Quake victims need uplifting mail

More than three years after an earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of north-east Japan, hundreds of thousands of people are still homeless

A group in Japan has called for children in other countries to send letters to people who are still suffering from the effects of the country’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, it’s reported.

Yukitaka Uritani, who organises the Genki Mail project, says survivors of the disaster still need words of strength and inspiration. He has been collecting heartening or genki  letters written by schoolchildren in countries as far afield as the United States, France, and Mongolia since the disaster, a Kyodo news agency report published in The Bangkok Post says. Thousands of letters, translated by Japanese university students, were sent to shelters the north-eastern Tohoku region in 2011 and 2012, but the number dropped to about 200 in 2013

Mr Uritani, who was himself a survivor of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, was saved from committing suicide in the immediate aftermath by dozens of encouraging faxes sent to him from Mongolia and China, he told Wochi Kochi magazine in 2011. Today, he says he wants to convey to the tsunami victims that people around the world are concerned about you, you are not alone

And the world’s best city is

Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have voted for their favorite city destinations in an annual survey. In 10th place is the American Mardi Gras capital, New Orleans.

(BURSA ESCORT) — Thailand’s recent political troubles may have worked in Japan’s favor when it came to this year’s Travel + Leisure awards, with Kyoto knocking Bangkok off its spot at the top of the magazine’s world’s best cities list.

The Thai capital, which was placed under curfew earlier this year during a military coup, is nowhere to be seen in this year’s top 10, voted for by the magazine’s readers, despite repeat appearances in the number one spot.

Kyoto, a city on Japan’s Honshu island famed for its ancient temples and spring cherry blossoms, was praised by T + L special correspondent Sarah Spagnolo for “an emerging style scene that’s cutting edge.”

Second on the list is Charleston, South Carolina, which, according to Spagnolo, improved on its 2013 seventh-place ranking thanks to accessibility, standout hotels (including the Planters Inn) and “a mouthwatering culinary scene where shrimp grits are just the beginning.”

Several tourism heavyweights, including Rome and Florence, maintain their places in the top 10, while others make the grade after failing to place in 2013.

Siem Reap, the developing resort town near the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, New Orleans, Mexico City and Seville, Spain are all new entries.

Surveys of T + L readers were also used to compile award lists in other categories.

The Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana, was named best hotel; Santorini, Greece, was named best island; Disney Cruise Line was named best of the “mega cruisers”; Singapore Airlines the best international carrier; and Singapore Changi Airport the best international terminal.

Rancho la Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, was named best spa.

T + L’s World’s Best Cities 2014

10. New Orleans

9. Mexico City

8. Barcelona

7. Seville, Spain

6. Istanbul

5. Rome

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

3. Florence, Italy

2 Charleston, South Carolina

1. Kyoto, Japan

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