After carefully parsing through all the sensationalist news coverage on the disaster in Japan, we ultimately decided not to cancel our trip. I mean, how many other chances will we have to visit Japan during cherry blossom season? We cut Tokyo from the itinerary but everything else was a minimum of 500 kilometers from Fukushima. Anyway…it was a good decision.
Our stay in Yonbanchi guesthouse, an old samurai abode, was improved by the acerbic wit and reliable tour advice of its host, Divyam, a native Frenchman who spent his restless youth wandering the world and “just missed Woodstock” to give you an idea of how long ago. He subsidized his first years in Kyoto by selling paintings he bought in Hong Kong as French masterpieces to the burgeoning Japanese middle class (who evidently didn’t know any better in 1980). It’s inspired us to come up with a similar scheme: maybe mixing cheap versions of Kahlua and Bailey’s and calling it Tia Vasquez Mexican liquor?