Merry Christmas! Have some KFC
It's that most magical time of the year. If you're reading this before Christmas dinner then (like me) enjoy this one with some breakfast champagne. And try not to work up too large of an appetite.
What to see in Japan, from Tokyo to Osaka
With such a long history and such diverse cities and landscapes, it's difficult to know what to see in Japan. We've picked out some of the best, to give you a head start.
Take tea with a geisha for a unique experience
Kyoto, a city just a two-and-a-half-hour bullet train away from Tokyo, is where you can get a sense of traditional Japan.
Kyoto, Japan's truly wonderful cultural hub
Tokyo is not the best place to get acquainted with traditional Japan, if only for the fact that the city was largely destroyed – not once, but twice – in the last century. Kyoto, a two-and-a-half-hour bullet train ride away, has had a much different fate. With more than 2,000 temples and an astonishing 17 Unesco World Heritage sites, the former imperial capital of Japan is one of the richest cultural cities in the world.
This is the million-dollar view you come to Kyoto for
Kyoto is the last stronghold of the Geisha tradition, a place where you might see one of these talented artists walking through the center in traditional costume. Apprentice Geisha, called Maiko, start their training in their teens, graduating to Geiko status in their 20s.
Where gardens are a numbers game
Many visitors to Kyoto spend only a short amount of time in the city. To explore the sheer number of gardens, temples, and palaces, you need to do a bit of planning first.
Finding my happy place in Okinawa
Driving across the island of Ishigaki, one of Okinawa's Yaeyama Islands, I spot strange, colorful creatures by the road and stop in at the studio of local artist Hisashi Katsuren. Some of the statues are Kijimuna, a good spirit that local people believed lived in trees on the island.