Info

Adventure Travel, Far East: Inspired by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, National Geographic

Far East Adventure Travel. Inspiring, entertaining. Let John Saboe take you on journeys filled with spiritual celebrations and rituals, ancient festivals, wildlife safaris, trekking and climbing quests and vast array of food cultures. Learn about village life, cultural differences, urban exploration, street food, history and architecture. Visit Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. Stories and advice from one of the most exciting destinations on the planet-Asia.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Adventure Travel, Far East: Inspired by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, National Geographic
2017
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Category: japan
Aug 3, 2017
Kyoto is located in the central part of Honshu Island, Japan and was the imperial capital of the country for over a thousand years. It is also known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines. It is an absolute must see on a visit to Japan. To get some expert advice on how best to spend your time and get the most out of your stay in the city I spoke with Niall Gibson expert guide, travel planner and managing director of kyotofun.com and myjapanadventure.com. from his home Kyoto. And please some advice on how to conduct yourself in this polite culture. I first set off on foot near the Yasaka Shrine To get a feel for the city. Wait a minute what the hell is this? Hari Kirshnas? In Kyoto? Well it’s an international city so anything is possible but not my idea of traditional Japanese culture. So I moved on to the Heian Shrine. It is a top ranked shrine by the Association of Shinto Shrines. Heian dates back to 1895, a relatively short history compared to other important temples and shrines in Japan. Outside the shrine on a busy road in Kyoto sits It’s Torii Gate, one of the largest in Japan. Built in 1929 it’s over 24 meters high. A torri gate symbolizes the transition from the profane to the sacred. The orange, green and white buildings inside are meant to be replicas of the old Kyoto Imperial Palace. The Heian Shrine’s gardens are some of the most impressive in all of Japan. If you’re timing is good you’ll see a stunning display of cherry blossoms in the spring. If you’re timing is good…. No matter what time of year taking a stroll through the gardens is a true zen experience, and hey you can even step over these stones. The same ones Scarlett Johansson hopped over in “Lost In Translation”. I left the Heian Shrine totally refreshed from my walk through the gardens and headed back to Gion to take a walk through this traditional neighborhood, where I’ve been told real Geisha’s can be seen. Actually the correct term or name for a Geisha in Kyoto is Geiko and an apprentice is called a Maiko. But my best sighting was just the many tourists who come and dress up in traditional kimonos and walk around and pose for pictures. I took another suggestion from Niall and made my way to Arishiyama, about a 30 minute train ride from central Kyoto to see the Tenru ji Buddhist Temple and finish off my visit with a walk through the world-famous Bamboo Grove. Arishiyama is home to several temples and interesting sites to see including a monkey park where over 170 monkeys reside. It’s also a spectacular place to visit for the beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains, especially during the spring and fall. I made my way to Tenru ji-the head temple of the Tenru branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. Construction was completed in 1345 but the temple has subsequently suffered through many fires and the buildings that currently stand here were reconstructed in the last half of the 19 and early 20th centuries. Tenru ji is surrounded by beautiful gardens and was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994. It’s North Gate is the entrance to the famous Sagano Bamboo Grove. It’s no coincidence that bamboo gardens or groves in Japan are usually situated near Shinto Shrines or Buddhist Temples. The bamboo represents strength, a symbol intended to ward off evil.If you want to truly experience the wonder of this place and it’s magical sounds, visit early in the morning or late in the day. That’s it for this week’s Far East Adventure Travel Podcast. Don’t forget to like the Far East Adventure Travel page on Facebook and for more inspiration subscribe to John Saboe on YouTube:http://bit.ly/2ni8SSjyoutube visit fareastadventuretravel.com Until next time this is John Saboe. Safe travels and Namaste!
Jun 1, 2016

The waiting room for the most exclusive tuna auction in the world-At Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan

Tsukiji Market-Tokyo, Japan. Home to the world famous tuna auction where wholesalers bid on blue fin tuna worth tens of thousands of dollars almost everyday. For the lucky few who brave the early morning hour like myself recently it’s a chance to get up close to this unique arena of high stakes bidding on the most prized fish in the world.

The lucky few? 120 to be exact. Some of the guidebooks and online blogs say to get to the information office at Tsukiji markets Kachidoki Bridge gate entrance by 4am. Well things have changed and now I wouldn’t recommend arriving any later than 3:30 to get a spot, I got there at 3:35 and I was one of the last few admitted.

Once in you’re given a map with instructions on conduct in the market and a colored vest to wear identifying you as a guest of one of two groups of 60. I was in the blue vest group, the last to visit the tuna auction that morning. The room is divided into two for each group. The first is led into the auction area at 5:25 and is allowed to watch for 25 minutes. My team, the blue group goes in last at 5:50.

OK, now the wait. For the blue team, almost 2 hours! Bring something to read or listen to because there’s not much to look at in this room.

The green team gets the signal to move to the auction area and my team is less than 30 minutes away from our visit.

The blue fin tuna is the star of Tsukiji but it’s only one of over 400 species of fish and seafood including seaweed, expensive caviar and controversial whale species sold at the market. Almost 3000 tons of seafood is processed everyday-making Tsukiji the largest fish market in the world.

Finally after being in this holding tank for almost 2 hours we were escorted by Tokyo Metropolitan Government security to the auction room.

There is a planned move in 2017 of the market to a new site. Tsukiji has been operating in central Tokyo since 1935 after the original market was destroyed by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. It’s an extremely hectic and busy place and we are warned by our escorts to be very careful as many forklifts and turret trucks are constantly on the move.

We pass by one tuna auction site before being lead into the public viewing area for our precious well-earned 25 minutes into this fascinating world of high stakes tuna. The first blue fin tuna auctioned at Tsukiji this year was sold to the highest bidder at over $37,000 US dollars. The same sushi restaurant chain owner who won this year’s bid paid over 1.76 million US for a slightly larger tuna in 2013.

Intermediate wholesalers are busy inspecting the tuna up for auction this morning. It’s a very tricky game, even with the knowledge these buyers accumulate over the years to always get the tuna your customers want for the right price. The best can spot a seemingly lower grade tuna and get essentially a high grade product at a bargain price. 80% of the global blue fin tuna catch is consumed in Japan.

Meanwhile in the rest of the Tsukiji Fish Market the other 400 species of fish and seafood, including processed blue fin tuna is being purchased by buyers from small restaurants to hotel chains. Many stalls specialize in one type of product like this shop which is busy processing live eels.

Anything you can think of that swims or lives in the sea is here including the star of the market, the blue fin tuna.

The outer market is where all of the retail shops and restaurants are located. Line-ups for some of these famous sushi restaurants start at 4:30am. It’s safe to say Tsukiji has Tokyo’s highest density of sushi restaurants all with their own unique personality.

Back at the tuna auction final notes and inspections are completed before the first bidding. The buyers are all seen wearing caps with their license allowing them to bid on the tuna up for auction.

1