travel

What do toilets the world over look like? Check out this video to find out 【Video】

Love and music may not have borders, but neither do other universal concepts like the call of nature.

Although Japan is famous for its modern toilet technology (there’s even a museum now), many non-Eastern Asians are often taken aback when they visit the country and have their first encounter with the older, squatting kind. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re a staple in most Japanese schools, parks, and stations.

The fact that there’s such a gap in modern toilet technology got us curious about how toilet models and their degree of upkeep varies worldwide, and fortunately one brave soul has gone through the trouble of filming bathrooms across the globe to answer this very question.
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Kyoto has had enough of rude tourists, created an infographic to show how to visit politely

With thousands of temples, beautiful gardens, geisha and maiko (geisha-in-training), and more history than you can shake an encyclopedia at, Kyoto is the place to be when visiting Japan. So with so many tourists from around the world crowding into the city, a few are bound to step out of line.

Thankfully TripAdvisor Japan created a handy infographic showing how to politely visit Kyoto. Kyotoites are understandably protective of their city and its cultural and historical treasures, and some will not hesitate to correct you if you’re doing something rude or wrong. So to be sure that everyone is on the same page, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when you visit this wonderful city.

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Japanese town’s Cat Street View lets you virtually tour its backstreets, meet feline residents

It’s an amazing age we live in, where you can fire up Google Street View and virtually walk the boulevards of many of the world’s cities. But it turns out Google Street View has a bit of a rival in Japan. Granted, its scope is far smaller than Google’s, given that it only covers part of one town, but it shows up the Internet giant by letting you wander its walkways from the perspective of an alley cat, and even provides profiles of all the neighborhood kitties you’ll meet along the way!

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Scratching is the new coloring! Scratch art is the up and coming trendiest hobby in South Korea

We commonly associate coloring books with children, but some months ago, coloring books designed for adults were all the rage in many countries, including Japan. Grown-up coloring books have been around for some time, but the sudden trend triggered off a new supply-and-demand chain reaction, filling the market with more coloring books for adults than ever.

However, in recent months, a somewhat similar yet new hobby has been silently enchanting adults in Korea with its simplistic beauty. Known as “Scratch Night View”, these scratch-off art projects promise breathtaking night views upon completion, and all you have to do is scratch the special board in the specified areas to unveil the beauty hidden in the darkness!

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Japanese ad promoting Miyazaki Prefecture shows how foreign its own dialects can be 【Video】

In an attempt to draw more visitors, Kobayashi City in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture has released a video to promote the natural beauty and appeal of the town. The ad features a French man, talking about the quirky yet charming nature of the locals and the beautiful environment the city has to offer. As he speaks, Japanese subtitles appear at the bottom of the screen, allowing those who don’t understand French to know what the man is saying.

But the last line of the ad is throwing many Japanese viewers for a loop, as it dawns on them that the man is not actually speaking French at all, but a local Miyazaki dialect.

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Chinese mom thinks airline’s toilet is too small, makes her son poop in the rear cabin

Anyone who has ever been on board a commercial flight would have probably noticed that aircraft lavatories tend to be smaller than regular public restrooms. Compact as they may be, though, the toilets on most commercial airlines provide enough room for an adult to get their business done. In fact, we’ve even heard of all those “mile high club” stories, so it’s probably all right to assume that those minimalistic restrooms are spacious enough for even two adults to slip in.

However, one Chinese mom on board a Shenzhen Airlines domestic flight felt that the toilet was too small, and made her son defecate on the floor of the rear cabin.

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Taiwanese Netizen makes good on promise, rides motorcycle wearing nothing but plastic bag 【Video】

For reasons we will never fully appreciate or ever be able to fathom, wearing plastic convenience store bags as clothing is inexplicably trending in Taiwan right now. It appears the trend is being spurred partially by the convenience and life-hacky money-saving of cutting two leg holes in a 7-Eleven bag and wearing it around like pajamas, and partially by the fact that a lot of objectively good-looking women are posting their plastic bag-clothing photos on social media.

But until now, it seems no one really thought to actually take the style for a spin outside, until one crazed Taiwanese Netizen dared himself to ride around on a motorcycle wearing nothing but a plastic bag outfit if 10,000 people “liked” his initial comment.

Spoiler: They did.

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Nagano Prefecture’s Mishaka Pond offers mirror-like waters, inspiration for art lovers

Mishaka-ike, or Mishaka Pond (御射鹿池), is a hidden natural jewel located in Chino City, Nagano Prefecture. The pond’s tranquil beauty inspired a famous painting several decades ago, and Japanese visitors have been increasingly traveling off the beaten path to view its waters for themselves, as it’s a place where the four seasons are distinctly and perfectly expressed.

Escape from the city for a relaxing moment with the following photographic collection of Mishaka-ike in the Japanese countryside.

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Seven amazing things our Japanese reporter learned while visiting Cuba

RocketNews24’s Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro visited Cuba a few months ago and had an amazing time in the Caribbean nation. Although he’s already shared several of his travel adventures such as sampling sushi at a five-star hotel and getting a haircut in the popular local style, Wasai recently compiled a list of the top seven things that impressed or surprised him about Cuba.  

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Japan’s newest hot spring springs forth…from the center of Kobe!

In movies, there’s never anything good hidden in the earth under a structure. It’s all Native American burial grounds, Egyptian mummies, and other assorted other corpses of non-specific ethnicities.

In real life, though, there are all sorts of desirable things waiting beneath the surface, such as oil and gold. An excavation crew in Kobe was looking for something just as good as those two valuable commodities, though: a hot spring, and they found one right in the heart of the city.

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Vampire Cafe: Over a decade of Tokyo’s best undead dining in Ginza

As one of Tokyo’s swankiest neighborhoods, Ginza is home to numerous up-scale restaurants and cafes that will as much do damage to your wallet as fill your stomach with delicious food. From French cuisine to delicious brunch, you can find just about anything in Ginza—including a Vampire Cafe!

Though you might not expect to see many theme restaurants like this in Ginza, it turns out these bloodsuckers have been going strong for over a decade. If you’re hoping for a night of spine-tingles and blood-red everything, this is the place for you!

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Cosplayers find a way to enjoy Japan’s love hotels while staying fully clothed: Photo sessions

Japan’s love hotels, as the name implies, are all about the loving. Not only do these short-stay accommodations provide a welcome oasis of privacy for couples that want to express their physical affection for one another, they often have elaborately decorated themed rooms to help them get in the mood.

But while most visitors to a love hotel aim to spend as little time as possible with their clothes on, one group has found a way to enjoy them while staying completely dressed: cosplay fans who’ve discovered one love hotel that makes a great photo shoot location.

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A hoodie that transforms into a travel neck pillow just made our Christmas wish-list

Traveling can be brutal, whether it’s by plane, train or car. It’s so hard to find a comfy way to snooze when you’re surrounded by strangers and your neck is left unsupported, wobbling to and fro. I for one, always thought those neck pillows were silly, until I tried one, at which point I swore never to leave home without one, that is, until I realized how cumbersome they are to carry around and how ineffective the space-saving, inflatable ones are.

But never fear, fellow travelers! A Japanese clothing start-up, Monogatari Project, has come up with the perfect solution: A hoodie that can be rolled up into the perfect neck pillow.

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30 things that will go through your mind on a business trip to Tokyo, according to our Japanese writer

It is perhaps common knowledge by now that folks in Japan tend to go on business trips a lot. Whether this is actually true or an exaggeration, we can’t exactly say, but it certainly seems that there are a ton of workers moving around the country as part of their jobs. And it should go without saying that quite a few of them end up coming to Tokyo.

So, what is it like taking a business trip to Tokyo for someone who lives outside of Japan’s most populous metropolitan area? Read on to find out!

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Beaver logs, Christmas dinner, and other crazy stuff foreigners bring to Japan in their suitcases

These days in Japan, you can get almost anything. Nonetheless, there are still some things that remain either hard to find or  unavailable at all. We asked our RocketNews24 English writers, as well as a bevy of tourists and expats, what things they’ve made a point to bring into Japan in their suitcases.

If you’re headed to Japan either for a vacation or for a longer stay, you’ll want to take a peek at what items you may want to bring with you. It’s helpful to know, for example, that if you plan on sleeping on a queen size bed in Japan, you should be prepared to bring your own linen because Japan only sells bedding sets up to a double. If it’s Skittles candy you’re addicted to, bring a stash of that too. But some people have more extravagant tastes than others, so you’ll surely find yourself saying, “You brought WHAT in your suitcase??” a few times.

Join us for some head-scratching after the jump!

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The Maasai people teach us how to kill a lion, demonstrate on our writer

Sure, you may have killed, like, 230 lions in Skyrim and traded in their pelts for a sweet dagger and maybe a cool tricorn hat, but it’s safe to say that, in real life, you probably wouldn’t fare so well against one of nature’s most efficient predators. First, where are you going to get a sweet set of gold armor and a giant warhammer? Secondly, humankind’s fight or flight response being what it is, you’re probably far more likely to projectile urinate onto your attacker while fleeing at top speed like the damn Roadrunner or something.

No, outside of Skyrim, there is only really one group of people (that don’t routinely use high-powered, modern weapons like they’re hunting the Predator) that can actually boast of taking on lions and walking away not only alive but victorious. Lucky for us, we’re tight with these folks – the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania – and they graciously taught us their technique, using one of our most unfortunate Japanese writing staff to demonstrate.

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Taiwan pulls ahead of Japan in moe race, plasters subway cars with doe-eyed girls

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the whole “moe” phenomenon – you know, that chibi, super cute anime girl style of animation and illustration that’s all over Tokyo’s infamous Akihabara district – is a Japan-only thing. But in reality, moe has spread throughout Asia and even beyond. It seems a lot of fans are captivated by the adorable schoolgirl outfits, exaggerated mannerisms and impossibly huge eyes of these distinct animated girls.

One such region in which moe has really taken hold is Taiwan, which is so obsessed with the animation style that it’s kind of doubled down on the moe-ness, pulling ahead of even Japan’s moe obsession by plastering its subways with moe characters.

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Ads for JR’s “Seishun 18” rail pass celebrate the isolated beauty of Japan’s most far-flung stations

It seems so easy to plan an entire Japan vacation around a single tour of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The mega city has just about everything a tourist could possibly want to see, from Akihabara’s blinding neon to the breathtaking skyline of Yokohama, to the quiet, old-world charm (and weird poop sculpture) of Asakusa.

But to not venture away from Tokyo, to Japan’s more far-flung and lesser-known destinations is to rob yourself of the grander Japan experience, and Japan Rail (JR) has long sought to encourage visitors, both domestic and foreign, to wander off the beaten path with the Seishun 18 unlimited rail pass. And, if the idea of unlimited access to JR’s vast and far-reaching network of tracks isn’t enough to inspire your sense of adventure on your next Japan visit, perhaps these ads for the Seishun 18 rail pass, which depict the isolated beauty of some of Japan’s most remote train stations, will be.

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New Japanese luxury bus tour seats only 10 passengers, tickets cost over US$1,200 each

How do you picture being transported to your fantasy vacation spot? A giant cruise ship? A seat in the first-class section of a jumbo jet? How about… a bus?

Not quite sure about that last one? Well the Japanese company Isetan Mitsukoshi Travel is trying to change your mind by offering luxury bus rides from Tokyo to all over Japan. And we’re not exaggerating with the use of the word luxury here: each bus seats only 10 people, and the ticket will cost you around 150,000 yen (US$1,211).

Can such a price tag possibly be worth it? Read on to find out!

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Collection of retro travel posters proves Japan has always been a cool place to visit 【Photos】

Last year, over 13 million foreign visitors took a trip to Japan. Many of the country’s best attractions, though, are actually hundreds of years old. That means that while they’ve been drawing more international travelers than ever in the 21st century, they were hardly being ignored in the 20th, as shown by this collection of retro-cool travel posters from the early and mid-1900s.

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