Five Days in Japan

Osaka

Spotless. Trash less. Small houses with laundry racks. Cute white dog walking an old lady up a gentle sloping hill. Power lines crisscrossing the perfectly paved streets. Somehow the old houses look new. The apartment block buildings are not unpleasant to the eyes and most have balconies with overflowing foliage. Train moves past Mikunigaoka and Sakaishi. Japanese names are fun to say. Continue reading

Taking the Sleeper Train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

City dwellers wave goodbye to the train wearing the eponymous grins from the “Land of Smiles”, motorbikes sit idling at the crossing. Brick walls evaporate into the rice paddies. Two pretty Asian girls in glasses and ponytails settle in across from me, one thin and bird like, the other, cute and plump. I’m sweating and they are pulling out their shoulder wraps to prevent a chill from settling upon their ultra delicate skin. Continue reading

Taiwan by Train

Leaving Taipei:  Tropical trees mingle with dense brush growing through giant, ancient boulders; gentle curving rivers meander below the green landscape in a quiet rhythm of eternity. This is Formosa. This is a busy land of high-speed rail, modern technology and independence. This is Chiang Kai Shek’s land. This is a place made for train travel. Going fast or slow, you will enjoy the old temples peeking out from ledges and the endless, endless green. Continue reading