Month: November 2016

Awesome Temples of Japan


When people visit Italy or other places in Europe, they often come away with a mishmash of memories about the large number of churches they visited. The same sensation occurs in Japan, only there you are see Buddhist “temples” and Shinto “shrines” (all Buddhist places are temples; all Shinto places are shrines). Their awesome beauty is hard to describe in words and certainly something you want to experience in Japan. The ancient wealthy of Japan copied many of the features of these structures in the castles they built.


Sold Down the River?


I admit, I am conflicted. Should indigenous tribes change their way of life to satisfy tourism demands when tourism is their main source of income?

I’m in one of seven Embera indigenous villages located in the Panama Canal water basin. These native tribes live in the jungle on the banks of the Chagres River that feeds the Canal, without electricity, plumbing, nor cell phone service. Accessible by dugout canoe in one hour from Panama City, this is the only part of undeveloped Panama that can be easily reached from developed Panama.



Eating Japanese


Japanese restaurants typically specialize in one type of food. You choose the restaurant by the type of food, preparation, and style of service you want.

Japanese breakfast is an exception. It’s fairly standard—miso soup, made of a bean broth and eaten from a lacquered wooden bowl that you raise to your mouth, typically accompanied by hard-to-identify pickled seasonal vegetables, tofu, a small piece of an egg soufflé, fresh fish (usually salmon), sometimes also smoked salmon, rice or porridge, seaweed sheets and green tea. Usually breakfast is served on a tray without choices, but buffets and a la carte is available, too. When in Japan, finish off your breakfast with a shot of flavored vinegar, such as blueberry vinegar. Very healthy, I’m told.