We went to a beautiful “beach resort” on top of a mountain and sweated it out in a gondola sauna

There is no sand or sea in sight, but the view is just as impressive as any beach.

Read More

Japan’s newest holiday “Mountain Day” gets approval from Lower House

On the afternoon of 25 April, the Lower House of Parliament passed an amendment to the nation’s Holiday Act which includes a new public holiday Mountain Day (Yama no Hi). The next step involves the amendment to go into deliberation in the Upper House where it is expected to be approved again.

Although this comes as welcome news to the nation’s tired workers, Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean. This time, though, Japan’s newest holiday is name after something truly special. Still, I can’t help but be surprised how many fans of Mountain there are in Parliament…

Read More

Hiyoriyama newly crowned as Japan’s Shortest Mountain

Osaka has many sights and attractions to boast about. To name a few, there’s the robot drummer clown, the big robot crabs here and there and of course Tenpozan, Japan’s shortest mountain. Standing at 4.53 meters above sea level, it was a tourist draw leading to the creation of an aquarium shopping complex and giant ferris wheel.

However, now it appears Tenpozan has been relegated to second place following a recent survey by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI). Hiyoriyama in Sendai is now the nation’s lowest summit at a reevaluated height of three meters. Normally, the Osaka resident in me would demand a recount and ask for a discount on it, but considering how Hiyoriyama came to be this way, I’ll humbly congratulate the new record holder and wish them all the best.

Read More

Welcome to Postal Hell: Photos Reveal the Organised Chaos that is one Chinese Shipping Company

As the Christmas season steadily approaches, we have to spare a thought for those working in our respective postal services. With Christmas cards and care packs sent to those in other parts of the country or across the globe, as well as online shopping more popular than ever, the humble mail man has probably never felt the strain quite as much.

Those in my native UK hoping for their parcels to reach their destination before Christmas day have been warned to get them in the mail by the end of this week at the latest, and the US postal service alone is bracing for its busiest Christmas ever, with an anticipated rise of almost 20% more postal traffic than last year. Those working in sorting offices, loading and unloading trucks and, of course, the people delivering cards and gifts to our doors are most likely dreading the next few weeks.

Be thankful, though, that few of us rely on Chinese postal services this Christmas when hoping for our parcels to arrive both on time and in one piece; along with a video showing a postal worker tossing parcel after parcel from a truck onto a concrete floor before kicking a few out of his way, photographs showing enormous mountains of boxes and packages reveal the utter chaos that is at least one Chinese shipping company.

Read More

“And the Winner is…”: A Selection of Some of the World’s Fascinating No. 1s!

Everyone knows Mt. Everest is the tallest Mountain in the world!  It is named after Colonel Sir George Everest, a surveyor who surveyed Mt. Everest in the mid 1800s.  Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach its summit in 1953.

Here are some of the world’s most fascinating Number ones!  Some of them are familiar, others not.  All  23 are number one in one way or another.  Read More