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Alishan National Scenic Area on Double Tenth

TAIWAN | Friday, 11 Oct 2019 | Views [122]

I WISH I COULD SAY THAT YUAN FANG Homestay was a marvelous place and the highlight of our stay in Taiwan, that it gave us true insight into life in Taiwan.  The truth is that even if we could have found it on our own, there were no signs in English ... Read more >

Up and Down and All Around Taiwan

TAIWAN | Wednesday, 9 Oct 2019 | Views [142]

OCTOBER ISN’T THE BEST MONTH FOR BIRDING in Taiwan.  Nevertheless, we have been following birding tour trip reports for locations where local species have been reported recently.  As it turns out, “recently” is a relative ... Read more >

Cingjing Farm

TAIWAN | Friday, 4 Oct 2019 | Views [143]

CONNIE SETS OUR COURSE AND AS OFTEN as not she selects birding hotspots.  Where we will lay our heads each night is up to me.  Bird sightings, as it turns out, are not just a factor of where birds congregate, but also of where people congregate.... Read more >

Mingao Hot Spring Resort

TAIWAN | Thursday, 3 Oct 2019 | Views [174]

THE TROPICAL STORM WAS A FIZZLE, DESPITE the dire forecast and we were ready to leave Taipei.  The 5201 Airport Bus left on schedule and dropped us off at the Avis counter.  They tried hard but maybe they’ll try a little harder next ... Read more >

Taipei's National Palace Museum

TAIWAN | Sunday, 29 Sep 2019 | Views [138]

CONNIE REMEMBERS DITCHING A BUSINESS MEETING in 1988 to visit the National Palace Museum, the highlight of any visit to Taipei.  It took us three trains and a bus to get there today — plus a little help from some locals — but only $5 ... Read more >

Photos: Taiwan

TAIWAN | Saturday, 28 Sep 2019 | Photo Gallery

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TAIWAN | Saturday, 28 Sep 2019 | Views [122]

IT WAS RAINING WHEN WE SAID “SAYONARA” to Japan and it was still raining when we said “Ni hau” to Taiwan.  Another tropical storm, would you believe?  Taiwan's proximity to Ishigaki coupled with a time change meant ... Read more >


JAPAN | Thursday, 26 Sep 2019 | Views [128]

I JUST FINISHED READING THE ROAD TO LITTLE DRIBBLING , Bill Bryson’s hilarious account of his second foray to “discover” Britain.  Bryson is a walker.  His destinations are often the birthplaces, gravesites and stomping ... Read more >

Sunny Sunday

JAPAN | Sunday, 22 Sep 2019 | Views [148]

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES.  The rain has stopped, the wind has died down and the sky has patches of blue.  Typhoon Tapah left behind some scattered palm fronds, more rubbish along the high-tide line and empty store shelves.  One Family ... Read more >

Island Hopping: Miyakojima

JAPAN | Friday, 20 Sep 2019 | Views [140]

WHAT BEGAN AS ON-AGAIN, OFF-AGAIN SHOWERS accompanied by strong, gusting winds graduated from a tropical depression to tropical storm Tapah and may even — or already have — become a typhoon.  It's hard to tell since internet weather ... Read more >

Oh, Oh, Okinawa

JAPAN | Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019 | Views [113]

ORCHIDS LINING THE WALKWAY TO BAGGAGE CLAIM give the impression that Okinawa is an island paradise.  Outside the airport the reality, at least through my eyes, is something less.  Okinawa is the island of “cube cars” of all makes ... Read more >

Photos: Island Hopping

JAPAN | Tuesday, 17 Sep 2019 | Photo Gallery

Okinawa, Miyakojima and Ishigaki
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Nagasaki Peace Park and A-Bomb Museum

JAPAN | Monday, 16 Sep 2019 | Views [144]

THE CLOUDS OVER KOKURA JAPAN HAD A SILVER LINING on that August morning in 1945.  Bad luck for the residents of Nagasaki, though.  Kokura had drawn the short straw and was the primary target for the world’s second nuclear bomb. ... Read more >


JAPAN | Sunday, 15 Sep 2019 | Views [150]

NAGASAKI’S DORMY INN WAS A WELCOME SIGHT, visible as it was from the #5 Airport Bus stop at Shinchi.  It was after ten, we had been traveling all day and hadn’t eaten since lunch.  ANA, All Nippon Airways, was affordable, efficient ... Read more >

Photos: Nagasaki

JAPAN | Saturday, 14 Sep 2019 | Photo Gallery

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JAPAN | Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 | Views [180]

OCHIISHI NATURE CRUISES SAIL ONLY ON WEEKENDS.  Their website is so poorly translated from Japanese that we had to drive all the way to Ochiishi to get the bad news.  This would have been our last chance to get a good look at a spectacled ... Read more >

The REAL Red-Crowned Cranes of Hokkaido

JAPAN | Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 | Views [169]

ONSEN IS JAPANESE FOR A HOT SPRING but it can also be a spa.  Or in the case of Akan Onsen, an entire town.  Akan Onsen sits on a lake which was formerly the caldera of a volcano and where Connie hoped to see Japanese waxwings.  We passed ... Read more >

The Grizzly Details—Shiretoko National Park

JAPAN | Saturday, 7 Sep 2019 | Views [167]

BROWN BEARS—GRIZZLIES TO US YANKS—were on everyone's minds.  Scores of weekend visitors—I didn’t realize it was Saturday until I saw the buses—hoped to see one of Shiretoko National Park’s Yezo brown bears. ... Read more >

A Damned Good Feeling

JAPAN | Friday, 6 Sep 2019 | Views [159]

THE 325 KILOMETER DRIVE FROM SAPPORO was in its way nostalgic.  No, we've never been to Abashiri, nor have we driven in Hokkaido before yesterday.  But the long drive north brought back memories of other drives in other cars in other countries.... Read more >

The Birds in the Band

JAPAN | Thursday, 5 Sep 2019 | Views [145]

TUJI KOJI WAS JUST STEPPING OUT OF THE TREES as we arrived at Lake Utonai Sancturary.   When he saw my camera and Connie's binoculars he beckoned to us to see what he had in the small cloth sack.  Smiling broadly, Tuji-san — we didn't ... Read more >

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