Balinese Smile

Balinese Smile

They crept up the path holding one hundred pound sacks of rice on their heads, dark forearms glistening in the late afternoon sun. The elderly man approached first, maneuvering around the two motorbikes we had parked on the hill’s gravelly shoulder. The two women followed, eyeing us curiously. I removed my backpack and stretched my … Continued

Guam: Flight Paths

They were stationed in groups along the shores of Tumon. The Japanese. The American military. The Russians. The Russians? This was not 1944. There was no war. Nearly seventy years after the US military liberated Guam from three years of Japanese occupation, here I was. An American-living-in-Japan traveling with the Japanese to vacation in America. … Continued

Japan: Learning to Fly

Mount Fuji was stunning in its symmetry. I stood across the gulf, on a dock in Shizuoka, enveloped by a mesh of white cottontail plants bending with the breeze. Black sand spread before me, coarse grains eroded from the basaltic rock carried ashore from Mount Fuji, Japan. Debris had accumulated in the brush – cardboard, … Continued

Vilnius, Lithuania: White Nights

We had only this: a course pack, a name, and a story. We scattered ourselves across the steps of the neo-classical Vilnius Cathedral, forty men and women in backpacks and light jackets from varying pockets of the world. Montreal. New York. Saudia Arabia. Japan. We stole surreptitious glances at one another, trying to pair names … Continued

Wakayama: Japan’s Pacific Coast Pearl

Tourists to Japan’s main island, Honshu, tend to gravitate to major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, or historic sites such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Kyoto. Understandably so. The cities are rich and varied in both cuisine and culture. You name it, you will find it. But what about the lesser known areas of the great Pacific island? … Continued

Baltic Pride, Vilnius: Different People, Same Love

  I was sitting in Cathedral Square when the drum circle arrived. Or what looked like a drum circle. If drum circles also had clocks, like the kind of clock you would hang in your kitchen. Large roman numerals, round. Gold frames. They were walking straight toward me, carrying white blocks the size of trumpet … Continued

Japan: Forca Brasil

It wasn’t until the Japanese cover band performed “Stand by Me” that the Brazilian flags were raised, a blaze of electric yellow, green and blue waving gloriously against the clear skies of Nagoya’s late afternoon sunshine. Seated on a picnic table in Japan’s Central Park with a plate of yakitori, I watched as sixty or … Continued


Japan: Leaping into the Land of the Rising Sun

 This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Shannon Guerreso from America. Thanks for your entry Shannon!     The toilet bowl was in the ground. I glared at the one-way plane ticket in my hand as if it owed me an explanation. Not thirty seconds on land and … Continued

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