Nail Art at Tokyo Nail Expo 2009

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Held at the Tokyo Big Site, on Odaiba Island, the Tokyo Nail Expo featured some of the most amazing fingernail artworks.

Apparently, the nail industry is really big in Japan right now, so it’s no wonder they’ve actually organized an exposition where nail artists could showcase their latest masterpieces. The Japanese nail industry has grown to 200 million yen, so it’s no wonder this year’s event drew in a crowd of approximately 50,000.

I’m not a big fan of painted, long nails, but I have to admit the nail artworks presented at the Tokyo Nail Expo 2009 were pretty impressive.

Photos by Junko Kimura/GETTY IMAGES

via 923NOW

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Yam King Contest Held in China

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On November 25, a yam and taro contest crowned the largest yam of 2009, in South-West China.

As one of the biggest yam and taro supplier in China, Anhe Township held the seventh annual Yam King Contest. Farmers from all around the area brought their biggest harvested yams hoping they’ll snatch the title of yam King 2009.

The winner of the contest was a 1.66 meters-long yam that weighed 38 kilograms. I bet that’s big enough to feed the farmer’s whole family for a long time.

via Xinhua

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The PL Peace Tower – World’s Coolest Tower?

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The PL Peace Tower in Tondabayashi, a town close to Osaka, Japan is by far one of the most “bizarre yet cool” buildings I have ever seen.

One of the many structures located in the PL Holy Land, the PL Peace Tower was built back in 1970, using the newest construction technique at the time. It belongs to the Perfect Liberty Church, a religious movement founded in 1924 that teaches its followers that “Life is Art” and they should express themselves in everuthing they do.

The shape of the PL Peace Tower, resembling a single finger pointing at the sky, symbolizes one of the church founder’s revelation that ” the truth is one”. It’s also an international symbol of world peace. Inside the Peace Tower you’ll find an unlimited list of people who lost their lives because of human wars.

The PL Peace Tower is 180 meters high and thanks to a low center of gravity (only 12 meters above ground), it can tilt up to 45 degrees and swing back to its original position. This makes it extremely resistant to earthquakes. Its strange but fascinating shape was achieved through the use of shotcrete, spaying concrete onto wire netting.

Photos via Juergen Specht

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China’s Kingdom Of The Dwarves

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Over 100 height-challenged Chinese people perform in a show called Kingdom Of The Dwarves, close to Kunming, Yunnan Province.

Casting for the Kingdom Of The Dwarves show took place last summer, with only two conditions stipulated: the performers had to be between 18 and 40 years old and be shorter than 130 cm (4’3″). No other special skills were required. Now they take the stage of the Kunming World Butterflies Garden twice a day, singing, dancing and performing comedy sketches to entertain the crowds.

I know it looks like exploitation and discrimination, but the short performers see it only as another form of migrant labor and a haven away from people who mock and tease them on a daily basis. With discrimination and unemployment still high in China, the little people saw the Kingdom Of The Dwarves as an opportunity.

Just to clear things up, this is just a profitable theme park, not a community formed by the dwarves themselves as a shelter, and the mushroom houses only serve as decor and changing rooms, not as living quarters.

Photos by REUTERS

via Telegraph.co.uk

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Love Supermarket Offers Singles A Chance at Love

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China’s singles needn’t look for their soul-mates any longer, they cam just go to the Love-Supermarket and buy it from there.

Actually it’s not that easy, but it is a viable way for singles to find a compatible match. the Love-Supermarket opened last month in Xizhimen and was the scene of a special party in celebration of Singles’ Day, on November 11.

The Love Supermarket has had over 500 visitors and has already established 60 successful love connections. Over 200 photos of single people hang on the walls of the establishment, along with personal information (age, gender, career, income,etc.). All clients have to do is pick someone and pay 100 yuan to sign up for a date.

opinions concerning the Love Supermarket are split. Some believe the tax is to high just to meet someone, others don’t care about the money, but doubt the singles info displayed is genuine and fear some of the “accounts” were set up by the owners so they can cash in on the date tax. But, with over 500,000 single women past the average marriage age, the Love Supermarket is bound to be a success.

via China.org.cn

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Heart-Shaped Oranges Spotted in Seoul

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Their shape may not be as complex as the Buddha-shaped pears, but these heart-shaped oranges spotted in a market, in the capital of South Korea are just as impressive. I’d like to get my hands on one of those for Valentine’s Day, but I doubt they’d ship those babies half way around the world. Oh well, I guess a heart-shaped box of chocolates will have to do.

via People.com.cn

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Extreme Survivor: Changing a Tire with Your Feet

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This man’s body may be broken, but his spirit is stronger than most people’s. While other healthy individual spend their days begging, this noble soul works on fixing broken tires…with only his feet. Sure, life can sometimes be very cruel, but this guy refuses to just lay down and die, just because he can’t use his hands. You have to admit this is really impressive and inspiring stuff.

Photos via Tiexue

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Golden Rock – Nature’s Balancing Act

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The gold-covered granite boulder perched atop a stone pedestal known as Golden Rock,  is one of the most breathtaking sights in Burma.

The third most sacred place in Burma, after Schwedagon Pagoda and Mahamuni Pagoda, Golden Rock lies at the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo, in Mon State. It is completely covered with gold leaves layered by Buddhist devotees and is topped by a 5.5 meters-tall pagoda.

Legend has it Buddha, on one of his travels on Earth, gave a strand of his hair to a hermit, who with his dying breath asked his son Tissa to enshrine the lock in a boulder shaped like his head. The child later became King of Burma and fulfilled his father’s wish by placing the divine gift in a boulder on Mount Kyaiktiyo. Burmese Buddhists believe it’s the strand of hair that keeps Golden Rock in place, defying gravity.

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The Mysterious Leh Magnetic Hill

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Nestled between the Great Himalayas and Karakoramh mountains, Leh Magnetic Hill apparently has magnetic properties capable of pulling vehicles uphill.

Located just 30 km from the city of Leh, the Magnetic Hill is quite a popular tourist attraction in India. Travelers from all over the world are drawn here by its mysterious magnetic powers. There is a marked line on the road going up the hill, where drivers are instructed to put their cars in neutral and sit back as they get pulled up at speeds over 20 km/h.

Stories say the magnetic energy is so powerful that aircrafts have to fly at a higher altitude to avoid interference. But, in reality, there is no magnetism or mystical power involved, just an optical illusion created by the layout of the surroundings. A slightly downhill slope appears to go uphill and while the car naturally roles downwards, the landscape makes it look like it’s actually climbing.

Even though it’s just nature playing a trick on us mere mortals, it’s still an amazing experience, worth trying. Check out the video at the bottom to see the Leh Magnetic Hill in action.

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The Incredible Taung Kalat Monastery

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Built atop an extinct volcano plug, the Buddhist monastery of Taung Kalat is one of the most breathtaking sites in Burma and the world.

Many people call the hill on which the monastery was built, Mount Popa, but they’re mistaking it with the much higher volcano, close by. The hill is called Taung Kalat and though it looks like a mere bump when compared to Mount Popa, climbing it is quite a task. There are seven hundred seventy seven steps to from the bottom, all the way to the Buddhist monastery.

The locals believe Nats (37 demigod-like beings) live inside Taung Kalat hill and judging by the heavenly views from up there, they just might be right.

Climbing up Taung Kalat, you’re bound to run into some adorable Macaques, but be careful, they’re wild creatures and are likely to snatch anything you lay on the ground, before you even have the chance to blink.

Taung Kalat Monastery and its surroundings are truly unique, but unless the Burmese government intervenes soon, they will degrade beyond recovery.

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Giant Gigantor Unveiled in Japan

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Two weeks after the Tokyo Gundam statue was dismantled, a new robot statue was unveiled in Kobe, Japan. This time it’s the Tetsujin 28-go aka Gigantor.

This mean looking machine was set up in Wakamatsu Park, Kobe and unlike the RX78 Gundam statue it will remain here permanently. The funds for the construction of Gigantor were not supplied by big-time corporations either. The approximately 1.5 million dollars were raised by local shop owners, in hope that it will bring commerce and people to Kobe.

The city of Kobe was seriously damaged by an earthquake, in 1995, and its population has decreased to around 80% of what it was before the cataclysm. Mitsuteru Yokoyama, a legendary manga artists, was born in Kobe and helped design Tetsujin 28-go.

via Mainichi

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Buffalo-Riding Ceremony in Cambodia

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The Buffalo-Riding Ceremony is held every year, in the Cambodian village of Virhear Sour, Kandal province. The tradition of this even goes back 70 years and it marks the end of the Festival of the Dead. It is also a way to honor the Neakta Preah Srok pagoda spirit.

After the race is over, the buffaloes are auctioned off to the highest bidders.

Photos by Reuters

via People.com.cn

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Fish Need Healthcare Too

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I’m sure that’s what Patit Paban Halder thought to himself when he decided to open up a fish hospital in the comfort of his own home, in India.

The Fish Hospital of Chandannagore, India, is the only one of its kind. Halder, together with his wife and son, has set up a 32-aquarium facility where they observe and treat sick ornamental fish. The fish doctor does rounds, takes blood sample, checks them for fungus and bacteria and even gives the tiny fish injections.

I don’t know how many of his patience actually make it out of the hospital, but the mere effort of trying to save them is worth my respect.

Photos by DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images

via LIFE

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Olympic Babies Compete in Crawling Race

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They’ve only been born for a year and they’re already competing in sporting events. No wonder they’re called Olympic Babies.

Babies born on August 8, known as Olympic Babies, take part in a sporting competition that fits them like a diaper, a crawling race.  The race took place on August 6, 2009 in Beijing, to commemorate a 1 year anniversary since the Olympic Games held in the Chinese Capital.

via China.org

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The Living Bridges of Cherrapunji

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It might sound like an exaggeration, but the root bridges of Cherrapunji are indeed alive. Unlike most parts of the world, these bridges are grown, not built.

Known as the wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji is home to some of the most amazing plants. One of these is the Ficus elastica tree, a sort of rubber tree that grows a ind of secondary roots from higher up in the trunk. The War-Khasis, a local tribe, noticed this plant and realized its potential.

Using hollowed-out betel nut trunks, the tribesmen are able to direct the roots in whatever way they like. When the roots grow all the way across a river, they are allowed to return to the soil, and over time, a strong bridge is formed. It takes up to 10-15 years for a root bridge to develop, but it becomes stronger with each passing year and are known to last for centuries.

Boulders and stones are placed among the rubber tree roots for an easier crossing. The living root bridges of  Cherrapunji are incredibly sturdy, able to sustain more than fifty people at a time.

via rootbridges

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