo Travel / Hong Kong Travel / Toronto Travel / → All Tags
Say goodbye to the days of Christmas trees decked out with strands of popcorn and cranberries or even homemade decorations. Cities around the world have turned to the Austrian crystal-iers of Swarovski to decorate their grand Tannenbaums.
If you're one to drive around the neighborhood oohing and ahhing at the Christmas displays, get your passport ready because we have the list of far-off (and not so far-off) places for you to check out the razzle-dazzle. Here's our list of trees with that special sparkle:
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.
Flight Reviews / ANA / Tokyo Travel / Airplanes / Max Graham / 787 / Boeing / 787 Dreamliner / Boeing 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Photo Gallery / Star Alliance / → All Tags
A 767 wing on the return trip
Note: This story is a review of a trip including several segments, one of which was on a 787. Max also flew on a 767 and included this wingtip photo with the gallery as a whole trip. This was not made clear when first published, but explains the 767 image above.
International DJ, frequent flyer extraordinaire and Jaunted contributor Max Graham just flew from Tokyo to Hong Kong and it happened to be on one of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Here, he drops his thoughts on the ANA flight:
Pre-flight, in the lounge:
It began in Canada, flying up over the country and down into Tokyo onboard an Air Canada 777. Thanks to my Star Alliance status, I headed straight for the ANA lounge at Narita, which is not huge but just lovely with very pleasant local staff. Technically my first stop, in preparation for boarding the 787, was the lounge shower. Thankfully these are as nice as many showers in boutique hotels, complete with the awesome Japanese heated toilet contraption that’s a must for any “lost in translation” traveler.
Other awesome bits that put me in an great mood was the six noodle bowl options, free wifi and a nice cold Sapporo after the shower. Sadly the lounge's Sake Bar was closed (I was there in the morning), but it seemed quite well set up, again feeling like a bar within a cool boutique hotel.
Travel Tips / Lists / Hostels / Hotels / Singapore Travel / Argentina Travel / Mendoza Travel / Berlin Travel / Tokyo Travel / → All Tags
If you're older than 24 and you're still staying in hostels, that's a big shhh no-no. At least that's what society would have you think, however; we'd like to officially come out and say that we're older than 24 and still. staying. in. hostels.
Deep breath. Though the reason for our hostel stays has evolvedthey're now backups for when we blow all our budget early on in trips, with 5-star hotelswe're never ashamed.
Having done the whole backpack-around-Europe thing during college, we have a solid past dotted with hostel stays of all sorts. Dirty hostels? Don't get us started on Budapest. Party hostels? Ugh, Barcelona. Plain scary hostels? Look no further than London. Still we haven't given up on them, and we've discovered some real diamonds in the rough, places we'd happily return to (and soon). Oh yeah, and ALL WITH EXCELLENT, FREE WIFI INTERNET AND BREAKFAST. Here's three we've recently stayed at, and personally approve of:
Airport News / AIrports / NRT / Tokyo Travel / LCCs / Jetstar Japan / AirAsia Japan / → All Tags
This hasn’t really caught on here at home, but overseas it seems that airports are seriously considering building airport terminals fully dedicated to budget and low-cost carriers. We already heard about the plan to do so over in Singapore, and, now it sounds like Tokyo-Narita is the latest to jump on the budget terminal bandwagon.
Airport officials see the writing on the wall, as new cheap flights are scheduled to do their thing to and from the metropolis thanks to carriers like Jetstar Japan and AirAsia Japan. All the bulldozers and construction crews will start doing their thing sooner than later at NRT as the plan Is to get things up and running by around 2015 or so.
Movie Set Travel / Food Travel / Japan Travel / Sushi Travel / Tokyo Travel / Movie Travel / → All Tags
It's hard to believe there's a movie that could even have Anthony Bourdain singing it's praises, calling it "thrilling and beautiful."
The movie that has foodies and travelers around the world talking is the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, from first-time director David Gelb.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of Jiro Ono, who is considered the world's greatest sushi chef, and his restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro.
There’s a new tourist trap set to debut in Tokyo before too long, as the city’s Sky Tree has recently been completed. It’s a couple months late, but we kind of consider that to be expected as this sucker is the world’s tallest communication tower. There’s all kinds of criteria about tallest this and tallest that, so we’re not going to argue semantics—it’s a pretty big building and the Tokyo Sky Tree is a neat addition to the city’s skyline.
The final bits and pieces were put into place at the end of February, and now the thing rises to like 634 meters—that’s like 2,080 feet—towards the sky. If you’re looking to build something similar in your backyard you can expect to need close to a billion dollars to do so, as the construction costs for this build were just around $800 million bucks.
Comedy Travel / Reality TV Travel / TV Travel / An Idiot Abroad / Japan Travel / Tokyo Travel / → All Tags
The final journey on Karl's Bucket List brought him to Japan to climb Mount Fuji.
Karl started the trip in Tokyo, where he paid £15 to pet cats (aww) and have a cup of tea at a Cat Cafe (a favorite past time among Japanese women) and then, keeping with the stereotypical theme, he tried out some Sumo Wrestling. Though he's wrestled before on the show, Karl seemed to get especially battered by these Sumo Wrestlers. He later told Ricky Gervais, "I got sweat in my eyes that wasn't mine, that was a first."
And then there were ten. Ten city on location-based social network app Foursquare, that is. It began with Chicago (Windy City Badge), then London, Paris, Istanbul, Atlanta, New Orleans, Singapore and Sao Paulo followed. Today Foursquare has announced the addition of two moreBerlin and Tokyoto round out the first batch of these city badges, which encourage users of the app to get out and explore both a metropolis' most famous sites and the locally preferred joints.
How to get the badges: First, follow 4sqCities, and just to be safe, it wouldn't hurt to also follow the individual city lists here: Berlin, Tokyo. Then travel to one or all of the cities and clickety-click to check-in to the places on the recommended lists. Five places earns the badge.