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Japan

Blatant Pimping: The Worst Motorcycle in Laos

We usually don’t demean the fair cyber pages of this blog by something as base as promotion, but screw it, I’ll shed my secret identity and let the cat out of the bag: I, Chris Tharp, aka “Mr. Motgol,” got a new book out YOU should stop what you’re doing right now, click on the link below, and buy it. Hey, it can’t be that bad. After all, these guys had some nice things to say about it:

“In The Worst Motorcycle in Laos, Tharp takes us on a wild ride from the neon streets of Tokyo to the dirt tracks of Indochina. The essays are insightful, humorous and unflinching. A great read for the active and armchair traveler alike.”

- Michael Breen, author of The Koreans


12 Things to Do in Osaka, Japan

One of the great benefits of teaching abroad is the ability to travel more. Not only is there more free time, but you are also closer to countries that you would otherwise never get a chance to visit unless for a unique circumstance.

Japan is always a common destination for travelers. I’ve been to Tokyo, but there are so many other cities to see. During one of my vacations I took a trip to Osaka. A common travel plan is to visit Kyoto while in Osaka because you’re just a short 20-45 minute train ride away depending on the type of train you choose.

I realized within the first day or two, however, that seeing what I wanted to see in Osaka would not allow me the time to get away to see Kyoto as well.  I visited for 5 days.

I decided to make this compilation video of my time in Osaka. There are some popular destinations in it, but also some that the general public would not think of to visit.  I hope you enjoy the ride.


On Dodko (for the U of N’s Blog Symposium on Asian Territorial Disputes)


Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Hotel: A Refuge on Japan's Kumano Kodo

This is my fourth trip to Japan, but something is different about this visit. I've bypassed the major cities and tourist hot-spots and ventured off the beaten path to Takahara, a small mountain village located in the heart of Wakayama Prefecture, about two hours south of Osaka.

I sit in my modest but comfortable room on an aromatic tatami mat that smells of herbs. I sip hot tea as I peer out my window into the motionless countryside. I listen. I hear only the quiet chirping of crickets.



The Ryukyu Islands, Japan.


My Lowy Post: Relax (again), Japan is Not ‘Re-Militarizing’

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If there is any one trope in Korean and Chinese international relations writing I don’t like, it is the causal, constant, angry insistence on reading Japan as always ‘remilitarizing.’ In just about everything I read by Korean and Chinese authors on northeast Asia this is repeated relentlessly, as a truism, and usually in the worst possible normative light: not only is Japan ‘remilitarizing,’ it also apparently has neo-imperial designs on Asia.


The Weekend Warrior’s Guide to… Tokyo

Tokyo: a neon wonderland of might skyscrapers, solemn Shinto shrines, and serene parks. The samurai, sumo, robots, videogames, capsule hotels, anime, sushi and everything a Japanophile could ever want are right here in the capital. For the weekend warrior with only 48 precious hours to ramble through the world’s most populated city, time is of the essence. This guide will see you through.

A Weekend Warrior: A person who holds a regular job during the week which restricts their ability to party / go on trips / partake in awesome activities, and thus plans epic weekend adventures to compensate.” – Urban Dictionary


My Lowy Post on Japan’s Pointless, Self-Indulgent WTH? Review of the Kono Statement

This is a re-print of a post for the Lowy Institute on the recent Japanese review of the Kono statement on Imperial military sexual service during the war. (That’s Kono in the picture.)


My Lowy Post on Japan’s Pointless, Self-Indulgent WTH? Review of the Kono Statement

This is a re-print of a post for the Lowy Institute on the recent Japanese review of the Kono statement on Imperial military sexual service during the war. (That’s Kono in the picture.)


Marathoning Japan – Four Cities in Five Days

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On the journey back to my tiny apartment home in Daegu, my eyelids were leaden, various leg muscles were pulled, and I lethargically guessed what subway line to take to get back. Five days in Japan had chewed me up and spat me out. But with a pocketful of strange coins, and many warm, beautiful memories, despite my weariness I looked up into the sky over Korea spiritually satiated. My gaze has become a little more wizened from my travels further east. So take some time to tie your shoelaces a little tighter, I’ll take you on my sprint through Japan one more time.

 


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