In Palau we Flew Over World Heritage in a Cessna Missing a Door, Then Ate Bat Soup at a Restaurant Run by a Hiroshima Carps Fan

In Palau, a Japanese mandate territory from the end of World War I until Japan’s defeat in World War II, the local language has many words similar to Japanese, such as chichi-bando, an old word for bra and daijo-bu, meaning okay. While mainly known for being a marine resort, we took a look at some of the other attractions of Palau, a pro-Japan country. We visited a shrine that is protected by more than 20 guard dogs, flew in a Cessna airplane at an altitude of 450m with one of the doors missing, and tried soup that has a whole bat in it. The ccTLD for Palau is “.pw”.

◆Where is Palau?

Palau is a republic of 586 islands of various sizes, located approximately 3,000 km due south of Japan. Palau is located south-west of Guam and there is no time difference with Japan. Palauan and English are both spoken. The island state of Angaur is the only place in the world where the official language is Japanese.
It is the fourth least populous country in the world, with a population of 18,094 (2020). The currency used is the US dollar.

= Table of Contents =

◆Speaking Japanese is Not “Daijo-bu” in Palau

◆Scary! Taking a Scenic Flight in a Cessna Missing a Door

◆Things We Couldn’t Find in the Big Supermarket

◆Nanyo Shrine Protected by 10+ Guard Dogs

◆(Viewer Discretion Advised) Bat Soup – A Palau Food Report

◆Love for Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Other Palau Highlights

◆The Domain “.pw” Wasn’t Seen Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆Speaking Japanese is Not “Daijo-bu” in Palau

The Domain Island Tour went to Palau, via Taiwan. Our plan is to leave Taiwan on Wednesday and return Saturday. It was a full plane. Four hours after our plane left Taiwan, the islands of Palau came into view.

The WiFi available at Palau International Airport is named “PNCC PROMO HOTSPOT”.

With our completed immigration forms and the QR code for the completed health declaration form in hand, we were ready to enter the country. But then we had to wait in line for more than an hour. It seems the cause of this long wait was due to issues reading the QR code on the health form. Palau is very humid and the temperature is as hot as Tokyo in the middle of summer. Sweating but patient, we waited in the immigration queue. Filling out the form I was given during the screening process by hand was quicker than sorting out the QR code. When it was finally our turn, the immigration officer took note of how many covid vaccines we had received. You’ll be asked to present the e-ticket for your return flight, so have that prepared in advance.

There was a poster reminding us to wear masks at all times. None of the airport staff wore masks. Strange… No one wore masks in the downtown area we visited either. Perhaps it’s an old sign they forgot to take down.

All the shops in the airport were closed. The area was deserted.

We leave the airport and head to our accommodation. We chose the Palau Hotel, the cheapest on the accommodation website we used.

There are not many hotels on the outlying islands, so it’s more convenient to stay on the Main street of Koror Island.

Photos of jellyfish on the ceiling of the entrance area. There was a cute jellyfish character to greet us, too.

One of Palau’s most famous attractions is Jellyfish Lake, where millions of jellyfish migrate. The jellyfish is also a much-loved local character. However the locals told me there are no jellyfish in the lake at present.

The hotel rooms are spacious and clean.

The breakfast buffet includes dishes that Japanese guests will be used to eating, such as yakisoba and wakame soup. The hotel’s WiFi would not be suitable for a work-cation due to its slow speed and instability, but the hotel was comfortable and I’d love to return on holiday someday.

Due to its history with Japan, there are approximately 1,000 words of Japanese origin in the Palauan language, and it’s said around 20% of the language is derived from Japanese. We heard “daijo-bu” many times while we were there. However, most of the time we communicated in English. So don’t expect to be able to converse in Japanese.


We signed up for a scenic flight in a Cessna over Palau’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, which has been a world heritage area since 2012. It’s a little expensive – $140 USD for a 25 minute flight, but it does include hotel pick-up and drop-off.

First, the route is explained to us. In Japanese, so we were relieved!

Our pilot, Hiro. He’s Japanese. He used to be a pilot for an American airline, but lost his job due to the pandemic. He became a Cessna pilot for tourists in Palau 5 months ago. Each day there are six flights and we were the third flight of the day.

Time for a scenic flight! Huh? What’s this? Look closely and you’ll see that the door on the right side is missing. Surprisingly, it will fly 25 minutes without a door as it climbs to an altitude of 450 meters. On hearing this, one member of the Domain Island Tour was so scared they refused to board. When we asked why there was no door our pilot said, “Without the door, you’ll get a better view of the scenery”.

In the end, a total of three people – two from the Domain Island Tour and Hiro, our pilot – set off. We were strapped in of course, but it was still scary without a door. I was too scared to take photos most of the flight.

Look, there’s an island shaped like a whale. Thanks to the missing door, we could take some beautiful photos.

I’m sure these photos show just what an amazing experience we had seeing the beauty of Palau in all its glory.


◆Things We Couldn’t Find in the Big Supermarket

We definitely recommend renting a car for sightseeing. We opted for the $55-a-day Corolla, but for some reason we were given a Mazda, which was not in the catalog. If you ask, they will bring the car to your hotel. The price of the Mazda was the same as the Corolla, so we set off on our tour.

Like the Commonwealth of Dominica, Palau has no traffic lights. They drive on the right. There were many Japanese cars on the road. It seems Japanese used cars are the cheapest option for locals. We didn’t see any motorbikes though.

The Japanese cars are unchanged, meaning the steering wheel is on the right, which, when there were no other cars on the road, made me automatically drive on the left like I was in Japan. Twice we suddenly found ourselves facing oncoming traffic. Several times we saw abandoned cars, like in this picture, looking like they’d been in a head-on collision. If you drive in Palau, please be extra careful! By the way, when we returned the car, we were told to just leave it in the airport car park and to put the keys under the mud flaps.

The Japanese embassy is located on Meyungs Island, in the west. We might learn some interesting things. Let’s make a visit.

There is an imperial chrysanthemum crest above the entrance. Inside, we found a female member of staff ready to help us. She met her Palauan husband in Japan and then moved to Palau. She told us she first worked as a nurse at a local hospital for 12 years and through a connection there, she came to work at the embassy. Presently, there are about 260 Japanese residents on Palau. It seems around 100 left due to the pandemic. If you happened to lose your Japanese passport in Palau, they can issue a travel document for your return journey here. By the way, the staff at the embassy weren’t aware of the Palau domain “.pw”. Many in Palau use Gmail, even government organizations. Photography is not allowed inside the building.

Embassy staff shared some local knowledge with us about which Japanese restaurants to visit and which electronics store to check out. First, let’s check out the “Executive Lounge” restaurant. Located off the Main Street of Koror Island, it’s a popular spot with locals, but mostly unknown to tourists. They have karaoke and you can sing Japanese songs. The song title on the large screen says “don’t let it rain”, which is funny as Palau has a tropical rain-forest climate so the area experiences several rain showers each day, although they don’t last very long.

We order Okonomiyaki ($8 USD), which was recommended to us by staff at the Japanese embassy. It looks a bit like an omelet. It was delicious from beginning to end, thanks to the mayonnaise sauce.

We also got the Tempura Platter ($12 USD). It had a crunchy texture and the batter they used was similar to breadcrumbs. The flavor of the dipping sauce would be enjoyed by Japanese people. We particularly liked the pumpkin tempura. High speed WiFi was also available for free.

Next let’s visit a store that sells computers and electrical appliances. We arrive at “Surangel’s”, Palau’s biggest shopping mall, which opened in September 2022.

“Alii!” means “hello!” in the Palauan language.

Near the entrance a display board explains the history of what originally started as a small general store. Starting a business with just two people running a small shop and turning it into a large shopping mall, isn’t just an ‘American dream’ but a Palauan dream, too. It has the same name as the president of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr.

1 The fresh food section on the ground floor. It’s very spacious. Large appliances such as lawn mowers and washing machines are also for sale.

2 Let’s go to the second floor. This floor has clothes, smartphones, computers, etc. There were fancy looking karaoke machines too. It seems that the locals enjoy karaoke?

I saw brands such as GALAXY, iPAD, iMac etc. When I asked if they had any iPhones, I was told they were out of stock. When we asked some locals about where to find a store that sells iPhones, they told us they don’t sell them here, so everyone uses GALAXYs. So, the one thing missing from the big supermarket that seems to have everything, was the iPhone.


◆Nanyo Shrine Protected by 10+ Guard Dogs

We visited Nanyo Shrine. This previously government-run shrine was founded during the Japanese occupation in World War II. At the main gate. We can see a large house further in.

When we looked at Googles Reviews, someone said they were chased by 24 barking dogs and even lightly bitten on the leg. They said it was probably better not to go when the caretaker isn’t around. As we nervously made our way up the hill, many dogs came out barking and growling at us. They watched us carefully.

When we told the person managing Nanyo Shrine that we’d like to pay a visit, he was very accommodating. None of us got our legs bitten. At the shrine entrance there are Komainu, guardian dogs, with both the Japanese and Palauan flags painted on them.

There are so many fern plants – an uncommon sight in Japan. You can see the main shrine in the back.

It’s small, but it’s the Honden, or main sanctuary.

Next to the Honden was a monument commemorating the Japanese soldiers who died in Palau during World War II. The names of fallen soldiers are engraved on the back.

We found a bird aviary.

Inside are brightly colored tropical parrots.

There used to be a JAL Nikko Hotel near Nanyo Shrine. It was closed in 2002 due to age and deterioration. pg/375px-Palau_Continental_Hotel_in_1977.jpg

Nanyo Shrine is located on private property, so be sure to inform the management that you’d like to visit and show your respects.

◆(Viewer Discretion Advised) Bat Soup – A Palau Food Report

We dropped into “CARP Restaurant”, which we learnt about from our pilot, Hiro. We got the Pork Cutlet Curry with Rice ($10 USD) and Stir-fried Shrimp ($12 USD). The cutlet curry was a pretty big serving. The stir-fried shrimp are garlicky and delicious.

We saw bat soup ($20 USD) on the menu so we ordered that too. Bats are in fact a Palauan speciality and we were told that fruit eating bats are safe to eat. The bat is usually added to the soup to flavor the broth, rather than for eating. Onions, bell peppers, herbs and other vegetables are added to consommé soup, and it’s delicious if you don’t think about the bat.

Seeing that we weren’t eating much of the soup, the waiter kindly removed the bat.

Cautiously, we try some of the bat. The meat is similar to chicken breast. It had a slight odor.

Our kind waiter returned with some fresh fruit on the house to refresh our palate.

We ended up leaving the bat’s head and other hairy parts. When we left, Ben our taxi driver told us that if only we had called for him earlier, he would’ve helped us finish it. Apparently the locals eat the entire head and wings, without leaving anything behind. By the way, Ben’s Japanese name is Masahiro. His aunt’s name is Hideko and his uncle is Kintaro.

Our teams favorite Japanese restaurant on Palau is ‘B’s Izakaya Yume’. It’s a Japanese-owned izakaya restaurant. The shop’s name is taken from the owner’s initials, not because they like the Japanese band B’z.

Mangrove crab ($55 USD). It is a large crab, but it’s difficult to remove the flesh from the shell, so there were surprisingly few places to eat from. But it was delicious and full of flavor. It made me realize that one crab tastes very much like another.

Deep-fried Tofu ($8 USD). We were impressed that it tasted just the same as back home.

Red Rooster Beer, a Palauan beer with a red chicken logo. You can buy it from the supermarket – it would make the perfect souvenir. In the Palauan language, “Skarenauos” means “to drink beer”, but it implies drinking large quantities, rather than just having a light drink. This restaurant offers a transportation service. Great for those wanting to have a drink or two.

We went for lunch at the Emaimelei Restaurant, which is also attached to a bakery, located just off the main street of Koror.

We ordered the Emaimelei Battered Fried Chicken ($10.50 USD). These large pieces of fried chicken aren’t seasoned, instead they’re dipped in Nam Jim Gai, a classic Thai sauce. The outside is crispy and it would make a great snack. The batter was so thick it was hard to get to the meat.

This is the Yaki Ramen ($10.50 USD). Soy-sauce flavored instant noodles stir-fried with cucumber and garlic, a flavor combination that would be popular with Japanese diners.

Next door is the Kumagai Bakery. All local supermarkets sell this bread.


◆Love for Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Other Palau Highlights

1)Dance contest run by local high school students

A Palauan dance competition organized by Palau High School students. The boys also put on make-up and wear skirts.

These costumes were beautiful. They look good, don’t they.

One of the teams danced to the tune of the Japanese nursery rhyme “Tadpoles are the babies of frogs.”


2)Mysterious Stone Monoliths

About an hour’s drive north of Koror Island is an archaeological site dotted with around 50 stone monuments. They are similar to the Moai statues of Easter Island, but on a smaller scale. It’s unclear why these monuments were built.

If you’re lucky, you will meet Tama the cat. We didn’t get to meet Tama, but we did meet Nani, a cute little girl who was with the lady selling admission tickets.


3)Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge
A bridge between the airport and Koror Island. When you come to Palau, you’ll pass over it many times.

Originally, a bridge was built there in 1977 by a Korean company, but it collapsed in 1996. The current bridge was built in 2002 in approximately the same location as the old one, with funds from the Japanese Official Development Assistance program.

You can go under the bridge as well. Local families fishing and swimming.


4)WCTC Shopping Center

Shopping Mall on the Main Street of Koror Island. Notice board for locals. We saw Palau army application forms too.


5)Belau National Museum

It gives an easy-to-understand description of the colonial period under Japanese rule in Japanese.

Admission was $10 USD.

This graph shows how there were twice as many Japanese as Palauans under Japanese rule.


6)CARP Restaurant

The CARP Restaurant, where we had bat soup, is owned by a Japanese woman and her Palauan husband.

Many posters of Hiroshima Carp players decorate the walls.

Player autographs and carp streamers, too.

You guessed it. The “carp” of CARP Restaurant is taken from Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the baseball team that wife Hiroko is a big fan of.

While we were talking, we found out that while Hiroko ran the restaurant, her husband was the owner of an island called Carp Island! Hiroko is such a big Hiroshima Carp fan that she even named the island, Carp Island. You can stay the night on Carp Island. When we asked if it was possible for Japanese to purchase islands here, we were told no, but non-Palauans can rent them.

Incidentally, the honorary owner of Inoki Island, located in the middle of a world heritage area, is Antonio Inoki. Apparently it was presented as a token of appreciation to Mr Inoki by Palauan chiefs, after his involvement in coral conservation and other activities since Palau’s independence.


◆The Domain “.pw” Wasn’t Seen Around Town

On our Domain Island Tours, we like to investigate how the local domain is being used. However, it proved difficult to find “.pw”.

Our search reminded us how we couldn’t find anything in Saint Lucia either. Eventually we found it being used at the post office. We got the impression that many shops use Facebook Pages or “.com” or “.net” instead.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

There isn’t a specific eSIM for Palau. WiFi routers such as GlocalMe are also not supported. So this time, we purchased a local SIM. Prior research showed us that there was a PNCC (Palau National Communications Corporation) booth at the airport where SIMs could be purchased, but unfortunately we arrived outside business hours.

So we made our purchase at Globus Palau on the Main Street of Koror Island. 7 days / 12GB for $25 USD. The speed measured on Main Street, Koror Island was 40 Mbps.


■List of Places Visited


■For access to Palau click here


■For “.pw” domain details click here

Injected in the Backside in a World Heritage City and Columbus’ Final Home! Visiting the Dominican Republic, the Only Caribbean Island With an Underground Railway

The Dominican Republic is a super power in the baseball world, having produced many major league players. The Carp Academy is also located there and was set up by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team to discover and train foreign players. It’s also a popular beach destination for visitors from the USA and Europe. Our Domain Island Tour expedition decided to investigate the attractions found at Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and a World Heritage city. The ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) assigned to the Dominican Republic is “.do”. The “.do” can be read as the English verb “do”, which is often used to mean taking action or performing an activity.

◆Where is the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is located on the Caribbean island Hispaniola, between North and South America. Hispaniola has an area of 74,700km2. Hispaniola is divided into two nations: Haiti in the West and the Dominican Republic in the Eastern two-thirds of the island. The Dominican Republic is a former Spanish territory and the main language is Spanish. The currency used is the Dominican Peso (RD$). 

= 目次 =

◆The Flight Attendant who Practiced Baseball With Beans

◆We Couldn’t Communicate in English! Trying the Caribbean’s Only Underground Railway

◆Columbus’ Final Home – A Dominican Republic Food Report

◆Japanese Restaurant Hopping – We Loved “SAMURAI”

◆Walk-in to the Hospital and Get Jabbed in the Buttocks

◆Domain Name Registry Location is a University- Finding “.do” Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

◆The Flight Attendant who Practiced Baseball With Beans

After visiting the Commonwealth of Dominica, we hopped on a InterCaribbean Airways propeller airplane and flew to the Dominican Republic. It was a small plane, with a capacity for only about 30 passengers.

After about an hour we landed at Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on the British Virgin Islands. This is the same airport we’ve visitied before to investigate the tax haven, the Virgin Islands.
All the passengers got off at this point, except us. We were told to stay on board, since our destination was the Dominican Republic.

In the wait before departure, a crew member cleaned the toilet with detergent.

A member of the cabin crew handed out water. When I said thank you, he smiled and gave me the thumbs-up. His name was Stewart. As he is Dominican, we asked if he likes baseball. He said he does. He told us he used to practice baseball using small beans when he was a kid. No wonder everyone is so good at baseball. Truly a baseball superpower! Some time later our plane once again took off with about 10 on board, heading to the Dominican Republic.

About an hour later, we arrived at Las Américas International Airport, Dominican Republic. While walking through the airport I thought I’d come across a Uniqlo, but it was actually a store called MINISO. MINISO, operated by a Chinese company, sells miscellaneous goods in countries around the world. It’s “Japanese-like” marketing, including their logo that has an uncanny resemblance to Japanese stores Muji and Uniqlo, blew up on social media in July 2022. Eventually the company declared it would end it’s Japanese-like marketing by March 2023, but at the time of writing this, the logo has yet to change.

Airport bathroom sign. Unlike the signs in Japan, these figures have no arms.

We make our way to the capital, Santo Domingo. Uber is available in and around Santo Domingo. It’s not a problem if you can’t speak Spanish. However, as many cars here only have number plates on the back it can be hard to confirm your car, so we used the chat function to meet up with our driver.

Vehicles in the Dominican Republic are only legally obligated to have a number plate on the back, so on the front they can use whatever plate they like.
This car, as you can see, has Dominican Republic plates on the back…

From the front though, it looks just like any car driving in Japan with Gunma prefecture plates.

He played salsa music in the car, which lifted our energy. We used Uber a lot during this trip and many of the drivers played salsa music.


The roads in Santo Domingo are heavily congested and it’s difficult to get very far. During a stop, our driver suddenly starts talking with a person on a motorbike next to us. I was worried they were going to start arguing, but all he did was buy a drink.

He gave some to us too. It tasted a bit like the energy drink Lipovitan D. Incidentally, the cars we saw in the Commonwealth of Dominica were mainly Japanese, while most of the cars here seem to come from South Korea.

We made it to our destination. He gave us the thumbs-up when we thanked him. Just like Stewart, who we met on the plane.

Even out of the car, we were held up by traffic. It’s very different from the Commonwealth of Dominica, which has no traffic lights.

◆We Couldn’t Communicate in English! Trying the Caribbean’s Only Underground Railway

We make our way to Eduardo Brito Station in Santo Domingo to take the only underground railway in the Caribbean. The station is named after the famous singer, Eduardo Brito. The entrance has a beautiful, modern design.

There are no ticket vending machines inside the station. You need to buy your ticket at a counter. But, we couldn’t use English. We had to use a translation app to communicate. We discovered that they don’t accept US dollars or credit cards, only the local currency, Dominican pesos.

It cost RD$15 for one ticket. A one-day unlimited pass costs RD$80. Metro cards, similar to the Suica card in Japan, are pre-charged with RD$60 and can be recharged thereafter.

We didn’t have any Dominican pesos on us that day, so we gave up on riding the subway.

The next day, after getting some local currency through our hotel, we tried again. 1 USD is approximately 50 Dominican pesos (RD$). The bank notes have a stylish, almost european design.

We tried again at Juan Ulises García Saleta metro station. The station is named after Juan Ulises García Saleta, the first president of the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD).

It’s spacious and clean.

We head to a counter. Let’s give this another try! After meeting people in the Dominican Republic, we soon came to realize that most don’t speak English at all. The leader of the Domain Island Tour, who has explored more than 30 islands with domains, said that the only other country he knows where English is not spoken to the same extent would be China.
Staff in the airport generally spoke English, but once outside of the airport we found few English speakers. As for hotel staff, only about half knew any English. But hardly any restaurant servers, railway staff or university students seem to be able to speak English. We found this very surprising because the city is located just south of the Florida peninsula and is home to many American companies such as McDonald’s.

We successfully bought our train tickets!

It’s a cool design.

The train arrives at the platform.

The inside is clean. There weren’t any performers or buskers on the train.

We got off at the next stop, the Freddy Beras Gogico station. The station is known as Beras-Goico and is named after Freddy Beras Gogico, a Dominican comedian with a career of over 30 years.
It was a very pleasant underground experience, except for the fact tickets could only be purchased with cash. We boarded at 9am, but it wasn’t particularly crowded.

Exiting at street level, there is a lot of traffic, and although it’s hard to tell from the pictures, the exhaust fumes were so bad you may want to wear a mask. None of the locals wear masks though.

any of the motorbikes waiting near the station have space for people to ride on the back. It seems to be a motorbike taxi service called Motoconcho.

The price of taking a motoconcho taxi is negotiable and they can be used to transport animals and other goods. Passengers aren’t required to wear helmets.

I would’ve liked to give Motoconcho a try, but not only do I not speak Spanish but JICA (Japan International Co-operation Organization) members are prohibited to use Motoconcho due to safety concerns, so Domain Island Tours decided to avoid using them too.
Near the station, someone was stopped by police.

◆Columbus’ Final Home – A Dominican Republic Food Report

We visited Columbus Park, one of the most popular tourist attractions. There’s a statue of Columbus, the man who discovered Hispaniola. Santo Domingo was the first city founded by Columbus. He visited three times in order to promote his colonial policies. Columbus and his family settled here for three generations, including his own children, and it became his final home.

Right next door is the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor. It was the first cathedral built in what was known then as the New World.

The square is home to several historic buildings and it’s a place where people gather at night to relax and enjoy themselves. The area was decorated with neon signs and loud music was playing.

It was beautiful, just like a scene in a painting.

We decided to have dinner at La Marchanta Restaurant in Columbus Square. We had done our research beforehand and now it was time to enjoy some local Dominican food. First we ordered a Pina Colada (RD$325) and a Sangria (RD$295). Both went down easily, but the alcohol content seemed quite high and we were soon a bit tipsy.

We ordered food. This dish is called Mofongo (RD$380). With potatoes, beans and meat, it was like potato salad, just without the usual sourness from vinegar. Eaten plain the amount would’ve been slightly overwhelming, but adding the salty sauce that came with it made it taste better. The drinks are going down well.

Next, we had Bandera Dominicana (RD$380). That translates to “the Dominican flag”. Sometimes it’s simply called “la bandera” meaning “the flag”.
Like a lunch set meal that changes daily, the main course changes day to day, with meat or fish etc. The main components are rice, main (meat, fish etc), beans and vegetables on a single plate. The brown liquid was like a thin, very light tasting soup curry. The beef was lightly seasoned and delicious. The rice was dry but not inedible. The salad was ok. Overall, it was a satisfying meal. This style of 4 dishes on one plate is a common way of eating. It’s said to be named after the way it’s served, which resembles the flag of the Dominican Republic.

But when I mentioned the dish to our Uber driver he had no idea what I was talking about, so it seems it’s not very well known among the locals.

After we finished our dinner we walked about 20 minutes to the underground. Obedient to our Google Maps directions, we even went down this narrow alleyway.

It started to rain. The station still seemed far away, so we were about to give up and call an Uber when a woman we were passing told us not to take out our phones in these streets. Her comment reminded us that the Dominican Republic was listed as the third most dangerous destination by an American travel advisory.

It’s best to be careful at night in any country.

◆Japanese Restaurant Hopping – We Loved “SAMURAI”

The staple food of the Dominican Republic is rice, so there are many Japanese restaurants. This time we visited four.


Our first stop is “Shibuya”, located in the Blue Mall shopping mall. This shopping mall is connected to a hotel. When we got out of the car, hotel staff came running up to take our luggage, even though we weren’t staying there. When we thanked them, of course we got the thumbs-up!

Although it didn’t feel like we were in Shibuya, it was pretty busy.

It’s not like America where a set member of staff is assigned to your table, it’s more like Japan where you can call on the staff as appropriate. English menus can be requested. Truly a fancy restaurant. Anyway, let’s order some food.

This was the shrimp fried rice (RD$365). Looks pretty good doesn’t it. But, take a bite and you find out it’s crunchy! It’s all slightly burnt. The seasoning was good, but honestly it wasn’t easy to finish this dish.

Vibrant salmon carpaccio with orange sauce (RD$795).

Sushi rolls without rice, with fried shrimp and avocado and rolled in tuna instead of nori seaweed (RD$620). An instaworthy shot.

Dominican-style Poke, a very sour dish with lemongrass (RD$795).



Our next stop was SAMURAI in Santo Domingo. The nice-looking exterior feels like an authentic Japanese restaurant.

We ordered the “Nigiri Combo” from the assorted sushi category (RD$1500). It came with 10 pieces of nigiri sushi. It tastes just like Japanese sushi! So good!

“Kamikaze” from the maki sushi category (RD$415). A style of sushi not often seen in Japan, this was fried shrimp tempura wrapped in rice. The deep-fried shrimp and the rice both tasted authentically Japanese.

Mixed tempura platter (RD$815). It was unusual that the dipping salt was mixed with chilly pepper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen bell pepper tempura in Japan either. But, that too was delicious!

Ribeye Wrapped Asparagus (RD$660). Everything is delicious here!

Let’s order some more. We finished with Udon Noodle Hot Pot (RD$800). The taste was a bit strong, but overall it was very good.

The tea was also very authentic. If you’re on Santo Domingo and craving Japanese food, this is the place to go!



We found these Japanese restaurants in one of the eat-in areas outside the airport. There’s two to choose from, Teriyaki and Tamashi. We ordered sushi and ramen from Tamashi.

On the left are “Volcano rolls” (RD$292.97). It contains crab stick and is covered in panko bread crumbs. It was crunchy and delicious. On the right: Shrimp Tempura Roll (RD$300.78)

This was the “Pork Belly Ramen” (RD$359.38). In Japanese it would be translated as “buta bara ramen”. Despite the name conjuring up images of Tonkotsu ramen, apparently it just meant that it came with slices of char-siu (braised pork belly). The soup tasted quite weak and the noodles weren’t the proper consistency.



The final restaurant we tried was located in the airport. They mainly serve udon noodle dishes.

The paper placemat was fancy.

We ordered Fried Udon Noodles (RD$22.73) and Beef Bowl (RD$16.36). Quite pricey, but surprisingly tasty! This was the beef bowl.

The fried udon noodles also tasted the same as you’d find in Japan.


◆Walk-in to the Hospital and Get Jabbed in the Buttocks

On the last day of our expedition, a member of our team developed a fever, a terrible headache and a sore throat so bad they couldn’t even drink water. There’s no way they could continue the tour, so we urgently went to the hospital to get them checked out. A search on the internet turned up the Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital, open 24 hours a day and has been supported by Japan since 1989. Hoping that we might be able to speak Japanese there, we took an Uber armed with plenty of tissues due to an incredibly runny nose. We arrive at the entrance to the hospital.

When you enter this building, you can see photos of those involved in the founding of the facility. There are Japanese people shown, too. Through a 1989 grant from Japan, a center for gastroenterology and a medical education center was built, and Japan also sent specialists and provided technical guidance for diagnosis.

There was no one at reception, so we headed to the back of the building.

We arrived at what seemed to be the proper reception area. There’s a queue. Should we line up here? We only have two hours before our flight. Can we be seen without an appointment? We’re pretty anxious.

When we showed a hospital staff member on Google Translate that we wanted to see a doctor, we were directed to a different building.

The staff at this reception could speak English. When we said we were Japanese and asked to see a doctor, we were directed to the information desk on the third floor.

Unfortunately the staff at the third floor information desk didn’t speak English. When I used Google Translate to translate the symptoms from Japanese into Spanish, they told me ‘you walk alone’. Where should I walk to?

Asking again, we were shown the following screen. What does it mean that we don’t need to go to a primary care centre? Where should we go? This is making the headache worse.

We were then told “there isn’t any torino”. What on earth is a torino? My nose wont stop running and we’re about to give up.

Patient after patient arrive and we were left to ourselves for about 30 minutes. When there was a break in the flow of incoming patients, we once again asked for help and they took us to the Emergency department.

We were asked to sign in.

After waiting another half an hour, a nurse came, took me into the treatment room, told me to pull down my pants and suddenly I was given an injection. It was an injection for pain relief. We were told, “You have an appointment with the doctor but it’s after he’s had his lunch break”. When we said that we’d miss our flight, the doctor agreed to see us straight away. He also prescribed medication.

A photo to mark the occasion of being seen by Dr Carlos. He has a great smile. Dr Carlos was the only man on the whole trip not to give us the thumbs-up. Maybe it’s because his lunch break was cut short.

Back at reception, we were charged RD$300. When we tried paying with US dollars or a credit card, we were told they only accept Dominican pesos in cash. When we told them we didn’t have any on us, they said they’d make the examination free, that we didn’t have to pay.

The Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital staff may not speak Japanese, but they’re a hospital that provides free medical services to low-income earners. So maybe that’s why they gave us free treatment when we had trouble paying. We’re so thankful to everyone at the hospital! We somehow managed to make our flight on time. If you happen to feel unwell in Santo Domingo, rush yourself to Luis Eduardo Aybar Hospital.

◆Domain Name Registry Location is a University- Finding “.do” Around Town

The registry that manages the “.do” domain is located within PUCMM University. The domain is We visited twice, but unfortunately couldn’t meet the person in charge.

This business, that looks like a home improvement store, uses “”.

Our hotel and a sign for sanitary products use “”.

UFHEC university uses “ “.

Immigration information seen in the airport showed the government domain as “”. As it’s based on Spanish, it’s gob, not gov.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

Domain Island Tours have reported on how to find and purchase local SIM cards from June 2018 to September 2020. However, since it takes a surprisingly long time to find a store and buy one, from now on we’ll use eSIMs. Switching to eSIM made it easy to sign up for a connection that works in the Dominican Republic.

The one used this time was the Caribbean data plan from Ubigi (1GB, 30 days, $19 USD). Dominican Republic eSIM speeds as measured downtown. 7Mbps.

We couldn’t connect to Airalo‘s data plan for the Dominican Republic.

■List of Places Visited

■ For access to the Dominican Republic click here

■For “.do” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here

■For “” domain details click here