Skip Navigation

Blog Category: Travel

Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World

Ringing in the New Year Throughout the World

The New Year is a time of looking ahead with hopes for good things to come and people wishing each other health, happiness and success in the coming year.  Festivities are varied, ranging from church services to fireworks, and sometimes include special meals or traditions.  Of course, Americans are familiar with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish song originally published by Robert Burns, and popularized more than a century later by bandleader Guy Lombardo.  But some traditions are a bit more lively, a bit more tasty, and sometimes a bit more odd!  Read on for a sampling of traditions and perhaps pick one to incorporate into your own revelry this year!

In a few villages in Peru, you could get an opportunity to throw some punches before the year ends!   A tradition known as Takanakuy, this practice allows participants to settle old scores before the year ends, ensuring a fresh start.  There is also music and dancing involved (it is an all-day celebration, not just a slugfest), which hopefully even the loser can enjoy after taking a beating!  Odder still, in Switzerland, a tradition exists of dropping ice cream on the floor????  Tending toward gluttony myself, this tradition makes no sense to me, but I do like the approach in Estonia!  They eat seven times on New Year’s Day to assure abundance in the coming year.   Incidentally, they are known for their chocolate, as well as a real mouthful of a treat, vastlakukkel, a wheat bun stuffed with sweet whipped cream!

In Scotland, people visit their friends shortly after midnight to wish each other well, and it is considered especially good luck if the first person to enter your home in the new year is a tall, dark, handsome man (this is the land of Sean Connery, remember).   Naturally, this person should also come bearing gifts.  In Romania, people toss coins into rivers for good luck.  In Puerto Rico, they toss water out of windows to drive away evil spirits.  Italians get a bit heavier, literally, throwing old objects out the window, including clothes, pots and pans and even furniture!  This tradition is not as widely practiced as it used to be.  The gesture symbolizes letting go of the past, a common theme for the new year.

Some regions of South America observe a custom of carrying a suitcase on New Year’s Eve, either for a quick trip around the block, or all day and everywhere you go.  Some say leaving the suitcase by the door will do the trick.  The idea is, if you want the new year to contain exciting travel, grab your suitcase and go!  Around the block or about your business.  The real trip will come.

Of course, one of the most popular New Year traditions is the making of resolutions.  These also cover a wide spectrum, including spiritual, professional, romantic, health-related, etc.  The resolutions, whatever they may be, in and of themselves are an exhibition of optimism about the fresh start of the year.

With resolutions set, people return to work.  If your work involves international depositions, there are a few resolutions you can make to streamline the process.

Partner with a court reporting firm that specializes in international depositions and has offices and teams throughout the world: This firm can alert you to special travel requirements (visapassport), Hague considerations, etc.  They can assist with any requirements unique to certain countries for which you may not be familiar, and perhaps offer a little extra insight into the area you will be visiting, enhancing your stay there!

Work with local reportersvideographers, and interpreters: This saves you and your client money, as any travel costs will be minimal.  This also means you get the inside track on where to eat, shop, and visit.   Basically, you get way more bang for your buck working with locals.  Ask them about hidden gems you simply cannot miss — like that vastlakukkel!

Take advantage of the firm’s online repository: This provides you 24/7 access to all your transcripts, synchronized videos, exhibits, and related documents.  The repository is secure and equipped with powerful search tools, enabling you to quickly locate exactly what you need, when you need it.   There are no software licenses to purchase or manage.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions around the world for over a decade.  To enlist their expertise, email, or schedule online.

Holiday Traditions from Around the World

Holiday Traditions from Around the World

There are many telltale signs of the holiday season creeping in. Colorful lights and decorations fill displays across town. Promotions for children’s toys are eye-catching, and the Salvation Army’s Santa Claus rings his cheery bells for all to hear. It feels like… the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is treasured all around the world and is celebrated in many different ways.

Several countries in Europe take part in the same holidays that are celebrated in the U.S. They also have a few of their own celebrations, such as Saint Stephen’s Day on December 26th. Saint Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr. It is considered a national holiday in Ireland; however, the actual celebrations and festivities have little connection to the Saint. The day is observed by attending festivals (typically outdoors) and socializing with friends and family. The idea is that December 25th is a time to spend indoors.

South Korea is the only country in East Asia to formally recognize Christmas as a national holiday, but the holiday is celebrated throughout Asia, penguins dressed as Christmas trees and Santa Clauses parading in Seoul!  In Sweden, the Feast of St. Lucia is widely celebrated in the days leading up to Christmas (December 13).  Celebrations in Norway include gløgg, a warm spicy drink usually made with red wine, and gingerbread cookies called pepperkake.  Christmas is celebrated in a commercial style in Japan, coming on the heels of a huge Japanese holiday, the Emperor’s Birthday on December 23. The Christmas chicken dinner is a favorite in Japan.  (Note:  the U.S. Embassy and Consulate will be closed in observance of both holidays, so no depositions may be held in Japan on those days).

A giant Christmas tree in the square in front of Seoul City Hall in Korea.

A giant Christmas tree in the square in front of Seoul City Hall in Korea.

Colombia begins a Christmas Novena on December 16, a tradition of the Catholic Church to encourage remembrance of the spiritual meaning of Christmas.  Many families set up a manger scene, and carols are popular.  In Germany, Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) is sometimes accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht to serve as a warning to children to behave.  Israel draws pilgrims from around the world year-round, but a Christmastime pilgrimage holds special appeal for many.

With the holiday season and the many distractions working in the background, the last couple of months of the year are often busy for attorneys and paralegals, scheduling end-of-year depositions and proceedings, and planning for depositions in the year to come.  Much of the stress involved in this planning can be eliminated by selecting the right court reporting firm to assist with the planning.  Working with a firm with offices and court reporters throughout the U.S., as well as overseas, reduces costs and helps put your mind at ease.  Check to see if worldwide videoconferencing and streaming are available to further reduce costs.  Even if you must travel overseas for your depositions, your court reporting team shouldn’t have to; look for a firm with reporters, videographers, and interpreters local to your deposition country.


Working with the right court reporting firm allows you to efficiently coordinate your depositions, so you can enjoy your own holiday traditions!

Planet Depos has been covering depositions and legal proceedings throughout the world for over a decade.  For more information on scheduling overseas, fill out our Quick Questions form, Schedule Now form, or reach out at 888.433.3767 or

10 Tips to Make You Better at International Travel

10 Tips to Make You Better at International Travel


Old Stockholm

Old Stockholm

So you landed your first international gig.

Or maybe you’ve done this before, but you always seem to have trouble changing reservations, figuring out how much local currency to carry, and how much champagne to drink on the flight.

Here is a handy 10-point tip sheet that you might want to refer to whenever traveling abroad:

Plans can change at the last minute

When making reservations, make sure the hotel allows changes without penalties. Sure, that cute little boutique hotel might seem charming and quaint, but many of them adhere to a tight schedule of reservations and may apply fees for last-minute cancellations. Sometimes your best bet is one of the big hotel chains because you can always use the credit for a canceled reservation at another location. The same goes for airlines. Find out what their policy is for last-minute cancellations.

Pack only what you need

Pack only what you need and maybe one extra set of clothes “just in case.” Leave the steamer trunk of stuff at home. You’re not going on tour with the Rolling Stones. The key is to travel as light as possible, but be aware of incidentals. Yes, there will be pharmacies overseas, but you don’t want to have to run out in the middle of the night for Advil.

Check the expiration on your passport

Some countries want you to have more than six months left on the expiration date. Every country has different rules on what they want, and it’s best to find out in advance to ensure your passport is current and you don’t encounter unforeseen difficulties.

Determine if you need a visa

Find out if you need a visa. No, not the credit card Visa. A travel visa. Sometimes the passport isn’t enough and the country you’re traveling to wants you to have a travel visa, too.

Call your banks

Call your bank and credit card companies and let them know where you’re traveling and the approximate length of your stay. You don’t want your charge card to be declined because American Express thinks your card was stolen or the bank thinks your account was hacked.

Get international calling

Check with your phone provider. For a small fee, you can get international calling for the entirety of your stay.

Food on the Go by Trevor Price

Food on the Go by Trevor Price

Try the food

Try the street food. Really. It’s usually very good and better than going to the American chain restaurants.

Be polite

Be polite and respectful when going through customs and security.

Know your destination

Make sure you know your destination. For example, there are two Koreas. If you’re traveling to Korea for a deposition, it’s a certainty you’re going to South Korea.

Keep local currency with you

You’ll want to keep a little local currency on you. Not all taxi drivers and food establishments take good ol’ American plastic. You can hit the ATM wherever you’re going to withdraw cash.

Planet Depos has reporters, videographers, and interpreters living throughout the world and has been covering depos internationally for well over a decade.  The expertise is apparent from the scheduling process, with no detail missed, to the consummate professionalism in the deposition room.  For questions regarding depositions around the world or to schedule, call 888.433.3767 or complete the easy online scheduling form.

By Slade Grayson

At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Asia

At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Asia

The most grueling part of taking depositions in Asia might be getting there.  It’s true that taking depositions outside of the United States involves more coordination, time, and patience, but the process can and should be painless and worry-free.  Allowing enough lead time is vital.  Partnering with a global court reporting agency is, well, just plain smart.  Depositions in Asia are much easier to coordinate with help from experienced professionals.  Read on for a few things to keep in mind when your case takes you to this amazing part of the world.

No Depositions Allowed

Mainland China does not allow depositions.  (Well, okay, ONE has been permitted, ever.)  Do not try to take a deposition in China.  What you can do, provided the witness is willing to travel, is take the deposition in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong makes taking depositions easy and straightforward.  Depositions of willing witnesses can be taken anywhere, with no prior permission required from the government.  Hong Kong is a beautiful destination and offers fabulous accommodations both for your depositions and for your stay.  It makes a delightful alternative to arrest, detainment or deportation, any of which can result from trying to take a deposition in China.

Depos Permitted, buuuut with a Few Rules

Mt. Fuji with red pagoda in autumn, Fujiyoshida, Japan

Mt. Fuji with red pagoda in autumn, Fujiyoshida, Japan

Depositions in Japan are legal, provided they are held on U.S. Embassy grounds in Tokyo or U.S. Consulate grounds in Osaka.  This requirement begets deadlines, fees, and the dreaded (but really, not difficult to obtain, with proper planning) special deposition visa.  Think of it as an opportunity to show off or improve your organization skills.  At a glance, the requirements do seem daunting.  It is just a very structured process, but with a global court reporting agency at your side, you will waltz right through it and onto the Embassy or Consulate grounds to take your depos and be out in time to enjoy this charming country and culture.

Travel that Far can be Pricey!

Another benefit to a global reporting agency?  A truly global reporting agency, that is?  They have reporters, videographers, and interpreters living around the globe.  Travel to Asia is not cheap.  Accommodations throughout Asia are not cheap.  Working with on-the-ground professionals saves a lot of expense, as it eliminates most, if not all, travel costs for the court reporting team.  While saving on cost, this resident team adds priceless value to your time in Asia, as they can offer tips on where to go, what to eat, and the like.

Take All the Depos you Please

Depos in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Guam or Saipan involve no fancy requirements, nor restrictions as to where exactly they can be taken.  Taking depos in Guam or Saipan is just like taking depos in the States, although the landscape is a trifle more tropical!  The only real quandary with depos in any of these beautiful spots is how many extra days can you stay to enjoy your exotic surroundings.  The on-the-ground team can offer advice on how to get the most out of however many extra days or even just hours you have available to explore.

Don’t Lose your Case to Misinterpretation!

Interpreters in Asia are highly sought-after professionals and book months in advance.  Do not delay in contacting the court reporting agency as soon as possible to begin your quest for a skilled and experienced interpreter!  Provide as much information as you are able in order to eliminate conflicts and procure the most capable, experienced interpreter available, versed in the subject matter of the case.  Keep in mind that once reserved, these diligent professionals like to begin preparing immediately, so give them as many useful materials as you can gather.  Particularly in Japan, with strictly enforced time constraints, the fewer interruptions during the depositions, the better.

Travel Wisely

Wherever in Asia your depos take you, you’re in for a long haul to get there.  Travel is notoriously stressful and exhausting, so prepare as thoroughly for the voyage portion of your trip as you will for the time in your destination country. Remember the time difference is extreme (most of Asia is a full 12 hours ahead of EST, for a frame of reference), so if you can sleep on a plane, DO IT.  If you can’t sleep on a plane, make the flight as relaxing as possible.   Read a good book, binge-watch your favorite series (you’ve got the time) or maybe get to know some of your new, limited-time neighbors if you (and they) are so inclined.  Lastly, stay hydrated!  Skip the booze and sip water instead.  You will feel much better upon arrival.

Planet Depos has reporters, videographers, and interpreters living throughout the Asia-Pacific region and has been covering depos in the area and beyond for well over a decade.  The expertise is apparent from the scheduling process, with no detail missed, to the consummate professionalism in the deposition room.  For questions regarding depositions anywhere in Asia or to schedule, call 888.433.3767 or complete the easy online scheduling form.

Travel Made Simple on Three Continents

Travel Made Simple on Three Continents


Hiroshima Castle in Japan

Hiroshima Castle in Japan

Japan is easy travel.  Well, aside from the long flight, at least.  And perhaps you enjoy long flights.  Many people do.  The important thing is there are no fancy preparations before your departure to or upon your arrival in Japan!  There is no tourist visa required for stays of less than 90 days (do NOT forget your Special Deposition Visa!!).  There are no required or recommended vaccinations, no unnerving recommended precautions (do always check those at the U.S. State Department’s handy page), and your passport need only be valid for the length of your intended visit, with one blank page for the entry stamp.

Once you have arrived in Japan and have rested from your journey overseas, check with your hotel or court reporting team for local must-sees and good eats.  This is a country bursting at the seams with both.  Whether your depositions are taking place in Osaka or Tokyo, you will not lack for delectable dishes or unique experiences.  The strict hours at both the U.S. Consulate in Osaka and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo do give you a few extra hours in the day to play tourist, should you be so inclined.  The on-the-ground reporting team can tell you how to maximize whatever available time you have for memory-making excursions in these beautiful cities and their nearby areas.

Germany keeps travel requirements minimal.  No tourist visa is required for stays under 90 days.  Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned departure from the Schengen area and must contain two blank pages for stamps.  That’s pretty much it.  You don’t need any vaccinations to visit Deutschland, phew!  Do check the U.S. State Department’s travel alerts page to be aware of any recommended precautions.


Panorama of Regensburg, Germany

Panorama of Regensburg, Germany

Germany is a beautiful destination, with much to offer visitors, even visitors with little time for tourist activities.  Eateries with scrumptious offerings are plentiful in Frankfurt, the only city where depositions can be lawfully taken.  The metropolis is crammed with museums and fun attractions, and English is widely spoken in Frankfurt, making navigation easy.  Again, the well-traveled reporting team is an invaluable resource for tips on what to do, see, eat and drink during your time in Germany.

Mexico is also an easy destination as travel requirements go.  Yay!  Provided your stay is under 180 days, there is no visa required.  Your passport must be valid at the time of entry and contain two blank pages for stamps.  There are no required/recommended vaccinations prior to travel to Mexico, which is always nice, since needles are not.  Mexico will usually have travel alerts listed on the U.S. State Department’s website, so do peruse that page prior to your trip.

Mexico is a popular vacation spot, offering stunning beaches and resorts, along with good, colorful food and drink, and a vibrant culture to soak in and enjoy.  Depositions are most often held in the capital of Mexico City, which alone presents a myriad of fun sites to explore.  These include the ancient city of Teotihuacan (actually just north of Mexico City) and one of the largest parks in the Western Hemisphere, Chapultepec.  Check with your hotel, or again, your court reporting team, for tips on getting the most out of Mexico during your time there.

A night shot of the Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico

A night shot of the Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico

It is worth mentioning that it’s highly advisable to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months past your planned return date before embarking on any international travel.  Enrolling in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) with the State Department keeps you in the know when it comes to safety announcements.  Check with your court reporting agency for more tips on international travel and enjoy your trip!

Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for well over a decade.  With reporters, videographers, and interpreters living in various parts of the world, they can provide coverage for depositions anywhere, as well as useful tips and information about your destination.  For more information on international depositions or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or complete our easy online scheduling form.

Leave Your Worries Behind When Traveling Internationally

Leave Your Worries Behind When Traveling Internationally

Traveling internationally is an event to enjoy, whether your travel is for business or pleasure.  The trick to avoiding travel-related anxiety (and legitimate travel nightmares!) is to know what to expect and to prepare accordingly.  Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources out there with a wealth of information on the various countries around the globe.  This makes gathering the data you need a snap, preparation a breeze, and before you know it, you’re cruising down the runway headed to an exciting destination.  Here are a few tips to make this scenario a reality before you jet off to your next deposition overseas.

Safety First – Here are a few precautions anyone traveling internationally should take, just in case.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan. This service (STEP) is free, and simply logs your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate. It takes next to no time to register and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to find you in the event of an emergency.  You can also receive alerts on your phone once registered.
  • Check out the area. The State Department provides a thorough overview regarding security for each country.  They also include common sense tips for avoiding troublesome scenarios while abroad.
  • Ask around for insights. Has a colleague or your cousin been to your destination before?  See if they have any tips for you.  Waaay back in 2002, my sisters warned me to avoid the metro while in Rome.  We walked everywhere.  Made for a better trip, and we avoided very skilled pickpockets!
  • The State Department does regularly update their travel advisory page as well, just FYI.

Practical/Itinerary Considerations – Unexpected snafus can mean no travel for you, so do run through this checklist.

  • Check your passport! Always make sure you have at least six months’ validity on your passport from your planned return date.  Also make sure you have the necessary number of blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
  • Check (and double-check) visa requirements. If a visa is required for your destination, check processing times and follow instructions carefully.
  • Double-check any additional travel requirements.

The first three tips can be taken care of on the State Department website.

  • Review recommended health precautions, required vaccinations and the like. The CDC is very useful for this.
  • Let your bank and credit card company know you will be traveling and to expect to see transactions abroad, so they don’t send up the alarm and block the charge when you try to pay for dinner in Hsinchu or buy souvenirs in Amsterdam.
  • Check the weather! Pack accordingly!  Also pack duplicates of all your travel documents, and keep separate from originals, in case of emergency.
  • Consider creating a Trusted Traveler Programs account to apply for Global Entry. This can greatly expedite security and customs!
  • Download handy apps for your destination country, like maps or currency converters.
  • Activate your phone’s global capabilities.

Make the Flight a Breeze – Flying can be stressful, and travel is draining in general.  Here are some ideas to take off the edge a bit.

  • Arrive at least two hours before departure time for your international flight. There is nothing worse than arriving in the nick of time to reach the gate and seeing that long security line.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Be prompt!
  • Be prepared for waiting, possible extended layovers, etc. In other words, make sure when you book your flight, you allow time to not only recover from jet lag, but for unforeseen flight delays.  Worst (best?) case scenario, caution means you have an extra day for sleep or to explore a new country!
  • Be prepared for long, boring flights (and waiting around in airports)! If you can’t sleep on a plane, have case materials handy to do some extra prep.  Better yet, read!  Bring a favorite novel, or a fun, humorous travel guide about your destination.  Also bring headphones in case you are seated next to a Chatty Cathy.

Arrive and Enjoy!  Get the most out of whatever free time you may have on your trip.

  • Ask the court reporting team what you absolutely MUST see while you are there.
  • Ask them for the name of the one restaurant you can’t afford to miss while you are there.
  • Don’t be afraid to try crazy local dishes! Barring any food allergies or other dietary restrictions, now is the time to be daring and sample some things you wouldn’t normally eat.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for well over a decade.  With reporters, videographers, and interpreters living in various parts of the world, they can not only provide coverage for depositions anywhere, but also useful tips and information about your destination.  For more information on international depositions or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or fill out our easy online scheduling form.


8 Exciting Things To Do During Your Deposition In Japan

8 Exciting Things To Do During Your Deposition In Japan

If your depositions take you to Japan, and you already reviewed your deposition checklist for Japan, do not miss the sights of this beautiful nation. Whether your depositions will be at the Consulate in Osaka or the Embassy in Tokyo, you’ll find sensational eating, shopping, and sightseeing awaiting. Be sure to schedule as much extra time as your calendar allows so that you can really enjoy your trip!

View overlooking Tokyo and Rainbow Bridge

View overlooking Tokyo and Rainbow Bridge

Top Attractions in Osaka, Japan

  • Osaka Castle – well, obviously. This is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, after all. During cherry blossom season (typically April), the grounds are especially spectacular as they burst with frothy pink flowers.
  • Kaiyukan Aquarium – the world’s largest! An especially charming exhibit is the Arctic zone under the world’s largest dome-shaped ceiling tank, where seals “smile” at you from overhead!
  • Shitennoji, Osaka’s largest temple. There is a flea market on weekends as well, which makes for a fun daytime excursion!
  • Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori for more shopping, exploring, and food. This was once a theater district and is now a popular nightlife and entertainment area. You will find restaurants, arcades, and brightly illuminated signs. Definitely have some ramen from Kinryu Ramen – just look for the enormous three-dimensional golden dragon billboard.

Top Attractions in Tokyo, Japan

  • Shibuya Crossing is possibly the busiest intersection in the world, and certainly impressive to witness firsthand – you will practically feel the pulse of the city with all the foot traffic! And there is a Starbucks offering prime viewing of this practiced choreography, as well as your preferred latte. Or check out Coco Ichibanya’s Japanese Curry Rice if you would rather eat than caffeinate.

  • Golden Gai – offering a truly unique experience, the “Golden District” of Shinjuku is a small, concentrated area of intimate bars. Really intimate – they sit between 5 and 30 patrons, and most are on the smaller side of that scale.
  • Skytree, the second tallest human structure on earth, obviously gives great views of the city, if you’ve got the head for it — and the cash. The toll to go up is steep as well, but the view that awaits is worth it, as well as the eats on the restaurant floor. Try mabodofu from the Chinese restaurant, or enjoy a meal at the revolving sushi place!
  • Sensoji Temple is not only Tokyo’s oldest temple, but also boasts the city’s biggest souvenir market. Of course, there are also shops, restaurants, and cafes galore to keep you fortified, as you can easily spend a day here.

Japan offers a wealth of good times, so take advantage of the restrictive hours for taking depositions at the Embassy or Consulate, and create a few unique memories.

Schedule your Japan Deposition

Ready to schedule a deposition in Japan? Our international scheduling team is always available for you, just fill out our international request form, or call us at 888.433.3767.

Travel Adventures: Food on the Go

Travel Adventures: Food on the Go

By Trevor Price

My personal favourite part of visiting new countries is trying new food.  I’m usually willing to try almost anything, so I’m pretty adventurous.

Stinky Tofu in Hong Kong - by Trevor PriceEvery once in a while though, you run into a dish that requires an extraordinary amount of bravery or, as I’ve heard it described, stupidity.

What you are seeing in this picture is stinky tofu, and on a recent trip to Hong Kong, I ingested this crazy local street food dish.

For a very long time I’ve walked around Hong Kong and occasionally smelled something so revolting I just began calling it “Hong Kong Smell” and, I’ll be honest, I chalked it up to sewage.

So imagine my surprise when a group of people standing in line behind me at a food stall smelled just like it!  We got in a conversation and I learned that all this time it’s been stinky tofu that was the culprit.

Of course, moments later I was paying my 5HKD (about $1 USD) and taking a bite!

The verdict… not that bad!  I’ll be back for more next time I’m down in my favourite street food city.

On a related note, the Michelin Guide to Restaurants, if you’re not familiar with it, is a listing of the greatest restaurants in the world.  I have no idea how they decide, but recently they released a Michelin guide to Hong Kong street food.  I still have a few to visit, but maybe I’ll write my own reviews once I’ve finished them.

Travel Adventures: The Naked Man Festival in Japan

Travel Adventures: The Naked Man Festival in Japan

By Trevor Price

On February 10th, a series of happy accidents that stemmed from a trip to Nagahama for an Ume plum bonsai exhibition of all things left me in Nagoya wondering what to do the next day.

We were on a castle tour, as we sometimes are, and Nagoya had to get crossed off the list, but castles don’t usually take all day, and I was exploring the internet for some of the other things Nagoya had to offer. It turns out Nagoya was offering something truly special.

As Japan ramps up its tourism efforts before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the quality of information you can get about different Japanese cities has increased dramatically, and Nagoya is no exception. As is the case with almost everywhere in this country, each city seems to have a reputation as being all business and no play, but if you do some searching, there is almost always something amazing to see or do no matter where you go.

It just so happened that our timing was, as usual, uncanny. On February 11th, Konomiya, near Nagoya, would be holding the Hadaka Matsuri, sometimes known as the Naked Man Festival, one of the strangest festivals in the entire country.

I’ll give a quick rundown on the basics as I’m sure there is more accurate information out there on the internet.

The short story begins a few months before. Men volunteer to be “chosen” as the scapegoat for the festival, and one man is selected to bear the bad luck of all the attendees. He is called the Shin-otoko. He is sequestered before the festival for three days, and his body hair is completely shaved.

On the day of the festival, thousands of men dressed in nothing but a simple loincloth (called a fundoshi) arrive at the shrine.  They make their way down the streets surrounding the shrine from all directions, and the entire neighborhood is flooded with men in loincloths, street food vendors, and interested gawkers.

The men are in groups representing different areas from around the Nagoya area, but sometimes there are some people that have come from much farther away. They come bearing bundled bamboo as offerings for blessings from the priests. This takes several hours to complete as each group enters the shrine, receives the blessings, and then runs out.

Then comes the wait. For the next couple of hours, the groups will await the arrival of the shin-otoko. The chosen man spends his day trying to make his way toward the shrine from outside in the neighborhood surrounding. The belief is if you are able to touch the chosen man as he makes his way to the shrine, you will transfer your bad luck to him for the next year. That’s what everyone is doing here!

It’s a bit of an inside joke that the harder you touch him, the better chance your luck is to be transferred properly. People don’t hold back much when they get a chance to smack him with all their might.

It’s not all bad for our hero though. He has a group of men equipped with buckets that spend the entire time defending our naked running man. They toss ice cold water attempting to ward off would-be slappers.  Remember, it’s February!  It’s cold enough already without freezing water being dumped on you.

When everyone finally makes it to the shrine, that’s when things get really crazy. The shrine itself is equipped with water hoses and spray nozzles that soak the waiting crowd of 10,000 or so fundoshi-clad men waiting for their chance to slap their bad luck away.

The shin-otoko enters and fights his way through the crowd while the shrine workers tie themselves to the inside of the shrine and climb over the crowd to get the black-and-blue chosen one and drag him into the shrine. As soon as he’s inside, that’s it.  It’s all over and everyone goes home, frozen and laughing.

My experience was amazing! I came early enough that I was close to all the action as people brought in the offerings for the temple, and when the chosen man arrived, I was actually allowed into the ring where the action takes place. I was not close enough to get soaked with water though (thank goodness).

The atmosphere was pure madness, and yet I still had a local gentleman take the time to explain everything that was going on.  He said he had never participated himself, but next year he was planning to participate since he turns 42, which is considered an especially unlucky year.  Hopefully he gets a good smack in so he can avoid the bad luck!

Top Tips for International Travel: Passport Edition

Top Tips for International Travel: Passport Edition

By Katelin Myers

When it comes to adventuring abroad, it can be a stressful experience for anyone – whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned jet setter. With the increase in airport security measures, documentation requirements, and passport theft, preparing your travel papers before you take off can help alleviate travel headaches. Be prepared for your journey with these few tips:

Before you leave:

  • Leave a copy of your passport back home with family or friends, along with any other important information you may be bringing with you, such as your itinerary, driver’s license, hotel reservations, etc.
  • Keep a physical and electronic copy of your passport, driver’s license, and other documentation with you. If you are pickpocketed, then you’ll at least have copies back at your hotel (preferably left in a hotel safe), and on your phone, email, etc. Bring along other objects with your name on it (e.g. prescription bottles, mail, phone bill, etc.), as they can be used as a form of backup ID.
  • Keep all forms of ID and anything valuable on your person as much as possible, such as carrying them in an inside jacket pocket, money belt, or small purse (with zippers). Try to avoid the “touristy” look with fanny-packs, baseball caps, and big backpacks.

If your passport is stolen:

  • Notify all relevant parties immediately after the theft: local police, the U.S. Consulate/Embassy, your airline, hotel, and contacts back home.
  • Keep any documentation provided by the police and Embassy, as you will need it when heading back home. Extra copies should be made just in case.
  • Make sure to follow any instructions from the airlines regarding your return flight. Bring all the documentation you have proving your passport was stolen and anything to help confirm your identity. Also arrive early (and we mean very early) before your flight to allow extra time to get through check-in and security.

For more travel tips and assistance, please contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at or call 888-433-3767.


Planet Depos

Planet Depos

Pin It on Pinterest