Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings
Inside Tokyo's Red Light District Kabukicho

As far as red light districts go, Tokyo’s Kabukicho near Shinjuku station is relativity tame. Unlike Amsterdam there are no pot houses (aka “coffee shops”), prostitutes are not for sale in windows like a pimped out version of a holiday display, and at only 600 square meters it’s not even that big. What Kabukicho lacks in overtness it makes up for in subtlety and uniqueness. I spent a day walking around during the day time, but come after 6 pm and the streets are packed with partying salary men showing business associates a “good time” and getting hammered. Sounds enticing doesn’t it. What type of clubs exist in Kabukicho? The area is dominated by small drinking holes, DVD shops, peep holes, and host and hostess clubs that cater to lonely husbands and wives who need a little attention from well dressed, flirtatious professional conversationalists. If you are expecting the run Read full article…

Stone Face: Friday Photo Contest 34

Update: The winner is Justin…who guessed, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Turkey! Thanks again to Chirs and his great travel blog. Here’s what he had to say: “This is from the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul near Hagia Sophia. This underground cistern was built by the Romans under Emperor Constantine. After the Turkish conquered the city in the 1400s they did not discover the cistern for over 100 years until someone got suspicious why locals were able to fish from their basements. This particular picture is a column with a statue of Medusa at the base. “ Justin gets the prize this week. So wander on over to Justin Was Here and let him know that your were There. Welcome back to the Friday Photo Contest! We took a short break and but are back, are bigger than ever (not really) and we have a great list of travel photos and bloggers lined up Read full article…

Nanakusa Gayu (Japanese Porridge or Congee with Seven herbs)

This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife! This is a special and traditional dish that Japanese eat on January 7th with the wish to get rid of evil and bring health. Also, there is a connotation for resting your stomach after eating heavy and rich Osechi Meals over New Years. The porridge/congee is cooked with seven kinds of herbs: (Japanese parsley (seri); Shepherd’s purse (nazuna); Jersey Cudweed (gogyō); Common chickweed (hakobera); Henbit (hotokenoza); Turnip (suzuna); and Daikon (suzushiro). They are seven herbs which represent spring. For your reference, there are seven leaves for autumn but they are for decoration not for cooking. To be honest, this is not a very tasty and attractive dish as it is, but I like the significance of this custom and the idea to rest my stomach after eating a Read full article…

Lifestyle Design the Logical Way

It’s difficult to imagine our perfect life. It is surprisingly harder than one would think at first. If you had the chance, could you do it? Could you design your perfect life? Lifestyle Design is a term created by Tim Ferris in his wildly popular The 4 Hour Work Week. I had never actually heard any about the Lifestyle Design World when I started blogging here at Todd’s Wanderings, even though I had already Designed my perfect life. The funny thing about designing your perfect life, is that it’s a non stop process, you are never done. Freedom of  Time and Freedom of Location I came to the conclusion during my Shikoku Pilgrimage that my ideal life was one of freedom, where I was free to engage in my passions, and following my interests. That led me to San Francisco, then Timor-Leste, Sri Lanka and currently Kosovo. I love my Read full article…

How I Save Money and Travel Cheaply-Not So Secret Strategies

It is no secret by now that I travel a lot. In fact last year, in 2010,  I visited 16 countries. All this while having a full time job, an insane amount of school loans that I pay each month, and while saving money for retirement, emergencies (such as not having a job) and the inevitable death of my laptop. I like to eat every once in a while as well. Recently someone challenged my lifestyle and said it must be made up for the internet, or I must be rich and have a trust fund.I know, I know you are either thinking “How could anyone be so mean to Todd?”; or you fall into the other (and probably larger section of my readers) and are yelling: “It’s about F**#(&g time. I’m surprised Todd doesn’t get more hate mail!” Sorry to disappoint this naysayer, but the truth is that I’m Read full article…

Compromising Travel Photo Contest- Win a $50 Itunes Gift Card

I”m bring this post back to remind you, you only have until Monday 31 January to enter and vote! Win a $50 or a $25 Itunes Gift Card for your funniest photo and laugh out loud captions It’s time to start the New Year with a…LAUGH! I love a good laugh, I love laughing at myself, I love others laughing at me (OK well maybe not that one). I LOVE making other people laugh. Keeping all this in mind I have decided to host Todd’s Wanderings’ very first Photo Contest with real, actual prizes Yes, this is why we skipped the weekly travel contest this time around. The contest will take place on my Facebook fanpage. It will have two parts, the submission of photos and a second round of captions. Yup, that means you have two chances to win! Contest Details Theme: Compromising Travel Photo. This is any photo Read full article…

When to Bribe, How to Bribe, Do you Bribe?

If you travel long enough eventually you face the dilemma of how and when, or even if to bribe. But before we get into the nitty gritty of corruption I want to state right off the bat that corruption, the giving and taking of bribes, is an insidious practice that destroys the very fabric of the rule of law in countries and the trust between citizens and those elected to positions of authority. Now that I’ve sounded off on my public service announcement let’s have a discussion about the realities of travel in potentially unsafe areas, in countries where the rule of law is loosely followed, and situations where it is in your interest to hand over $20, not because it doesn’t do any harm (it does) but because that $20 could save your skin. Shake Down by Local Cops The year was 2008 and I was traveling through Indonesia Read full article…

The First Time I Almost Died-Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

By the end of this story a number of people will be dead. The compact dirty white van left the tourist choked streets of Hanoi, Vietnam’s French Quarter early in the morning. We were a group of 10 strangers bound together by our desire to see the turquoise beauty of Ha Long Bay, and its breathtaking limestone islands thrusting out of the waters. We were also cheap, backpackers looking to save money but desperate to spend 3 days living on a boat, cruising the pearl culturing backwaters of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage site, and exploring the natural caves dotting the area. Sixty eight dollars was a lot to us for two nights on the boat, three meals a day, and an English guide. Sixty eight dollars almost cost all of us our lives. What you get for 68 Dollars Seagulls screeched as the van jerked to a stop at the Read full article…

A Little Bit of Freedom: Travel Photo Contest Friday 33

Update: The winner is Arti…who guessed Cinque Terre, on the Italian Riviera, but she never told us if she jumped too! Thanks again to Jade and the rest of the Vagabond 3 crew.  Here’s what she had to say: “We took this photo on one of the last days of our RTW trip. We were in Cinque Terre, overlooking all these people jumping off the nearby rocks. This moment summed up our entire experience- living in the moment, being free and jumping into life with our eyes wide open. Besides being a gorgeous and relaxing weekend away from London, Cinque Terre will always hold a very special place in my mind for showing me the freedom of loving what you do and sharing that with the people you love.“ Arti gets the prize this week. So wander on over to My Yatra Diary and check out some of her travels. Read full article…

Yakibuta Recipie: How to Cook Japanese Marinated Pork Loin

This post is by Kay, who writes the K’s Kitchen section of Todd’s Wanderings. She also happens to be Todd’s lovely wife! Todd and I spent our New Years in Japan stuffing ourselves with my Mom’s cooking. New Years in Japan is a very busy time, especially in the kitchen as we have to get ready for our New Years meal. This year my Mom welcomed the help and I rolled up my sleeves, put on the apron and got to cook with her after being away for New Years for 3 years. Osechi-Ryouri is a traditional Japanese food that Japanese eat for New Year’s. It is said that the tradition started during the Heian Period (794-1185) but originally came from China. Osechi-Ryouri is comprised of different dishes, such as: Nishime-cooked vegetables such as carrots, bamboo shoot, konjac, Japanese taro potatoes, and lotus root Datemaki-process product made of white fish Read full article…

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