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    • Spring
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Into the Mystic

        While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi.
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    • Summer
      • Return to Palau

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        A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

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        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Autumn
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Winter
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Shuzenji Sanctuary

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    • Near Tokyo
      • Air it Out

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        Ark Hills Marche

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        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Summer Runs, Races & Tours

        Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots.

        Tokyo Escapes: Summer Camping

        Tokyo summers can be stifling—luckily it’s easy to escape the city for a cool break from the heat.
    • Near Kyoto
      • A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Cycling Awaichi

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    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...

        Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • River and Lake
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        There is no bet...
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        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...

        Minakami Mofest

        Head up to Japan's outdoor mecca of Minakami for the country's biggest outdoor adventure festival!
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        All-Season Outdoor Playgr...

        Enter the all-season world of Shinetsu Shinzekyo in Nagano and Niigata with outdoor professionals
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
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        The Reemergence of Arai

        Lotte Arai Resort will definitely become a hotspot for western skiers and boarders over the next few years.

        Tohoku Storm Chasing

        Just a few hours north of Tokyo by Shinkansen (bullet train) await remote mountains and the countryside of Tohoku’s Akita and Iwate prefectures.
    • Travel
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

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        Up Market in Osaka

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        Return to Palau

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    • Food and Drinks
      • Gravity-Defying Farming in Nishi Awa

        Discover the centuries-old secret behind what keeps southern Japan's mountains growing

        Up Market in Osaka

        There wasn’t mu...

        Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
    • Races and Events
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

Staying the Course Down Memory Lane

How do you define “trip memories?” For me, it’s the scenery and the food, strong winds in your face and the long hike up sun-scorched paths drenched in sweat. It’s the experiences and the people you meet along the way.

In remembering times past, you travel to memories from long ago. The sandy beaches of Nishihyojima Island bring back the faces of people I encountered, but not every nook and cranny of the conversation is remembered.

The gears of your mind, having usually been greased by an afternoon beer, bring back faded memories and only the more important lines of conversation. However, for those of us born deaf, there’s a hidden trick to keeping your memory on track.

Because most of my conversations on trips take place on a notepad, the memos have tended to pile up over the course of my travels. Read again, long after the fact, at a quiet moment at dusk, they become a “second trip” on their own. Re-reading these notes after an extended time allows me to relive those faded memories, often times with a fresh perspective and the privilege of hindsight.

Handwriting differs from person to person. Some notes are just three giant words or characters to a page stained with spilt liquor. The notebook is crumpled, pages stick together and there is a distinct smell which brings an even greater sense of realism and memory.

Some will write what they would be too embarrassed to say, and still others open their hearts when a pen is placed in their hand. The “well-oiled” conversations tend to stand out most spectacularly.

I often find myself laughing over something written, whether it’s the day before or five years ago. The contents of these conversations often keep me from sharing them with others—an unfortunate shortcoming of mine.

Writing makes use of words not often found in spoken conversations, because thoughts are given structure in your head and then written down; communication occurs after both “seeing” and “thinking.”

This is a time when those of us who can’t hear share the same world with those who can. Sharing happiness, sadness and laughter at the same time as the person across from you is what the “written word” is all about.

I am writing this column from Banff, Canada. Tonight I think I’ll skip my usual routine of writing in my diary before bed and work on stirring up more of those embarrassing notes.

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