Gerry Kataoka


Gerry Kataoka

Instead of a long discourse on where I have been, how about I ask you to read something I have written that might interest you. And likewise, please share with me some of your best adventures and thoughts?
People ask, where is your favorite place? Two actually, the Amazon rainforest, and Angkor complex in Siem Reap. But then again, I enjoy many places, having been to all fifty of our United States. I love our National Parks.
I don't count places, but I do count experiences and friends.

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto » Paredes December 3rd 2023

A recent trip to Paris Baguette, a newish French bakery in downtown Pleasant Hill, yielded a plethora of pastries and French delicacies. Among my favorites are the mochi donuts and the Pastel de Nata. From Eater Seattle: Pasteis (Pastel) de nata, also known as Portuguese egg tarts, were url= by monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon hundreds of years ago. At the time, monks and nuns used egg whites to starch their clothes (the past was a strange place), so they had a bunch of yolks lying around. Someone came up with the idea of putting egg custard in a pastry shell, sort of like a miniature pie, which is browned on top and sometimes sweetened with flavors like cinnam... read more
Love the Pastel

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ginza December 2nd 2023

Japanese spirits have come a long way over the last few years. Whether it's url= gin or a coveted bottle of url= read more
The Hibiki
The Nikka

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Omsk December 1st 2023

Unfortunately, I have had more than my share of bad Russian vodka. Here is my experience: According to Pictures in History: It's a fact that seems too wild to be true, but it's actually real: Russia ran out of vodka celebrating the end of World War II. On May 9th 1945, after Nazi Germany had surrendered, Russians celebrated with such enthusiasm and vigor that they drank all of their vodka reserves dry! It was an incredible display of jubilation from a country that had endured so much suffering during the war years, and one that will never be forgotten. The celebration also marked the beginning of a new era for the Soviet Union, as they emerged victorious in the conflict and began rebuilding their nation. So next time you raise your glass to toast a special ... read more
Really bad vodka

North America » United States » California » San Francisco » North Beach November 23rd 2023

For those of you who have never visited the famous Buena Vista Cafe in North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf, this story ought to entertain you. Maybe San Francisco didn’t invent Irish coffee, per se, but the city by the Bay sure popularized this cozy, whipped-creamy, whiskey-spiked coffee drink. The story goes: one November evening in 1952, Pulitzer-Prize-winning travel writer Stanton Delaplane was sitting at the bar of the Buena Vista Café on Hyde Street when the café’s owner, Jack Koeppler, challenged Delaplane to help duplicate the original, which the writer had tasted at Ireland’s Shannon Airport. They tried one concoction after the next, not quite getting it right. Finally, Koeppler returned to Shannon to ask the original inventor, Chef Joe Sheridan, for advice. Eventually, the recipe was perfected. Turns out there are two secrets: The cream needs to ... read more
The BV view and cable car
BV bartender

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens » Pláka November 22nd 2023

A writer on Insider mentioned that of her 40 trips, 20 have been solo. That got me thinking about how many countries I have visited solo. This includes many that I have done with others. Or multiple times. Also, please note that some travelers do not consider traveling solo and traveling alone to be the same. Solo: (Belgrade) Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece (4 times), Bucharest, Romania, Istanbul (twice), Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Lyon, Champagne, Berlin, Lisboa, Porto, Vienna, Amsterdam, London, Russia, Japan, Porto, Portugal, Finland, Warsaw, Poland (3 times), Iceland, Thailand, Mexico City, Toronto, and Vancouver, Canada, Slovakia. Looks like 25. I do not regard it as a big deal. Most were intentional, a few were not. But rarely do I feel alone. In Athens, I was adopted by my Greek brothers, Stavros, Giorgos, and Vasili. ... read more
Times Square with Kenbob
My Greek brothers and sisters

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Shinjuku November 15th 2023

I hate long layovers on my flights to Europe, Asia, or South America. But these are some of my favorites, from Simple Flying. From the world's largest indoor waterfall to the world's tallest slides inside an airport, Singapore Changi offers much more than just air travel. The airport currently has more than 80 restaurants, cafes, and bars, providing ample choices for food enthusiasts. The airport also includes a movie theater, along with a sound and light show, complemented by additional offerings such as a spa and canopy bridge where you can take a stroll and stretch your legs while enjoying a scenic view. This is probably the gold standard. Haneda Airport, conveniently located less than an hour away from popular Tokyo destinations like Asakusa, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, stands out as the city's most accessible airport. Abundant ... read more
New Istanbul airport
HK airport

North America » United States » Hawaii » Kapaa November 12th 2023

From CNBC: The most off-putting behaviors According to the report, the most aggravating in-flight behavior is the invasion of personal space — be it encroaching on an armrest, leg room area or crossing the invisible boundary that separates passenger seats. Some 77% of people in the survey said they were "bothered" by it, with 51% saying they were "very bothered." (I hate the seat hog) In second place are unhygienic behaviors, such as clipping fingernails or taking off shoes, according to the survey of more than 2,200 Americans. However, url= everyone objects to removing shoes on flights, with less than half of people in Asia (49%) and just over a third of those in the United Arab Emirates (38%) deeming the practice unacceptable in a YouGov survey p... read more
Just quiet please!
Some movie time?

North America » United States » California » Napa November 12th 2023

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North America » United States » California » Napa November 11th 2023

Have you ever noticed that most other wine regions compare themselves to the Napa Valley? For good reason, Napa Valley wines are still the gold standard. And while these other areas have excellent, even award-winning wines, Napa is the glamor name through the years. Having tasted wine in Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia, I always hear Napa as the "grand" comparison. I much prefer Napa Valley as well, just because of familiarity, and comfort. I know where to go, and what to eat. I have cycled through the Valley since the 70s. I love the vibe, despite the ridiculous prices of both wine and tasting options. Go online, and it is not unusual to find wine tasting options at some Napa wineries over $100!!!!! But best travel buddy, Mike and I were just talking this ... read more
4 sparklings at Domaine
Sunshine Cafe, Napa

North America » United States » Maryland » Annapolis November 8th 2023

We all need an escape from our regular routine. Visiting the east coast is a dramatic reset from my everyday routine. Of course, I get spoiled by the generosity and hilarity of my dear friends, Dirty Pat and Mrs. Pat (Renae). The coastal air is clean and cool. The leaves are every shade of brown to orange to red. The ground is moist and soft. The roads in the "village" of Annapolis have no sidewalks, the trees are tall and green. The town is as historic and quaint as possible. Why is the east coast so different than California? Yes, the weather, the landscape, the people? I would say it is the richer, and much longer traditions.Care to argue or discuss? Food is always a big deal here, particularly seafood. Food is always a big deal ... read more
Tail gate before Ravens smothered the Seahens
Naval Academy visit

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