Baby Crying Festival Held in Japan

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No mother likes it when her toddler starts crying, but at the Naki Sumo baby crying contest wailing is actually encouraged.

Held every year, at the Sensoji Temple, in Tokyo, the baby crying festival is a 400-year-old tradition, believed to keep rug-rats in good health. Amateur sumo wrestlers hold the babies high in the air, and try to scare them into crying, while a sumo referee judges the match. The toddler who cries longest and loudest is considered the winner.

Japanese parents bring the babies to the contest, of their own free will, and truly believe the sumo induced crying keeps their children in good health, and wards off evil spirits. This year, 80 babies, all under one year old, participated in Naki Sumo. As you might have guessed, the whiniest contender won.

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Chinese Farmer Creates Army of Home-Made Robots

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Wu Yulu, a Chinese farmer, from a small village, outside Beijing, has created a series of 47 robots, out of scrap metal. They can accomplish various functions, from drinking, to walking and even pulling a rickshaw.

Ever since he can remember, Wu Yulu has been fascinated with the mechanics of movement. He always dreamed of building robots that could imitate human behavior, and in 1986, he decided to put his dream into practice. 24 years later, our techie farmer is the proud inventor of 47 home-made robots.

But Wu Yulu has made many sacrifices, in the name of science. He almost lost his wife and two children, after burning down the house, while working on a robot, accumulated great debt, and was even sprayed with battery acid. But like any respectable mad scientist, our man didn’t give up.

And now his effort are finally being rewarded. Mr. Wu has been invited to showcase his scrap metal creations and their functionality, at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. This after already receiving a number of prizes and contracts with universities. But he doesn’t get all this go to his head. he still lives in his modest village house, surrounded by pieces of metal and broken doll parts.

The strangest thing, about Wu Yulu, is he declared he loves his metal robots, more than he loves his own kids. He refers to his rickshaw robot as his 32nd son, and even programmed it to say “Wy Yulu is my dad, I take him out on the town.” How cool is that!

Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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Onbashira – Japan’s Riskiest Celebration

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Held every six years, in the Nagano area of Japan, Onbashira Festival is believed to have continued uninterruptedly, for the last 1200 years.

Onbashira, literally translated as “the sacred pillars”, is a Japanese tradition that symbolizes the renewal of Suwa Grand Shrine. It consists of two phases: Yamadashi and Satobiki, the first held in April, and the second in May. Before Onbashira begins, 16 tree trunks, cut form 200-year-old Japanese fir trees are cut down. Each tree can be up to 1 meter across, 16 meters tall and weigh up to 12 tons.

Yamadashi is translated as “coming out of the mountains” and is the most popular part of the festival. Teams of men have to drag the logs down the mountain, to Suwa Shrine. At some points they encounter steep slopes where they must slide the tree trunks. In a ceremony called Ki-otoshi, brave young men risk their lives by climbing on the trunks and riding the all the way down the muddy slopes. It takes 3 days to move the sacred tree trunks, over 10 kilometers, to the shrine.

Satobiki involves placing the logs at the four corners of the four buildings that make up Suwa Grand Shrine. Using ropes, teams have to pull up the giant tree trunks in a vertical position, with young men sitting on them. Those still on the logs after they are positioned, perform all sort of feats.

On Sunday, during the 2010 edition of Onbashira Festival, a man was crushed to death by a tree trunk, during Satobiki. One of the ropes came loose and hit the 38-year-old man in the head. Several others were injured in the accident.

Photos via Daylife

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Orangutan Boxing Matches Held in Thailand

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A Thai theme-park, outside Bangkok has become a popular tourist attraction by organizing orangutan boxing matches.

Huge crowds of tourists and “sport” enthusiasts gather at Safari World to watch orangutans duke it out in 30 minute-boxing matches. Forced to wear boxing gloves and shorts, the two primates have been trained to hit each other for the entertainment of man. Although organizers claim the orangutans have been trained to simulate being knocked-down, animal activists say it’s a clear case of animal cruelty.

It’s sad to see thousands of tourists cheer as two 250-pound primates pummel each other, or hear them whistling when a female orangutan, wearing a bikini, displays the round number, but it’s the world we’re living in. These peaceful creatures don’t fight because they like to, but because they’ve been trained to do so, an because they would be beaten if they didn’t.

The Thai government shut down the monkey boxing matches, in 2004, and it’s yet unclear how this bizarre and cruel show is still allowed.

Photos by Barcroft India

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102-Year-Old Student Proves You’re Never to Old to Learn

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Ma Xiuxian never had the opportunity to attend school, as a child, but she is making up for that in her later years.

The 102-year old Chinese woman, from Jinan, Shandong province, began working at a cotton mill, at the age of 13, and married when she was only 18. She gave birth to nine children, seven of which attended universities. Her children remember Ma Xiuxian and her husband made great sacrifices, in order to support their studies, but never got the chance to fulfill her own dream, of going to school, for the first time.

After being interviewed by a local newspaper, and revealing her dream, on March 31, Ma Xiuxian was invited to the Weishan Road Elementary School, to attend her first class. Equipped with a schoolbag and a large magnifying glass (for reading), Ma entered the class in the applause of her primary school classmates. The 102-year-old student commented she was very proud to be able to go to school, and that she will study hard to bring her contribution to the motherland.

Photos by QUIRKY CHINA NEWS/REX FEATURES

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Chinese Seamstress Works with Her Feet

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Born without arms, Liu Jianming has learned to sew using her feet, ever since she was a teenager. and still creates beautifully embroidered works of art.

The old seamstress could never afford to rent or buy a shop, to work in, so she spends her days working on a street corner, in the Chinese city of Kunming, Yunnan province. What other seamstresses struggle to do with their hands, she accomplishes with only her feet, and while there are those who doubt her abilities, they become believers, once they see her at work.

But as she’s getting older, her job becomes more and more difficult. Her feet are just as nimble as they’ve always been, but her eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Still, Liu Jianming continues to sew, as it’s her only way of supporting herself.

Photos by europics via austriantimes

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Watch Out, Here Comes the Monkey Police

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Santisuk a 5-year-old pig-tailed macaque is a proud member of the Thai police, doing his best to keep the streets crime-free.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, since Santisuk is really just a mascot for the police force of Saliburi district, Thailand. He was found injured, a while back, and has since then been adopted by local policemen. Every day he puts on his “Monkey Police” uniform and accompanies his colleagues on patrols. He doesn’t do arrests or stakeouts, but he does sit on top of the police car drawing attention and improving police image, in locals’ eyes.

You could say Santisuk is the best PR guy police could ever hire. And he enjoys every minute of his job, especially when he receives tasty treats.

Photos by Damir Sagolj/REUTERS via Daylife

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Tuban – The Earth-Eating Village of Indonesia

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In Tuban, a village in the East Java  province of Indonesia, earth is used to make “ampo” a creamy snack believed to have medicinal properties.

According to Rasima, the ampo cook of Tuban, there is no real recipe to making this bizarre snack. All she does is look for clean, gravel-free soil, in the village’s rice paddies, pound it into a solid block, using a stick, and scrape rolls out of it,with a bamboo dagger. The rolls of soils are then baked and smoked for an hour. Rasima then takes the earthy snacks to the village market, where she earns about $2, to supplement her family’s income.

Tuban is the only earth-eating village on the planet. There are people, around the world, who enjoy eating sand, or kaolin, but not baked soil. Villagers believe ampo is a natural pain-killer, and that it makes babies’ skin softer, if eaten by their pregnant mothers.

As for the taste of ampo, “it’s nothing special, it feels cold in my stomach” says one of the Tuban locals, who has been eating ampo, ever since she was a child.

via REUTERS

Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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Dress Made from One Million Meters of Human Hair Showcased in Vietnam

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A unique tunic-like dress, made out of countless human hairs, was presented by a model, in the center of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

Human hair appears to be a popular material fro Asian artists. After a Chinese hairdresser recreated Tiananmen Square out of human square, and made a hair sculpture of Barrack Obama, Kim Do, a Vietnamese hairdresser creates a tunic made from hair.

Material for the dress was gathered from 54 different people across Vietnam, including popular local artists like Le Dung, Thanh Lam, Hong Nhung or Ha Kieu Anh. The 1 million meters of hair were then died and sewn into a dress, using a needle. On the front side of this unusual garment, you can see the shape of a dragon, made from long brown hair.

Kim Do’s hair dress comes with a hat, also made from hair and decorated with the design of Vietnam’s Turtle Tower.

via 24h.com.vn

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Mallakhamb – Extreme Indian Pole Dancing

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Modern pole-dancing may be attractive to look-at, but in terms of difficulty, it’s nothing to the old Indian sport of Mallakhamb.

Mallakhamb originated in Maharastra, India, during the 12th century, as a form of training for wrestlers. The word “Malla” means wrestler, while “khamb” translates as pole. This old art had almost been lost throughout the centuries, but it’s become increasingly popular, in recent years, mainly due to the efforts of coaches like Uday Deshpande.

The sport of Mallkhamb has athletes climb up a wooden pole, 55 cm in diameter,at the base, and 35, at the top, and perform various poses and feats. The pole is most often made of teak, because of its sturdiness, and before exercises begin, it’s rubbed with castor oil, to prevent friction.

Even though Mallakhamb is yet to be recognized as an official sport, in India, it has been embraced by visually-impaired boys. This art is about feeling and understanding the strength and balance of one’s body, and that’s why blind Mallakhamb athletes are just as good as those with perfect eyesight.

Mallakhamb

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100-Year-Old Chinese Woman Grows Horn in Her Forehead

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Zhang Ruifang, a 100-year old woman, from China’s Henan Province, has a strange horn coming out of the left side of her forehead.

This reminds me so much of the horned lady, but Zhang’s horn is much more…horn-like. The 1-century-old woman says her bizarre horn started growing last year, and now measures between 5 and 6 cm in length. Although the horn causes her no pain, I can only imagine how unhappy this poor woman is with her situation.

Photos via ImagineChina

woman-with-horn

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Pig Beauty Contest Held in China

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The Pig Contest of Guanshan Village, Guangdong Province, China, is a centuries old tradition dating back to the Qing Dinasty.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists, from all over China, travel to Guanshan, every year, to take a look at the hundreds of pigs on display at the Pig Contest. This year, around 500 oinkers were sacrificed, cleaned up and set on display to be admired by passers-by.

After the most handsome pig is allected, the festivities end in a gargantuan feast, when the tasty participants are sliced up and served to the public.

Photos via Xinhua

Pig-Beauty-Contest

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Bamboo Keyboards and Mice Are the New Rage in China

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Apparently, one of the globe’s biggest polluters has found an environment friendly alternative to plastic keyboards and mice.

Bamboo keyboards and mice are not exactly new on the market, and I’m sure you’ve come across all sorts of wooden peripheral concepts online. Jiangxi Bamboo Technology Development Co. Ltd., the only bamboo peripherals manufacturer in China, says their products have become increasingly popular at a national level, after they’ve been successfully exported to markets in Europe and America.

Production of bamboo keyboards and mice began in 2008, but until early 2009, they’ve only been shipped to foreign countries. But ever since franchised stores opened in Shanghai and Ningbo, China can’t get enough of its environment-friendly peripherals.

Judging from the photos, the Chinese aren’t stopping at just bamboo keyboards and mice, they’re taking it a step further, with bamboo encased LCD displays.

via Gadgetonian (photos by ImagineChina)

bamboo-keyboard-and-mouse2

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Make Your Own Edible Insects with GUMMIX

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Produced by Japanese company Megahouse, the GUMMIX kit allows kids and grown-ups to make their own jelly insects, as pranks or food decorations.

GUMMIX is part of the Megahouse 2010 Shokking lineup, and consists of special gelatin powder and insect molds. It’s as simple as it is fun. Just mix the gelatin with fruit syrup, ketchup or soy sauce, depending on what you’re trying to achieve, and pour the mixture into the molds.  When the jelly starts to harden, attach the limbs with the included tweezers, and there you have it, an edible bug.

The GUMMIX insect kit comes with a mixing cup, recipe cards, and 4 moulds of a beetle, a crawfish, a stag beetle and a sow bug. It costs 3675 yen ($40) and you can purchase 3 extra moulds, for 1570 yen each ($17).

via Gigazine

Gummix-kit

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Two Indian Workers Weave the World’s Longest Doormat

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Two workers of Travancore Cocotuft Ltd. have spent months creating the world’s longest doormat hand-woven from coconut coir.

The giant mat is just 1.2 meters wide and 30 mm thick, but has a length of 101.6 meters and weighs 999 kg. Impressive numbers, but the most impressive thing about this mat is that it was handmade by just two workers. They spent 111 man days, over a period of 4 months, inserting 4,70,000 coir tufts between alternate wefts of coir yarn.

Although Guinness Book of Records is already considering declaring it the world’s longest hand-woven doormat, it serves a higher purpose. Cocotuft Chief Executive Officer P. Mahadevan says it was created to emphasize the miserable conditions of workers in the coir industry, who are paid much less than the minimum wage fixed by the Indian Government.

longest-doormat

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