Abandoned Chinese Village Reclaimed by Nature Becomes Tourist Attraction

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It really doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to reclaim her territory, slowly obliterating all signs of human occupation, if we only allow it. Case in point is the abandoned Chinese village of Houtou Wan which, within a span of 50 years, has become a beautiful secret garden completely covered in lush vegetation.  

Houtou Wan village is located on one of the 394 Shengsi Islands of China’s Yangtze River. It used to be a thriving fishing town a few decades ago, but it was gradually abandoned as the number of fishing vessels outgrew the size of the bay and the population was forced to relocate. All but a handful of villagers left Hotou Wan in the last half century, leaving nature to work her magic on the settlement. The result is nothing short of breathtaking.

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No Humans Allowed – Wacky Japanese Cafe Caters Exclusively to Stuffed Toys

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Joining the ranks of Tokyo’s eccentric pet cafés and restaurants is Yawarakan’s, a place that exclusively caters to stuffed animals. It sounds like a hoax – who would spend money on serving real food to a bunch of toys, right? Well, you’re wrong. This is actually a thing in Japan, and apparently business is going great.

According to the restaurant’s owners, 85 percent of Japan’s adult female population owns at least one stuffed animal. 60 percent of these women actually decorate their beds with the cuddly toys. So they decided to find a way to tap into this market. They figured, if people are treating stuffed animals like real humans, then why not send the soft toys on vacation? So they created a café along the lines of a bed-and-breakfast, where the customers are all toys.



Walter’s Coffee Roastery – A Breaking Bad-Themed Cafe in Istanbul

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If Breaking Bad’s Walter White ever decided to go into the coffee business and open his own cafe, it would probably look a lot like the awesome ‘Walter’s Coffee Roastery’, in Istanbul.

Inspired by the popular TV show Breaking Bad, Deniz Kosan, a young Turkish entrepreneur, has opened the “world’s first Coffee Super Lab.” Everything inside this unique cafe, right from the roasting equipment to the beaker-like espresso cups or the giant periodic table covering one of the walls reminds you of Walter White and his meth lab. The staff often don yellow hazardous materials suits and the menu features plenty of Breaking bad references, like pancakes with Walter White’s face powdered on them or Blue Sky-decorated cupcakes.



Eccentric Man Builds Giant “Chicken Church” in the Middle of Indonesian Jungle

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Buried deep inside the Indonesian jungle is a very odd structure, shaped like a giant chicken. The long abandoned construction, locally known as Gereja Ayam (Chicken Church), is a popular tourist attraction in the hills of Magelang, Central Java.

Word on the internet is this strange construction was designed to be a church, but according to its creator, the building is neither a chicken nor a church. Daniel Alamsjah, 67, revealed that he was working in Jakarta when he suddenly received a divine message from God to build a prayer room in the form of a dove. “Perhaps because of my Christian faith, people thought I was building a church,” he said. “But it’s not a church. I was building a prayer house, a place for people who believe in God.”

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Could You Live on the World’s Steepest Residential Street?

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There are two things you need to have if you live on Baldwin Street, in the city of Dunedin, New Zealand – strong leg muscles and stamina! Locals claim that the 350-m long street holds the world record for the steepest in the world, and while this isn’t officially confirmed, it’s definitely believable – the street is so steep that it had to be laid with concrete, because asphalt would flow down the slope on a warm day.

Baldwin street has a maximum slope of 1:2.86, a 36% gradient. This means that for every 2.86 meters traveled horizontally, the street rises by one meter. That’s plenty of exercise for the residents of the residential suburb of North East Valley, where the street is located. The lower reaches are only moderately steep, but the upper reaches are hair-raisingly abrupt.

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Down Cafe – A Turkish Cafe That Only Employs Workers with Down Syndrome

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A café in Istanbul is making headlines for exclusively hiring people with Down syndrome. The aptly named ‘Down Café’ employs staff between the ages of 18 and 25, and aims to empower them with self-confidence and independence.

Saruhan Singen, who founded the café in the Sisli district of Istanbul, said that he was inspired by his own experience of raising a daughter with Down syndrome. She now works at the café as well. “I have Sezil and I think she is a gift to me  to understand others like her,” Singen said. “When we think about the number of people with Down syndrome, there is not a wide range of career paths available.”

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Man Spends 50 Years Visiting Every Country in the World

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Calling Albert Podell ‘well traveled’ would be an understatement. 78-year-old Podell, a former Playboy editor, can truly say that he’s seen it all, after spending half a century visiting every country in the world. He’s encountered pretty much everything on his travels, right from guerillas in Yemen, to flying-crab attacks in Algeria, and police interrogations in Cuba. He has chased water buffaloes, broken his bones, and eaten all kinds of weird stuff. He’s been robbed, arrested, and almost lynched!

Podell was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age. “Aged six, I started to collect postage stamps, and where the other kids specialised in certain countries, I wanted a stamp from every country in the world,” he told Daily Mail. “Getting a passport stamp from every one may have been inspired by that.”

“Those little coloured bits of perforated paper also instilled in me a fascination with travel because I wanted to see the lands where all the objects, people, and places depicted on those stamps came from.” So he resolved early on that “there was more to life than hanging around in one city forever.”

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World’s Smallest Park Is No Bigger Than a Flower Pot

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Mill Ends Park, in Portland, Oregon, currently holds the record for the world’s smallest park. With a diameter of just two meters, it only has room for one tree and a few tiny plants, but it’s one of the city’s most popular landmarks.

Mill Ends was originally supposed to be the site of a light pole, but for some reason, the pole never arrived and weeds began to sprout from the hole. Dick Fagan, a columnist for the Oregon Journal, whose office overlooked the tiny park, noticed the derelict patch of land and decided to do something about it. He started planting foliage there and even came up with a special column in the local paper dedicated to Mill Ends Park. He managed to create a whole story around the place, including leprechauns living there that only he could see, and tiny shamrocks growing inside the other plants.

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Japan’s Macho Cafe Is Like Hooters for Women

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Women in Tokyo, Japan, recently got the opportunity to enjoy a visual treat at their very own Hooters-style café. The pop-up venue, called Macho Café, featured muscled men clad in tight vests, serving food to visibly flustered female customers.

According to Macho Café’s official website, the owners asked themselves a very puzzling question” “why are there cafes that offer coffee from carefully selected beans, but no cafes that offer carefully selected macho men?” So they decided to rectify the situation by offering “finest quality premium roast” handpicked bodybuilders to their female clientele.



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.



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.



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.



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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