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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The Amazing Snake Temple of Penang

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Probably the only one of its kind, in the world, the Snake Temple, in Penang, Malaysia, is home to bothe people and some of the most dangerous snakes on Earth.

Located at Sungai Kluang, on Penang Island, the Snake Temple is also known as Temple of the Azure Cloud or Pure cloud Temple, in honor of Penang’s beautiful skies. It’s a safe haven for pit vipers, said to be servants of Chor Soo Kong, the resident deity of the temple. According to legend, Chor Soo Kong, who was a Chinese monk and healer, once offered shelter to the snakes of the jungle, who then started coming in of their own free will.

Thousands of devotees travel to the Snake Temple of Penang, every year, and they aren’t bothered by the dozens of venomous snakes coiled around the temple. Some say it’s the work of Chor Soo Kong, while others believe pit vipers, known as one of the most aggressive snake species, are made drowsy by the smoke of the incense burning in the temple.

Unfortunately, the snake population of the Penang Snake Temple has decreased constantly, due to the urbanization of the area. If you’re brave enough to enter, you should know there’s no admission fee.

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Public Toilets Never Looked This Good

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Looking at the photo, below, you’re probably thinking something like “that’s a nice looking villa”, only it’s really just a Chinese public toilet.

This luxurious public facility was built on Nanshan Road, Xiamen, near the city’s residential area. It covers 100 square meters, offering clean, spacious toilets, for both men and women. Realizing people would probably mistake it for a private villa, city authorities placed a big “Nanshan public toilets” sign, on the balcony.

Even so, passers by were reluctant to use the fancy toilet, so another sign was added, on the sidewalk. This one says “free, open, civilized service”. Both men’s and women’s toilets feature artistically designed signs, and the second floor of this public toilet villa houses the administrator’s office. Although hundreds of people use this fancy restroom, every day, he says he never sensed any foul smells.

via CRI Online

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Japanese Women Slash Away the Pounds with Samurai Swords

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Once used as deadly weapons, to slash enemies apart, Japanese Katana swords are now used by Japanese white-collar women to slash away extra pounds and cut down stress.

The recently opened “Samurai Camp” gym, in Tokyo,  looks more like the training ground for modern amazons. More than 100 of them have signed up for this unusual fitness program that aims to help them lose 11 pounds in just one month. The inventor of samurai sword fitness, 31-year-old Takafuji Ukon, believed men would be more interested in the art of Katana wielding, but much to his surprise, women were the ones who flocked to the gym.

Ukon is not a martial arts expert, but he is a master of sword dancing, and knows just what moves to teach, so the women can shed the extra weight. Still, in order to avoid potentially deadly accidents, real swords were replaced with wooden ones, wrapped in tin foil.

Since we don’t live in an era where slashing people is allowed, Takafuji Ukon teaches his students to visualize fat and stress as the enemies, when they’re using the swords. And according to the clients of Samurai Camp, they appreciate the chance to get in touch with Japanese culture, relax, and lose weight, all at the same time.

Photos by AFP via ChinaNews

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The Parade of the Lechon, in La Loma

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The La Loma district, of Quezon city, in the Philippines, is famous for having a pig roaster on every street corners, but on the third Sunday of May, roasted pigs take to the streets.

Lechon is the word Filipinos use for roasted pigs. It’s derived from the Spanish word “leche” which hints that the pig must be a suckling pig. For this monumental feast, pigs are stuffed with tamarind, pandan leaves and a concoction of spices, their skins bathed in soy sauce and vinegar. They are roasted over a charcoal pit, by an expert roaster, who knows just when to turn them, until they become crispy red.

Although everyone enjoys a nice helping of delicious Lechon, complemented with liver sauce, the highlight of this Asian fiesta is the Parade of the Lechon. Roasted pigs are dressed up in funny costumes and paraded through the city streets, on the shoulders of devotees. After 50 years of celebrating the Parade of the Lechon, Filipinos have turned dressing up roasted pigs into an art.

Photos via Daylife

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