Gerry Kataoka


Gerry Kataoka

Travels to all continents except Antarctica. Preference for do it yourself trips, meeting locals, and learning local customs and food. I have been doing a daily travel diary through email for the last several years(mostly Asia), and received many compliments from friends. I plan to visit the following in the years to come: Turkey, eastern Canada, Bolivia, and Eastern Europe. I drove most of the length of Chile with my golf buddy in September 2009. Several African countries and safaris in 2012. The Trans Siberian Railway was completed in May, 2014, from Vladivostok to Moscow, and on to St. Petersburg. I have played golf all over the planet as well. I have been to Wimbledon and rank it behind only the Masters golf as the best sporting event in the world. I have also become more interested in our great national parks, like Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Glacier, Teton, Yellowstone and Yosemite here in the U.S. I have completed my quest to visit all fifty states, with Michigan as number 50. I also enjoy train travel, having crossed the US three times, as well as taken the Trans Siberian, Cuzco to Machu, and the Aurora Winter Train (Alaska). I may start on the Canadian provinces, and all of the countries in South America. I am also looking for volunteer opportunities overseas now that I am semi-retired. I enjoy writing about my travels, and sharing with others who cannot travel. I also take tons of photos, which I publish.

Recent trip to Antelope Canyon, near Page, AZ was a revelation. The Navajo guide actually had me taking Ansel Adams like photos for a couple of hours. You must go!!!! South Africa and Tanzania just completed in 2012, followed by the Trans Siberian Railway in May 2014.

I also completed my "sports-fecta" with events like the Kentucky Derby, Olympics, Super Bowl, Wimbledon, Masters, Indy 500, NCAA Final Four, World Series, and NBA Finals. I also follow my favorite sports teams around the country. What is next?

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow July 10th 2017

I usually stay away from danger, at least obvious danger. For instance, I would like to visit Turkey this fall, but everyone, including the US State Department, says to stay away. But these countries and places below are rather surprising to me, since I have been there. Thailand (southern) Yes, the south of Thailand is known to harbor terrorists, with a large Muslim population. Well, we have terrorists in San Bernardino too. I have been to Thailand about 6 or 8 times, and have always felt welcomed and safe. The Thai people are friendly and know how important the American tourist is to their economy. Bangkok makes the ideal base for travel throughout SE Asia. South Africa Thanks to Barry the V, and Mrs. V, we had a great two weeks in Cape Town. However, we ... read more
Ordinance found in Laos
Changing of the guard in East Berlin, 1971
Ta Prohm, Cambodia

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle June 19th 2017

We are here in beautiful and sunny Seattle. Locals have complained about an extremely long, dreary and wet winter and spring. It is goreous here this weekend, in fact, on Sunday morning at 8am, the sun was already out! We got very lucky wih the weather, as I had to buy a pair of Bermuda shorts yesterday, to wear today. What is the most obvious thing about Seattle this weekend besides the sunny weather? It has turned blue, completely blue, and it is not even Seahawks season. The blue belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays MLB team, in town for a three games series with the hometown Mariners. Why so many Toronto fans? Blue Jays fans outnumbeed the Mariner fans last night by at east 2 to 1!!!! Why? It turns out most of these fans ... read more
Gai Lan from Uwajimaya
Seattle Public Library
Great pizza at Serious Pie

North America » United States » Washington » Seattle June 19th 2017

I have experienced the good fortune to visit all fifty of our states. Some were great, some not, some in between. But here is something memorable from each one, just off the top of my head. Alabama 0 Alaska-the Aurora borealis, of course! Arizona-Antelope Canyon, Sedona, Spring Training, Los Sombreros, Café Elote, and the Grand Canyon Arkansas-Slick Willie California-Napa Valley, Carmel, San Diego, Tahoe, Pebble Beach, Disneyland, Yosemite, the beach, the wine, home Colorado-Aspen, Red Rocks, Continental Divide, Boulder, ski trips, Coors Field Connecticut-Yale DC-Newseum, Ten Penh, cherry blossoms, National Gallery, Capitol Fourth, National Symphony Delaware-what did? Florida-Everglades, Key West, Little Havana, stone crabs, cigars Georgia-the Masters, Merri Macs Tea Room, the Varsity Hawaii-Loco moco, dear friends, golf, Sam Sato's, Kintaro,... read more
Alcatraz Island, former Federal prison
Moab and Arches
Santa Fe's St. Francis Cathedral

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow June 13th 2017

I did not write much about the famous Moscow Metro. I rode it several times when I visited Moscow in 2014. Here is more information about it, if you are interested. One thing for sure, Russian engineering is outstanding, as you will read. Moscow's metro is one of the busiest and most visually stunning underground systems in the world. Created as a showcase for the Soviet Union, its elaborate, spacious stations are adorned with mosaics, marble statues and stained glass that tell the story of the communist state. When it opened in 1935, the metro had just 11 stations and attracted 285,000 curious riders on the first day. Today there are 206 stations and up to nine million passengers a day. The stations were designed by various architects, reflecting different styles, going from art deco ... read more
Russian engineering is great!!!
And the stations are quite artistic!
I touched the dog's nose too!!!!

North America » United States » New York » New York » Manhattan June 13th 2017

Why airplane food taste so bad Airplane food has a bad reputation, but the food itself isn’t entirely to blame—the real fault lies with the plane. A 2015 Cornell University study, reported by Time, found that the environment inside an airplane actually alters the way food and drink tastes—sweet items tasted less sweet, while salty flavors were heightened. The dry recycled air inside the plane cabin doesn’t help either as low humidity can further dull taste and smell making everything in a plane seem bland. According to a 2010 study from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Germany, it’s about 30 percent more difficult to detect sweet and salty tastes when you’re up in the air. Next time you fly, skip the meal, and maybe url=http... read more
This says it all!

North America » United States » California » Clovis June 13th 2017

I have written numerous emails about airlines, hotels, and loyalty programs. This one just makes me breathless, flabbergasted, incredulous, discombobulated! According to the latest consumer surveys, these are the top US airlines and hotel chains: Airlines 1. JetBlue 2. Southwest 3. Alaska Airlines 4. American and Delta (tie) 5. Allegiant (I am in shock!!!!!) 6. United Hotels 1. Hilton 2. Hyatt and Marriott (tie) 3. Starwood 4. InterContinental 5. Best Western This must be a joke! Any list that has Allegiant near the top, must be an April Fool's joke!! They are the worst airline I have ever flown (in the U.S.)! And Best Western, mentioned in the same breath with Marriott, Starwood, and Inter-Continental? Almost as surprising as Allegiant, and holding up the rear is, as always, the despicable, depressing, and dispiriti... read more
Do I have to fly on THAT airlines again??
More and more, this is reality!!!!
Maybe it is safer with Thelma and Louise??

After the Army decommissioned the Presidio, I was quite excited about playing golf there. It was billed as "the poor man's" Olympic Club, with similar small greens, tall trees, and cool misty air permeating the fairways. But the Presidio, with its Western Defense Command, also played a big role in incarcerating the Japanese during World War 2. The Presidio was the source of 108 civilian exclusion orders and other military directives that enacted President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066. These actions forced my Mom's and Dad's families, along with all people of Japanese ancestry, citizens or not, from the west coast. It incarcerated them in concentration camps for the duration of the war. “The Presidio of San Francisco played a pivotal role in the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II,” explains Presidio Trust Curator ... read more
That could be my parents and grandparents!!!
Many interrogations by the FBI resulted in arrests
Yet my uncles joined the army to fight for the USA!!!

North America » United States » California » Clovis May 31st 2017

Save all to OneDrive - Personal I know the Nifty Fifty Club has only a few members among my readers. The Barnes couple have done all fifty, and many of you have achieved well into the forties, like Denise, Susie, Sandy, Denny, Maria, and others. I saw this story today, and thought it would be interesting to get someone else's take on the idea. From reporter, Trevor Hughes: "The rules of my visits were pretty simple: I couldn’t count a simple drive through or airport stop. Instead, I had to either sleep there, visit some sort of monument or point or interest, and, if possible, eat and drink something local. From cheese curds to Navajo tacos and lobster... read more
Michigan was my number 50!!!
Many of my friends have made 50!

South America » Chile » Atacama » Cerro Paranal May 31st 2017

Enjoy the open road? Jack Kerouac might have said it best in his famous novel On the Road: “I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.” His words serve as a testament to the power of a road trip; how the process of packing a car and driving long distances has the ability to transform us. Yet, what about the roads themselves? What makes this form of transportation more life-changing than, say, flying in an airplane? Or taking a url= The answer could be in the old chestnut: It’s not the destination but the journey that matters I always think of the old Willie Nelson song, "On the Road, Again... read more
The road less traveled?
Love our National Parks

North America » United States » California » Clovis May 23rd 2017

One of my favorite readers suggested I do an email about funny or unusual airline stories. Unfortunately, most fall into the unusual or sad, rather than funny or happy, that being the nature of airline travel these days. But here is a feeble attempt at it, with an open invitation to each of you for adding your own true stories. One of the worst things that can happen is when a nearby passengers has gas, by that, I mean flatus, farts, stinky, and sickening. We were on our way back from Costa Rica, sitting in First Class no less. The lady in front of us, and I use the term lady quite loosely, is farting up a storm. So, I grab a newspaper or magazine and starting fanning the air. The couple next to her has ... read more
Difficult: coloring book
Big Al is the best!

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