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Tokyo is the greatest bazaar in the Orient. To get an idea of what is available, and at what price, tour Takashimaya Department Store. Then you will have a basis for comparison in the arcades all over Japan.
Despite the sense of excitement in Tokyo, the best way to enjoy Japan is to get out of the city. Train travel is superb. For the sports-minded, Fuji-Hakone is first choice in almost any season—and absolutely incomparable in fall. There are golf courses; there is water skiing on Lake Ashi; there are hikes through maple and bamboo groves; there is fishing in lakes and streams, particularly for trout and black bass. There are health spas of all sorts. And most of all, there is Fuji. Stay either at the Fujiya in Miyanoshita or in one of the beautiful inns. A tip on inns—carry a small English-Japanese dictionary. A tip on baths—in the country, bathing is often mixed. No one stares. The G.I.s stared in Tokyo, and baths in Tokyo are no longer mixed.
In the spring, when a million tourists crowd every shrine to see the cherry blossoms, take one of the small steamers that cruise the Inland Sea. Try to work out your itinerary so you can stop at the Tokiwa Inn in Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. It may well be the best inn in Japan. In Beppu, on Kyushu, the spas pack you in hot sand: this treatment is supposed to cure everything, including the gloom of a gray Monday. In Kyoto, the heart of old Japan, see the shrines and go to the ancient capital of Nara. In Kyoto also shoot the rapids, an eight-mile trip down the Hozu river. For nature lovers, Nikko, two hours by train from Tokyo, is famous for its autumn leaves. It also has trout fishing and, in winter, a quiet, New England kind of charm, with ice skating and sledding.
Hong Kong's reputation as a Korvette-by-the-Sea has done as much to lure Americans across the Pacific as has the jet. But the prosperity brought to duty-free Hong Kong by bargain hunters has placed the city in a dilemma. Prices are going up. Pearls and cameras, cashmeres and custom tailoring are still extraordinary buys—if you know what you are doing. Do not buy anything that could possibly have been exported by Communist China (presumptive merchandise it is called, and it is illegal to bring it back to the U.S.) unless the shops can give you a Comprehensive Certificate of Origin. Be prepared to go through the toughest customs in the U.S. if you return through Honolulu.
The most important change in Hong Kong this year has been caused by the opening of the Hilton and the Mandarin hotels on the island side of Hong Kong harbor. There is nothing wrong with the brand-new President, and such other hotels on the mainland—or Kowloon—part of the Colony as the Ambassador, the Park and the Miramar. The splendid old Peninsula, with two of the best restaurants in the Colony—Gaddi's and the Marco Polo—is even more splendid with newly decorated bedrooms. But to seasoned Hong Kong hands, the island, center of government and business, is the best side—truly Hong Kong. Both the Hilton and the Mandarin have spectacular roof dining rooms. The Hilton also has a fine swimming pool—most welcome after a day around the dusty, crowded streets. Furthermore, the Hilton's Den, the most popular new bo�te in the Colony, features a swinging Italian trio and waitresses in the snuggest-fitting cheongsams in town.
No matter how cozy you feel in these American-style hotels, try to rouse yourself at least once a day to eat out. Hong Kong has marvelous Chinese food, in varieties never dreamed of by the Chinatown gourmet. One gets a good introduction to this variety in the "walking cafeterias"—the Sky Room, and the Cafe de Chine. Girls parade by with trays of food—as many as 80 different dishes. Lunch for two, with beer, will not exceed $4. Every great dish from the varied cuisines of mainland China can be found in Hong Kong. For Peking duck or green cabbage with chicken sauce, go to the Peking. For cold chicken in peanut and sesame sauce and other Shanghai delights, there is Ivy's. For hot pot and grilled Mongolian barbecue, the Pak Lai Shun. This is in the Suzie Wong, sailor-bar part of town. The food is hot—best in the winter. For beggar's chicken—wrapped in lotus leaves, then baked in mud that has to be cracked with a hammer—try Tien Hong Lau, on the Kowloon side. In true Chinese tradition, none of these restaurants makes any pretense of being "decorated." They are bound to be noisy too, since the contemporary Hong Kong businessman usually eats this excellent food with many tumblers of French brandy raised in toast to his guests.
Hong Kong's various clubs, aware of the importance of tourists to the Colony's well-being, have relaxed their British barriers and make visitors welcome. By applying to the Hong Kong Tourist Association, you can arrange to play tennis, bridge or golf. The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club has three courses, and a letter from your club secretary gets you in. You can be admitted to the members' enclosure at Happy Valley track: have your travel agent apply two weeks in advance of a Saturday race. However, the thing to do in Hong Kong is to get out on the water. Not even Rio has a more exciting harbor. There is a sleek junk for hire from Owner Gerald Godfrey, $28 per half day, with crew. The brigantine Wan Fu sails each day at sunset over to the fishing village of Aberdeen. Dinner at a floating Chinese restaurant, drinks and the sail cost $12. Every evening, at the jetty that forms the typhoon shelter, there are rows of sampans, decorated with twinkling lights. For $2 an hour, sampan girls will row you through the "sampan city," where, they tell you, 300,000 of Hong Kong's refugees live afloat. Finally, if you are a yachtsman with half a ton of money, buy a boat. You will save from 20% to 50% over American prices, and the duty is only 10%. American Marine makes nothing smaller than 30 feet. Cheoy Lee Shipyard sent 200 boats to the U.S. last year, motor and sail, from 25 feet to 60 feet. They also make junks—a 30-foot junk without engine costs $5,000.