Donald W. George

About Donald W. George and Amy G. Carlson

Donald W. George first traveled to Japan on a Princeton-in-Asia Fellowship in 1977. On the two-year fellowship, he taught English writing and literature at International Christian University in Tokyo; he also hosted an English-language talk show for the educational division of NHK-TV, Japan’s national broadcasting network. Living in Japan changed his life, teaching him that many of the cultural concepts he’d assimilated growing up weren’t necessarily true—and even more importantly, introducing him to the wise and lovely woman who would become his wife, Kuniko Ninomiya. Don returned to the U.S. in 1980, settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was joined by Kuniko in 1982—and where they continue to live, now with two wonderful children, Jennifer Ayako and Jeremy Naoki, immeasurably enriching their lives. From 1980-86, Don was a travel writer and then a magazine editor for the San Francisco Examiner. He became the Examiner’s Travel Editor in 1987 and remained in that position, roaming the globe and writing a weekly column, until 1995, when he leapt into cyberspace to work for GNN, once the Internet division of America Online. In February 1997 Don joined many of his former Examiner colleagues at the Internet magazine Salon, where he founded and edited the acclaimed travel site, Wanderlust. Today Don is the Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. He frequently appears on TV and radio and in print as Lonely Planet’s spokesperson. He also writes the weekly “What Would Don George Do?” travel advice column for; oversees Lonely Planet's nationally syndicated newspaper column, “Travels with Lonely Planet”; and commissions books for the publisher’s literary travel series. Don is the author of Travel Writing and the editor of five anthologies, including By the Seat of My Pants, The Kindness of Strangers and A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad. Don has published more than 600 articles in magazines and newspapers around the globe and has received dozens of awards for his writing and editing, including, most recently, the Pacific Area Travel Association’s Gold Award for Best Travel Article and the Society of American Travel Writers Lowell Thomas Award. Don is co-founder and chairman of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers Conference, which is held every summer in Northern California, and has been a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism; he frequently speaks about travel writing and travel industry issues around the world.


Japan“Disturbing, enlightening, humorous and sometimes sentimental, these stories provide insights into an often baffling, endlessly intriguing land.” —San Francisco Examiner Japan is a contradictory country that simultaneously astonishes, delights, and frustrates travelers. The tales in this book reveal the alluring, enigmatic land beneath the surface—a place of tranquil temples and traitorous high-tech toilets, exquisite ancient inns and lurid love hotels, a country where electric baths sit beside indoor ski slopes and cherry blossoms fall on kindly grandmothers, cynical salarymen, wise monks, and wild lovers alike. From flower arranging to garbage scavenging, public grieving to private laughing, these stories illuminate the old and ever-changing heart and soul of Japan.

Japan 2017-04-24T02:32:44-08:00