World’s First Hello Kitty Chinese Restaurant Serves the Cutest Dim Sum

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The Japanese creators of Hello Kitty have decided to oblige the character’s massive Hong Kong fan base by giving them the world’s first Hello Kitty-themed Chinese restaurant. Sanrio Co. has teamed up with Chinese restaurateur Man Kwong to create an incredibly cute Hello Kitty dining experience in Hong Kong.

“Hello Kitty is more popular in Hong Kong than in Japan,” said Kwong, who started negotiations with Sanrio in 2013. The official nod came through in April 2014, and since then, he has worked hard experimenting on hundreds of recipes and varieties of dim sum. Each dish was individually inspected, taste-tested, and approved by Sanrio executives. The final menu consists of 37 dishes, ranging from fresh shrimp buns to stir-fried beef and noodles.

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Creepy “Death Simulator” Allows People to Experience Being Cremated

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If you’ve always wondered what it feels like to be cremated, this new Chinese game will help quell your curiosity. Aptly named ‘Samadi — 4D Experience of Death’, the death simulator relies on a creepy coffin, dramatic special effects and heat to accurately emulate cremation. The morbid game was launched at Window of the World theme park in Shanghai in September last year.

The game begins with participants taking part in a series of challenges to escape death. The losers are then asked to lie in a coffin and are transported through a fake funeral home incinerator. Once inside, death rites are simulated, and hot air (40˚C)and light projections are used to make them feel like they are being cremated. After the fake cremation, the participant see a womb projected on the ceiling. Then they need to crawl until they reach a soft, round, white, womb-like capsule that signifies rebirth.

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Tokyo Hotel Hopes to Attract Business with Godzilla-Themed Rooms

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In movies, the mere sight of Godzilla has people running for the hills, but a new Godzilla-themed hotel in Shinjuku, Japan, is hoping the iconic monster will actually draw in new business.

Set at the very top of the Toho Cinema, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, Hotel Gracery not only features Godzilla-themed rooms but also a 12-meter-high model of the monster’s head on its roof that can be admired from one of the six Godzilla View rooms. Interior decorations include a man-sized statue of Godzilla, a menacing claw hanging on the wall above the beds, classic movie posters and even custom Godzilla-themed toilets.

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World’s Friendliest Restaurant Serves Breakfast, Lunch and Hugs

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While it is common for restaurant owners to connect with their patrons, a restaurateur from Albuquerque is taking customer care to a whole new level. Tim Harris gives out free hugs to every single customer at the end of each meal. The atmosphere at his restaurant ‘Tim’s Place’ is so positive that patrons often call it the ‘world’s friendliest restaurant’.

The establishment has been around since 2010, and Tim has given out over 19,000 hugs in the past five years – he keeps count using a special Hug Counter. “I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” said Tim explained.

‘Tim’s Hug’ is actually an item on the menu, described as a “calorie-free”, “guilt-free” treat that guarantees to “improve your lease on life.” Which is true – Tim’s hugs are doubly special because of everything he has achieved in life. The 26-year-old is probably the only Down syndrome sufferer in the U.S. to own a restaurant, but he has several other things to be proud about: he’s an accomplished Special Olympian, an excellent sailor, and an experienced offshore fisherman. And, he was also elected homecoming king and Student of the Year in high school! So when a man like Tim hugs you, it is sure to be a special and unforgettable experience.

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Sand Bathing – A Uniquely Japanese Spa Experience

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Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan, is home to numerous hot springs, the most famous of which are in the cities of Beppu and Ibusuki. These cities, with their balmy subtropical climate and bubbling volcanic waters, are major tourist destinations. One of their most popular attractions is hot-spring bathing, known as onsen, offered by various spas. But there exist a few spas in these cities that offer a lesser known, highly relaxing experience – sand bathing!

Sand bathing basically involves getting buried in a large pit of volcanic sand for up to 30 minutes. The experience is not only soothing and satisfying, but believed to be highly therapeutic as well. It is apparently great for treating infertility, diabetes, anaemia and asthma, and is also said to aid in weight loss.

The bathing areas consist of a huge boxes of sand, heated up with natural hot spring water. When the sand is thoroughly soaked in the water and steaming hot, the water is drained. Visitors are then let into the box and asked to lie down, as workers shovel copious amounts of sand on top of them. The bathers remain buried until the sand cools down, and are then directed to bathing facilities to wash the dirt off.

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Canadian Couple Live on Amazing Man-Made Floating Complex Miles Away from Civilization

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Canadian couple Wayne Adams and Catherine King are the proud owners of ‘Freedom Cove’, a colorful floating home off the coast of Tofino in British Columbia. The unique structure consists of 12 platforms, supporting wooden buildings, greenhouses, a lighthouse, and living spaces that are all interconnected through wooden pathways. Freedom Cove is special because it is a ‘getaway’ in the true sense – completely off the grid and self-sustaining in every possible way.

Adams and King, along with their two children, have lived at Freedom Cove ever since it was built in 1992. And they’ve managed to live a full life without the help of mainstream civilisation. They grow fruits and vegetables all year round in several greenhouses, and generate electricity through solar panels and photovoltaic energy generators.

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Indian Village Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl Child is Born

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While a vast majority of Indians continue to prefer sons, a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan has its own unique tradition of celebrating their daughters. Since 2006, the residents of Piplantri village, in southern Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, have been planting a whopping 111 trees to celebrate the birth of a girl!

Given that an average of 60 girls are born each year, the villagers have managed to plant over 250,000 trees so far – including varieties like Neem, Indian Rosewood, and Mango. The community of 8,000 residents is also dedicated to making sure that the trees survive and attain fruition as the girls grow up.

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Indiana’s Famous Grave in the Middle of the Road

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If you happen to be cruising along County Road 400, in Johnson County, Indiana, you’re bound to stumble upon one of America’s strangest landmarks – a grave located dead in the middle of the road.

The grave apparently dates back to before Amity village even had a paved road. In 1831, a 37-year-old woman named Nancy Kerlin died in the area, survived by her husband and 11 children. Keeping with her wishes, her husband William Barnett buried her at her favorite spot on a small hill, overlooking Sugar Creek. While road crews generally tend to flatten out such obstructions, in this case, they made sure to pour the asphalt around the grave. Why? Because they were terrified!

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Turtle-Shaped Island Spends Nine Months Underwater, Only Appears in Spring

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Every year, with the coming of spring, thousands of Chinese tourists flock to the The Gorges Reservoir to see an elusive turtle-shaped island rise from the waters of the Muodaoxi River. The event, dubbed ‘spring turtle rising from water’, is celebrated by local residents because turtles are considered auspicious and a sign of longevity.

It sounds like a fascinating natural phenomenon similar to the Jindo Moses Miracle that takes place in South Korea, but in this case the “magic” is man-made. The water level of Muodaoxi River is controlled by the Three Gorges Dam. In spring, the reservoir supplies water to the areas downstream, bringing down the water level and exposing the island.

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Salty Dawg Saloon – Alaska’s Unique Dollar-Bill-Covered Watering Hole

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While many cafés and bars choose to display their patrons’ praise on sticky notes or paper napkins, a watering hole in Homer, Alaska, has every last inch of its walls and ceiling covered with dollar bills signed by its satisfied customers. Because of its quirky interiors, Salty Dawg Saloon is in fact a cherished landmark of Homer Spit – a 4.5-mile piece of land jutting out from Homer on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, into Kachemak Bay.

There is no shortage of bars in the town of Homer, but locals prefer driving all the way to the Spit and into Homer Boat Harbor, just to visit the peculiar Salty Dawg. Some of the patrons who visit the bar don’t even drink alcohol, but the place is so famous for its money plastered interior that many tourists just stop by to see it for themselves.

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Visitors Flock to South Korea’s Sheep Cafe

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When South Korean café owner Lee Kwang-ho decided to add a couple of sheep to his payroll, it was the best business move of his life. Since 2011, the fluffy employees at Nature Café have been attracting hordes of animal lovers and tourists. The shop serves all the café staples such as coffee, tea, and cake, but it all seems sort of extra-special when enjoyed in the company of a couple of fluffy sheep.

According to Lee, the café’s popularity has spiked recently because according to the lunar calendar 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. So lots of people want to see sheep, and the café is more convenient than seeking them out on a ranch. 21-year-old Lee Hyeon-ji agreed: “We were planning to go to a sheep ranch , but it’s too far and we didn’t have enough time to go there. Then we heard about this place where we can see sheep in Seoul and came to this sheep cafe.”

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Pathways to the Past – America’s Wood-Paved Streets

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For over 100 years, the residents of Philadelphia have worked hard to keep the 200 block of Camac Street in great shape. It might seem odd to spend that much effort on a single street, but the place is maintained for historic reasons – it is the only street in the city still paved with wooden blocks!

Camac Street is one of the few remnants of the old-style Nicolson pavements that still exist in some cities across the US. While wood block pavement is believed to have originated in Russia, the construction technique was made popular in the mid-1800s by Samuel Nicolson, the superintendent of Boston and Roxbury Mill Corporation.

Nicolson is believed to have revived the wood-paving process in order to solve several problems posed by early paving methods. At the time, wood was viewed as a better alternative to the irregularly surfaced cobblestone streets. Wood was also abundant, while stone was scarce. And horse-traffic made less noise on wood-surfaced streets.

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Cable Car Dangling 9,000 Feet in the Air Is Transformed into Luxurious Hotel Room

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Hanging over 9,000ft above sea level, near the top of Mt. Sommet de la Saulire, in the French Alps, the cable car was transformed by popular lodging rental website Airbnb into a stunning one-bedroom, two-bed apartment that can accommodate up to four guests. The setting is a part of the website’s ‘A Night At’ contest, which awards users 24-hour getaways at such exclusive locations.

Winners of the contest will be taken up to the mountain on snowmobiles and after a special Savoyard dinner under the stars, the guests will get to spend the night, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. Because of the strong winds in the mountainous region, the one-bedroom, two-bed apartment will apparently be teetering all night long causing you to either freak out or get a better night’s sleep. Whatever the case, at least you will be waking up to a spectacular alpine view.

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In This Small Alaskan Town Everyone Lives under the Same Roof

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Most of the 200-odd residents of the Alaskan town of Whittier all live in the same 14-story condominium – Begich Towers – located on the edge of town. The former Army barracks is often described as a ‘vertical town’ with walls so thin that keeping secrets is simply out of the question.

Apart from residential apartments, the one-of-a-kind settlement also houses a police station, a health clinic, a convenience store, a laundromat, and a church in the basement. It really is inconceivable how missionaries, bartenders, city council members, policemen, and even drug dealers can co-exist in the same building, share the same facilities, and ride in the same elevator.

As eccentric as this living arrangement sounds, it really does seem to work out for the residents of Whittier, mainly because of its size and the weather conditions. The town is rather inaccessible – you can only get there by sea, or take a long, one-lane tunnel through the mountains, which only runs one way at any given time. At night, the tunnel is closed completely.

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Louisville Mega Caves – America’s First Underground Mountain Bike Course

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Mega Underground Bike Park is a one-of-a-kind underground bike trail in Louisville, Kentucky. Spanning 320.000 square feet, with over 45 trails, Jump Lines, Pump Tracks, BMX, Cross Country and Single Track, the park is entirely located 100 feet or 10 stories below the ground!

The bike park is one of the many attractions at Louisville Mega Cavern, a man-made, privately-owned limestone cavern that encompasses an area of 100 acres beneath the streets of Louisville. Founded by Ralph Rogers in the 1930s, the cavern is currently used as a business park, entertainment center, and tourist attraction.

All set for a soft opening in early February, the bike park will be the nation’s first underground mountain bike course, and the largest indoor park ever built. In fact, it is nearly twice the size of America’s current largest indoor park – Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

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