The Inner Hebrides

The Inner Hebrides

The Inner Hebrides are a group of islands close to the west coast of Scotland. Although they only have a combined population of around 20,000 inhabitants, the islands are nevertheless incredibly rich in history, scenery and Gaelic tradition. There are two groups of islands that form the Inner Hebrides. The northern group is dominated by Skye, the largest of the Hebrides, as well as several smaller islands. The southern group includes the islands of Islay, Jura, Mull, Coll, Tiree and…

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The Hebrides Islands of Scotland

The Hebrides Islands of Scotland

Next, we travel to the beautiful, rugged and remote Hebrides Islands. Located off the western coast of Scotland, the Hebrides are made up of two island chains – the Inner Hebrides, which include 35 inhabited islands and 44 uninhabited islands, and the Outer Hebrides, sometimes called the Western Isles, which include 15 inhabited islands as well as more than 50 uninhabited islands and islets. The two groups are separated by the waters of the Minch, Little Minch and the Sea…

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Post 100 – Focus on Bocas – Food and Drink

Post 100 – Focus on Bocas – Food and Drink

POST #100 This post is the 100th post at islandprofiles.com! Its hard to believe, but true. Today we finish up our visit to Bocas del Toro and focus on the food and drink of the Bocas Archipelago. The cuisine of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago is influenced by Afro-Antillean traditions, brought by settlers from Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies. The cuisine has a reputation for being hearty, spicy and filling. One dish that you are likely to…

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Things to See and Do in Bocas del Toro

Things to See and Do in Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is an unique island destination in many ways. It is a predominantly English speaking part of a Hispanic nation, with a more Afro-Caribbean feel to it than what you would find in other parts of Panama. Sometimes called the Galapagos of the Caribbean, the reefs and waters of Bocas offer unparalleled scuba diving and snorkeling. The quirky retro culture of backpackers, sailors and expats that came into existence as a result of the surfing, sailing and diving…

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Bocas Background – A Short History of Bocas del Toro

Bocas Background – A Short History of Bocas del Toro

For thousands of years before Christopher Columbus set foot on the islands of Bocas del Toro, they were inhabited by Indians of the Guaymi, Teribe and Bokota tribes. The Ngäbe (or Ngöbe) and Buglé are subgroups of the Guaymi. They are often grouped together and referred to as the largest indigenous group in Panama even though they speak separate languages. When Columbus arrived, his ships were in need of repair and the calm waters and fertile ground of the archipelago…

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Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Now we move on to Bocas del Toro. This group of nine main islands and dozens of smaller ones, is located off the Caribbean coast of Panama near the Costa Rican border. Bocas del Toro means “mouths of the bull” and is also the name of the province that the islands are located in. The Capital and main town is Bocas Town, located on the tip of Isla Colon, the most touristy of the islands. An Afro-Caribbean culture dominates in…

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Hungry in Honshu – Japanese Food and Drink

Hungry in Honshu – Japanese Food and Drink

The Japanese have a real passion for food. More and more, this passion is spreading to all parts of the world. Most major cities around the world have sushi bars and restaurants. In some places, such as New York, they are practically on every corner. The popularity of Japanese cuisine could be partly due to the fact that, more than most any other national cuisine, it is considered an art form, where presentation, esthetic and ritual are as much a…

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Noh, Kabuki and J-pop – Music and theater of Japan

Noh, Kabuki and J-pop – Music and theater of Japan

Today’s Japan boasts the second largest music market in the world. The music scene has exploded to include Japanese styles of rock, heavy metal, hip hop, punk, and whatever else you can think of. A lot of today’s music from Japan would seem to be an adaptation of these styles, using the Japanese language. Yet there are also genres that mix western influences with Japanese traditions and structures such as Japanese Pop, or ‘J-pop. There are also many important classical…

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Temples, Shrines and Geishas – Kyoto

Temples, Shrines and Geishas – Kyoto

Next we take a look around the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Kyoto, in fact, means capital city. It was Japan’s capital for over a thousand years and was originally the country’s largest city. Located in a valley of the Tamba Highlands in central Honshu, Kyoto, with a population of around 1.5 million, is part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. The city, which was originally built using principles of Feng Shui, was destroyed in large part during the Onin War,…

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Honshu History

Honshu History

The history of the island of Honshu is basically the history of the country of Japan. It is the largest and most central of the Japanese islands and is where its current and historic capital cities are located. Before 300 BC, the early Japanese were for the most part, hunters, gatherers and fishers. Things changed quite a bit when around that time, rice cultivation was introduced. This caused a rapid evolution in the formation of social structures. One result of…

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