(In no particular order) 1. Droid I bought my Droid in November 2009 and it has changed how I interact with people, sometime for the worse, but usually for the better. On the one hand, even though I’m a technophile, I really don’t like the 24/7 culture of new communication technology. I used my first cell phone only to call out and for emergencies. On the other, the convenience and entertainment value of a smart phone make me wonder why I went so long without one. I still have a bad habit of leaving my ringer off, missing calls, and forgetting all about the phone’sRead More →

Trains provide an excellent location to study a culture. They are at the nexus of so many life patterns: work, play, family time, doctor’s visits, shopping. In a city like Tokyo, people from all walks of life take trains, unlike in the US where there’s a distinct distaste for mass transportation in all but the largest cities.  You can learn a lot about people’s customs by observing the world of trains. In Tokyo, the train culture is fascinating, both in infrastructure and in people and their behaviors.  The Metro system in Tokyo is complex, and reflect complex negotiations. As a tourist, you can see thisRead More →

Day trip tour guides are hit or miss.  Only two guides stand out for me from all my tours. One was very fun; he made us dowse for ley lines at the Avebury stone circle in England. The worst one was on our tour to Hadrian’s wall in Northumberland at the border of Scotland and England. He had on a kilt and hiking boots. It should have forewarned me about what to expect. In any case… Our tour guide to Mt. Fuji stands out as the best and most entertaining. He went by the name of Harry, obviously a concession to English-speaking tourists. Like mostRead More →

The Viator day tour to Mt. Fuji is underrated. This is an indisputable fact. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The itinerary is easy. We took a bus upto Mt. Fuji, stopping first at a small rest stop along the way. That rest stop was simply a pit stop, and an opportunity to look at the top of the Fuji volcano in the distance. We were there for maybe fifteen minutes. Our second stop was the fifth way station up the mountain, which is as high as vehicle traffic is allowed. We were lucky because that level is generally inaccessible in the winter due toRead More →

We have arrived in Tokyo. The time adjustment is crazy, but the logistics are smoother than predicted. All the little things that you take for granted are up for grabs when traveling in a non-English speaking country, and I was predicting doom and disaster for the most minor needs and requirements.  The greatest concern was getting lost.  Other concerns were bizarre bathrooms and money conversion. So far, due to the Droid’s superpower capabilities, I have been victorious over these challenges. Of course, this is only Day 1. 1. Money – A nifty money conversion app solves switching from Yen to USD and back.  I haveRead More →