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Culture, Travel Inspiration  • 

Japanese Rice Terraces are disappearing

October 23, 2014

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Rice terraces (tanada) have long been a symbol of Japan and have a great cultural significance for the Japanese. The paddy fields have been in this country for centuries and some even consider cultivating rice an art. Ancient farmers have carved the platforms into hillsides to make the fields more efficient. The modern technology allows better yields though, and the terraces are being abandoned.

Kit Takenaga spent 10 years photographing tanada in Japan, producing magnificent photos that capture the life and culture of his home country. He said he was stunned by the hard work farmers put into their fields, all day every day. And there’s still hope – people are trying to preserve the terraces as they prevent landslides and are home to variety of wildlife.

Enjoy Takenaga’s pictures below and read his fascinating article here.

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Art, Culture  • 

Cat’s life in Japan

October 17, 2014

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Cats in Japan have a significant cultural meaning, mostly thanks to Maneki Neko, a “good fortune” cat which is supposed to bring good luck and money to the owner. There’s a cat shrine on Tashiro Island, and the locals believe they can predict the future watching feline behaviours. Not to mention the famous cat cafes, where people come to hug, stroke and love those fluffy animals.

Some believe that even the internet’s obsession with cats began in Japan and I actually kinda believe it. As it turns out, there’s quite a lot of cats in this country and French photographer Alexandre Bonnefoy decided to capture some of them. Begging for fish in a port, climbing trees, living a lazy life in their owners home, fighting with others on the streets of Tokyo or being caressed in a cat cafe – the book Neko Land unites all the Japanese kitties.

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More cat pictures in this excerpt from Alexandre Bonnefoy’s book.

Art, Culture  • 

Explore the Unseen London on these photos by Peter Dazeley

October 14, 2014
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Beautiful pumping room of the Crossness pumping station

London is one of the most popular tourist destinations and home to many great landmarks known around the world. Walking around its streets, visitors surely wonder how these attractions look inside, but not all of them are publicly accessible. Peter Dazeley, a photographer from London decided to record historic interiors of London, and the result is quite amazing. Battersea Power Station, Abbey Road Studios and closed Aldwych tube station are just some of the legendary places he photographed. Explore the backstage of British capital and be amazed!abbey_millsInterior of the original Abbey Mills sewage pumping station, built in 1868. With its intricate Byzantine design, it’s sometimes called The Cathedral of Sewage and has been a set of many movies and music videos.

abbey_road_studiosAbbey Road Studios – a recording studio that has been used by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Badfinger and others. There’s enough space in Studio One for 200 musicians to perform at the same time.

aldwych_stationAldwych tube station – closed station located in central London. Opened in 1907, it has been used during the First and Second World War to store precious works of art from London’s museums. Aldwych’s always suffered from low passenger numbers thought, and in 1994 it was closed.

batterseaBattersea Power Station – a coal-powered station by the South banks of Thames river. Battersea was built in parts in 1930s and 1950s but ceased producing electricity in 1983. It remains the largest brick building in Europe and is celebrated for Art Deco interiors – and somewhat steampunk-ish consoles in control rooms.

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BBC Television Centre’s TC1 Studio in White City.

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The courtyard of Whitechapel Bell foundry, the oldest manufacturing company in Great Britain established in 1570. Whitechapel manufactured the famous Liberty Bell and Big Ben.

big_benThe south clock face of Elizabeth Tower, “the home” of Big Ben.

midland_bankSafe deposit of the Midland Bank in Poultry. In 1930s it’s been the biggest deposit bank in the world, with 3,8 thousand private boxes. Midland Bank is now a part of HSBC and the building was sold to a Russian tycoon in 2007 and will be reworked as a luxurious hotel.

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An old operating theatre at St Thomas hospital. The space in the middle was used by the surgeon to demonstrate his skills to the students.

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The legendary Repton Boxing Club, London’s oldest boxing gym. Situated in a former Victorian bath house, its interiors haven’t been changed in over a century.

Peter Dazeley’s book “Unseen London” is available on Amazon and you can see some more pictures on his website or InformantDaily‘s and Daily Mail‘s galleries.

Culture  • 

Playing soccer with a headless goat + other exotic shows during World Nomad Games

September 15, 2014
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A burning man from Kyrgyzstan performing a stunt during the first World Nomad Games.

Yesterday was the last day of World Nomad Games – the first ever tournament celebrating nomadic culture, held in Cholpon-Ata by the Issyk-Kul lake in Kyrgyzstan. With athletes and stuntmen from 18 countries, including Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, the event showcases traditions, history and lifestyle of the many remaining nomads. Some of the games held in Cholpon-Ata are:

Er-Oodarysh – wrestling on a horse
Kyz Kuu – girl chasing on a horseback
Kok-buru – like soccer, but on horses and with a headless goat

Other games include wrestling, board games and line-pulling. There was also a games village built with traditional yurts, where nomadic fashion, music and activities were showcased. As the World Nomad Games have been quite successful this year, the Kyrgyz authorities plan to make it an annual event.

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Kok-boru – a game in which teams score goals with a headless goat

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Jurta – a traditional nomadic house from Kyrgyzstan

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Artists perform during an opening ceremony

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Traditionally-clothed fans cheer during the games

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A Tajik man demonstrates his skills.

Source: Worldnomadgames.com