"Think of not being able to sleep as a blessing," a long since departed mentor once told me. I reminded myself of this comforting wisdom at 3:45 a.m. yesterday morning, when I finally gave up, got out of bed, and began to write this letter. The cause was jet lag—my husband, John, and I had returned a few days earlier from an extraordinary trip to Tokyo and Vietnam. I’ll tell you more about the Vietnam segment in a future issue (we were celebrating a milestone anniversary by indulging ourselves with the ultimate private Butterfield & Robinson biking trip); a guide to some of my favorite finds in Tokyo is at the bottom of this page.
I also have some great advisers in my life at T+L, whose wisdom now enhances my travels. When I was preparing for my recent vacation, three in particular shared their expert knowledge with me: Peter Jon Lindberg, on Vietnam, and Anya von Bremzen and Shane Mitchell, on Tokyo. One of Anya’s best tips, Tofuya Ukai, a dazzling downtown kaiseki-style restaurant—was taken directly from her feature story this month, "Best New Restaurants 2007". My past visits to other destinations highlighted in the April issue were premature, I’m sorry to say. I missed the significant insights of Alexandra Marshall on São Paulo ("High-Voltage Brazil"); Christopher Petkanas on the Veneto ("Viva Il Veneto"); Valerie Stivers-Isakova on Sochi, a classic Black Sea resort ("Russian Riviera"); and Gini Alhadeff on Wyoming ("True West"). But these places have simply been added onto my towering pile of future travel pleasures.
After reading T+L associate editor Amy Farley’s "Health and Fitness on the Road", as well as "Ask T+L", I know that my patch of jet lag has been offset by myriad physical benefits for the body and the mind. The blessings of sleeplessness are no doubt regularly experienced by many of the writers and photographers who contribute to T+L, but these are a secondary grace. They follow from the blessings of travel, which last far longer.
Trip Tips: Tokyo
Tabio A chain of shops with the most colorful and thick opaque tights I’ve seen (at the Omotesando Hills shopping mall). Omotesando Main Bldg. 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/5785-0561; www.omotesandohills.com.
Dog’s Care Joker Another chain, this one of canine emporiums, with great leashes and toys as well as outrageous clothing and gourmet feasts for dogs. Keyakizaka St., 6-12-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 81-3/5786-7711; www.joker.co.jp.
Shunju Tsugihagi Unspeakably delicious sushi. Nihon Seimei Bldg. B1, 1-1-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku; 81-3/3595-0511.
Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art Japanese 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century woodblock prints. 1-10-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; 81-3/3403-0880; www.ukiyoe-ota-muse.jp.
Mori Museum Well-curated exhibitions on mostly contemporary subjects. Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (53F), 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku; 81-3/5786-7711; www.mori.art.museum.