Instagram: "Why hello there, #Kyoto! Mario jump outside of Kyoto Station."
This new series features dispatches from LGBTQ travel writers, bloggers, and photographers who are on the road in far-flung places. If you know somebody who should be featured here, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Stockwell is a 27-year-old British teacher and traveler living in Taipei, Taiwan who writes a site about his travels called 'Waegook Tom'. He explains:
Waegook – the Korean word for “foreign”. So, basically, Waegook Tom is “foreign Tom”.
Tom has been traveling around Japan for the past week and delivering some eye-opening images of its landscapes, its cities, and its food, touching down in Tokyo, and continuing on to Osaka and Kyoto.
Tom writes of the photo below: "One of the most famous places in #Kyoto is the bamboo forest, a lovely place to have a stroll and escape the city."
He's also a really excellent food photographer.
More of his shots of food and life in Japan, AFTER THE JUMP...
First the food:
Japan's first lady Akie Abe participated in Tokyo's Gay Pride parade on Sunday to show her support for LGBT people, AFP reports:
The 51-year-old wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe donned a white suit to stand on a float with a drag queen, as some 3,000 participants marched through the trendy Shibuya business and shopping district.
Akie, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on her Facebook page later that she has been involved in the issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year.
“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” she wrote.
Watch Akie on her float, AFTER THE JUMP...
The AFP reports:
"This is our first attempt to link up with many groups" of sexual minorities, said one of the organisers, Hiroko Masuhara, 35. "The parade is a symbolic event in the (Tokyo) Rainbow Week programme." Masuhara, who held a wedding with her partner at Tokyo Disney Resort last month, said support for gay rights was rising in Japan. "We have an impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years," she said.
Masuhara and her partner became the first gay couple to be married at Tokyo's Disneyland.
Rainbow Week ends May 6. Watch a video of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP.
The Magic Kingdom just got a little more magic in Japan, the Taipei Times reports:
Tokyo Disneyland said this week it would allow gay couples to hold ceremonies on its grounds, although same-sex weddings have no legal status in Japan.
Disneyland’s decision came to light after Koyuki Higashi, a 27-year-old woman, inquired about marrying her female partner, identified only as Hiroko, at the resort. Higashi was initially told she would be able to marry her partner provided they were dressed “like a man and a woman,” she wrote on her blog. Staff at Disneyland, which attracts about 14 million visitors a year, were apparently concerned about how other visitors would react to the sight of couples both dressed in wedding dresses or tuxedos.
A spokeswoman for Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of Tokyo Disney Resort, later said there had been a misunderstanding, telling Higashi and her partner they could dress how they pleased, although they would not be able to exchange vows in the chapel because of “Christian teachings.”
The park is now accepting all applications for same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The new Black Eyed Peas video "Just Can't Get Enough" was shot in Tokyo a week before the earthquake, ET reports:
"It was the easiest video I ever shot because it was us living our lives," Fergie says. "I love that it's showing a true perspective of how it can sometimes be lonely on the road away from our loved ones. It also demonstrates the love and connection we have with Japan. Our heart goes out to all of the Japanese people who have been affected by this natural disaster."
"It was an amazing moment in time because Japan has always been my favorite place on the planet," Taboo says. "It was great to do our video there. God bless the Japanese. Our love goes out to them."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...