Category: Travel

Halloween Fever In Japan

Two decades ago the idea of getting dressed up in ghoulish costumes, decorating your home with jack-o-lanterns and going door-to-door asking for candy was thought of as a bizzare western custom in Japan. Not anymore.

This weekend, the streets of Tokyo were packed with people in costume and shopfronts were adorned with witches and pumpkins – Halloween fever has hit Japan.

Although the Japanese have a similar Buddhist holiday in August known as Obon, which, needless to say is celebrated with as much joviality as a funeral, the Japanese know the holiday as an Americanized time to have fun and relish in it. After all, the Japanese are known for their fondness for fantasy role playing as seen in their habits for “cosplay”, which involves dressing up in anime costumes.

Halloween was probably first introduced in Japan in the early eighties, when Tokyo Disneyland opened its doors. Today, the theme park (which apparently is the most packed of all Disney parks around the world) started their annual Halloween parade even ahead of Florida’s Walt Disney World – as early as September 12th.

A recent survey reported that 3/4ths of the population in Tokyo know what Halloween is, and although the trick-or-treating tradition has yet to become a tradition, it is quite apparent that the holiday of horror has wormed its way into the heart of the Japanese people.

Also in the news:

Down and out in upscale Japan

The history of the comfort women still an issue in Japan

Japan could be destroyed within the next 100 years


Top Cruise Myths Debunked

Even in this age of widespread information, there are still many myths about cruising that keep many people from experiencing its wonders. Today, we set the records straight by debunking the top cruise myths.

Myth #1: Cruises are expensive

There was a time when cruising was exorbitant, but that’s no longer the case today. In fact, cruises have become quite cheap. At alone, you can look for a staggering number of options worth below $500 with some going as low as $260, which is way cheaper than the iPad you’re going gaga over. Keep reading »

Country Hopping by Car

     The freedom in country hopping by car


Country hoppers or travelers who visit different countries usually ride a plane from one destination to the next due to distance.  When we are talking about transferring from one country to another, the use of a car may not readily come to mind.  This is especially so when we are thinking of crossing bodies of water and large tracts of land.

Country hopping by land can also happen by riding buses and trains although these options do not provide as much freedom as bringing a car.  Exploring a whole continent made up of different countries can be done with the right planning, attitude, and knowledge.  If a traveler wants to do this exploration in its purest sense, meaning that no other forms of transportation will be used aside from a car, then it is necessary to make sure that the car is no less than in top condition.  A visit to MyNRMA can quickly put one’s mind to rest with regards to the condition of the car.

Traveling by car all through-out may not be the easiest option but it is the option that provides the most opportunity for personal exploration.  Travelers set their own schedule for visiting a place without being pressured with time constraints associated with arranged tours.  They have the complete freedom of deciding when to stop and when to proceed.

There are of course disadvantages to country hopping by car including the possibility of car breakdown so it highly advisable to have the car checked within reasonable intervals while on the trip.  There is no other time where one needs to be assured of a car’s top condition than during a long trip and country hopping is certainly a very long one with several stops.  Travelers should always be mindful of their gas as being stranded in nowhere land with no gas is not an experience anybody would like to have in their travel memories.

Before embarking on the most exciting country hopping adventure of your life, travelers should make sure to complete documentary requirements needed in entering a foreign country.


Stranded? Enjoy A Hot Bath!

We have all heard about the volcano that erupted in Iceland and how air travel all over Europe has been affected. You might have had a personal experience, or you might know someone who suffered. It certainly has cost a lot of people (and businesses) considerable amounts, but Iceland is not taking it sitting down.

In fact, the government is taking this chance to highlight all the other things that their country has to offer visitors. The volcanic eruption has placed the country’s geothermal assets into the forefront. After all, the very same geological reasons for the eruption make Iceland the foremost destination for hot springs!

Indeed, the government has offered all stranded travelers free access to the eight hot pools of the capital, Reykjavik. The temperatures in these pool range from 29 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius (84 to 108 Fahrenheit). The pools are known for their relaxing and healing properties and are frequented by both locals and visitors alike. Iceland has one of the highest concentrations of these kinds of pools in the world, thanks to its geological resources.

The response of the people has been encouraging, as the government’s offer has not been ignored. In fact, the government says that there are so many people taking them up on their offer that the pools have been full!

The eruption took place (is taking place, rather) under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier and countless airports in Europe have been affected by the ash. Some airports have resumed their operations while others are still at a halt.

“Survivor Package” Provide A Unique Vacation

handheldsunmbeamShort on cash but need a vacation? Who doesn’t? For those who have been having trouble coming up with a plan for the summer due to cash flow problems, the Rancho Bernardo Inn in Southern California just might have the solution for you.

Contrary to what many other hotels and resorts are doing (that is to offer more perks, freebies, and amenities in a bid to attract more customers), the management of Rancho Bernardo Inn is making lemonade, so to speak. They are currently offering what is dubbed the “Survivor Package,” which is an adventurous way of saying that guests receive practically nothing.

Well, there is a room with no bed, no toilet paper, no towels, and no air-conditioning. At least there is a bed, right? Oh, and there is only ONE light bulb to go by. This is the most basic package, costing $19 per night. There are variations, with amenities being added to the list. Naturally, the price goes up with each upgrade.

At first glance, I think that any sane person would be horrified at the thought of having to pay for a room without anything in it. Then again, I have been wrong before – and it seems that in this case, I am. A lot of people are actually buying into this marketing idea. Families are delighted that they do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a room and they do not seem to mind bringing their own toilet paper and towels with them. As one mother put it, the boys feel like they’re camping and she can still go to the spa.




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