Destination: Asia

  • A fetish for New Mexico

    VISITORS to Santa Fe, N.M., can spirit home a bit of Indian tradition in the palms of their hands. Zuni fetishes, tiny stone carvings in the shapes of animals, are believed to summon each creature's traits within its owner. Snakes help discard old habits and views, for instance. Bears assist in...

  • A bridge to Japan's past

    A few hundred miles -- and a few hundred years in ambience -- from the churning megalopolis of Tokyo, the city of Takayama reminds visitors of a gentler time.

  • The poetic soul of Tohoku

    Matsuo Basho, Japan's most respected haiku poet, embarked on a pilgrimage to Tohoku in the spring of 1689, much to the amazement of his 17-syllable-spinning contemporaries. Five months and some serious blisters later, he felt suitably moved to write "The Narrow Road to the Deep North," a stunning...

  • Off the bus, into the countryside

    MANY people who see China do so from a tour bus. But adventurous travelers may find bonuses by leaving the beaten path. In June, I made my seventh trip to China, hiring guides in the regions I visited instead of joining a tour group. My request to each guide was the same: Avoid tourist spots; take...

  • A return to wartime Philippines

    The writer's mother and other former prisoners confront memories as they visit World War II sites.

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