Ireland's County Wicklow is a slice of heaven

Oct 31, 2015

Ireland's County Wicklow is a slice of heaven

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The road winds across the spine of the mountains, past a seemingly endless wilderness of heather-covered bogs, lakes, waterfalls, pine forests and trails. There is an eerie desolation to the beauty — lonely and lovely, no buildings or people, just bog cotton, heather and ...

Grave company at Zoshigaya Cemetery

| Oct 24, 2015

Grave company at Zoshigaya Cemetery

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When persimmon leaves and the tips of maples take on color, and chilly air rattles windows, composer Yoshinao Nakada’s haunting song “Chiisai Aki Mitsuketa” (“A Bit of Autumn Found”) floats through my mind. Having just learned that the song’s lyricist, talented poet Hachiro Sato ...

Used bookstores help tell stories along Route 66

Oct 24, 2015

Used bookstores help tell stories along Route 66

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Travelers along historic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles have no problem finding their fix of fake American Indian jewelry and vintage Elvis posters. However, along this path motorists also will discover something once declared dead: the used bookstore. There’s the Chicago bookstore ...

Fired up about Gifu's pottery industry

Oct 17, 2015

Fired up about Gifu's pottery industry

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Toki, a small town in Gifu Prefecture, 37 km from Nagoya, sits above a huge clay basin. Pottery has been made here since ancient times. The world-famous Oribe style, which uses green copper glaze and bold painted designs was invented in Gifu more than ...

Nerves and no crowds for a tourist in Egypt

Oct 17, 2015

Nerves and no crowds for a tourist in Egypt

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When I told people I planned to visit Egypt, family, friends — even waiters — replied, “Wow!” and “Amazing!” But their eyes said, “Are you insane?” Egypt’s once-thriving tourism industry has been plummeting since the 2011 popular uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. ...

New finds and old favorites in Napa Valley

Oct 10, 2015

New finds and old favorites in Napa Valley

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Sunlit hills of lush green vineyards, blue skies, fine red wines: Some things about wine country never change. But others do, like where to eat, stay and play. Here’s a roundup of what’s new and what’s worth revisiting in California’s Napa Valley. A decade ...

Listening to the wind on Battleship Island

Oct 3, 2015

Listening to the wind on Battleship Island

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As if from a dream, the island floated over the sea like a terra-cotta dreadnought from a century ago. I’d arrived at Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island, and its profile was unmistakable from the deck of my ferry battling high waves and winds. Formally known ...