Lucky me: I get to spend most of the spring researching three chapter’s for the next edition of Lonely Planet China. I’ll be visiting “China’s Hawaii,” the island of Hainan, as well as Anhui and Zhejiang provinces south and southwest of Shanghai.
Super excited to see my first guidebook on a destination that isn’t Japan in print! For this edition of the Korea guide I covered the provinces in the southwest of the peninsula: Jeollanam, Jeollabuk & Chungcheongnam. This included the cities of Gwangju and Jeonju, which don’t see many international visitors, but have a lot going on. I also did the back of the book essay on the arts in Korea, which meant I got to spend some time in Seoul as well, connecting with the scene there. All total, eight weeks on the road!
Lonely Planet started a new series of cookbooks, called From the Source. The idea is to capture a place through its food, and include recipes from the best cooks who make the food — all with gorgeous photos throughout. This summer, editions for Italy and Thailand were released (photo above). I want to make everything.
Next up: Japan. I’m contributing the chapter on Tohoku & Hokkaido. The photographer and I are still in the process of sorting out our plans, but it looks like we’ll be road-tripping deep into Hokkaido. I can’t wait!
For this pocket-sized (well, purse-sized) guide, I cherry-picked all the absolute must-sees from the larger Tokyo city guide. The suggestions are arranged in neighborhood itineraries, which makes this a great guide for travelers who don’t have hours to put into planning what they see and do.
I co-authored this with the amazing, indefatigable Simon Richmond. This time I covered the western side of the city (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ebisu, and Korakuen), plus two neighborhoods on the east side: Ueno and Asakusa. I live on the west side, so it was really fun to spend weeks on the other side of the city, which I don’t get to so often (Tokyo is so big it’s an hour on the subway from one side to the other of what is still considered center city!).
The most exciting update to this book is the introduction of a new feature: mapped routes through “local” neighborhoods — the kind of places that don’t really have any sights but are fun places to hang out. Featured neighborhoods include: Shimo-Kitazawa, Daikanyama & Nakameguro, and Kagurazaka. Really, these are places you’d just want to wander, but we’ve highlighted favorite local cafes, shops, landmarks, etc.
It’s also chock-full of tips culled from all my family, friends and acquaintances in Tokyo — all of whom to which I am extremely grateful!
P. S. Just a few days after I saw a preview of the cover image, I was eating with some out of town friends at a random yakitori stall in Shinjuku’s Omoide-Yokocho. As I turned around to look out over the alley, I realized that the cover image was staring back at me. The photographer must have been standing at just about my exact spot.
904 pages! Bigger than the last edition. I updated the Tokyo chapter for this one. Included: a walking tour of the historic Yanaka district, a picture guide to the highlights inside the Tokyo National Museum, ramen tips from chef Ivan Orkin and unintuitive places to see cherry blossoms (like Aoyama Cemetery).
Lots of great trip planning info in the front of the book as well: If you haven’t picked up a Lonely Planet guide in a few years, you’d be surprised! Full color sample itineraries, country-wide overviews on skiing and hiking, and lots of tips for first-timers and repeat visitors.
This is a full-color greatest hits of Japan guide. Select excerpts from my most recent update of the Tokyo chapter in the full Japan guide appear here.
“Traditional bathhouses are an essential part of contemporary Korean culture. Literally ‘heated rooms’, these jjimjilbang (찜질방) are where locals come to unwind, hang out and engage in a whole host of health and beauty rituals that go far beyond a quick soak. They attract grandmas and young couples alike. . . . There is, however, an unspoken code of manners and customs, which can make visiting a jjimjilbang intimidating for foreign travellers. So we’re breaking it down for you, step by step. Just don your towel and follow our guide below and you’ll be soaking in a Korean spa like a pro in no time.”
Read the rest on LP.com.
“Jeonju is one of South Korea’s top destinations, though it remains under the radar for international travellers. The largest city in the country’s southwest, Jeonju has a vibrant historic district and a fantastic food scene: ‘eat once in Jeonju and you’ll be spoiled for life’, Koreans say.”
Read the rest on LP.com.
This is the new incarnation of LP’s Explore series, designed for short city stays. I was skeptical at first, that I could cover all of Tokyo properly in such a little guide, but the product design is really well done and as a traveler myself, I’ve come to be a big fan of this series.
One of the cool new features in this series is a spread called “Local Life,” which allowed me to cover neighborhoods that don’t really have any sights, but are fun to explore on a pedestrian level. Each spread has a mapped out walking route of some interesting spots — cafes, galleries, that sort of thing.
This guide includes local life spreads on Akihabara, Yanaka, Shimo-Kitazawa, and east Shinjuku (basically a bar crawl of the nightlife district here). There are also mapped city walks that cover contemporary architecture in Omotesando, “shitamachi” culture in Asakusa, and modern Japanese history in Ginza and Marunouchi.
The re-design meant that I got to do a lot of content from scratch — which doesn’t usually happen with a standard update — so I got to put more of my own voice in there. This was also the first book I did all by myself!