Friday, April 22, 2011

Helping Japan's economy one tourist at a time...

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.

Most people who know Japan know that Kyoto is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places to visit. Suffice to say, there are lots of temples, they are surprisingly unique, and our legs are tired from seeing so many. When we finished biking the Philosopher’s Path under the just-bloomed cherry blossoms, I could see Tia’s eyes sparkle as if meeting me again for the first time. Which, when you consider how androgynous someone becomes after spending 270 consecutive days with them and watching their sweat stains on clothing grow dark, is nothing less than remarkable. You should go there.

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?

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