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Booze / Restaurans / Bars / Sweden / Japan / Poland / Paris / France / Cocktail trends / → All Tags
The popularity of craft beers continues to rise. Powdered alcohol is now — a thing. The simple pleasure of sitting on a barstool, sipping a basic G&T, and nonchalantly nodding to the patron next to you seems to have gone out of style. Bars and manufacturers are diversifying rapidly and trying to find the next exciting alcohol-related angle. And since hipsterdom is now mainstream, many new bars are trying to "out quirk" each other. Here are a few relatively recent booze trends and novelties to test your liver.
Sipping out of baby bottles in Paris: Refuge des Fondus bar near the Sacré-Cœur started the childish, hipstery trend, but it seems to be spreading. Another Parisian bar just opened, Le Zéro de Conduite, and serves classy cocktails by the bottle. Better yet, the first cocktail costs €16, refills are a mere €6, and customers can draw on complimentary whiteboards. (The adult version of a coloring book, we suppose.)
Tokyo / Japan / Shinjuku / Hotel Gracey / Weird News / → All Tags
What would you do if Godzilla came running at you with open jaws? Run, right? Well, apparently Tokyo’s Shinjuku district believes Godzilla to be more hospitable than horrifying. Not only has the ward just unveiled a 170 foot-tall Godzilla head, but it has "appointed" the monster as a tourism ambassador. City leaders hope visitors will run directly toward the daikaiju’s welcoming (if scaly) arms.
The 80-ton replica head appears to be biting into the 31-story Shinjuku Toho Building, which just unveiled the capital’s biggest cinema and is scheduled to cut the ribbon on the high-rise Hotel Gracery next week.
Animals / Augmented Reality / Travel Technology / Travel Tech / Zoo Travel / Green Travel / Cute Travel / Japan / Japan Travel / → All Tags
As is well known and widely acknowledged, Japan is a land of crazy. The plain assertion doesn't really require any proof, but if it did there are entire websites devoted to the insanity that pervades the Land of the Rising Sun. Even their zoos and aquariums are batshit, allowing you to do everything from shake hands with otters to watch Santa Claus play with dolphins.
Somewhere in between shaking otters hands and Santa Claud on a dolphin, there's this very cute bit of travel advertising from Japan's Sunshine Aquarium. The tourist attraction is kind of a hike from the nearest station, and aquarium officials wanted to make sure people could find it. The solution? An augmented reality app where penguins guide tourists along the right path. Because Japan, of course.
Japan Travel / Japan / Zoo Travel / Green Travel / Conservation Travel / Cute Travel / Animals / → All Tags
Last summer we gave you a guide for visiting baby otters at various zoos around the United States. You guys seemed to like the post, which makes sense since it was about baby otters. But what if you're a person who wants to hang out with cute otters, and now it's a whole new summer?
If you're lucky, and you're indulging in Japan Travel, then there's a fairly straightforward solution: go visit the Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park. Not only do they have otters, but they have otters that will actually shake your hand and interact with you. Just so everyone's on the same page before we get to the nitty-gritty details: there's a place in Japan where you can go, pay a $5 charge, and then an adorable otter will take your finger and say hi. Damn, some things are better in Japan.
Travel Advertising / Japan / Japan Travel / Norway / Norway Travel / Wideroe / Videos / → All Tags
Fun fact: Widerøe is the largest regional airline in the Nordic countries. We've had a simply adorable piece of their travel advertising in the queue for weeks. Copyranter called it "the best airline spot I've seen in a long time" and insisted that "the casting, the acting, and most importantly, the idea [are] all perfect." AdFreak gushed that the commercial "triumphs" and "almost makes you believe in magic." This, friends, is the very definition of easy content.
But then we came across this other bit of travel advertising, from Japanese travel site Jalan. In this one, a cat karate-chops a watermelon. That's not the weirdest part of the commercial either, by far. There's also a monkey rolling by an indifferent kitten. On a beach ball. Of course on a beach ball. Buzzfeed turned part of the video into an animated gif. Of course an animated gif.
Airport Security / Airline Security / Japan Travel / Japan / TSA / LAX / → All Tags
Japanese airport security officials are defending themselves and insisting that "there was nothing unusual" about Yongda Huang Harris, a Chinese-born U.S. citizen who boarded a flight in Osaka last week bound for Boston via LAX. That assertion is in questionand seems at least somewhat strainedsince Harris was subsequently arrested in the Los Angeles airport when a customs officer noticed he was wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-retardant leggings under his trench coat.
Also discovered in Harris's luggage, and also casting doubt on the claims of those officials: "a smoke grenade, a hatchet, knives, three leather-coated lead-filled billy clubs, a gas mask, a Tyvek biohazard suit, leg irons, handcuffs, body bags, a collapsible baton, various masks, duct tape, batteries, oven mitts, cooking tongs, plastic cuffs, and some sort of device to repel dogs." Ummm...?
Travel Politics / Politics Travel / Japan Travel / China Travel / Israel Travel / Egypt Travel / Australia Travel / Japan / China / Israel / Egypt / Australia / ANA / Japan Airlines / El Al / Qantas / Emirates / → All Tags
It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel. It's an even more unfortunate fact of life that sometimes politics impacts travel so much that we have to write about it on a Friday afternoon instead of easing you into the weekend with baby animal pictures. And yet here we are, with flights being emptied or cancelled across three continents because of a variety of geopolitical flare-ups.
The most dramatic bit of travel politics comes out of Japan, where no less than 40,000 seat reservations to China have been canceled. China has been on a bit of a tear recently, claiming a bunch of islands that by and large aren't straightforwardly quite theirs. The campaign has put them on a collision course with various other countries in the region (obviously) and one of those countries is Japan. There have been anti-Japan protests in China and, apparently, lots of Japanese people are sufficiently pissed off to cancel vacations to China.
On one hand, it's a little bold for Japanese comics to be spoofing American behavior on the same week that Japanese scientists are showcasing their hilariously disturbing pregnancy simulator vest around the country. Japan doesn't have a lock on Jaunted's weird travel category, but they're not exactly under-represented either (not one but two separate posts just about weird bras!) So a little bit of cross-cultural modesty is called for here.
On the other hand, the Washington Post did just publish a story about a TSA agent who got somewhat flummoxed by something "shiny." Literally. Too sparkly!
Japan Airlines / JAL / American Airlines / Delta / Airlines / Airline News / Japan / Japan Travel / → All Tags
Remember when we told you about those rumors trickling out of Japanese media outlets, to the effect that JAL was dumping American/oneworld and embracing Delta/SkyTeam? Remember how we told you that the story made sense because, the shadiness of the sourcing aside, switching probably makes the most financial sense for the bankrupt Japanese airline? Turns out we may have called that putt a little too early:
Experience the Australian Alps from the comfort of a movie theater
Film, at its best, has the ability to transport us to a different time, place or state of mind. The great leisure of cinematic travel is that you do so parked in a plush theater chair for two or so hours, with a jumbo pack of Milk Duds and Red Vines by your side. The Fifth Annual Backcountry Film Festival aims to take theatergoers on a tour of wintry locations the world over, from Vermont to Japan.
Your lift ticket to mountainous and blistering-cold regions comes in the form of films shot in the backcountry of different nations, including unlikely places such as Australia. It's a little-known fact that there is snowboarding along with surfing down under.
Museums / Tokyo / Japan / → All Tags
For relaxing times, make it Suntory time. Bill Murray was forced to repeat this line over and over in the movie "Lost in Translation," so you'll have to forgive us for having it stuck in our noggins. Now art aficionados can make it Suntory time during daylight hours in Tokyo with the new home of the Suntory Museum of Art.
Scenesters who know the museum's home district of Roppongi as nightclub central might be surprised to see kimonos and lacquered plates in the new modernist building, whose architect Kengo Kuma told Bloomberg News he wanted to create an "urban living room" for the artifacts. According to this week's Newsweek, it's part of a city revitalization plan called Tokyo Midtown patterned after New York City (there's even a Dean and Deluca) and hoping to draw more cultural attractions into Tokyo's city center.
Developers turned down chain stores and international names in favor of encouraging small business owners to move in to the bamboo-and-washi-paper-decorated stores, while a nearby apartment complex entices would-be shoppers to pursue their retail passions full time. So let's raise a glass to Suntory and the Tokyo Midtown project.
Blogs / Toilets / Japan / Culture / → All Tags
Heading to Japan for a spot of English teaching has been a popular pastime for a couple of decades now, but those who go still find things a bit surprising. Nearly nothing is as you'd expect, from bathing naked to bad Japanese soda like SMAP and really weird flavors of ice cream.
A couple of gals who are currently finding this all out for themselves are running a nice blog called Japan Nomads, and this week Emily explained some of the intricacies of using Japanese toilets. Of course, mastering the "squat" toilet (and what to do with your clothing while you do) is a trick that helps you out in many parts of Asia, but some of the technology that Emily points out seems a bit more Japan-specific:
Perhaps even more exciting than different styles of toilets, Japanese toilets often have four or five buttons ... One button, labeled with a music note, creates a flushing sound when pushed to cover any embarrassing bathroom noises, which for many Japanese women, is any bathroom noise. The others mostly relate to the integrated bidet, which both sprays clean water and blow dries, right from the toilet. Travelers beware, the shock of pressing a strange button and suddenly feeling a jet of water can lead to jumping and soaked pants.
So you can't say we haven't warned you.