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Japanese Bar Replaces Seats and Tables with a Giant Ball Pit

If you ever feel like connecting with your inner child while sipping on your favorite alcoholic drink, the Ball Pool Bar Dive in Osaka, Japan, is probably the best place to do it.

Kids love ball pits, and the masterminds behind Ball Pool Bar Dive seem to think adults do too, so they got rid of the usual bar furniture and instead turned the place into a giant ball pit filled with over 20,000 colorful plastic balls. But there’s nothing remotely childish about the drinks menu, as you can order pretty much any alcoholic drink served at a regular bar, only instead of drinking yourself unconscious at a table, you get to do it buried up to your neck in balls, while other intoxicated patrons dive in all around you. What’s not to like?

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This Swedish Eco-Lodge Offers Tourists the Opportunity to Escape Modern Life

Modern life has its perks, but if you feel like taking a break from it all and going back in time for a few days, there’s a unique tourist facility in Sweden that offers you the opportunity to live in a wooden charcoal-burner hut located in the middle of a forest, cook your own food over an open fire, chop wood and clean your dishes in a nearby spring.

The Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge Hotel is not for everyone. If you can’t even fathom the idea of living without electricity, running water, or a modern toilet, then the rustic charm of this place will probably not appeal to you. But for anyone trying to escape the pressure and busy life of the big city or take a break from the internet and other modern gadgets, this place is paradise. Located 1 km south of Skärsjön Beach, in the middle of a pristine Swedish forest, Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge consists of 12 charcoal-burner huts with nothing but two sheepskin-covered wooden beds, and a wood stove that uses wood chopped by the guests themselves.

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The Eye – A Mysterious Rotating Island in Argentina

Located near the northeastern edge of Argentina, in the swampy marshes of Parana Delta, is an enigmatic floating island that allegedly rotates on its own axis. Nicknamed “The Eye”, the nearly perfect circular island has become the subject of an upcoming documentary that will try to unravel the mystery of its existence.

The Eye was discovered six months ago by Argentine film director & producer Sergio Neuspillerm, who was looking for filming locations for a film about paranormal occurrences, like ghost and alien sightings, in the area. After spotting the unusually round island surrounded by an equally round body of water on Google Earth, Neuspillerm and his crew knew they had stumbled upon something truly special, so they abandoned their original film project and decided to focus on this mystery instead.

“When locating this reference in the map we discovered something unexpected that left the film project in the background, we call it ‘The Eye’,” Neuspillerm said in a video. “The Eye is a circle of land surrounded by a thin channel of water with a diameter of 130 yards. Both circles [the water and land] are so perfect that it is hard to believe that this is a natural formation.”

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Pyongyang Cafe – A Small Piece of North Korea on the Spanish Coast

Entering North Korea is not the easiest or safest thing to do for foreigners, but curious tourists can now experience a small piece of North Korean culture in the Mediterranean city of Tarragona, where a small bar founded to promote Kim Jong-Un’s totalitarian regime recently opened.

Alejandro Cao de Benos, the founder of Pyongyang Cafe, is the only Westerner to occupy a post in the North Korean regime, even if it is only honorary. A firm believer in communism, he became interested in North Korea after the fall of the Soviet Union, which coincided with meeting some North Korean families in Madrid. He started traveling to the isolated Asian country, managed to meet with the late Kim Jong-Il, and in 2002 he was appointed special delegate for international cultural relations by Pyongyang. The title is not official, but he has taken his mission very seriously. Cao de Benos, a.k.a. “Cho Sun-il” (which translates as “Korea is one”) went on to found the Korean Friendship Association which currently has delegates in 30 countries around the world.

As someone who regularly appears in the Spanish media to defend North Korea against what he calls Western propaganda and manipulation, Cho Sun-il decided to open Pyongyang Cafe as a way to offer people an authentic North Korean experience. “We want to break with all the myths, manipulation,” he says. “And as not many people can go to Korea, because it’s complicated and far, they can come to our cafe.”

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The Spanish Village of Witches Cursed by the Catholic Church

Nestled in the foothills of the Macayo Mountains, in Aragon, Spain, lies a quaint village plagued by a curse so strong that only the Pope can lift it.

Trasmoz was once a bustling settlement with a population of around 10,000 people, but today it numbers only 62 inhabitants, of which only 30 live there permanently. For many, the downfall of Trasmoz has a lot to do with the curse placed on the village by the Catholic Church centuries ago and the stigma associated with witchcraft. Its history is riddled with legends of witches and pagan rituals, and even the ruined castle at its center is said to have been built in a single night by a magician called Mutamín. How many of these stories are true, and how many are simple rumors spread by the Church to justify its actions is left to interpretation.

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Canadian Axe-Throwing Bar Proves Big Hit

Combining razor-sharp axes and alcohol sounds like a very bad idea, but it seems to be working for the Timber Lounge, a popular axe-throwing bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Timber Lounge offers patrons sick of urban sports like bowling, darts or pool a new way to unwind. Axe-throwing has long been a popular pastime among lumberjacks in Nova Scotia, and Darren Hudson, a fifth-generation sawmill operator from Shelburne County, decided to bring it to the masses. He partnered with fellow axe-throwing enthusiast Marc Chisholm and together they founded the city’s first axe-throwing lounge. Adrenalin junkies can get their fix by balancing sharp hatchets and double-edged axes over their heads before hurling them at painted wooden bullseyes. Between sessions, they can step into the lounge area to enjoy Nova Scotia food and craft beers.

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Ikaria – The Greek Island of Longevity

On the Greek island of Ikaria, longevity is the norm rather than the exception. It’s not uncommon to find elderly men and women who have easily crossed the normal life expectancy of the rest of Europe. In fact, one in three Ikarians ends up living well into their 90s, and many of them go on to become centenarians.

Not only do they have a long life expectancy, but the people of Ikaria are also healthier when compared to other Europeans – they have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, are less likely to suffer from depression or dementia, are physically active into old age, and even maintain a healthy sex life. Over the years, several visitors have tried to uncover the Ikarian secret to good health and longevity, and have pinned it down to a series of factors, including the local diet and the locals’proclivity for afternoon naps.

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Manila Cemetery Known as “Beverly Hills of the Dead” Is Full of Luxurious Mansions

Death doesn’t put an end to the luxurious lifestyles of some of Manila’s wealthy Chinese residents. They are buried by their loved ones in a mammoth graveyard known as the Chinese Cemetery of Manila. This place is a small neighborhood in it’s own right, with many tombs reaching the size of mansions with all the modern amenities included!

The ginormous mausoleums lining either side of two-way streets within the cemetery are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that many living people can only dream of. They have fully-functioning kitchens and bathrooms with luxury fittings, and plush bedrooms for visiting relatives. Some of these places even have full-time residents who don’t seem to mind sharing their living space with the dead.

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World’s First Hedgehog Cafe Opens in Japan

Tokyo is now home to the world’s first hedgehog cafe, the latest in a long list of animal-themed establishments in the city. Located in the Roppongi entertainment district, the cafe is named ‘Harry’ – a play on the Japanese word for hedgehog.

Hedgehogs aren’t native to Japan, but they’ve long since been sold as pets in the nation that’s crazy for all things cute. At Harry, 1,000 yen ($9) can buy animal lovers an hour in the company of the prickly yet adorable creatures. The cafe is home to 20 to 30 friendly hedgehogs of different breeds that you can spend time with and even take home. A chalk-written blackboard lists all the available hedgehog breeds available for purchase and their prices by sex. So if customers find it hard to part with the adorable rodents once their hour is up, they have the option to give them a forever home.

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Manipur’s All-Women Market – Over 4000 Shopkeepers and Not One Man Among Them

Literally translating to ‘Mother’s Market’, Ima Keithel is Asia’s largest all-women market, where all the stalls are run exclusively by women. Located in the heart of Imphal, in the Indian state of Manipur, the 500-year-old vibrant bazaar has 4,000-odd local women trading with thousands of customers each day. The market also serves as a meeting ground for discussions on important social and political issues of the state.

The market’s origin dates back centuries, to a time when Manipur was ruled by kings. During this time, a tradition called ‘Lallup’ was followed, requiring male members of the local Meitei community to serve the king whenever summoned. So the women of the household would take the responsibility of farming and commerce. This instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in them, which has been passed all the way down to the present generation of female traders. Interestingly, to this day, only married women are permitted to trade at the market.

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Krishna’s Butter Ball – A Precariously Perched 250-Ton Boulder Defying the Laws of Physics

For over 1,300 years, this large rock has been confounding the locals of Mahabalipuram, a beach town near Chennai, in Southern India. The mysterious landmark is perched on hill at a 45-degree angle, balancing off an extremely small surface area without slipping or even budging an inch. Men and even elephants have tried moving it from its precarious position , but every attempt so far has failed.

The locals call it ‘Vaanirai Kal’ (Stone of the Sky God), but the rock is more popularly known as ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’, referencing Lord Krishna’s favorite food, butter, fallen from the heavens. The gravity-defying rock, measuring 20 ft high and five meters in diameter, is estimated to weigh over 250 tons, which makes it heavier than the monolithic stones of Machu Picchu, or Ollantaytambo. Despite its massive size and weight, Krishna’s Butter Ball is firmly anchored on a four-foot base along the slope of a small hill located on the outskirts of Mahabalipuram. It looks like it might slip any moment and come crashing down the hill, but it has stayed that way for several centuries now.

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Welcome to Ropoto, the Abandoned Greek Village Literally Going Downhill

The deserted Greek village of Ropoto, in northwestern Thessaly, is slowly but steadily slipping out of existence. Located 15 miles from Trikala city, the hilltop settlement was once home to a charming and bustling community, but everything changed in 2012, when a landslide caused several homes and buildings in the village square to slide down the hillsides. As many as 300 families were displaced from their homes, turning Ropoto into the ghost town it is today.

Ropoto’s tragic story is narrated in detail by former village council president Yorgos Roubies, in a 12-minute documentary produced by GreekReporter.com. Roubies lead the film crew through the sinking village, pointing out to ruins – including a crumbling hotel and school, the site where a tavern used to stand, and the wreckage that used to be his home. Recalling the terrifying day that altered the fate of the villagers forever, he said: “The first major disaster occurred early on April 12, 2012. Every autumn we were pushing the waters out of the village, to the big stream, but in 2011 there were no machines to push the rainwater away. We also had groundwater and that’s how it happened.”

“The churches, everything was gone, there’s not even a cafe here. If someone gets sick, they won’t even be able to find a glass of water. We had never seen such a disaster.”

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Caring Husband Creates Giant Scented Flower Garden to Make His Blind Wife Smile Again

Over 7,000 people visit this beautiful phlox moss garden in Shintomi Town, Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture on any given day in the months of March and April, drawn both by the beauty of this scented purple carpet and the touching story behind its very existence.

The story of this popular tourist spot can be traced back to 1956, when Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, a newlywed couple, purchased a plot of land in Shintomi. They built a house and a dairy farm on it and worked hard for several years, tending to a herd of 60 cows. They hoped to take a trip around Japan when they eventually retired, but things didn’t quite turn out as they had planned.

At age 52, after 30 years of marriage, Mrs. Kuroki developed an eye condition and went blind a week later. Devastated at the prospect of living with a disability, the poor woman grew depressed and shut herself from the world, choosing a life of seclusion. Mr. Kuroki was saddened to see his normally cheerful wife in so much pain. Because she couldn’t travel across Japan as they had always planned, he wanted to find a way to bring the whole of Japan to her.

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Neft Dashları – A Once Bustling City Built on Oil Platforms in the Caspian Sea

People have been temporarily living on oil platforms ever since they were created, in the early 20th century, but Neft Dashlari, a giant oil platform complex in the Caspian Sea, roughly 40 miles east of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, serves as a permanent residence to around 1,000 souls. Known as the largest and oldest offshore city in the world, the Soviet-era structure was built in 1949, after engineers found vast resources of oil in the region, thousands of feet beneath the sea floor.

The original foundation consisted of pillars mounted on seven sunken ships, including Zoraster, the world’s first oil tanker. The poles were erected around a central hub, a 17,300-acre artificial island where the main oil wells were located. Between 1952 and 1958, the city grew in size to include 2,000 drilling platforms, joined by a 300-kilometer network of bridge viaducts, spread in a 30-kilometer circle.

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La Colonia Tovar – A Picturesque German Alpine Village in Venezuela

Venezuela is one of the last places you would expect to find a picturesque German alpine village, and yet… La Colonia Tovar, also known as ‘The Germany of the Caribbean’, is conspicuous for its white houses with timbers and red roofs surrounded by flower gardens, carefully tended fields and creeks with water mills, and its hearty German cuisine of sausages and sauerkraut and large slices of black forest cake followed by a cold pint of beer.

It’s hard to imagine such a place actually exists in a South American country with a predominantly tropical climate, like Venezuela. But travel north to the state of Aragua, about 1,800 meters up in the forests of the Cordillera de la Costa, and you’ll reach this quaint little town reminiscent of alpine Germany. Founded in 1843 by a group of 300-odd immigrants from the Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) of the Grand Duchy of Baden, on the eastern bank of the Rhine River, the town still maintains the original cultural imprint of this centuries-old community.

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