Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Activities to welcome Double Ninth Festival

Children wash their grandmothers' feet at a kindergarten in
Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei province, Oct 25, 2017. [
The ninth day of the ninth lunar month marks the traditional Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival, which falls on Saturday this year.

As respecting older people is a traditional virtue of Chinese and showing them respect on the Double Ninth Festival is a tradition, the Chinese government declared the Double Ninth Festival as Seniors' Day in 1989.

This year, various activities are organized to welcome the approaching Double Ninth Festival around China.

A group of senior citizens travel together in Zhangjiajie, Central China's Hunan province Oct 24, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]


Sydney Olympic Park is the venue for the new-look Caravan and Camping Lifestyle Expo to be held from November 3-6.

The Expo features a wide range of motorhomes, campervans, caravans, slide-ons and camper-trailers as well as great value offers and fun new things to do for both kids and adults.

Bring your pet along to the Doggy Rest Stop, check out the mechanical surfboard, slip down the inflatable slides or scale the climbing wall (weekends only).

For more information and to buy tickets, go to caravanexpo.com.

Izumisano City, Osaka

Do you know that within a mere 20 minutes from Kansai International Airport, you can visit Izumisano City that is a gate city of Japan and just a 40-minute drive from the airport will take you to nice hot spring spots and Inunaki Mountain? 

In the hot spring spots, while bathing in the open-air bath, you will experience picturesque views, such as cherry blossoms in spring, green leaves in summer, foliage in fall, and trees covered with snow in winter. 

Once you step into the deep mountain area, Inunaki Mountain, you will feel the sacred atmosphere. 

This mountain is known as a spiritual place for Shugen-do, Japanese mountain asceticism. 

It is considered one of the oldest sacred places in Japan, with a history of more than 1300 years as a place to practice mountain asceticism. 

There are 48 large and small waterfalls and the main temple, Shipporyuji-temple. 

We are looking forward to your coming to Izumisano City, if you have a time to spare before your flight.

Learn more at http://www.guide-izumisano.jp

Cathay Pacific announce first permanent Airbus A350 to fly out of Perth

On board Cathay Pacific Airbus A350
Business class on Cathay's new A350
Cathay Pacific’s newest aircraft to its fleet - the A350-900, has landed as a permanent fixture to Perth Airport. With a capacity of 280 passengers the A350 will replace the current A330-300 on the airline’s daily Hong Kong service, adding more than 21,000 seats to the route per year.

Departing for its first flight from Perth Airport at 11.55pm on Sunday 29 October 2017, passengers will benefit from a range of new innovative features onboard the aircraft dubbed the ‘hush-liner’ such as quieter cabins, intelligent mood lighting, and improved cabin pressure and humidity levels, all designed to enhance the quality of sleep onboard and reduce jetlag and travel fatigue.

Getting some shut eye on your red eye flight is not always easy, which is why Cathay Pacific have also partnered with Sleep Expert, Professor Peter Eastwood from The University of Western Australia to create the Ultimate Sleep Guide, providing expert tips and advice on the science behind getting the best inflight sleep.

“There are a number of factors which can affect the quality of on board sleep, however the new features of the Cathay Pacific A350, combined with some simple strategies, can make a big difference. Ideally you want to sleep when it is night time at your destination. Set your watch to the destination time and try to sleep at the appropriate time for your new location. This is helped by the smart lighting on the Cathay Pacific A350 flight, as it’s programmed to reflect day-time and night-time. Passengers who sleep during the ‘dark hours’ become better adapted to the sleep and wake cycles needed at your new location,” said Professor Peter Eastwood.

“No traveller wants to lose precious time to jetlag or to feel fatigued when they arrive at their destination, so it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge outlined in the Ultimate Sleep Guide, and of course, benefit from the features on board the Cathay Pacific A350.”

Rakesh Raicar, Cathay Pacific’s General Manager for Southwest Pacific stated the permanent addition of the A350 at Perth Airport is a demonstration of the brands commitment to the region.

“Cathay Pacific has a long and successful history with Perth and the Western Australian market, with our first Perth-Hong Kong service departing in 1970 and from here we now have 10 flights operating out of Perth, so we are thrilled to make our A350 the first permanent aircraft of its kind, demonstrating our continued commitment to the region,” said Mr Raicar.

“The A350 will deliver a superior travel experience that passengers have come to expect from Cathay Pacific, combined with one of the best networks around the world.”

Perth Airport Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Brown said that the introduction of the A350 aircraft highlights Cathay Pacific’s commitment to the State of Western Australia.

“Visitors from Hong Kong injected $100 million into the Western Australian economy last year and Cathay Pacific provides a crucial link for this important market,” said Mr Brown.

The airline will operate the following flights:

New Cathay Pacific Perth Schedule From 29 October

Flight      Days               Depart  Arrive


CX170   Daily               23:55     07:40+1

CX136   Mon/Fri/Sun   7:40       15:30


CX171 Daily                  14:55     22:35

CX137 Thu/Sat/Sun       22:40     06:20+1

For further information and to book Cathay Pacific flights, please visit www.cathaypacific.com.au

To download the Ultimate Sleep Guide go to: http://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_AU/offers/collection/the-science-of-inflight-sleeping.html


While the recent fires impacted a small portion of the County, the vast majority of Sonoma's landscape, vineyards, and locally-grown food remains intact. Planning a trip to Sonoma to experience the region's wineries, breweries, cheese makers, farmers, and local artisans can help local families recover economically. Please check Sonoma County Tourism for latest access updates. Sonoma County welcomes you.

Immerse yourself in all that California wine country has to offer in Sonoma County, just an hour north of San Francisco, and a world away from ordinary. With stunning natural beauty, world-class wines, delicious farm-to-fork food, charming small towns, and a dynamic arts scene, Sonoma County is the perfect addition to your trip to San Francisco. Here’s a quick list of the 10 best ways to discover your passion in Sonoma County.

1. Wine Tasting & Winery Tours

This is wine country after all. What better way to explore it than sipping and nibbling your way through a few of Sonoma County’s more than 425 wineries? Follow Hwy. 12 from Sonoma to Santa Rosa or drive north out of Healdsburg on Dry Creek Road to discover dozens of wineries, from high-end, high-design wine castles to charming mom-and-pop operations. Immerse yourself in the educational and culinary experiences at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens. Browse the movie memorabilia at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, or savor the acclaimed multi-course wine-and-food pairing at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards. Taste wine and history at Buena Vista Winery, California’s oldest premium winery. Take a fun “tram” tour through bio-dynamic vineyards at Benziger Family Winery, and sip wine in a modern “castle” with gothic spires and archways at Ledson Winery & Vineyards. Sonoma County has it all. And if you want more than wine, follow the Sonoma County Beer, Cider & Spirits map to sample Sonoma County’s flourishing craft breweries, distilleries and cider houses.

2. Farm-Fresh Food, Acclaimed Restaurants

In Sonoma County, slow food and farm-to-fork aren’t trends; they’re a long-established way of life. Whether it’s a food truck at a local farmer's market or a sit-down meal in one of Sonoma County’s acclaimed restaurants, expect everything to be fresh, delicious, and innovative. Local chefs are passionate about using the best Sonoma County has to offer — just-picked organic produce, handcrafted artisan cheeses, sustainably farmed meats, fresh-off-the-boat seafood — to please the palate of even the most demanding diners.

3. Walking, Hiking (& Zipping)

With more than 60 nature parks, over 200,000 acres protected from development, and miles of trails for all skill levels, Sonoma County just beckons to be explored on foot. Stroll through the serene, majestic grove at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. For more of a challenge, explore the 20 miles of trails at Austin Creek State Recreation Area. For a complete change of pace (pun intended), soar through the redwood canopy at Sonoma Canopy Tours, with seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a spiral staircase, and an 80-foot rappel.

4. Bicycle in Paradise

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, when it comes to bicycling, Sonoma County is one of the best destinations on the planet. Cycle leisurely past vineyards and along country roads, stopping at wineries or craft breweries along the way. Or tackle more challenging routes, twisting high into scenic mountains or winding along the stunning Pacific Ocean coastline. Peddle through wild wetlands, meadows overflowing with spring wildflowers, straw-colored summer hillsides dotted with oaks, or along easy trails through ranchland and vineyards along old railroad routes. Rent a bicycle or take a guided tour and create a memorable adventure by discovering Sonoma County on two wheels.

5. Explore the Russian River, Lake Sonoma

Whether your goal is to fish, explore, swim or just relax, the Russian River and Lake Sonoma offer perfect opportunities to get out on the water in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Lake Sonoma also welcomes ski boats, jet skis and sailboats. Bring your own, rent or take a guided paddling tour exploring Sonoma County waters.

6. Discover the Stunning Pacific Coast

More than 50 miles of gorgeous coastline form Sonoma County’s western boundary, beckoning to those with a passion for beachcombing, walking bluff-top trails, or just dipping a toe into the Pacific Ocean. Snuggle into a remote inn or resort, then discover coastal wonders. Watch for migrating whales, and visit the colony of sea lions that “summers“ at Goat Rock Beach each year. Fly a kite on a two-mile stretch of sandy beach at Doran Regional Park on the southern end of the coastline, or explore the six public access trails at The Sea Ranch in the north.

7. Step Back in History

Visit the last and northernmost of the California Missions at Sonoma State Historic Park. Learn how wine tools shaped the industry at the Buena Vista, California’s oldest commercial winery. Experience life on a rancho at the Petaluma Adobe. Explore a former Russian colony perched high on a gorgeous coastal bluff at Fort Ross. Visit the final home of the famous author and adventurer at Jack London State Historic Park. Stroll through horticultural history at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens.

8. Steep Yourself in Art

In addition to stunning vistas, Sonoma County offers a wide array of art galleries, museums and outdoor sculpture to delight the eyes and sooth the soul. From whimsical creations made of recycled materials on Sebastopol’s Florence Avenue to more than 30 works along the Sculpture Trail in Geyserville and Cloverdale, everywhere you look in Sonoma County you’ll find artistic visions brought to life.

9. Music, Music Everywhere

From small stages in local pubs, farmers markets or festivals to two world-class concert halls, music fills the air throughout Sonoma County. The Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus and the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa present nationally and internationally renowned performers.

10. Pampering Spas

Whether you want to snuggle into a cedar enzyme bath, have your skin rejuvenated with a Crushed Cabernet scrub, or let a massage therapist knead your stress away, Sonoma County is the perfect spot to kick back, relax and indulge yourself with pampering wellness treatments. More than 40 spas and wellness centers offer unique experience countywide.

Having trouble deciding what to do first? Check the listings of special Sonoma County deals to find offers and packages that let you discover the beauties and abundance of Sonoma Wine Country.

Brisbane and the Great Ocean Road included in Lonely Planet’s best family travel destinations for 2018

Leading global travel authority Lonely Planet has named Brisbane one of the world’s Top 10 Best Culture Trips for Families in 2018, and the Great Ocean Road is recommended for Cross Generational Travel next year in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018, published this week.

Best in Travel 2018 is Lonely Planet’s 13th annual agenda-setting collection of the world’s hottest destinations, experiences and trends for the year ahead. The best-selling inspirational travel yearbook highlights the top 10 cities, countries and regions that Lonely Planet’s experts recommend travellers experience in 2018, as well as various new travel trends such as Cross-Generational Travel.

“For a taste of the uber-relaxed, outdoorsy, barbecue-loving culture that is quintessentially Australian, a trip to Brisbane hits the right notes for those with kids”, writes Lonely Planet’s Imogen Hall. “Splash around on man-made Streets Beach (perfect for small swimmers) or let off steam in the tree-house playground at New Farm Park. Relax with a BBQ in the riverside South Bank Parklands before checking out koalas at nearby Lone Pine Sanctuary. For a taste of ancient Australian culture, there’s Aboriginal art in the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), which runs sessions for children.”

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best Culture Trips for Families in 2018 are:

1. Oman
2. Norway
3. Namibia
4. Mexico
5. Emilia-Romagna, Italy
6. Orkney, Scotland
7. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
8. Nashville, USA
9. Brisbane, Australia
10. Kyoto, Japan

The book also declares Cross-Generational Travel as a Top Travel Trend for 2018. The top 10 locations recommended here are:
1. Budapest, Hungary

2. The Nile, Egypt
3. Oaxaca, Mexico
4. Napa Valley, USA
5. Great Ocean Road, Australia
6. Kerala, India
7. Tyrol, Austria
8. Beijing, China
9. Kenya
10. Naples, Italy

Lonely Planet’s writers and experts spend time on the road in almost every destination on the planet, and each year they report which destinations are set to take off, offering travellers the best experience available. The destinations selected for Best in Travel meet specific criteria. It could be that something special is going on in the year ahead, or there's been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place; that it offers travellers new things to see or do; or that the Lonely Planet team of experts thinks it’s been overlooked and underrated and suggests travellers visit before the crowds do.

Deciding what to include in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process involving the whole of Lonely Planet’s community: from its writers and editors all the way to its online family of bloggers and tweeters. Each year, they come up with hundreds of places that are not to be missed. These are then whittled down by a panel of in-house travel experts who shortlist in line with criteria such as topicality, excitement and wow-factor.

www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel features all of the Best in Travel 2018 destinations and additional advice on visiting them. Four videos accompany each of the number one destinations to reveal why they were selected the top spots for travel in 2018; all captured using GoPro equipment by Lonely Planet’s experts on the road. Travellers can also enter a My Best in Travel video competition via the website to win return flights for two to the number one country Chile and a GoPro Hero6 Black provided by this year’s sponsor, GoPro.

208pp, full colour, 180mm x 145mm, paperback, AU$24.99

As doctor gains trust, her practice grows in China

When Zhong Jing, 35, moved to Longhe nine years ago, there was no clinic and no road. Sick villagers had to get up at 5 am and walk more than four hours to see a doctor. That's the only way they could return while the sun was still up.

Since she arrived, Zhong has been running the only clinic in the village, in Guizhou province's Qianxi'nan Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture. She sees more than 100 patients on a busy day, some coming from neighboring communities. On those days, eating just one meal is commonplace.

"Even though a road has been built now and transportation is more convenient, traveling outside the village for treatment has become the last choice, because residents now have doctors they know personally who will take care of them on their doorstep," said Zhong, a delegate to the ongoing 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Zhong formerly worked at a private hospital in Guiyang, the provincial capital. In 2006, she made her first visit to Longhe, more than 200 kilometers distant, because her husband worked for the local government.

When she learned that many elderly Longhe villagers had arthritis or other age-related conditions, and that some women were infertile because of gynecological problems, leading to divorce, her heart was moved.

In 2008, she resigned from the hospital in Guiyang and set up the small clinic in Longhe using 20,000 yuan ($3,000) of her own money - her entire savings at the time.

To make medicines more affordable, she turned bulk medicines into pills. To encourage sick patients to get timely treatment, she pledged she would not charge them until after they had fully recovered.

As her skills began to be recognized by the residents, increasing numbers of patients with arthritis, gynecological problems and skin diseases came for help. Residents would also ask her for advice when their livestock became ill.

"I told myself I must learn, because they trust me," said Zhong. "For unfamiliar diseases, I would consult medical books in the evening. For diseases whose treatment I could not find in the book, I would ask for advice from doctors I know."

Everything went well until three months later, when Zhong's husband was transferred to another post in Xingyi, the seat of the prefecture 80 kilometers away. Zhong wavered, but finally chose to stay.

To make sure homebound and empty-nest elderly patients get timely treatment, Zhong began to make weekly house calls, providing checkups and advice. To reach some households, Zhong had to walk more than four hours on a bumpy, sometimes muddy mountain road.

"No matter how bad the weather is, Zhong comes to visit us whenever we need treatment," said resident Li Guofang.

"Zhong had been very kind to the villagers, elders and children alike. She had been so busy that sometimes she has had no time for meals," said Zhong Shiying, 66, who often wen to Zhong for arthritis treatments.

Now Zhong has become more ambitious. She wants to motivate residents to supplement their incomes by planting traditional Chinese herbs. She offered to help sell them to drug companies.

"The idea is not yet mature," she said. "I have to make sure it will benefit the people before I start."

Contact the writers at lilei@chinadaily.com.cn     (China Daily 10/23/2017 page2)

InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort named among best resorts in Asia

The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort has been honoured among the Top 10 resorts in Asia by the world prestigious travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler in its recent annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

This year, the 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey set another record with more than 300,000 travellers voting for their favourite hotels and resorts, cities, cruise ships and island destinations.

The list also had the appearance of other well-known tourist paradises such as Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa (Thailand), Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle (Thailand) and St. Regis Bali Resort (Bali, Indonesia).

Earlier, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort had taken second place in the list of Best Resort Hotel in Asia Pacific 2017 by Business Traveller, and had made it to the list of Top 100 Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2017.


Triathlon will make its debut as an exhibition event from January 20-27 when the 17th Australian Deaf Games are held in in Albury-Wodonga. Attracting more than 400 participants from 18 sports, the Games are a key platform for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community to compete at the highest level in Australia and to strive for selection on the Australian Deaflympic Team.

Triathlon Australia has a proud history of promoting equal opportunities and inclusion, and was one of the first sports to ensure that professional female triathletes received equal pay. The sport also made its debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympics with Paratriathlon.

The NSW Government is a key supporter of the Games via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Hanson at Epcot's Food and Wine's Eat to the Beat Concert Series

This is for Disney and Hanson fans! Let's have a great time and show the guys how big of Fansons we are.

The shows are Monday October 31, 2017 at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm; lastly November 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm and 8:00 pm.

A ticket is needed into Epcot but not for The Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Please line up 30 minutes before, most fans will be waiting there longer, but there isn't a bad seat at the American Gardens Theater. With three shows you could get better seats for the next show if willing to miss/watch from the line.

Don't miss out on your chance to try and enjoy MMMhops!

Visitor arrivals to Macao increase by 2.4 pct in September

Macao's visitor arrivals in September increased by 2.4 percent year-on-year, but down by 13.3 percent month-to-month, with overnight visitors rising by 5.4 percent, the special administrative region (SAR)'s statistics department said on Monday.

Data issued from the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) indicated that visitor arrivals totaled 2.49 million in September. Due to the ending of summer travel rush, the total arrivals in September decreased by 13.3 percent compared with the figure in August.

Overnight visitors increased to 1.38 million by 5.4 percent year-on-year, while same-day visitors (1.11 million) decreased by 1.0 percent. The average length of stay of visitors (1.3 days) held steady year-on-year, with that of overnight visitors and same-day visitors remaining unchanged at 2.2 days and 0.2 day respectively.

Visitors from the Chinese mainland increased by 9.2 percent year-on-year to 1.72 million in September, mainly from Guangdong, Hunan and Fujian provinces. Visitors from South Korea (60,940) recorded a 10.6 percent growth, while those from Hong Kong SAR (451,307) and China's Taiwan region (86,183) went down by 14.3 percent and 5.8 percent respectively. Long-haul visitors from the United States, Australia, Canada and Britain all registered decreases.

DSEC data also showed that in the first three quarters of 2017, visitor arrivals totaled 23.84 million, up by 4.2 percent year-on-year. Overnight visitors (12.64 million) rose by 10.8 percent while same-day visitors (11.20 million) dropped by 2.3 percent. The average length of stay of visitors (1.2 days) held stable year-on-year, with that of overnight visitors (2.1 days) falling by 0.1 day and that of same-day visitors staying at 0.2 day.

In the first three quarters of 2017, visitors from the Chinese mainland (16.09 million) and South Korea (644,109) increased by 6.3 percent and 34.9 percent respectively year-on-year.

Just 80 days to go until the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival

The countdown is on to one of the biggest parties the Whitsundays has ever seen, with just 80 days until the Clipper Race Fleet sails into town and the Clipper Race Carnival begins.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is a unique event which sees seasoned skippers paired with novice crews on an epic 40,000 nautical mile adventure.

The Whitsundays stopover will be the final one in Australia for the Clipper 2017-18 Race, and will be a fortnight of showcasing the Whitsunday region and what it is renowned for - beautiful scenery, amazing sailing and warm, Queensland hospitality.

The Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival, from January 13 to 29, 2018, will be a whole-of-region event for visitors and locals and of course the Clipper crews, their families, friends and supporters.

Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said the fleet “can’t wait” to get to the Whitsundays, having already had a taste of what the region offers in 2016.

“This will be our second visit to the Whitsundays, after the Clipper 2015-16 Race stopped in Airlie Beach on the way to Vietnam in January 2016,” said legendary sailor and Clipper Race Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

“Whilst we created memories to last a lifetime during that stopover, the 2018 edition, with the addition of the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival, will make it even bigger and better. With just 80 days to go, we can’t wait to get there and are all now counting down to some incredible experiences.”

Situated in the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef with 74 island wonders, the Whitsundays is sure to provide a stopover that will be a stand-out experience for the Clipper Race fleet.

Events will be staged across the Whitsundays, starting with a big welcome party for both the Clipper Race crew and the community in Airlie Beach, with the events calendar to also include a Long Table Lunch on the pristine silica sands of Whitehaven Beach, on Whitsunday Island, and an Australia Day Rodeo in Bowen, at the top of the Whitsundays.

Locals and visitors to the region will also have the chance to see inside the fleet’s vessels during ‘open boat’ tours and there will be a Crew Presentation Night detailing how people from all walks of life can take on the ultimate ocean adventure.

Abell Point Marina is hosting the vessels in Airlie Beach and General Manager Luke McCaul said it was an honour to welcome the Clipper Race fleet, their families and supporters, for what promised to be one of the biggest parties the Whitsundays has ever seen.

“The Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival is a combined project between the marina, the council and Tourism Whitsundays and it promises to be a fantastic event, with something for everyone,” he said.

“The free Community Welcome Event will be held on the Airlie Beach Foreshore and everyone is welcome to come along.

“The Progressive Lunch, meanwhile, will be held in various locations, on Sunday January 21, 2018, where people can experience fine dining with a relaxing yacht cruise through the wondrous Whitsundays, sipping on sparkling wine and enjoying fresh local seafood as they cruise the world’s most famous reef. Tickets are available on the Tourism Whitsundays website.”

The Clipper teams will ring in 2018 by departing Hobart on Friday, January 5, following the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and will then race each other up the east coast of Australia, with the fleet scheduled to start arriving to Airlie Beach from Saturday January 13, 2018.

For more information about the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the Whitsunday Clipper Race Carnival please visit the Whitsundays Clipper Race Website where there is also a Race Viewer to watch all the action.

Shirakawa-go Light-up

  • Tour sales have been launched.
  • Fantasy world is created once a year
YOKOSO Japan Tour is operated by bus with a parking permit. 

Tour bus stops at the parking lot, which is within walking distance of the illumination site. 

If you feel tired of cold weather after enjoy seeing illuminations, tour bus takes you directly to your hotel or arrival point. 

For viewing the illumination in Shirakawago, please join our tour!

Tour departs from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and a nearby hotel where you stay.
For details on tours>> SHIRAKAWAGO & GOKAYAMA Light-up Special

※Shirakawago illumination has been scheduled as of today.
The date is subject to change or the event can be cancelled.
The schedule will be finalized at the last part of November.
Please note we will inform you only if the date is changed or the event is cancelled.


An overview of the 2017 Financial Review Young Rich List was published online at www.afr.com at 3.00pm Thursday October 27, 2017, and then in full at 6.00am on Friday October 28, 2017.

A special lift-out edition of the Financial Review Young Rich List – including a short story on each of the top 100 featured this year - is available inside the November issue of AFR Magazine, released in The Australian Financial Review on Friday October 27, 2017.

In addition to the printed product, www.afr.com will present in-depth analysis of the trends behind the Young Rich List and profiles on some of the newcomers, as well as videos and interactive graphics.

● Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar (#1&2) top the 2017 Young Rich List with a record $6.08 billion combined wealth

● Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar’s wealth total as of 2017 equals more than 10 times the wealth of the next two placegetters on this year’s Young Rich List.

● #3&4 are Dave Greiner and Ben Richardson ($607 million) from web marketing business Campaign Monitor

● #5 on is Melbourne property developer Tim Gurner, with wealth of $465 million

● There are 27 debutants on the 2017 Young Rich List, including global fitness and health star Emily Skye (#83, $32 million) and Airtasker co-founders Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui (#66,67, $41 million). The youngest debutants are HiSmile co-founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic who debut in positions 58 and 59 with combined wealth of $46 million. The Gold Coast duo are aged 22 and 24 respectively

● There are nine women on the 2017 Young Rich list, up from eight last year. They include Canva CEO Melanie Perkins (#17, $128 million), model Miranda Kerr (#62, $44million) and fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who jumps 11 places up to #40 with shared wealth of $46 million

● Total wealth of the 2017 Young Rich List reaches a record $13.2 billion for the 100 list members, up from $12.3 billion in 2016. The average wealth per person on the List rises to $132 million, up from $123 million last year

Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar top the 2017 Financial Review Young Rich List with combined wealth of $4.6 billion.

The technology duo’s rise in wealth follows a surge in the share price of their software company Atlassian on the US NASDAQ exchange market. Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar have topped the Young Rich List a record six times, jointly taking out the #1 spot in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – and again this year.

Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar’s wealth total as of 2017 equals more than 10 times the wealth of the next two placegetters on this year’s Young Rich List.

The third and fourth spots on the 2017 Young Rich List are occupied by another technology duo - Dave Greiner and Ben Richardson – with a combined wealth of $607 million. Greiner and Richardson are co-founders of Sydney web marketing services company Campaign Monitor.

Number five on the List in Melbourne property developer Tim Gurner, who runs development company Gurner.

Gurner, whose wealth sits at $465 million, hit the headlines in May this year after saying that young Australians would struggle to buy a home when they were “spending $40 a day on smashed avocados and coffees and not working.”

Coming in at #6 is co-founder of online foreign exchange trader Pepperstone, Owen Kerr, with wealth of $368 million. He sits one place above New York-based technology and property identity Ori Allon, who ranks at #7 with wealth of $364 million.

Number eight is Sydney retailer and biotechnology company founder Sam Prince with wealth of $318 million. Prince owns both Mexican fast food chain Zambrero and emerging genetics testing company Life Letters.

Rounding out the top 10 is husband-wife duo Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, who sit at #9 and #10 respectively with combined wealth of $216 million. The Ta’eed’s are co-founders of online graphic marketplace Envato.

The 100 members of the 2017 Financial Review Young Rich List have enjoyed a stunning rise in wealth this year, with a booming property sector, technology market and beauty industry boosting overall wealth to a record $13.2 billion.

Technology remains the dominant sector for 2017 with 38 people on the List, followed by financial services with 12 and retail with eight.

There are 27 debutants on the 2017 Young Rich List, including global fitness and health star Emily Skye (#83, $32 million) and Airtasker co-founders Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui (#66 and #67, $41 million).

The youngest debutants are HiSmile co-founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic. The Gold Coast duo, aged 22 and 24 respectively, debut at #58 and #59 with combined wealth of $46 million.

There are nine women on the 2017 Young Rich List, up from eight in 2016. Notable names include Canva CEO Melanie Perkins (#17, $128 million), model Miranda Kerr (#62, $44million) and fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who jumps 11 places up to #40 with shared wealth of $46 million.

The Financial Review Young Rich List, recording Australia’s wealthiest self-made citizens aged 40 and under, has been published annually since 2003.

3 Tips to Have an Amazing Experience at the SF Open Studios

SF Open Studios is the largest and longest-running open studios program in the U.S. The event, which is produced by ArtSpan, began in 1975 with 20 artists. Fast-forward 42 years, add 780-plus artists and you have a grand, month-long, citywide showcase for emerging and established artists. And this year, it's bigger than ever!

During each weekend up to Nov. 12, 2017, you can meet artists, exchange ideas and inspirations, snap up local artwork, and see the city in a way that’s rarely possible—in the homes, storefronts, and studios of working artists. Here are seven tips to help you navigate the event.

Tip 1: Weekend 3 - Oct. 28 and 29, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Find hidden treasures in the neighborhoods you think you know. Neighborhoods include Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Bernal Heights, Portola, Excelsior, Balboa Park, Visitacion Valley, Outer Mission, Diamond Heights, Glen Park.

Tip 2: Weekend 4 - Nov. 4 and 5, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Head over to Fort Mason. For the second time, the General's Residence at Fort Mason will be dedicated to SF Open Studios. With works by 135 artists, all under one roof, this venue is a veritable mini-art fair.

Tip 3: Weekend 5 - Nov. 11 and 12, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

"Free" is the name of this game. Start and end your weekend over at the mural-filled Mission, Castro, and Noe Valley, where art is evident indoors and out.


SF Open Studios is free and open to the public. 

More about ArtSpan

For more information visit https://www.artspan.org and check out Artspan on Facebook.

Relaxed living in Guiyang

Elderly people often do physical exercises during early
mornings at Qianling Mountain Park, in downtown Guiyang.
From soaring mountains to China's highest waterfall to unexplored jungles to unique culture, Guizhou offers visitors with a variety of things to explore. Its capital, Guiyang, is known as the "world's summer resort" due to its moderate temperature.

Guiyang is one of those places where even a one-week stay is far from enough. Some of the major attractions near the city include Qianling Mountain Park, the ancient town of Qingyan and Hongfeng Lake where the leaves on maple trees turn red during fall.

Local people can find a sense of belonging here due to the pleasant climate all year round and peaceful everyday living.

Young people often run after work along the Nanming River 
which winds through the urban area of Guiyang. 

Local people often start the day with eating Changwang Noodles, one of the most popular snacks in the city. Chang and Wang refers to the slices of pig intestines and blood, and also implies auspiciousness in Chinese. [Photo/gzdsw.com]

Enjoying the many varieties of local teas and appreciating the opera performance at a tea house make for an important part of local people's leisurely life.

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Enjoying ten photos for final round of APEC photo contest

Life in the sunset - Kieu Anh Dung (Viet Nam)
The Organizing Board of the APEC photo contest 2017 has announced ten photos for the final round of the contest and will present awards in November in Da Nang city.

Under the theme "Trade for All", the contest ended on September 29th with more than 2,600 photos submitted.

Photographer Truong Huu Hung said that Vietnam hosts APEC this year so the number of Vietnamese photographers participating in the contest is more than photographers from other countries.

Flower industry building - Tran Dinh Thuong (Viet Nam)
Among ten photographers who have photos in the final round, three are Vietnamese, including Tran Dinh Thuong from Phan Thiet (Binh Thuan province), Truong Vinh from Ho Chi Minh city, and Kieu Anh Dung from Bac Lieu province.

These are the 3 Vietnam photos.
Flower - Truong Vinh (Viet Nam)


Twenty-three restaurants throughout regional NSW have been awarded Chef’s Hats in the 2018 Good Food Guide Awards.

Three restaurants scored two hats – Biota Dining in Bowral, Fleet in Brunswick Heads and Muse Restaurant in Pokolbin. Darley’s Restaurant at Echo Point has been awarded a chef’s hat for a 10th year and is the only hatted restaurant in the Blue Mountains.

Sydney chef Daniel Puskas, owner-chef at Sixpenny in Sydney’s inner west, was awarded the coveted Chef of the Year award. Sydney also claimed the New Restaurant of the Year award, which went to Saint Peter in Paddington.

A full list of winners is available here.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Gateway to the Developers & Investors in Hotels & Resorts Industry

Vietnam has undergone an astonishing 30 years of development. The World Bank's outlook for the Vietnamese economy remains highly positive, with average GDP growth of around 6% forecast annually until 2020, whilst Oxford Economics forecast that by 2020 Vietnam’s economy will be growing faster than China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Economic and political reforms have spurred rapid growth, previously high inflation is now under control with the average inflation rate in 2014 – 2016 standing at 2.5% and the exchange rate being stable over recent years. 

These factors continue to transform the country, with the middle class expected to grow by 18% from 2016 – 2020, providing one of many catalysts for the rapidly growing tourism industry. Vietnam's wealthiest are also set to get much richer. In fact, the dramatic growth of "Ultra High Net Worth Individuals" in Asia (which is typically regarded as someone with a net worth of above USD 30 million) is set to be reinforced by stellar growth rates in Vietnam, which is expected to see its ultra-wealthy population rise by the highest rate of growth in the world. Vietnam’s rapid economic development has been led by an industrial renaissance, particularly as multi-national manufacturers look to diverse their operations across developing Asia in a so-called ‘China + 1’ strategy.

The political stability, probusiness environment and ‘golden age’ demographics which see 25% of the population being between 10 and 24 years of age has attracted a range of investors from neighbouring Asian’s nations including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. In terms of Vietnam’s accommodation demand, there were over ten million international arrivals into the country in 2016, a 26% increase on the year prior. 

This is the first time Vietnam welcomed over ten million foreign visitors, reflecting the country’s growing status as a business destination and tourist hotspot, this is set to double by 2020. The industrial renaissance has driven corporate demand for hotels across the country, whilst visa exemptions, the introduction of new direct air routes and improved marketing efforts have boosted the country’s appeal to leisure travellers. Like much of Southeast Asia, leisure demand has been driven by Mainland Chinese tourists which hit a record last year in terms of arrivals growth.

After analyzing the current rate growth rate of hospitality sector in the region, we at Bricsa Consulting are proud to announce our “Global Hotels and Resorts 2017”, a 2 day strategic conference that is scheduled to be held on 4th-05th December, 2017 at The Reverie Saigon Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam. The conference focuses on creating a platform for hotel developers to not only explore business opportunities in the Asia Pacific region but also to get in-line with the key market trends in the hospitality industry across the globe and ways in which we can tackle the diversifying market.

Highlights of the conference include:
• Exploring investment opportunities in the hospitality industry across the Far East region
• Identifying the significant market trends in the competitive hospitality market
• Understanding the needs of a diversifying market and discussing ways to tackle it
• Over viewing policies and framework for land acquisitions and mergers in the regional context
• Networking with the government authorities, major hotel developers, consultants and solution providers

To download the updated agenda, connect on adnan@bricsaconsulting.com or you can check our website link.

P&O Cruises Serves an Ace with New Australian Open High Tea at Sea

Following a successful Australian Open which had record attendance at Rod Laver Arena this year, P&O Cruises has added a second cruise to the January championship in 2018 and introduced a bespoke new tennis-themed high tea menu onboard.

Featuring strawberries and cream, scones and savouries, all washed down with Pimms and champagne, the new menu is available for $20 at the Waterfront restaurant onboard its ships cruising to the event.

Pacific Eden and Pacific Explorer will depart Sydney on a 5-night roundtrip to Melbourne on January 17 and 19 respectively. The popular cruises form part of P&O Cruises’ popular Main Events line-up and include general admission tickets for two day sessions and one night session at the Australian Open, as well as return transfers to Melbourne Park.

Sonoma County is open for visitors

“We invite you to come see us.” said Tim Zahner, interim CEO. “Come help us recover from the recent wildfires by allowing us to delight you with world-class hospitality, awe-inspiring views, and sensory experiences unlike any other. It’s what we do best.”

Enjoy the autumn in Sonoma Wine Country and harvest some special deals at romantic inns, world-class resorts, spas, wineries, culinary experiences, and more. For example, book a $150 Romance Package at the Kelley & Young Wine Garden Inn in Cloverdale. For more special offers, see www.sonomacounty.com/deals.

There are many ways to explore Sonoma County. Embark on an iconic California road trip along the famous Highway 1. Exploring the more than 50 miles of dramatic Pacific coastline that forms Sonoma County’s western border is an experience that will take your breath away.

While farm-to-fork is considered a new trend, here in Sonoma County it’s just called eating. Discover the destination’s rich culinary reputation in a bite-sized two-day itinerary that serves up the best of the dining scene.

Focus on Sonoma County’s northern section, home to rolling hills and small fertile valleys, premium wineries, and the towns of Healdsburg, Windsor, Cloverdale, and Geyserville. Discover wine gems throughout Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys with an itinerary that includes classic wineries as well as bubbly new treasures.

These and other itineraries are available at www.sonomacounty.com/activities/trip-itineraries.

Fans of the area are urged to continue to support Sonoma County wineries, breweries, cheese makers, farmers, and local artisans. Purchases of items that were bottled in, made in, grown in, brewed in or otherwise came from Sonoma County help local families recover economically.

“We were here for your romantic weekend, a girlfriend’s getaway, or that camping trip at the beach,” Zahner said. “And Sonoma County is still here.”

# # #

Sonoma County, located 30 miles north of San Francisco, provides a genuine and adventurous Wine Country experience, featuring more than 425 wineries, 100-plus organic farms, acclaimed restaurants, a thriving arts community, and 50-plus miles of stunning Pacific coast.

For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 707-522-5800 or 800-576-6662.

More Opportunities for Exhibitors at AIME 2018

The 2017 Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) saw exhibitors engage with 275 Hosted Buyers with a combined buying power of $1.2 billion dollars.

For two days in February, AIME 2018 will see the high quality of buyers return to Melbourne seeking new business opportunities and outcomes.

According to Tourism Research Australia, over the last financial year domestic overnight business trips grew 8 per cent to 19.9 million, due to increased short trips of 1 to 3 nights by business travellers, (up 13% to 14.4 million) and decreased longer trips of 4 or more nights (down 4% to 5.5 million).

Recognising this trend in the domestic landscape, for the very first time AIME 2018 will open the doors to allow domestic Day Buyers to be a part of the official Buyer program. This flexible program enables domestic buyers to participate in AIME on their day of choice, with no mandatory events as part of their schedule. They will have unlimited access to exhibitor appointment diaries, the show floor and the Welcome Event.

This will provide exhibitors with more opportunities for business outcomes, with a larger variety of buyers to meet and network with.

Angela Sciacca, Project Manager of AIME, commented on the value AIME offers destinations, venues, suppliers, team building and activity companies, who showcase their latest offerings for buyers in the Asia-Pacific.

“Like many industry shows, AIME isn’t necessarily about instant ROI, it’s about playing a long game and building relationships that will result in business for years to come. At AIME, the value is in being present, participating and giving yourself a competitive advantage. Ultimately, it’s about exposure to thousands of event professionals who flock to Melbourne for this pinnacle annual exhibition.

“We know from previous years domestic buyers often attend AIME as visitors, because they can come and go as they please. The new Day Buyer program, allows the ultimate flexibility, with no mandatory sessions, but makes the most of the exhibitor diaries and invitations to attend networking events. Earlier this year AIME welcomed over 2,000 trade attendees; the changes to the appointment diaries means that exhibitors will have even more opportunities to connect and meet with buyers from around Australia and the Asia-Pacific,” said Ms Sciacca.

In 2017 approximately 76 per cent of Hosted Buyers were of a senior management level.

A cross section of industry was represented, with 45 per cent from agency, 39 per cent from corporate and 16 per cent from associations; in 2018 these numbers are expected to increase with an acquisition scheme that utilises the global ibtm events portfolio.

“There has never been a better time to exhibit at AIME. 2018 will see great destinations, brands and bureaux returning, including Business Events Australia, New Zealand, Perth Convention Bureau, ICC Sydney, Hyatt Hotels, TFE Hotels, Centium Software and Harry the Hirer,” concluded Ms Sciacca.

AIME have again partnered with Info Salons, who will bring their innovative technology Konduko to the show floor, offering exhibitors and attendees the efficiencies of digital ‘handshakes’ using NFC technology. While long-time partner and award-winning exhibition and event specialist, ExpoNet will be on hand to provide exhibitors with all their stand-related needs.

Korea Seeks to Become a Popular Destination for Wellness Tourism

Hot springs and spas help to find peace in mind and body
According to a recent report by BBC.com Travel, Korea has been named as one of five countries where its people live to a grand old age. Along with Japan, Spain, Singapore and Switzerland, Korea was named as a country where the people live substantially longer than the worldwide average. Interest in wellness tourism has increased worldwide in recent years as people wish to escape their busy lives and rejuvenate their body and soul.

For visitors wishing to make the most of wellness tourism options in Korea the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Tourism Organization provide a list of '25 must-go Wellness Spots in Korea' for the interest of overseas visitors. The unique and special wellness programs can be experienced in Korea through four different categories - Beauty & Spa, Traditional Korean Medicine, Nature & Forest Healing and Healing and Meditation. Some great examples of these spots are the LaGua Spa in Jeonju which not only offers natural hot spring water baths but also a variety of Hanok experiences such as traditional pavilions and market-style food court.

Immerse yourself in the Herb Island Herb Healing Centre located in Korea's largest herb garden. The centre offers various herb detox programs using ten natural wellness methods as well as herb-based programs. A healing forest of cypress trees that dates back to the 1940's offers cypress and salt themed therapies and woodcraft programs. The National Centre for Forest Therapy offers various forest experience programs. Healience Zen Village offers a stay where healing and science combine the base for healthy food and training as well as a balanced soul and life rhythm, which enables a healthier aging process.

The Jinan Red Ginseng Spa offers five different red ginseng based programs, including open-air baths by the side of Mt. Maisan.

Korea has plenty of beautiful places to commune with nature. The Suncheon Bay National Garden and Wetland Reserve is just one of them. Here you can join experience programs or one of the diverse festivals which take place regularly.

To read the recent BBC.com article in full visit: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170807-living-in-places-where-people-live-the-longest

To see more of the best wellness spots in Korea visit www.visitmedicalkorea.com and click on 'Wellness Korea'. To plan your travels in Korea request a free guide book from Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office by phone: 02)9252-4147/8 or by email: visitkorea@knto.org.au as well online at www.visitkorea.org.au

Whitsundays special report featured on US TV show

There’s no place quite like Australia.

ET’s Cameron Mathison headed to the land down under, teaming up with Tourism Australia for the adventure of a lifetime.

There’s no shortage of things to do in the gorgeous vacation destination, as Mathison settled in at The Qualia Resort -- a favorite of such celebs as Taylor Swift and Chris Hemsworth -- before taking in a variety of activities, including heading to the famous Whitehaven beach, where, as Mathison points out, is where “part of the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie was shot.”

Mathison also explored the wildlife, as well as scuba dived in the majestic Great Barrier Reef, which is thankfully back to thriving, and open to the public, after the area was struck by Cyclone Debbie in March, during a year where natural disasters have affected many around the world, including Puerto Rico, Mexico, Florida and Texas.

Watch the video for more of what the Whitsunday Islands have to offer

The Top 10 Original Japanese Drinks

Looking for a nice, refreshing drink can be its very own adventure when sightseeing in Japan. As you scour convenience store aisles and examine the colorful selection of the many vending machines found all around the city, you’ll come across a variety of names and beverages that you’ve might never heard of before – what exactly is Pocari Sweat? Can you drink that?!

Naturally, Japan has a rich and fun selection of its own tasty soft drink varieties, from modern sugar delights to refreshing iced tea. Come with us on a wild ride through Japan’s top 10 drinks!

1) Ramune

Ramune is one of Japan’s most famous carbonated soft drinks, maybe due to its unique bottle shape or its regular appearance in manga and anime. Ramune, a term coming from the English “lemonade,” was invented in 1872 and thus is among the oldest of Japan’s lemonades. The characteristic marble in the neck of the glass bottle earned Ramune the nickname of “marble soda” and is also the reason why many people might find it hard to open and drink.

Despite its fame, you won’t find Ramune in vending machines or convenience stores in Japan, but rather have to check a supermarket or beverage store. However, this popular lemonade is a staple of Japanese summer festivals and can be found at numerous stalls in various flavors!

Bonus: To open a bottle of Ramune, simply use the little plastic opener provided with each drink and push down the marble!

2) Calpis

What you might know as “Calpico” is a Japanese milky drink that was inspired by the Mongolian airag, basically fermented horse milk. Calpis was Japan’s first lactic acid drink, first sold in 1919. The drink is supposed to be mixed with water or milk, which is one of the reasons why it became immediately popular – its condensed means that it keeps well even without refrigeration.

Nowadays, the drinks you’ll find in any convenience store and vending machine are Calpis Water, a pre-diluted version of the original, and Calpis Soda, which is carbonated Calpis Water. Of course, this classic Japanese drink comes in a variety of fruity flavors as well. Simply look for a white bottle with blue dots and enjoy a refreshing sip!

Bonus: The drink was renamed “Calpico” in the West because many people feel that Calpis sounds uncomfortably close to a less than appetizing word combination.

3) Pocari Sweat

Undoubtedly, this Japanese drink regularly raises many eyebrows in the West for its seemingly questionable name. Pocari Sweat is a sweet sports drink with hints of grapefruit that was first sold in 1980. It supposedly restores all the electrolytes and nutrients that are lost when sweating, hence the name. While Pocari Sweat is available as powder and in cans, you’ll most likely come across the PET bottles most of the time – they’re an inherent part of every convenience store, vending machine, and supermarket.

4) Mitsuya Cider

This Japanese drink is almost as old as Ramune. Mitsuya Cider was first sold in 1884, and while you might think of an alcoholic beverage when hearing “cider,” this classic refreshment is a carbonated soft drink. The standard Mitsuya Cider is best described as a cross between Ginger Ale and Sprite, but of course, there are various flavors on the market, including many seasonal ones. Mitsuya Cider is sold at any convenience store, most vending machines, and every supermarket.

Bonus: We highly recommend the Mitsuya Cider Candy, which is quite literally the classic drink in candy form. It even comes with the carbon fizz!

5) Qoo

Best known for its adorable mascot, Qoo is a non-carbonated fruit drink invented by the Coca-Cola Company, marketed mainly towards children and teenagers. First appearing in 1999, Qoo is available in pretty much all of Asia, but not in the West – it was sold in exclusively in Germany, for a brief period of time. Qoo is available in any convenience storeand rarely in vending machines. As a Coca Cola product, however, it can be ordered at Japanese McDonald’s!

6) Canned Coffee

Canned coffee is a real Japanese original that hit the market around 1970. This drink is most notably found in vending machines in all kinds of varieties, from black and strong to milky and sweet. Japanese vending machines are famous for offering both hot and cold drinks, and canned coffee is a very notable example of this. Convenience stores have a rich assortment of different canned coffee creations as well.

7) Iced Green Tea

While the concept of iced tea is said to have been invented in the United States in the 19th century, iced green tea is a staple drink all over Japan. Generally unsweetened, this healthy refreshment is offered by various different companies and is quite literally found in every single vending machine and convenience store. If you want to quench your thirst in an authentically Japanese way, iced green tea is the way to go!

8) Mugicha, Roasted Barley Tea

When talking about tea in Japan, most people immediately think green. However, one of the most beloved drinks of the hot Japanese summer is actually mugicha, or roasted barley tea. The slightly bitter taste of barley tea is a wonderful refreshment, especially on brutally hot days. A staple of convenience stores and vending machines, barley tea is also sold in tea bags and often made at home in households all over Japan.

9) Melon Soda

Ah yes, melon soda – although the bilious green color of this Japanese soft drink might seem scary, this is a favorite refreshment of many people all around Japan! The melon soda float version is particularly connected to a Japanese childhood. Find the sugary delight at convenience stores, sometimes in vending machines, and at chain stores such as Burger King and McDonald’s!

10) Yakult

Japan’s probiotic drink called Yakult is a success all around the world, but the yoghurt drink is a staple in Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets. There is even a job called “Yakult lady” – much like the States’ Avon ladies, the duties of a Yakult lady are to ride a bicycle or motorbike and go from door to door, selling and promoting the probiotic drink.

No matter if you like it sweet or bitter, Japan’s convenience stores and vending machines have a rich variety of original soft drinks that are sure to quench your thirst! Now your only job is to taste your way through each of them and find your favorite!

Staging Connections delivers cutting-edge AV support at 24th annual AVCAL conference

Staging Connections was chosen as the preferred AV service provider for the 24th annual AVCAL alpha conference®, the private equity and venture capital industry’s biggest networking event of the year.

The MCG was the iconic location chosen for this year’s conference, where delegates from more than 180 AVCAL member organisations gathered to network and hear world-class thought leaders share perspectives and ideas that will shape the industry.

The Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) developed this year’s theme ADAPT. CREATE. INSPIRE. to reflect the industry’s evolving ways of working; the value created in building better businesses; and the partnerships and stories which will strengthen and inspire the future.

The exceptional program for 2017 featured speeches by a host of aspirational local and international speakers from varied backgrounds across professional sports, finance, education, banking, healthcare and technology, covering a range of topics carefully selected to shine a spotlight on current issues and future challenges.

Highlights included Bill Evans of Westpac, futurist and inventor Mark Pesce, keynotes from Stephen Cassidy of the Fire Department of New York Pension and Investment Boards, and Commissioner and Chairman of the Investment Committee at New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), David Ourlicht, as well as former Australian Wallabies star John Eales and WAFL Collingwood player Moana Hope.

Over 400 delegates enjoyed the two-day conference enjoying various plenaries, break-out sessions, a tour of the MCG, leader’s forum, cocktail function and more, culminating in the esteemed 24th Annual AVCAL Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner.

Staging Connections delivered an impressive 5m x 3m LED screen for the MCG’s Olympic Room for the awards dinner and suggested the Member’s Dining Room to be set with a multi-projection system to allow for presentations as well IMAG (image magnification). The AVCAL event backdrop was the centre piece (6m wide x 3m high) featured directly behind the stage.

AVCAL’s Nilanga Kotigala was thrilled with another wonderful event, “The alpha conference 2017 was a real success and we would like to pass on our sincere thanks to our AV Partners, Staging Connections for the fantastic support provided”.

Viet Nam through Toba Mika’s katazome paintings

A Katazome painting exhibition of Japanese artist Toba Mika will take place at Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture from October 20th to November 12th, on the occasion of the 29th APEC in Da Nang city.

Visiting Viet Nam for the first time in 1994, Toba Mika saw the invisible relationship between Katazome with the beauty of nature and Vietnamese cultural heritage. She started creating many large paintings of the Vietnamese landscape.

After the visit, she organized exhibitions about Viet Nam, attracting the attention of many arts lovers, including an exhibition to mark the 30th anniversary of Japan-Viet Nam diplomatic ties in 2003, an exhibition on Hue ancient capital in 2005, an exhibition on Nara and Ha Noi to mark the 1,300th anniversary of Heijo - Nara and 1,000 years of Thang Long Ha Noi in 2010.

Toba Mika said that this year’s works are inspired from the beauty of Vietnamese nature and deep artistic feelings at ancient relic sites.

To make the works, she used a traditional Japanese dyeing technique called katazome which uses a resistant paste applied through a stencil.

Born in Aichi Prefecture and graduating from Kyoto city University of Arts (M.A.) she has brought in katazome, a traditional dyeing method in Japan, to the world of painting, and has created new contemporary art. She has won 19 prizes, including Kyoto Arts New Artist Prize and Urban Culture Incentive Award.


The world’s largest free sculpture exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea, has made a glorious return to Sydney.

Spanning two kilometres along the spectacular Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk, Sculpture by the Sea celebrates its 21st anniversary in 2017 and showcases more than 100 sculptures by artists from around Australia and the world until 5 November.

The top prize has been won by Australian sculptor David Ball, from Mittagong in NSW, for his steel piece titled Orb.

Join us for the largest free to the public sculpture exhibitions in the world!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Sri Lanka Tourism increases its promotional activities with Australian travel trade.

Agents encouraged to attend roadshows in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney as Sri Lanka tourism ramps up focus on Australian travellers.

Sri Lanka Tourism has announced a series of travel industry roadshows to take place in November.

A delegation of 50 Sri Lankan representatives will host Australian travel agents, tour operators and media for dinner and networking as the tourism bureau sets it sights on developing arrivals from Australia.

The announcement comes at a time when Sri Lanka as a destination has been gaining momentum in the consumer press with significant interest steadily developing among consumers. Meanwhile wholesalers are now touting Sri Lanka as a destination to watch.

The roadshows are scheduled for 20 November in Perth, 23 November in Melbourne and 27 November in Sydney.

Director of Marketing, Madubhani Perera said, “We are very excited to increase our promotional efforts in Australia and engage the Australian travel industry to help demonstrate to consumers the wonders of Sri Lanka.”

Madubhani continued, “We have world heritage sites, rich bio diversity, tropical beaches, adventurous experiences and world class hotels. We are excited to share these opportunities with the travel industry in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.”

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara added, “Sri Lanka Tourism engaged in a similar promotion last year in Australia and with

the introduction of direct daily flights by Sri Lankan Airlines to Melbourne this year, we need our presence with the travel trade on a continuous basis.

With proceedings beginning at 5.30pm the evenings will see attendees treated with Sri Lankan food and drinks and a networking sessions with exhibitors.

For more details and to register for the event visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/d/australia--rosebery/sri-lanka-tourism-road-show/?mode=search

Cairns Aquarium Welcomes Freshwater Whipray to River Monsters exhibit

Following its opening last month, Cairns Aquarium has welcomed the introduction of a female Freshwater Whipray called Jessica to its 300,000 litre River Monsters exhibit (the largest freshwater aquarium exhibit in Australia).

As the only Australian stingray capable of living in both fresh and brackish waters, the Freshwater Whipray was a long-awaited and highly anticipated addition to the exhibit and was required to spend approximately two weeks in quarantine at Cairns Aquarium in order to undergo an acclimation process which also included training to feed by hand by the freshwater Aquarists.

The Freshwater Whipray is now on display with Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, giant forktail catfish and very soon, the critically endangered freshwater sawfish.

The Freshwater Whipray, Urogymnus dalyensis is a very unique, little known animal that is endemic to Northern Queensland and is rarely seen as the river systems it inhabits are usually isolated, often muddy or turbid and in many cases, crocodile infested.

This species scientific name ‘dalyensis’ is in recognition of the major Northern Australian river where it was first collected, the Daly River. It is found in a limited distribution of waterways from the Daly, Fitzroy, Gilbert, Mitchell, Normanby, Ord, Pentecost, Roper, South Alligator, and Wenlock Rivers in northern Australia.

Distinctive features include a pale brown to greyish disc, a prominent pointed snout, and a long whip-like tail with a venomous spine, the underside is whitish with greyish spots and a broad dark margin.

“We are so excited to have a Freshwater Whipray on display.

“It provides a special opportunity for people to come and see an Australian ray that lives in freshwater and most people will never have a chance to see this species in the wild,” said Cairns Aquarium General Manager, Julie Cullen.

More importantly for the survival of the species, Freshwater Whiprays employ a reproductive strategy that involves putting great energy into relatively few young over a lifetime.

Once sexually mature, Freshwater Whiprays have only one ‘litter’ of babies per year, usually bearing two to six young. Since so few young are produced, it is important that they survive, and therefore the baby rays are very large when born; almost half the size of an adult. From birth, they are able to feed and fend for themselves much like an adult.

“As part of the Cairns Aquarium’s long-term conservation and education program for endemic species such as the Freshwater Whipray, we hope to acquire an additional couple for breeding and rearing purposes,” Ms Cullen said.

Opening Hours and Prices
Open 365 days a year, Cairns Aquarium is air-conditioned, wheel chair accessible with free Wi-Fi access.
Saturday – Thursday 9.00am – 5.00pm with last entry at 4.00pm.
Friday 9.00am – 7.00pm with last entry at 6.00pm

o Adult (15 years +) - $42
o Child (3-14 years) - $28
o Senior/Concession - $34
o Single Family (1 Adult + 2 Children) - $88.20
o Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) - $126
o Additional Child on Family - $25.20 (Infants under 3 years are free)

Tickets can be purchased in person at General Admission and Online at www.cairnsaquarium.com.au


In the framework of the International Year on Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is launching a consumer-oriented campaign aimed at raising awareness of the value and contribution that sustainable tourism can make towards development. The ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ campaign wants to engage tourists in making the sector a catalyst for positive change.

The main message of the campaign is summarized by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai: “Whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: respect nature, respect culture, and respect your host. You can be the change you want to see in the world. You can be an ambassador for a better future. TRAVEL, ENJOY AND RESPECT.”

The campaign, which will run in various languages and outlets around the world, includes a manual of ‘Tips for a Responsible Traveller’, developed by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics in line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The manual provides travellers with a set of recommendations to help them make responsible choices when travelling and have a positive impact on the destinations they visit.

“Today more than ever, ensuring that tourism is an enriching experience for visitors and hosts alike demands strong, sustainable tourism policies and practices and the engagement of national, as well as local, governments and administrations, private sector companies, local communities and tourists themselves,” added Mr. Rifai.

The message will reach consumers through campaign supporters including among others CNN International, the Government of Andorra, the Madrid City Council, Iberia, the Spanish National Railways System (Renfe), Minube, PR MEDIACO, Cleverdis and Air Mauritius.

Read full article at UNWTO: http://media.unwto.org/press-release/2017-08-22/unwto-launches-travelenjoyrespect-campaign

Opera Australia's 2018 Season | On sale now

It's time to take your pick of a hundred spectacular nights out: tickets for Opera Australia’s 2018 performances are now available.

Ready to take your romance up a notch? Knock their socks off with La Traviata. Want to see grand opera in all its spectacle? Aida is your ticket. Know someone who needs a laugh? Take them to The Turk in Italy.

Whatever you choose, it's a reason to dress up a little, celebrate a little and do something special with someone special.

A night at the opera is something worth sharing.

Book your 2018 opera tickets now