A couple of weeks ago I spent the afternoon visiting the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. Wow, what a strange experience! Continue reading
Everyone loves to complain about taxes. While we all make a fuss, how much do taxes influence our lives? Japan just ran a small tax experiment and the results are very clear. Even relatively small changes in sales taxes have a big impact on when we purchase things. Continue reading
Last week the NY Times ran an article that stated the Obama administration has spent $11 billion on high speed train travel since 2009 and has almost nothing to show for the expenditure. I have been thinking about this article since over the past six months I have ridden on a number of high speed trains in Italy, Japan and South Korea. The allure of high speed trains for an individual is clear. You get on a train in the center of one major city with no security check, no need to be there 1 hour before the flight leaves, and no lines. The trains almost always leaves on time, and then arrives on time in the center of a different city quickly and efficiently. It is a low hassle travel experience compared to flying or driving.
A little over a week ago I spent one night in a Japanese Capsule Hotel. Japan has some of the highest land prices and population densities in the world. To ensure that tourists, people with early appointments and businessmen who miss the last train home have a place to stay the cities have capsule hotels. These hotels rent out “rooms” that are slightly bigger than a coffin. A picture I took of one bank of capsule rooms is below. While in the US and Europe there are a number of pod hotels, capsule hotels rent spaces that are a fraction the size of a pod hotel room.