Without makeup / arlamont@msn.com / October 22, 2023

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We have been thinking about going to Japan for several years and visiting some cities outside of Tokyo. Is there any general recommendation you can give me, considering that Japanese culture is very different from ours?

A. It's good that you ask and I am happy to share with you the well-known and accepted Code of Conduct for Visitors, put into effect in the city of Kyoto. This is a summary of Kyoto's tourism code of conduct: Contribute to local culture and community while promoting harmony between residential life and tourism. Preserve the natural environment and scenic landscape. Promote mutual understanding and cultural exchange. Establish tourism that is resistant to crises such as disasters and infectious diseases.

In practical terms, that means taking your trash back to your hotel (there are no public trash cans), not leaving leftover food in public and not taking photos in places where they are not allowed, such as temples, and following the example of the locals when in doubt. I share with you that my wish is that all tourists in the world could attend a global behavior class before leaving on a trip.


Mr. La Mont, what happens to the coins that are thrown into the fountains, surely someone picks them up, right?

A. I share with you that coins thrown into fountains usually end up in one of two places:

— They are collected regularly by the owner or operator of the source. This money is often used to maintain the fountain or to support a charitable cause.

— They accumulate at the bottom of the fountain, where they can remain for many years. In some cases, these coins can be dredged and donated to charities or used to fund public projects. For example, in Rome, Italy, coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain are collected every day and donated to the charity Caritas, which provides assistance to the poor and needy. In New York City, coins thrown into the fountain in Bryant Park are used to maintain the fountain and the park itself. However, not all fountain coins are collected and used for good purposes. In some cases, people have been arrested for stealing coins from fountains. Additionally, some fountains are so deep that it is difficult or impossible to collect the coins at the bottom. In these cases, the coins may simply remain at the bottom of the fountain, where they can eventually corrode and become useless.


How long has it been since wine was invented?

R. What do you think if I told you that it was like eight thousand years ago. I share that between 2007 and 2010, archaeologists excavated a cave near Areni, Armenia, that contained the remains of an ancient wine-making operation. They unearthed a press for crushing grapes, jars for fermentation and storage, ceramic cups and the remains of grape vines, skins and seeds. (The organic material had been preserved by a hardened layer of sheep dung, which protected it from decomposition.) By analyzing a compound called malvidin, which makes grapes reddish purple, the researchers estimated that the site was active around 4000 BC. C., during the Copper Age, making it the oldest known winery. Even earlier biomolecular evidence of viticulture dates back to around 6000 BC. The oldest type of wine still made today is Commandaria, a sweet red-white dessert blend from Cyprus dating back to 2000 BC. c.

Alfredo La Mont III
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