Wonders of Japan
  • Autumn in Japan: Aoni Onsen in Aomori

    Nov 2020

    If it was not for the promise of surrounding fall colors and an onsen only lit up with oil lamps, I would not find my way to the wonderful Aoni Onsen in Aomori and finally connect with the onsen experience. Aoni Onsen was like a scene from one of the novels of Tanazaki with its very traditional feel with each guest perfectly playing the part.

  • Autumn in Japan: Lake Towada and Oirase Stream

    Oct 2020

    Visiting Lake Towada has been on my list for some time as a fall outing but it was not until this year that I found the opportunity by timing it relatively right. Timing your trip for the peak fall colors is usually a difficult task.

  • Autumn in Japan: Nikko

    Oct 2020

    Even though we do not have to choose, I will get this out of the way right away. I would in any given year happily give up sakura season for an extended fall in Japan.

Featured Articles
  • Iseji Route: The Eastern Route of Kumano Kodo

    Mar 2020

    Mt. Fuji is fully visible on this overcast winter day in Honshu. It feels strange that I still get excited every single time that I get a look at the perfectly picturesque peak of Mt. Fuji.

  • Farewell to Fuji – Back to Canon

    Aug 2020

    Farewell to Fuji, I today sold my X-Pro II and lens set - my main camera for the last 4.5 years and probably the most beautifully designed camera ever but if we can talk of chemistry between cameras and humans, we sure did not have it.

  • I Don’t Like Airbnb

    Nov 2019

    I don’t like Airbnb. I would prefer staying at Hilton (even worse – probably even at Holiday Inn or Travelodge or Ibis) rather than staying at an Airbnb place. I prefer most of the hostels/hotels over an Airbnb apartment.

Destination Tips
  • Hatchi Hotel Kanazawa has both well maintained dorm and private rooms in a very stylish building with happening cafe on the main floor.

  • Chokichi near my hostel worked great for me as it also had some red meat selections in its menu and not only chicken (like in many yakitori places). It is also known to be welcoming to foreigners and they even have an English menu. Like in most places in Japan, they only accept cash payment so be prepared.

  • If you have a Japan rail pass, the easiest way is to take shinkansen from Tokyo (2.5 hours) or limited express thunderbird from Kyoto or Osaka. I did not have a Japan rail pass this time. I flew into Nagoya and then took the 3.5 hours long highway bus for 4,000 Yens.

  • One other allure of Kanazawa is the fine quality of the museums hosted in the city. My two favorites are 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and D. T. Suzuki Museum. D. T. Suzuki Museum is dedicated to the life and works of Kanazawa born Buddhist philosopher Suzuki Daisetz Teitaro and the architecture of the museum aims to bring out the serenity that comes with Zen philosophy. . D. T. Suzuki Museum is dedicated to the life and works of Kanazawa born Buddhist philosopher Suzuki Daisetz Teitaro and the architecture of the museum aims to bring out the serenity that comes with Zen philosophy. It in my view greatly achieves its purpose. It is well worth the entrance fee of 300 Yen, which includes an English audio guide. There is a pool surrounding the museum, which at the time of my visit acted as a great mirror reflecting the colors of autumn flushing out of the surrounding small forest.

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About Me

I am Burcu. I was born in a town of chemical engineers— including both my parents—near Istanbul on the winter solstice of 1980. I think this has a lot to do with my undying love for winters and cold destinations such as Norway, Alaska, and Hokkaido, but it hardly explains why I am asleep by 9 pm every night. I spent most of my youth in Istanbul, first at a boarding school and then with family, although I was also fortunate enough to spend few years of high school and university abroad, at an age young enough to admire other cultures, places and people before prejudices sink in and the world goes crazy. As for the job department, I am a lawyer and, after spending thirteen years in a law office, I now have a part-time arrangement that allows me location independance. In my blog, you will read a lot about Japan, Norway, and Switzerland—three of my favorite destinations with astounding nature. I also occasionally write articles for magazines. I am happiest when walking, and saddest when I think of what has become of my country in the last two decades. The only people I truly envy are those fortunate enough not to know heartache for their home country, a rare privilege in this age.

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Favorite Travel Habit

If I am in a city, I love to walk around during morning rush hour. That is the only time a city cannot hide its truth and pretend to be nicer than it is. I am sorry to report but Istanbul that you see during rush hour (ouch!) is what living in Istanbul feels like.

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Hotels or Airbnb?

Definetly hotels. I like the transitional feel at hotels, that temporariness. It makes me feel lighter. Airbnb on the other hand makes me feel suffocated being surrounded by someone else`s life/decoration choices. I wrote more about Why I Don`t like Airbnb.

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Favorite Destinations

Japan, Norway, China, Alaska and Switzerland and I think Barcelona is grossly overrated whereas Germany does not get what it deserves as a travel destination.

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Where I live

Well, not in a bathtub or in an onsen but you probably still get the clue – in Japan. More specifically in Tokyo, in one of its very laid back eastern wards, Katsushika. I love it.