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Posts tagged reviews

Cool Tokyo Guide

This fun, little guidebook by Abby Denson is aimed primarily at young people (10-25 years old), but has useful aspects for anyone. I would have liked a little more dealing with the seasons and festivals (when to go to see certain things in Tokyo) and less on where to buy souvenirs.

The book contains many useful phrases and helpful hints. The information on ibuprofen is incorrect though. Ringl is not ibuprofen in Japan. Ringl is the same as Tylenol (acetaminophen). If you need Advil or Motrin in Tokyo (or any part of Japan), use the information on this page instead.

I love Case Logic!

Over six years ago I blogged about the Case Logic DCB-308 SLR Camera Sling Backpack. Since then my Case Logic backpack has been on countless hikes, traveled to Japan, Korea, Mexico, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, the UK, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, etc. My bag has been extensively used, causing a few minor items to wear out. As I was about to purchase a new bag for my summer travels I emailed Case Logic to see if they’ve upgraded the DCB-308. They responded saying they haven’t but that my bag is still under warranty, and they will send me a new one. WHAT?!?! I purchased this bag over six years ago. How can it still be under warranty? It turns out the Case Logic warranty is 25 years!!!

Updating my prior review…
1) You can fit a DSLR with a 70-200mm f/4 lens attached (and still have room for an additional lens or lunch) in the main compartment.
2) The “hidden” side compartment is extraordinary for smuggling things into concerts, sporting events, etc. Security never checks it. The compartment holds two bottles, five cans, or three cans and one bottle.

Papa Ramen

papa ramen copenhagen sign SKYDEBANEGADE 16

Papa Ramen @ Skydebanegade 16, 1709 København V

I had ramen in Copenhagen a couple times last summer but neither bowl was great. I tried to eat at Papa Ramen last year too, but they were closed. This year I got there before they shut down for the summer and it was great! I think the noodles were homemade, the seasoning and toppings perfect, and I really loved the three paper-thin slices of chashu. They have a second branch on Studiestræde, with lower prices, that will not be closing down for the summer. I plan to visit there (and Slurp Ramen Joint which has been on summer break but will be reopening next week) soon.

sumo wrestlers papa ramen copenhagen window decor

Papa Ramen window decor

papa ramen copenhagen SKYDEBANEGADE 16

Tonkotsu bowl at Papa Ramen

“Eco Living Japan” review

@TuttleBooks

I mentioned a while ago that I began reading this book. Although I finished reading Eco Living Japan: Sustainable Ideas for Living Green by Deanna MacDonald months ago, I never got around to writing a review–until now.

Once upon a time I was going to be an architect so design, buildings, etc. have always interested me since. In addition, I’ve always appreciated the clean look of some Japanese and Danish architecture and design. Someone not interested in Japan and/or these items probably won’t be very interested in this book.

The text wasn’t usually riveting for me, and the prose was fairly repetitive and unenlightening, but I still enjoyed the book–mostly because of the photos. The good news is the book is mostly photos.

Another critique I had with the book is the subtitle of “sustainable ideas for living green” should have the words “if you are extremely rich” added. Most of the projects examined are for relatively large, custom properties in Japan using materials that would cost several times the amount of more common construction. A very minor segment of the Japan’s population could afford these “sustainable ideas for living green”.

That said, the properties explored are fun to consider if you, like me, enjoy dreaming big.

Getting the best rate on foreign wire transfers

Wells Fargo stagecoach shooting Native Americans (Jacksonville, Oregon)

Wells Fargo stagecoach shooting Native Americans (Jacksonville, Oregon)

@xe @WellsFargo

A couple of my more popular posts have been Wells Fargo International Wire Transfer still stinks and Beware of banks ripping you off on foreign currency wire transfers!.

Seven years have passed since that first post and more than six years have passed since the second post. Have things changed? Yes. They have gotten worse!

I had to wire DKK to my landlord in Denmark for this summer. Wells Fargo online quoted me a rate 3% off from the market rate, and the wire fee has gone up from $25 per transfer to $35 per transfer. The net result was going to be a cost of $2,165 for my rent. I called Wells Fargo to try and get a better rate and was put on hold for half an hour. At that point I hung up.

I then went to xe.com and within 15 minutes I had transferred the same amount in DKK (from my Wells Fargo bank account no less!) to my Danish landlord for $2,087.

Conclusion: you can waste your time and money with your bank, or you can use one of several online services that will transfer your money for you for less.

Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods

tokyo on foot

@TuttleBooks

Tokyo on Foot is not what I expected. And that’s not a bad thing. I was expecting something like Foot Loose in Tokyo or A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo in which the reader is given guidance on various walks in Tokyo. While Tokyo on Foot could potentially be used in this way, I look at it more as art/manga appreciation than a guide book. Florent Chavouet’s art is fantastic. The attention to detail and capturing of Tokyo scenes is captivating and the type of work that you can frequently revisit without becoming bored.

If you’ve visited or lived in Tokyo I think you’ll like it more than someone who hasn’t (not that a future visitor won’t want to take a look at this book to get an idea of where to go and what to see in Tokyo). Remembering views that are slumbering just beneath the surface of your memory can be lots of fun.

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