Deep travel: 5 books to help you understand the Caribbean

Think the Caribbean is just a sun, sea, and sand playground where rum flows like water and sunsets make you cry?   Think again. As a traveler, if you really want to understand the region more deeply, read Caribbean literature by Caribbean authors. Dig below the Instagrammable surface of street parties and deserted beaches and [...]

Akashi desu!

Maybe you've already visited Japan and done the tourist favorites: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Mount Fuji and you want more. Or maybe you've never been to Japan yet you're craving something different. If you do plan to visit Japan soon, skip the major cities and seek out more offbeat cities that have their own local [...]

20 tips on how to be a great ALT in Japan

One of the biggest misconceptions about teaching in Japan is that all you need is a winning attitude. The Japanese call it being genki or energetic in the classroom. As an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT), your Japanese team-teacher (JTE) will expect you to feel like unicorns and rainbows every day. Nothing is wrong with genkiness per [...]

Exploring Batu Caves

We take the train to Batu Caves, the last stop on the line running from the center of Kuala Lumpur. The streets near the caves are lined with vendors selling technicolor Indian sweets and plump flower garlands. Above, pigeons roost on electrical lines. The ground beneath is stained with a history of their droppings. Someone [...]

Hiroshima: the memory remains

In Hiroshima city, it's spring. The sun is warm and the air is fresh. Smells somewhat green. Birds are singing. In the city center, a tram pulls off and the street vibrates. Men in pressed pinstriped suits and polished brogues walk briskly and women cycle to their offices in chunky heels (how do they do [...]

3 fire festivals in Tottori and Shimane you should not miss

In Japan, Tottori and Shimane often get a bad rap. The shinkansen doesn't go there so they must be pretty backwater places. Au contraire, my friend, au contraire!  There's always something going on, if you know where to look. Like other prefectures in Japan, Tottori and Shimane have their own quirky light and fire festivals. [...]

3 top hiking destinations in Tottori prefecture

Tottori prefecture is as inaka as its gets in Japan. Although considered one of the country's least populated prefectures, nature here is simply stunning. If you're an outdoors type,  you will surely fall in love with the prefecture's mountainous landscapes. Here are 3 top hiking destinations in Tottori prefecture. 1. Mount Daisen Mount Daisen is the highest [...]

It’s not a typical Trini Indian Wedding unless these 9 things happen

 If you're ever in Trinidad and Tobago, don't miss the bacchanal of a typical Trini Indian (usually Hindu) wedding. Here are 9 things that may happen while you're there. 1. The wedding lasts a long time. Unlike traditional Western-style weddings that wrap up in one day, Hindu weddings in Trinidad and Tobago are marathon affairs. [...]

Liebster Award Love

Guess what? I got nominated for an award! I know it ain't no Nobel Prize but the great thing about the Liebster Award is that it's given to bloggers by bloggers. Liebster in German means "sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome." It's basically a pay-it-forward movement that gives [...]

A wedding at Izumo Taisha

The couple exits one of the halls at Izumo Taisha, surrounded by a tiny cluster of relatives. The bride steps on the path in a swath of white and holds her head carefully, under the weight of her domed headdress. She looks demure, apart from her crimson lips. The wedding coordinator places her hand on [...]