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Hello Kitty

When I was a teenager . . . oh, let’s not go there. Suffice it to say that when I was in Japan recently, I was a little taken aback by current teen fashions. There’s no better place to see what the youth of Japan are up to than in Harajuku. It starts at Takeshita Street and for blocks in all directions you can find some of the funkiest shops, and fashionistas in Tokyo. The clothes are set out like a giant sidewalk sale. Some...

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Crazy train

A recollection from my youth. My Uncle Jim was coming to visit us by train, so my father took my older brother and sister and me to Waterloo, Indiana (population 2,000), to meet him at the station. I was maybe seven years old; it was some time in the 50s. The train station was small, with wide steps leading up to the waiting room and the platform beyond. I raced my siblings to be the first one up the stairs. Ahead, I saw an older man,...

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This ain’t Benihana’s, Baby!

SUSHI Nothing is more Japanese than sushi. It’s the equivalent of our burger and fries. But have you ever gotten your sushi off a conveyor belt? That’s right. Sushi chefs stand in the middle of a conveyor system that carries sushi past diners who grab what they want as it passes. Granted, this would never work in the States. (We did see a similar set up when we were in Vancouver, though.) For one thing, the health department...

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Eww! He’s nibbling between my toes!

Flesh eating fish. Yes, it’s true. In Japan, you can stick your feet in a pool of water, and tiny flesh-eating fish will immediately swarm over your feet and nibble. The sensation this causes is nearly intolerable at first. Tickly – creepily intolerable.  But once you have endured the first couple minutes, you become entranced by these gobbling creatures that look shockingly like mini-sharks. Supposedly, these fish first...

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You see one, you’ve seen ‘em all

The US has little country churches, Europe has cathedrals, and Japan has temples . . . everywhere. There are small temples . . . And large. Plain temples . . . And ornate. Every village has a temple . . . (This one is actually in Tai O, New Territories, Hong Kong) And cities devote prime real estate to several. (This Is part of the Nan Lian Shrine in Kowloon, Hong Kong) Some temples have gates to mark the way . . . (Lantau province,...

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You want me to pee in that?

I spent most of the month of May in Japan, traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, and points in between. We rode on trains, buses, street cars, and boats. We saw villages, and temples, and huge shopping centers. But the most shocking discovery I made? These! That’s right, girls! The women of Japan still drop and squat. And this particular urinal was not found in some remote wilderness park. Narita International Airport...

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I Don’t Feel so Good

You’re burning up. Your joints ache and your muscles hurt—even around your eyes. You lie down because you’re so weak, but then you sit up to cough, and watery snot rushes from your nose. Poor baby. You’ve got the flu. In honor of the virus that has helped me sell millions of books—(well, hundreds)—I thought I’d give you some fun facts about the flu. Every year, some kind of flu slithers up unsuspecting noses causing untold...

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