Summers in Tokyo, indeed in most of Japan except for Hokkaido or Okinawa, are often unbearably hot and humid, with temperatures in the mid to high 30s and humidity reaching as high as 90 percent. This summer, in the wake of last year's Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, use of air conditioning will again be restricted against a threat of blackouts, so those with summer vacation time are likely looking for a good place to beat the heat.

I can think of no better place than British Columbia, the west-coast province of Canada, where the North Pacific high brings the summer Westerlies — cool, steady winds from Alaska — to moderate temperature and humidity over the long sunny days and short, cool and clear nights of the northern latitudes.

While nature of course abounds on the British Columbia coast, on the mainland, the islands in the Gulf of Georgia (western Canada's inland sea) and Vancouver Island, there are also many summer attractions in Vancouver, Canada's third-largest city (after Toronto and Montreal).