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Back to Sub-Saharan Africa - A Beautiful Experience in Botswana

May 20, 2019 | 0 comments


After twelve long disastrous and, at times dangerous, corporate years in Sub-Saharan Africa, who would have thought the author would have returned voluntarily. Well, a persuasive daughter and grandson can make a difference. Moreover, an adventure-seeking wife can have a strong measure of influence. The bottom line is Botswana is the best in so many respects. We will talk about the wildlife conservation a bit, which is massive, as well as the natural beauty and the people. It should come as no surprise that one of our first experiences was with the elephants. As Botswana is beginning its dry, winter...

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Nothing Like Finding Yourself in Hot Water

May 13, 2019 | 0 comments


Despite the fact that much that is prevalent in Japanese culture originally emanated from China, the Chinese are now importing a Japanese cultural ritual. The Nikkei Asia Weekly recently ran an article entitled Asians Dip Into Japanese-style Hot Springs. The growing adoption of communal bathing is readily understandable as more people become familiar with Japan’s furo (bath) culture. The image of a Chinese bath shown below could not be further from the concept and rigid rules of hopping in a Japanese onsen (hot springs bath). First of all, everyone is wearing bathing attire which would not be the case in...

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The Women Behind the Shoji Screen

May 06, 2019 | 0 comments


The traditional image of women in Japanese society is that they are very differential to men to the extent of walking behind them in olden times or sitting on the other side of the shoji screen waiting to attend to their needs if they were playing mahjong or entertaining their friends. Seldom did one ever see Japanese couples on vacation together. Japanese men prided themselves on taking their bar hostess companions away on trips rather than their wives. It should come as no surprise that birth rates declined rapidly after the baby boom following World War II. Moreover, Japan has...

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Baiju, A Beastly Beverage That Peels Paint

Apr 29, 2019 | 0 comments


The author first went to Russia in the early nineties to be exposed to copious quantities of vodka. That timeframe morphed into a commingled Russia/Mongolia era of vodka-fueled fumes and then an even longer period in China with a more deadly beverage. There is a reason the Russians call vodka the "spirited water" distilled by alchemists which derived from the Russian word "voda" or water. One would think the Chinese baiju equivalent term would be kerosene though it is called the white liquor. Baiju is deeply integrated into Chinese customs and dining. One begins each drink with a toast followed...

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The Japanese Pride Themselves in The Distinctiveness of Their Cuisine

Apr 22, 2019 | 0 comments


The author, in the inaugural flight to take up residency in the Far East, left San Antonio, Texas in October 1968. The flight plan included a Boeing 707 to San Francisco, another 707 to Anchorage and then on to Tokyo for a few days before relocating to Bangkok. Needless to say, everything was a blur following what was at least two days of travel but there was a commitment to have dinner with a Japanese colleague shortly after landing. As a walking zombie, an appearance was made in a fancy Japanese restaurant and my friend ordered. When the appetizer arrived,...

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