One Fateful Night in a Private Villa in Bali

Tonight we’re spending a romantic night in a private villa nestled in some rice terraces in Bali, so let me tell you about that. It’s a really beautiful place with — Scrtch scrtch scrtch What the hell was that? Scrtch scrtch scrtch There it is again. It’s coming from just outside the bedroom door, in the kitchen. We’re city…

Tōdai-ji Temple Complex in Nara, Japan

It strikes me as quite peculiar that the largest wooden building in the world* – Great Buddha Hall, at the centre of the Tōdai-ji Complex in Nara, Japan – has burnt down twice. Twice. Maybe you think that would be expected, given that on a list of flammable things, wood ranks just below a factory that…

So, Just How Great Are Bullet Trains Anyway? Spoiler: Very.

Let’s play a game. Name a thing that this describes: hard, shiny, powerful, intimidating in length, takes your breath away when you ride it. Thought of something? Okay, now open the back of the book and look at the answer section. There are two acceptable answers: 1. A Japanese shinkansen train. 2. Your idea of a perfect…

What Does DMZ Even Stand For Anyway?

“We will go soon into tunner,” she said. “When you go to inside tunner, make sure to listen instructions carefully, other you will have problem. You wear heavy hat for banging. You have to be safety in the tunner or bad thing happen at you. And I do not want to have problem, okkkay?? I wish to take my customers home in…

Backwards are Buses in Japan

Today I’m going to talk about using buses, so if your name is Beatrice you’ve probably never used a bus so you can go away. Go away, Beatrice. If you’re not a horrible person, you’ve probably used a bus to get around every now and again, maybe even every day. You probably think that the bus…

Warning! Snow Monkeys May Cause Cuteness Overload!

When I was in Tokyo, I took five hours’ worth of trains and buses and hikes to Jigokudani Monkey Park, where I spent about three hours looking at animals, before taking five hours’ worth of hikes and buses and trains back to Tokyo. 10 hours total travel time. What was so special about that monkey…

One Night in a Capsule Hotel in Tokyo

When I went to Tokyo, Japan, I spent a night in a room that was orders of magnitude smaller than your average prison cell. It also involved me seeing more Japanese penis than I would have liked. I was not coerced into this. I chose it of my own free will. I paid $40 of my…

5 stages of a cockfight in Manila

I recently went to a cockfighting arena in Manila, Philippines. Before I start, a warning: this post will contains lots of childish innuendo. For example, I might say the arena was filled with lots of cocks: some big, some small, some dark in color, some much paler, some with unusual lumpy protrusions. Lots of people were…

Enjoying the Sun at a Cambodian Site of Genocide

It was a glorious day of bright sunshine and fluffy blue clouds. Locals relaxed inside their shaded moped tuk-tuks or stood smiling beside carts of ice-cold water and Coke; tourists meandered around the streets, cameras swinging around their necks; even the man in the hostel couldn’t have been any more helpful this morning.  All in all, I…

A Drowning Man in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I was standing along the water’s edge in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, talking to a man with an intimate relationship with his mother, when a man in the river started screaming, “I’m drowning! I’m drowning! Somebody please help me, I’m going to die!” All at once, several things crossed my mind. I thought, Holy shit, this is…

Mishaps and Mischief on the Phnom Penh Waterfront

While sitting on a bench by a statue along the riverfront in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a man approached me. He was about my age, maybe a little younger, almost a head shorter than me, and he was grinning so much that I thought he must have a medical condition that meant he had to keep…