"Tokyo!" Ewingjr98's Profile


After 30 some years of trying, I finally made it to Tokyo. The city is bigger than you could image and the train system is insane, but the people are friendly yet efficient.

See my VT page on Tokyo and a separate page on Japan. In February 2013, I made a short day trip to historic Kawagoe, also known as "Old Edo." We occasionally head up into the mountains west of Tokyo to Okutama. Another great town near Tokyo is Nikko, with its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In July 2013 we visited Kamakura and Yokohama. We had a few trips to Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto in September and October 2013. In March 2014, I had a great trip to Okinawa.

I also made a quick side trip to Honolulu, Hawaii in September 2012.

In April/May 2013, we visited one of my favorite places in the world, Seoul, South Korea, with a quick side trip to the DMZ.

Experiments in VirtualTourist-ing

Experiments in VirtualTourist-ing? What does that mean? It means I'm trying to find workarounds to make VirtualTourist more useful and interesting.

My biggest complaint with VT for a long time is the inability to see your tips on a map. My experimental solution is to use a customized Google map with all of the VT tip locations for a particular town. That was a good start; now people can see where my tips are located, and if you click on them, Google Maps allows you to get directions to or from your location.

Next challenge: how about a map tied to a particular tip? Yup. In Google Maps you can zoom in on your area of interest, then send the link to someone. To embed a link in the VT tip, I copied the link location and used VTML to embed the link in the "directions" field.

To go one step farther, I also created links from the custom Google Map back to each of the tips I created. That way, once you are looking at the map and you want to know what the next point over is, just click, and hit the link I created.

Simple? Not really. Difficult? No, just time consuming. To see what I'm talking about, check out my new Port Tobacco, Maryland page.

Why I travel:

I have set foot in 37 countries on 3 continents. I have also visited all 49 states of the US (if Arkansas is not good enough for the Clintons, it's not good enough for me!). My friends and family often ask me: why do I spend my money and time visiting these far-flung places on the globe when America has everything? Here's why:

* Visit famous/beautiful sights -- nothing beats a beautiful sunset when no one else is around
* Meet new people -- ever spend an afternoon in a Vietnamese farmhouse or eat pork intestines with a local dude in Cambodia? How about silk worm larvae in Korea?
* Experience different cultures -- like the cafes of Paris, the temples of Angkor Wat, and the noraebang of Korea
* Find new off-the-beaten-path restaurants -- I avoid Hard Rock Cafe like the plague...be just a little bit original.
* Attempt to understand the world - It never works, but I enjoy trying!
* Better appreciate what we have in America that we often take for granted!

My favorite places in the world:

Best vacation: Vietnam (Sept 2003)
Most beautiful scenery: Switzerland (Fall 1999)
Favorite city to visit: London (Fall 1999) and Bratislava, Slovakia (Jan 2006)
Favorite city to live: Seoul (2003-2004)
Best food: Seoul (2003-2004) & Italy (Summer 1999)
Worst food: Hong Kong (May 2004)
Friendliest people: Bangkok (May 2004)
Least friendly locations: Johor Bahru, Malaysia (May 2004) and Budapest, Hungary (Jan 2006
Worst place in the world (for a Pittsburgher): Cleveland, Ohio

My favorite travel resources on the web...

Forget canned travel guides like Lonely Planet that are full of cliche advice about only the most touristy locations... try my favorites.

Lately I spend a ton of time on Google Maps and Google Earth. Google maps not only gives maps, aerial photos, and driving directions, but can also find businesses and attractions near an address and search a map for various key words. My favorite feature on Google Earth is the measure function which allows you to zoom in on an area and accurately measure distances on a line or a path.

Tales of Asia is another great site full of stories about Asia. The Cambodia section is packed with information all visitors to Angkor Wat need to know!

Travel Adventures is another great website with fabulous photos and detailed personal adventures from all over the world.

Get great driving directions in Europe from Michelin

A German site called Hot Maps has a huge collection of maps of major cities all over the world. A little Deutsch helps here!

National Geographic's Map Machine has street maps, topo maps, and aerial photos.

If flying interests you, take a look at these two links... Aircraft Charter World has info on 13,000 airports throughout the world while Great Circle Mapper will show you the most direct great circle route between airports.

I just got a tip about Panorama Explorer so I haven't used it much, but it's a cool concept!

1000 places to see before you die.

Yahoo Travel's Dream Maps allows you to input your home airport and budget to see where you could fly on the cheap.

And of course Virtual Tourist!

  • Intro Updated Jul 7, 2014
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“"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." ~ Ernest Hemingway”

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Tachikawa, Japan
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