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Travel News

By Judy Newell

México Travel News

México City’s Hidden Little Tokyo

Japanese presence in México dates back 400 years to when the samurai Tsunenaga Hasekura stepped off a boat in Acapulco in 1614 to serve as the island’s first ambassador to what was then called New Spain.

A few centuries later, in 1976, a new Japanese embassy opened in the capital city, designed in the metabolist style by architect Kenzo Tange. As teppanyaki restaurants and Asian groceries began to sprout up in the surrounding neighborhood, it became an unofficial Little Tokyo district.

In the past few years, Little Tokyo has gotten more chic, with a wave of sleek new restaurants, a standing wine bar, and a contemporary 10-room ryokan, all within a few tree-lined blocks of one another.

Here are some of the highlights of the new generation of hot spots that are redefining México City’s Little Tokyo.


Rokai: This casual izakaya kicked off the Little Tokyo renaissance when it opened in 2012. It is tiny, with just a handful of seats at the sushi bar, so reservations are essential.

Rokai Ramen: This equally tiny ramen spot offers a dozen different broth-and-noodle combinations, plus hot dishes.

Hiyoko: This low-profile yakitori-ya has interior and bar seating for fewer than 20 guests who watch as the cooks at the grill and sear dainty skewers.

Le Tachinomi Desu: Inspired by the standing bars of Tokyo, it has no seating and specializes in natural wines, sake, and Japanese whiskey.

Ryo Kan: This new 10-room hotel is modeled after the traditional inns of Japan. The light, airy space seamlessly combines traditional Mexican elements with Japanese influences, like a koi pond and Zen garden. From US$150/night.


International News

Nearly 90 Elephants Slaughtered in Botswana

The carcasses of 87 elephants with their tusks hacked from their skulls have been discovered near the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, making it what some conservationists are calling elephant poaching on the largest scale ever seen in Africa.

The elephants, along with five dead white rhinos, were spotted by Elephants Without Borders, a Botswana-based conservation nonprofit conducting an aerial survey of the country, the BBC reported. Most of the elephants appear to have been poached within the last few weeks, according to the organization, a fact made all the more alarming by Botswana’s long history as a sanctuary for elephants and a country with some of Africa’s most stringent anti-poaching policies.

Botswana’s large elephant population had been maintained for years thanks to strict conservation measures, including a ban on elephant trophy hunting and a controversial shoot-to-kill policy for poachers. But policies have changed since the country swore in a new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, in April 2018.

Since taking office, Masisi has disarmed the country’s anti-poaching unit, which used to be equipped with military-grade hardware, and supported the parliament’s decision to lift a ban on elephant hunting for sport, NPR reported.

Cruise News

Newest Seabourn Ship Headed to Asia

The newest member of Seabourn’s luxury fleet of cruise ships is heading to the Far East. Seabourn Ovation kicks off its first season in Asia in late December 2018, making stops along the way in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The 600-passenger ship is sailing around the continent during a series of 14-day Vietnam and Thailand voyages. The five itineraries sail between Singapore and Hong Kong and include an overnight stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

Another new itinerary is the 14-day “Gems of the South China Sea” voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore. The trip starts February 2, 2019, and visits the Chinese port city of Xiamen and Manila in the Philippines. The cruise can be combined with the Vietnam and Thailand voyages.

Scenic Debuts Helicopters for Scenic Eclipse

Scenic Cruises recently accepted delivery of two state-of-the-art Airbus H130 helicopters as the new 228-passenger discovery yacht gets ready to set sail.

Scenic Eclipse, the company’s first ocean cruise ship, begins its inaugural season in late January 2019. The vessel will feature 114 all-veranda suites, ranging from 345 to 2,659 square feet; 10 dining options; a 5,920-square-foot spa with a separate yoga and Pilates studio; two helicopters and a six-guest submarine; a 240-seat theater; indoor and outdoor plunge pools; and an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio.

As with Scenic’s river cruise vessels, the yacht will offer an all-inclusive experience, including all shore excursions, butler service for every guest, all drinks and meals, and all gratuities. Helicopter and submarine tours are considered optional, and pricing has not been set.

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.—Paul Theroux


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Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, carr a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: Afar, Condé Nast Traveler, Inside Travel Report, Emerald Waterways


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