Asia

Off the Beaten Track in Japan: Aomori Prefecture’s Natural Beauty

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The name Japan brings images of cherry blossoms, ancient and intricate temples, samurai warriors, and Tokyo to mind for most travelers. While those certainly are elements of Japan, they are not the only things that make Japan such an amazing place to visit. Everything from peaceful coastal fishing villages to beautiful temples set into mountain hillsides awa[...]

Debunking Myths about Iran

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Since I was a child, I have been lucky enough to have my twin sister by my side. She has always been the ideal partner in crime. As kids, she was the one carrying the flashlight while I was leading the way on an improvised cave exploration. As teenagers, she was the one going reverse bungee jumping with me, while all of our friends were too scared to[...]

5 Weird and Wonderful Things About Japan

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Japan is one of the world's most interesting destinations. While it is a developed country, it has developed in often a very different way to the West, creating its own culture, crazes and atmosphere. Whilst exploring I found a lot of things a little strange, but once you become accustomed to them- you realise just how great they are! Here are 5 of those thi[...]

A Quick Guide to Nikko, Japan

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Nikko is usually proffered as a weekend or daytrip from Tokyo, but you could easily spend weeks exploring this place. Prepare to happen upon shrines and statues galore, monkeys, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs - the list goes on and on. This beautiful and eerie place will stay with you long after you leave. Between UNESCO world heritage shrines and temples[...]

On a Himalayan Adventure: The Story Of the Snow Leopard

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There are only 3.000 to 6.000 snow leopards estimated to be alive today - they are an endangered species. By some conservative estimates, you would be 10 times more likely to be struck by a lightning than have the absolute luck of seeing the majestic snow leopard. Serken (which is the traditional name of the snow leopard) is considered to be a symbol of God.[...]

Undiscovered Japan: Taking the fast train to Hokuriku

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Mist shrouds the valleys the day we leave Tokyo for the countryside along the Hokuriku line. It seems appropriate that after days in the city of neon lights and chaos we should find ourselves in foggy temple gardens, tip-toeing between mossy paths and unflowering cherry blossom trees. While Tokyo holds its own magnetic charms, there seems to be a certain sil[...]

The Vegetarian’s Guide to Chiang Mai

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My first adventure to Thailand started with a warning. A well-intentioned one, no doubt, but one that was shared with me defiantly, assuredly, and most of all - repeatedly. It came at me from many places, it was wrapped in various phrases and intonations, but the gist of it remained stubbornly, until I was almost ready to believe it: “It is hard to travel as[...]

5 Reasons to Visit Hokkaido, Northern Japan

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Picture a road that goes up and down until you lose sight of it. Both sides are covered with sunflowers and as the sun sets, the sky goes from clear blue to burnt orange and bright yellow. The wind feels nice, and as you bike your way to the little farm at the end of the road, a fluffy fox looks at you from afar and then runs off before you can snap a pictur[...]

A Bow and a Pen: How to master Language Barriers in Japan

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For me part of the fun of traveling is the friendly and happy mañana, mañana of Central America or the relaxed pole, pole of East Africa, which is so different from the strict organisation of Western Europe. I associated Japan with politeness and reservedness, so the country wasn’t particularly high on my bucket list. But when my sister found herself a 6-mon[...]

10 Things I Love about My Life in Japan

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Many people talk about the things travelers should know before going to Japan - what's polite to do or not, table manners, how to behave on the streets etc. What I'd like to share though, is what happens when you live there; the little things that make Japan Japan, that say: 'You are living in Japan, and this place feels like home to you.' For example, th[...]