There are the obvious cultural characteristics of Japan that everyone knows: trade your shoes for slippers indoors, bow, eat with chopsticks. But there are a few other differences I learned only once I’d lived in the country. The cultural differences weren’t profound, but were quite useful once I knew them.
Perhaps even the most obvious of customs like indoor slippers and bowing are best understood through experience. For example, you’ll learn to watch out for those aptly named “bathroom slippers” as you fish one out of the squat...
The Art of Travelling Without Planning
Step 1) Plan your trip, Step 2) Buy your plane ticket. As most solo travelers would agree, these two steps are both the least and most important aspects of traveling alone. To be fair, buying the ticket is the most important. Not because you necessarily need to have a ticket to get where you are going, but because once the ticket is bought there’s no backing out. This is the beginning of a new adventure, and in most cases a new outlook on life.
In terms of travel, the word ‘plan’ tends to be used...
One of civilized man’s greatest achievements was the rule of law. A unified list of codes for what is essentially “right” and “wrong” to do with the threat of punishment if your actions fall into the “wrong” category. Over the years, however, it seems lawmakers started shooting from the hip, resulting in some strange laws making their way into the books. Some obsolete, some unnecessary, some weird, here’s a list of 25 of the world’s craziest laws.
25 of the World’s Weirdest Laws
Sunrise on the Nile
No matter what time it is, the sun has been shining on us for too long. The bed directly faces the folding set of glass doors to our balcony overlooking the Nile and Cairo’s eastern sky. Our entire room is illuminated once the sun comes up around 5am. I usually spend the next two hours rolling around trying to pretend it isn’t there. If I’ve managed to sleep through the car horns, the sunlight, and Casey jumping around the room, the alarm goes off at 7 and I pull myself out of bed.
I’m in charge of breakfast, but...
This dream-like design, by architects Szotynscy & Zaleski (pronounced how it’s spelled if you were wondering), was inspired by the children’s fairy tale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and the work of artist Per Dahlberg. Completed in 2004, the three-story structure was built with the surrounding buildings in mind to look as though it belongs there but has somehow melted or sagged under pressure. The Crooked House houses several tourist attractions other than its façade including restaurants, bars, and...
The small lounge was as smoky as it was loud, and the music was blaring. My girlfriend and I sat at a table against the wall with a two of my Egyptian co-workers and a few friends of theirs. It didn’t take very long for the revolution to come up. We leaned toward the middle of the table to hear one another.
“Mubarak is shit.” Ibrahim answers my question regarding the ousted dictator. I wasn’t surprised. His opinion is not unique among young educated Egyptians. They were the first Egyptians to grow up with extensive exposure to...
Seeing the way others live is the only way to truly understand and appreciate (or seek to change) your own life. Traveling to other countries allows you to witness first-hand where people in different cultures live, how they get to work, what they eat for dinner, how they socialize, and all the little idiosyncrasies of daily life that are so fascinating to foreigners. However, most travelers would agree that a certain point those picturesque beaches, brightly painted homes, and endless smokey mountains start to lose the jaw-dropping effect...
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
(a.k.a Bat Sh*t Crazy North Korea)
“Do not forget the U.S. Imperialist wolves!” It’s dark images like this that make isolated dictatorships like North Korea so scary and fascinating. This is an older poster, but like most outdated things in North Korea, it’s still being used. The poster comes free with the purchase of “Kim Jung Il, Our Divine Leader” commemorative plates!
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(a.k.a. The Soviet Union – the Original Gangster)
Istanbul, Turkey is home to one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Grand Bazaar, first opened in 1461, currently receives around 250,000 – 500,000 visitors daily. The vast majority of these shoppers are tourists, and most of them end up paying too much for their souvenirs. The Grand Bazaar is home to hundreds of multilingual expert salesmen who are determined to sell you their wares. Many of these salesmen have an array of witty greetings and one-liners, and are in general pretty entertaining people. They all...
The market used to be men in suits, shelves of ledgers, newspaper, yelling into the phone to buy or sell. It was a very elite club. Luckily the internet came along, and with it online trading platforms, news websites, streaming stock quotes and a host of other great tools for stock traders of all levels. The club today is much bigger – and you’re invited!
Most people view the stock market as this mysterious risky machine where you put in your money and cross your fingers that it all doesn’t evaporate before your eyes. Especially...