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Japan’s Famous Aquarium Toilet

If you love exotic fish and don’t mind hundreds of them eyeballing you while you answer nature’s call, you’ll probably love using this unique aquarium toilet in Akashi, Japan.

Hipopo Papa (formerly Mumin Papa) Cafe, used to be known as one of the most popular dating spots on Hayashizaki Matsue Coast. It still is, but ever since the owner decided to do something special with the women’s toilet, it’s become famous primarily for being the only cafe in Japan – and probably the world – to feature an aquarium toilet. It’s technically surrounded on three sides by a giant aquarium filled with hundreds of exotic fish and a male turtle, which, considering this is a women’s only toilet, is a bit weird.

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Solothurn – The Swiss Town Obsessed with the Number 11

Solothurn is a picturesque town in the north-west of Switzerland known primarily for its special affinity for the number 11. It seems like everything in this place was designed around this magical number, from the fact that there are precisely 11 churches and chapels, as well as eleven historical fountains, eleven museums and eleven towers in Solothurn, to the rather bizarre clock in the town square that features an 11-hour dial and the number 12 missing.

Although virtually everyone in Solothurn knows about the town’s obsession with the number 11, its origin is shrouded in mystery. Some say it was inspired by a folk legend about magical elves coming down from the nearby Weissenstein mountain to hearten the people of Solothurn, who worked hard but never prospered. The grateful inhabitants started incorporating the number 11, or ‘elf’ in German, as a tribute for the creatures’ aid. But there are also those who claim that the number 11 has biblical connotations, deeming it holy and prophetic. One thing’s for sure, though, Solothurn’s obsession with this number can be traced back centuries.

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Montenegro’s Water Tree – A Rare Natural Phenomenon

The small village of Dinoša, in Montenegro, is home to an old mulberry tree that turns into a water fountain every time it rains heavily.

As we all know, water doesn’t normally gush out of living trees, but at least in this case the phenomenon has a perfectly reasonable explanation. You see, the meadow that the mulberry tree grows in has many underground springs which flood during heavy rainfalls, and the additional pressure pumps the water up through the hollow trunk of the tree and out through a hole a few feet above the ground.

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Conch Island – A Man-Made Island Built Out of Millions of Conch Shells

Conch “Island” isn’t technically an island, but a mountain of conch shells discarded by fishermen in the same place over hundreds of years.

Located just east of Anegada, the second largest of the British Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean, Conch Island is both a stunning tourist attraction and a testimony to the popularity of conch meat in this part of the world. For centuries, local fishermen have been diving in the shallow waters on this side of Anegada in search of these, slow-moving, edible marine snails and many of them have been throwing their large shells in the same spot. The shell mountain that is Conch Island is a result of their perseverance.

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The Levitating Stone of Shivapur, a Controversial “Miracle”

Every day, hundreds of tourists and devotees visit a shrine in Shivapur, a small village about 180 km east of Mumbai, in India, to witness a controversial “miracle” known as the Levitating Stone of Shivapur.

The Shrine of Qamar Ali Darvesh, a Muslim Sufi Saint who lived about 700 years ago, features an ancient stone that reportedly weighs 154lbs (90kg). Lifting this stone off the ground would normally require a lot of strength, but according to believers in the Levitating Stone miracle, it’s possible for a set number of men to lift it up over their heads with only their index fingers, but only after shouting Qamar Ali Darvesh’s name. This phenomenon has fascinated Indian Muslims for centuries, but many believe it’s nothing more than a gimmick.

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Popcorn Beach – A Unique Tourist Attraction That Looks Good Enough to Eat

Fuerteventura, the second largest of Spain’s Canary Islands is mostly known for its white sandy beaches, but few people know that this island also hosts one of the world’s most stunning attractions, a beach that has popcorn for sand.

There are plenty of tourist spots named after things they resemble, even if just vaguely, but that’s not the case of Popcorn Beach. This amazing place genuinely looks like it’s covered with million of white, puffy popcorn, but don’t go putting them in your mouth, as they are actually stony pieces of coral shaped like popcorn by the elements.

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Please Don’t Step on the Fish! Vietnam’s Unique Flooded Cafe

Animal cafes where you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee and pet cute animals like cats, dogs or even sheep have been springing up all over the world, but Amix Coffee is the only cafe in the world where you can relax as dozens of decorative fish swim at your feet.

Located in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Amix Coffee features two flooded floors filled with hundreds of fish both small and large. They are both insulated with two layers of plastic tarp and furniture legs are wrapped in cotton to minimize friction and prevent damage to the tarp. Each floor covers an area of 20 square meters and the water level is up to 25 centimeters deep. In order to gain access to these man-made ponds full of colorful fish, visitors are required to take off their shoes and clean their feet. They can then enjoy a wide range of refreshments and snacks as Japanese carp and other small fish swim at their feet.

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South Korean Cafe Makes You Feel Like You’re in an A-Ha Music Video

Cafe Yeonnam-dong 239-20 is a uniquely-designed cafe in Seoul’s Yeonnam-dong district that makes visitors feel like they’ve miraculously steeped into a cartoon or a comic.

Remember the song “Take on Me” by Norwegian band A-ha? It’s one of the catchiest tunes of all time, but I remember being fascinated with its music video, as a child. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, a person stepping into the pages of a comic book that comes to life. I still consider it one of the coolest music videos ever made, but you’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning in an article about a cafe in South Korea. Well, it was the first thing that came into my mind when I saw photos of the incredible Cafe Yeonnam-dong 239-20.

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This Chilean Community Requires Residents to Have Their Appendix Removed

Can you imagine needing to have your appendix removed just to be able to live in your city? That’s exactly what the residents of Villa Las Estrellas, a small Chilean settlement in Antarctica, are required to do in order to live there long-term.

To be able to comprehend such a bizarre requirement, you first need to know a few things about Villa Las Estrellas. In short, this place is probably the closest you can get to experiencing life on another planet. It’s located so far away from human civilization and weather conditions are so extreme that would-be residents must pass a very thorough psychological exam in order to prove that they can live here for a long period of time. In winter time, the whole place is buried under several meters of snow and the hours of daylight are replaced with a few minutes of twilight. The average temperature is -2.3 degrees Celsius, but they can drop to -47 in winter months, making it nearly impossible to even set foot outside the container-like houses.

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India’s Great Banyan Tree Is Its Own Forest

If you were to see the Great Banyan Tree in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden from a distance, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a forest. Spanning more than 14,493 square meters, the tree is the widest in the world—so large that it covers more ground than the average Wal-Mart.

No one is quite sure exactly how old the Great Banyan Tree is due to a lack of official records, but experts estimate that the tree is at least 250 years old; the earliest references to the tree have been found in travel writing dating all the way back to the 19th century. Over the years, the tree has been through a lot. Not only has it survived 2 major cyclones in 1864 and 1867, but its main trunk was also infected with a deadly fungus. This infection meant that the main trunk of the tree needed to be removed in 1925.

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The Oakland Buddha – How One Buddha Statue Brought Neighbourhood Crime Down by 82%

A non-religious man in Oakland managed to virtually eliminate neighborhood crime with nothing more than a statue of Buddha bought from a local hardware store.

The neighborhood of 11th Avenue and East 19th Street was formerly a rough part of Oakland, riddled with a variety of illegal activities ranging from littering and vandalization to drug dealing, robberies, prostitution, and assaults. That is until one local, Dan Stevenson, purchased a 60-cm-tall stone statue of Buddha and placed it on the street corner opposite his home. People were constantly dumping mattresses, couches and other junk there, and all kind of shady characters would hang around, so he figured the statue would be an improvement. But, in this case, calling the effect of the statue an improvement would be a gross understatement.

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The Swiss Man Who Built a UFO Landing Port in Argentina Because Aliens Told Him to

This is the story of Werner Jaisli, a Swiss man who in 2008 started building a giant, star-shaped ‘ovniport’ – a UFO landing spot – in an Argentinian desert, because aliens telepathically ordered him to.

It’s not clear exactly when Werner Jaisli arrived in Cachi, a small town in the Argentinian province of Salta, but it’s not hard to figure out what drew him to this place. The deserts of Salta have become famous among UFO enthusiasts around the globe, after several sightings of unidentified flying objects and other unexplained phenomena were reported in the area over the last few decades. On the night of November 24, 2008, Jaisli himself was allegedly contacted by aliens who gave him specific instructions on how to build a UFO landing port, aka ‘ovniport’.

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Japan’s Unusual Obsession with Moss

As a very insular society, Japan has developed a culture that can be very interesting and sometimes bizarre to the outside observer. For example, in recent years, many Japanese have become infatuated with moss. Nature excursions centered around observing the thousands of species of Japanese moss have exploded in popularity to the point that the demand for a place on these trips far exceeds availability.

Selling moss-related products like moss-containing jewelry has also become a lucrative market. You can buy rings that have tiny containers holding moss instead of stones. For many young women in Japan, love of these plants has become a part of their identity. These young enthusiasts call themselves “moss girls” and organize moss-themed events such as viewing parties, where they make drinks inspired from the plants.

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The Country Where Burying Someone Can Take Months Or Even Years

In most countries, people are buried within a few days of their death, but in the African country of Ghana, burials are complicated affairs that can take months or even years to prepare. In some communities, speedy burials are considered downright sacrilegious, so despite the wishes of the deceased and their immediate family, bodies spend months frozen at the morgue before finally being laid to rest.

Ghana’s lengthy funerals are closely related to the notion of family in the African country. During one’s life, their children, spouse and parents are considered immediate family, but once they are dead, their body belongs to the extended family in which they were born. In many cases this includes distant relatives that the deceased hand’t even spoken to in decades, but that makes no difference. They get a say in how, where and when the deceased is buried, and whatever instructions they left regarding this aspect, or whatever they asked their close family to do, is meaningless unless the extended family agrees to the terms.

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Eibenthal – A Picturesque Village Where Theft Doesn’t Exist

Eibenthal is an idyllic village nestled in the Banatului Mountains of Western Romania. It’s a charming place inhabited mainly by ethnic Czechs, but what really makes it stand out from other villages in the area, or pretty much anywhere else in the world, for that matter, is its reputation as a theft-free community.

There is no police station in Eibenthal, and frankly, there’s no need for one either. People in this area of Mehedinti county are famously peaceful and respectful of each other, and the crime rate is considerably lower than the national average. Theft, for example is virtually non existent, and people are perfectly comfortable leaving money in bags on the streets for the bread delivery man. He drives by, takes the money and leaves the requested number of bread loaves and the change in the bags hanging on lamp posts or people’s fences. In over 20 years, no one has ever reported any money of bread missing.

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