Odd Japanese snacks

Japan routinely gets labeled weird and quirky. Its image may just be a cartoon cliché based on little, but there’s joy in believing that the island nation is drastically different – even odder than England.

Still, few would argue that Japan serves up some extraordinary dishes that make frog’s legs look tame. Take a look at the menu. Spotlighted dishes range from a poisonous fish to feral ice cream. Read more at Agoda




Five Asian castles

If someone says the magic word ‘castle’, what image springs to mind? Perhaps you think of the mystery-soaked monuments that cast their long shadows across medieval Europe. Or perhaps you think of the English king Arthur and the court of Camelot.

But Europe holds no monopoly on castles. Asia hosts scores. Here are five of Asia’s most striking and strange castles, which transcend bricks-and-mortar, and border on marvellous. Their haunting, massive presence evokes the sound of drums and thunder. Read more at Agoda..




Beware the job to die for

Who wants to work in Japan? The Japanese have a reputation for being the world’s hardest workers.

Under sustained stress often involving unpaid overtime, some citizens of the land of the surging yen work themselves to death. Hence the word “karoshi”, which means “death by overwork”. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald


Asia: Five Giant Buddhas

According to Buddhist belief, Buddha – whose name was Gautama – was a bodhisattva: someone who has attained enlightenment worthy of nirvana (heaven), but hangs around in the human world to help others. Gautama had apparently used up thousands of lives before arriving on Earth to preach his doctrine of detachment and moderation.

Still, his legacy has spawned some of the world’s most extravagantly-proportioned statues. In honour of Hong Kong’s upcoming Buddha Day festival on May 10, let’s embark on a lightning tour of some of Asia’s grandest giant Buddhas. These monstrous monuments rise up from temples and hillsides, rivalling the sun and moon themselves for sheer ‘wow’ factor. Read more…

10 Reasons to Visit Japan

Tough times have befallen Japan. Weeks after the tsunami – the full impact of which is still being assessed – uncertainty still reigns about the amount of fallout coming from damaged nuclear reactors. For those intrigued by Japan’s unique culture, architecture and landscapes, the unravelling drama has been especially difficult to watch.

No doubt, Japan will remain one of the most engrossing countries on the planet. A la England, despite its tiny island status, Japan punches well above its weight. Whether you want bullet trains or steam baths, Japan has just about everything. Here are 10 reasons to keep Japan on your travel itinerary. Read more…

All bound for lah lah land

David Wilson picks five prize destinations that are virtually tourist-free — for now.

So you want to go somewhere fresh, somewhere with fizz, and buck convention. Asia hosts scores of attractive and easily overlooked destinations that offer value for money and off-the-beaten-track magic lost to favourites such as Phuket and Bali. The following places to watch are yet to be besieged by backpackers, flashpackers, families and convention-bound executives.

Just remember: wherever you go in the region, watch for the traffic. Across much of Asia, which is sorely short of footpaths, traffic runs amok – to use a word that comes from the Malay for “mad with rage”. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald…


December 30, 2009


Asia’s wildest festivals: a feast of the East

Nowhere celebrates like Asia. From the Philippines to Japan, David Wilson finds a festival for everyone.

Asia knows how to throw a party. Despite the moderating influence of credos such as Confucianism, the region hosts an array of ceremonial events staged with gusto every year.

We do not mean Chinese New Year and the regulation backpacker-oriented full-moon raves scattered around the calendar. They are just the smoking tip of the joss stick. Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald…


September 8, 2009