I’m back!

I just came back from Japan, which usually keeps me busy. For some reason, despite conditions being usually equal or better than other business trips, I am oftentimes busier than in other places. I had a light load, normally one business meeting a day; my hotel, Mercure Ginza, being centrally located, enabled me to avoid … Continue reading I’m back!

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What are some names spelled differently in English but are the same name in their native tongue?

I think Park and Pak are the same name in Korean. Are there other names like this? Ref. As I said in my comments to Kent Fung's excellent answer, Vương (Vuong), Vong, Ong, Wong, Wang are all variants of 王, whereas Hoàng, Huỳnh, Hwang, Huang, Wong, Vong are variants of 黃. Oh, and in Hokkien, … Continue reading What are some names spelled differently in English but are the same name in their native tongue?

Is alcohol exempt from customs when you buy it at the duty-free shop at the airport?

[Answer Request] The problem with duty-free, being a very tightly-controlled industry, is that many people have no clue how it works, and there are plenty of fairy tales and urban legends about it, often far off the reality. This question is definitely one of those things – a show of cluelessness about how things work. … Continue reading Is alcohol exempt from customs when you buy it at the duty-free shop at the airport?

What is the most ideal Asian country for a freelancer writer from North America to work in and why?

Ref. It will depend on your bank account. Other good answers mention Singapore and the Phils in the same sentence. Both make sense. Except that the budget sure isn't the same. You need to take into consideration a few things: Your starting budget. How much money do you have TODAY to go there, and get … Continue reading What is the most ideal Asian country for a freelancer writer from North America to work in and why?

What’s the weirdest question you’ve been asked when crossing an international border?

Ref. Two Immigration officers share the top spot for me. A Zapata-lookalike in Honolulu airport. Holding my passport and the (wrong, which I didn't know) immigration form he asked What is this? (Although it was more like What iz zees?) Right. That's a story for another post. Soon. Gimpo airport in Seoul, back in the … Continue reading What’s the weirdest question you’ve been asked when crossing an international border?

What happens to imports that get caught while smuggling?

[Answer Request] [Not surprisingly this 2 month-old question still has zero answer] There's the law, the practice and the reality. And it will depend on the country, and, often, the region. In the wines and spirits business, we have this joke about Customs people being the same all over the world -- broken bottles tend … Continue reading What happens to imports that get caught while smuggling?