Offline for a Trans-Pacific Cruise, & Books about Japan

I am about to do something unprecedented: disappear from the Internet for the rest of the month of September. In my quest to explore the world, one of the trips I have never done is a repositioning trip, and I will be taking a ship across the Pacific, docking in Japan come the end of the month.

What this means is that I will have little to no Internet access, as it is available on the ship but at an astronomical price. I’ll be taking a Celebrity cruise that needs to reposition to Asia – and no, this is not a sponsored trip. Friends and I booked it via Cruise Sheet just like the rest of the world would do, ending up with a very reasonable price for an 18+ day expedition halfway across the world.

There will be stops in Eastern Russia and in Japan before the ship spits us out in Tokyo.

From there, I’ll be taking a G Adventures trip through Japan (link is to the itinerary). Since I was speaking at a conference on my birthday, I was unable to climb my annual Birthday Mountain – so Mount Fuji will be a belated birthday gift to myself.  The trip is a whirlwind, focusing on the highlights the country has to offer. Within the structure of the tour, I will, of course, be focusing on food.

I will admit that I am quite worried about the food, since much of what’s available in Japan has wheat in it. Even sushi basics often have wheat protein to bind materials together, let alone the copious use of soy sauce (which has wheat), wheat noodles, and flour. I am arming myself with some posts, which I have shared below, as well as a Gluten-Free card in Japanese.

Mt Fuji Japan by Uncornered Market
Dan & Audrey from Uncornered Market’s Fuji photo from their Japan Trip

As with last fall’s trip to India with my mum, I wanted to put together a pre-trip reading list for Japan. (The India reading list is here).

Books about Japan that I’ve Read and Enjoyed

Number9Dream David Mitchell           

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden 

South of the Border, West of the Sunand Kafka on the Shore Haruki Murakami

Samurai William The Englishman Who Opened the East, Giles Milton 

Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto, Victoria Abbott Riccardi

The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan, Alan Booth

Shogun, James Clavell 

Books about Japan Recommended by Readers

Via my Facebook page, l asked you what you would recommend for a pre-Japan reading list. Thank you for the suggestions!

Hokkaido Highway Blues Will Ferguson

Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West T.R. Reid  

Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know about Cooking Michael Booth

Dogra Magra Yumeno Kyûsaku (Author), Patrick Honnoré (Translator to French) 

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (Kindle Edition) Gail Tsukiyama

The Sound of Waves Yukio Mishima (Author), Meredith Weatherby (Translator)

Speed Tribes Karl Taro Greenfeld

Kitchen (A Black cat book) Banana Yoshimoto (Author), Megan Backus (Translator)

A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki

General Posts about Japan or Toyko

Japan and How I Failed to Figure it Out Wait but Why

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Japan for Food Lovers Migrationology

Japanese Food, from Tempura to Takoyaki Uncornered Market 

Ghosts of the Tsunami Richard Lloyd Parry (Note: one of the most sad and beautiful pieces I’ve read, other than The Man who Sailed his House, also  from post-tsunami Japan)

How Japan Stood up to Old Age Financial Times

Tokyo Cheapo’s Summary Page for Tokyo Tokyo Cheapo 

Where to Eat in Kyoto Follow me Foodie

Food in Tokyo Piglets of the World

Eating in Takayama Jo the Tart Queen

Guide to the Food of Kanazawa (PDF) Japan Tourist Board

Gluten Free Eats, Japan

Please see my long gluten free Japan guide here.


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If you have additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

At the moment I’m at my family’s place, frantically trying to get through the 55 things I need to finish before I hop a flight to the west coast and get on the ship. I’ve been excited for this for quite some time, both to get as much writing and reading done as possible, and because a Trans-Pacific trip is definitely an unusual way for me to get back to Asia, and I look forward to what it will entail.

I will be posting an Instagram or two along the way when obtaining Internet, and there might be one scheduled post here on the site midway through the trip.

But for the most part: you’ll hear from me in October. WEE!


I hope everyone has a great month!


p.s. a reminder that there are 3 more days to pick up your hand-drawn typographic food map of Thailand.

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