Guliver Travels to China

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After entertaining children everywhere, with his incredible adventures in Lilliput, Gulliver seems to have moved to Beijing, China.

Walking by Gulliver, in Chaoyang Park, Beijing, people really feel like Lilliputians. And that’s not odd at all, considering our hero’s body is 70 meters long, the equivalent of a 20-story high building. Certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest inflatable statue in the world, Gulliver is actually a traveling museum that educated children on the workings of the human body. Once inside Gulliver, kids can walk by his beating heart, see his lungs inflate with air, or get lost in his large intestine, which is laid out like a maze.

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Dog Castle – The Coolest Dog House in Japan

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Nanami,  a playful Japanese pooch can claim to be the only dog in the world to be living in a regular castle.

Built as a small replica of Japan’s famous Matsumoto Castle, Nanami’s castle stands 2.5 meters tall and features three rooms. At the front is the main hall, where Nanami can just lay on his belly and watch out for the mailman, while at the back he has a sand-floor room, for cooling down during the hot summer days, and a rear room to hide in during thunderstorms.

Located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Nanami’s castle took his owner six months to complete, and cost 50,000 yen ($583). While it may not be as old and famous as the real Matsumoto Castle, built in 1504, Nanami can be proud of his new dog castle.

If you’re a fan of over-the-top dog houses, you’re going to love this veritable dog mansion.

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The Bizarre Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival

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Every March, the Wat Bang Phra temple of Nakhom Pathom, Thailand, becomes the scene of a weird celebration, known as  the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival.

While in most western countries tattoos are viewed as an art form, in Thailand, a country with a culture deeply rooted in superstition and spirituality, tattoos are considered more than just skin deep artworks. The traditional Thai tattoos, known as “Sak Yant”, are believed to have magical powers, and people get them done at temples, for protection against evil spirits, and as good luck charms. Many members of Thai police, army, and the underworld think some tattoos have the power to stop bullets and blades from piercing their skin.

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Sokushinbutsu – Japan’s Self-Mummified Monks

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Sokushinbutsu were Buddhist priests who took their own lives in such a way that they became mummies and were revered for their spirit and dedication.

Popular in northern Japan, especially around the Yamagato Prefecture, the practice of becoming Sokushinbutsu is believed to a tantric ritual from Tang China, brought to the Land of the Rising Sun by the founder of Shingon Buddhism.

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Ti Jian Zi – The Ancient Art of Shuttlecock Kicking

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One of the most popular traditional Chinese arts, Ti Jian Zi, known in the western world as shuttlecock kicking, requires a great deal of skill and practice.

The game of shuttlecock kicking is believed to have been invented sometime during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and gradually increased in popularity,  to a point where shops that specialized in the making of shuttlecocks began appearing all over China. The art of shuttlecock kicking reached its climax during the Qing Dynasty, when competitions were held between masters of the game from all over the country.

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Panjat Pinang – A Slippery Tradition of Indonesia

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Dating back to the Dutch colonial days, Panjat Pinang is one of the oldest, most popular traditions in Indonesia.

Panjat Pinang is a very unique way of celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day. Every year, in towns and villages around the country, tall nut-trees are chopped down and their trunks placed vertically, in the center of each settlement. A wheel full of prizes is placed on top, before the trunk is covered with oil or other lubricants, and young men are invited to try and reach the prizes.

This type of pole climbing was introduced to the Indonesians, by Dutch colonists, who came up with it as a form of entertainment. Every time an important event took place (like a wedding, or national holiday) they would install a Panjat Pinang pole and watch the natives attempt to reach the prizes.

Since the nut-tree poles are fairly high and very slippery, a single climber would have almost no chance of reaching the top, so contestants usually work together and split the rewards, if they succeed. Prizes consist of foods, like cheese, sugar, flour, and clothes. You might not think them worth the trouble, but for poor Indonesians, these are luxury items.

There is some controversy surrounding Panjat Pinang. While most Indonesia believe it is an educational challenge that teaches people to work together and work hard in reaching their goals, there are those who say Panjat Pinang is a degrading display that sends the wrong kind of message to Indonesia’s youth. There’s also the environmental issue of cutting down a significant number of nut-trees for such a hedonistic celebration.

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i-City – The Nighttime Wonderland of Malaysia

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i-City, one of the latest high-tech attractions of Malaysia, can best be described as an unconventional mix of Oriental style and the latest in lighting technology.

Located in the city of Shah Alam, i-City is a one-of-a-kind theme-park where all the main attractions are made of plastic and millions of bright LED lights. Similar to Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch, during the day, i-City’s artificial forest of maple and pine trees really comes to life at night. Made out of plastic and fitted with colorful LEDs, they put on a light show unlike any other.

Inaugurated in early 2010, Shah Alam‘s i-City has already become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Malaysia. From rows upon rows of LED-made Chinese lanterns, to LED peacocks, flamingos and LED cherry blossoms, i-City offers a variety of unique sights that are sure to amaze anyone who visits here.

Though nothing compares to the look and smell of real trees, the colorful display of i-City’s magical forest is proof of the wonderful things man can create if he puts his mind to it.Now sit back and check out a set of mind-blowing photos taken in i-City, at night.

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Kori no Suizokukan – Japan’s Frozen Aquarium

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As a way of battling the summer heatwave that hit Japan this year, authorities have inaugurated a frozen aquarium that will keep visitors cool and entertained.

Kori no Suizokukan is located in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture and features around 450 specimens of around 80 species of marine wildlife, all captured at a nearby sea port. Visitors can enjoy a brief break from the scorching sun and admire all sorts of fish, crabs or octopuses, as well as unusual objects like action figures, bottles of sake, or flowers, all embedded in huge blocks of ice.

The Frozen Aquarium was inaugurated, in Kesennuma’s fish market, in 2002, and uses flash-freezing technology to conserve fresh specimens and keep them looking so good.

While the Frozen Aquarium is a welcome tourist attraction, visitors can only spend a few minutes inside. Because temperatures inside the aquarium reach -20 degrees Celsius, a special suit is needed to keep people from becoming freezing exhibits themselves. Without these special suits, visitors would start feeling severe pains in just five minutes time.


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Zhou Mingdi – The Ultimate Calligraphy Artist

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Writing just as pretty with both hands is rarely possible, but 63-year-old Zhou Mingdi, from China’s Hunan province can write just as good with different part of his body. The old calligraphy master is able to right just as beautifully whether he’s holding his brushes in his hands, feet, mouth, nose, or even strapped on his back.

What’s even more fascinating about Zhou Mingdi is that he’s able to write with up to eight calligraphy brushes at the same time, and still get better results than the average man.here are some photos of him showcasing his art in front of a public audience, back in 2005.

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Chinese Boy Clips Stuff with His Tongue

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13-year-old Xiao Xin puts on a show for his family, as he clips everyday items with his tongue.

The young boy from Daqing, northeast China, was born with a snake-like tongue that branches out close to its tip, allowing him to use it as a tool for clipping various things. So far he hasn’t found a proper use for it, apart from using it to entertain family and friends, but who knows when his snake tongue will come in handy. If you’ve always dreamed of having a tongue like that of Xiao Xin, all you have to do is go to a body-mod shop and they’ll fix you right up.

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Beauty Mud Cup 2010 Held in China

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With the eyes of the entire world on the Football World Cup, in South Africa, local authorities from Changsha, China had to come up with something better, yet related to current events.

And what’s better than football? Mud football, played by barely dressed gorgeous models, of course. So they set up a small football pitch, filled it with mud, brought in  models from various Chinese cities, and got the Beauty Mud Cup 2010 under way. In the photos below, teams from Hunan and Hubei go head to head, in one of the first matches of the competition. I don’t know the score, and neither do most of the male spectators who resumed to roars and cheers every time any of the girls kicked the ball through the mud.

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The Jizo Army of Chausudake Volcano

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Located on the barren slopes of Chausudake Volcano, in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, hundreds of small Jizo statues make up the eeriest spirit army I’ve ever seen.

One of the most beloved divinities in Japan, Jizo is seen as a savior working to ease the suffering of those serving time in hell, and answers the prayers for health, and success of the living. He is a friend to all, and Jizo statues are usually placed at intersections of roads, to help travelers pick the right way to go. He is extremely important to pregnant women and children, and statues are often adorned with tiny children’s clothes or bibs. Parents whose children have died place toys and offerings beside the statues, asking for protection of their child’s soul.

The Jizo statues of Chausudake Volcano offer a sight unique in Japan, and all over the world. Jizo representations can be found in many places around the Land of the Rising Sun, but the dark volcanic rocks, from which the statues have been carved, and the barren surroundings create an eerie atmosphere that’s hard to forget.

 

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Chinese Farmer Uses Makeshift Canon to Fend Off Eviction

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Yang Youd, a Chinese farmer living on the outskirts of Wuhan City, has created his very own canon, and it using it against eviction teams who seek to drive him off of his land.

Using an old wheelbarrow and some pipes, Yang made himself a canon, in a desperate attempt to prevent getting evicted. As ammunition, the brave farmer uses fireworks, sold at local shops, around Wuhan. To make his projectiles reach longer distances, Yang Youd has also built himself a makeshift defense tower, which he climbs from the roof of his house. From there, the home-made canon has a range of 100 meters.

So far he has fended off to eviction attempts. Once, in February, when his rockets ran out, he was saved by the local police, and in May, he successfully drove off 100 people, by firing his canon from the tower. There have yet been no reports of injuries, but if Yang Youd keeps at it, I’d say it’s inevitable.

The resourceful farmer has been offered 300,000 yuan, for his land, and all of his neighbors have already accepted the deals they were offered, but Yuan Youd wants five times the amount, and he’s not going down without a fight.

I know it seems a bit strange a mere farmer could build a canon, but we’ve already seen a Chinese farmer build robots, so this should come as no surprise.

via ImagineChina

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Chinese Taxi Drivers Invited to Destroy Unlicensed Cabs

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With so many people to drive around, it’s no wonder the Chinese taxi business is so competitive, but authorities are finally doing something about those unlicensed cabs that are ruining perfectly legitimate companies.

To show the world they are committed to riding China of illegal taxi cabs, authorities in Chengdu have invited 50 taxi drivers to publicly destroy 140 illegal vehicles, captured by the police. Armed with iron bars, the drivers released all their anger and frustration on their competition’s cars, until they reduced them to mere scrap metal.

Out of the 140 destroyed cabs, 73 were knock-offs, and 67 were illegal vehicles whose drivers failed to pay their fines, in due time. Most of the illegal taxi cabs in China are put together from scrap metal parts, and made to appear brand new. Their severely used parts and tires often lead to severe accidents, and the cars are very difficult to chase down.

Photos via ImagineChina

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Wat Phai Rong Wua – Thai Hell on Earth

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Wat Phai Rong Wua has to be one of the most bizarre tourist attractions on the face of the Earth. Featuring scenes of torture, performed by devilish creatures, this Buddhist temple complex is what Thais expect hell to be like.

Mostly unkown to the Western world, Wat Phai Rong Wua is a popular destination for Buddhists, who flock here every year. Known as the location of the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world, and of the Palace of a Hundred Spires, Wat Phai Rong Wua also houses dozens of sculptures of people being tortured by demons and various monsters. Some are poked in the face with a tridents, while others suffer, with their insides hanging out, in the jaws of giant monsters. There’s blood everywhere and loudspeakers around the complex describe the tortures these sinners have to undergo.

Wat Phai Rong Wua doesn’t strike you as the kind of place you’d want to take your children, on a family vacation, but Thais from all over the country travel here, with their kids, to show them what can happen if they don’t say their prayers, or do bad deeds. Seems pretty weird, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why you hardly see any westerners around this place.

Photos via maleangpo

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