Asia Articles

Almaty, Kazakhstan

July 21, 2017 6:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image: Almaty (Алматы) against the backdrop of the Tien Shan Mountains Linguistic note: Alma means ‘apple’ in Kazakh. Almaty once flourished with apple orchards. They still exist, of course, but now they’re farther out of town. Confession: Before going to Kazakhstan I had never heard of Almaty. Further confession:... read more

Kazakhstan II/Қазақстан II

July 14, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image: A painting of traditional Kazakh life. National Museum of History, Astana Not every country with -stan in its name is a scary place. Kazakhstan definitely is not. Kazakhstan Nomadic life Traditional Kazakhs, like their Mongolians neighbors to the east, are nomads. Half of the Mongolian population today is... read more

Kazakhstan I/Қазақстан I

July 11, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world, the 9th largest in terms of area (1,000,000 square miles) and 65th in population (18 million) In 2014 after spending 6 weeks in Mongolia – which peeks into the map, below, at the northeastern tip of Kazakhstan – I developed a... read more


July 7, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

TItle Photo: The Ritz Hotel – Koshien/Nishinomiya This blog could easily be titled “Weird Stuff in Japan.” I’ll kick the weirdness off with a brief discussion of: Love Hotels The Ritz was the second hotel I stayed in during my two weeks in Japan. My son had the first inkling... read more

10 Things To Know About Sake

June 20, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title picture: My son, Gerard, and his girlfriend, Rimi, opening a bottle of shōchū at Torisan, our favorite izakaya ‘neighborhood restaurant’ in Koshien When in Japan you’ll want to know that: Sake is the generic Japanese word for ‘alcohol.’ Everything alcoholic can be referred to as sake. The sake you... read more

Two Observations

June 13, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

日 ‘sun’ + 本 ‘origin/tree’ = Japan 日本語= Japanese Language I’m in Japan now. Sure, I can say ohayō gozaimasu ‘good morning’, arigatō gozaimasu ‘thank you very much’ and order basic food items, e.g. I have shōchū  rokku ‘(Japanese) vodka on the rocks,’ down. Beyond that, I make no claims... read more

A Tale of Two Countries I: Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan

June 3, 2016 9:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Title Image: By Abbaszade656 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons The Central Asian countries of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan share many similarities. However, as a tourist, I was struck by their differences. Note: For some, Azerbaijan counts as being in the Caucasus, along with Georgia and Armenia. However,... read more

On the Road in Uzbekistan

May 27, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The sixth leg of my around-the-world tour is Uzbekistan. Note: the fifth leg was Azerbaijan. See my blogs: Azerbaijan I and Azerbaijan II. Why Uzbekistan? I can’t really say. I think the names Tashkent and Samarkand drew me. Also, the complications of ticketing an around the world trip made going... read more