Category Archives: Outside Japan Trips

Manila: Conquering the megacity

New cities terrify me, especially ones I visit alone.  Bogeymen are waiting to get me.  The fear may come from my rabbit warren upbringing, or from a claustrophobia brought on by the lack of air and natural light.  Whichever, in my mind, dangers lurk on every street … Continue reading

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Batad: Growing rice and guzzling gatorade

On day 2 in a Manila hostel, I was sat in a chair without a plan or an idea.  Salvation arrived in the form of the bubbly Filipino owner called Benjie.  Sitting across from me, between spoonfuls of curry, he suggested I travel to see the ancient rice terraces in Batad: the`eighth wonder of the … Continue reading

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Manila: Trying to find my feet

Wearing thick socks and heavy leather shoes, I flew away from a freezing Tokyo to the Philippine capital Manila, a city similar to Tokyo in size, traumatic recent history and longitude; the latitude however – I always get those two confused – is 20 degrees different.   So was the ground temperature.  Arriving at the airport … Continue reading

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Chinese Wisdom: The Best Bits

The Chinese are a strange bunch. After travelling for two weeks in China, I still have no idea what goes on in their heads. But I saw much to admire there, so I have chosen 5 aspects of Chinese wisdom to adapt into my … Continue reading

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Mount Hua: Gold medals and a gun

I met a Shanghai girl called Amy on the stone steps of Mount Hua. She was quite something. Her climbing outfit was a fur neck coat, a pink sweater and shiny leather boots. “I always climb mountains dressed like this” … Continue reading

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Xi’an: Breaking Bread in the Muslim Quarter

I arrived in Xi’an stiff and smoky. My bunk on the 15 hour train ride had been cramped, and the smoke and snores of nearby Chinese inescapable. Not even a chocolate biscuit breakfast had cheered me up. I needed fresh air … Continue reading

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Nanjing: Blood and Disorder

On Saturday afternoon, I took the Nanjing subway. Cheap, clean and chaotic, it was a memorable experience. When the train arrived, I was in a scrum of people trying to board. There was no ‘after you’. We had to force our way through the people trying to get off. It was a … Continue reading

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